The Pinecrest Bed and Breakfast Asheville NC

Posts Tagged ‘Sightseeing’

Trolley Tours are a Great Way to Experience Asheville

August 8th, 2012 by Stacy Shelley

Taking you on an adventure this time around, we have a guest blog from my parents (Pinecrest Bed and Breakfast resident innkeepers), who ventured out with some friends of theirs visiting from Indiana.   There isn’t a better way for them to get a good feel for our fair city than to hop aboard a historic trolley tour.

And so, off they went to the Asheville Visitor Center to board the Gray Line Trolley. The Visitors center is 5 blocks from this Asheville Inn. The trolley tours are fully narrated by a professional tour guide, who is well versed in historic tid bits about the city of Asheville. One great thing about taking the trolley is that you get to let someone else hold the wheel – letting the driver worry about traffic and parking and allowing you to enjoy the sights without causing any traffic mishaps.  Plus, the ticket is good for 2 consecutive days and you are allowed to hop off the trolley at any one of the stops and get back on when you feel like it. Every 30 minutes the trolley glides by each stop. The cost is 21.00 per adult and 10.00 for children ages 5 – 11.  They also offer AAA and AARP discounts of 2.00 per ticket. For your convenience we sell the tickets from our Asheville  bed and breakfast .

After departing the Visitor Center, the trolley made its way through the Montford Historic District, which just so happens to be where our Asheville Bed and Breakfast is located.  This District Montford retains more than 600 buildings, most of which were built between 1890 and 1920, and includes a variety of architectural influences reflecting the cosmopolitan character of Asheville during the turn of the 20th century.

Famous Asheville architect (and supervising architect of the Biltmore House) Richard Sharp Smith designed many of the residential homes in Montford. Smith’s architectural leanings contribute to the character of this area.

Montford has always been primarily residential, but also has a history of including several board houses and sanitariums (for the treatment of tuberculosis and other ailments) included in the neighborhood mix.  In recent years, Montford has developed into a bed and breakfast community with numerous inns included in the mix.

Also within the Montford Historic District is Asheville’s Riverside Cemetery,  It is the cemetery where you will find the final resting place for Thomas Wolfe and William Sydney Porter (better known as O. Henry) as well as Confederate General Robert B. Vance and North Carolina Governor Zebulon Vance, among other Asheville luminaries.

The large houses that line the streets of this neighborhood reflect a more prosperous time in Asheville.  Montford and Pinecrest Bed and Breakfast is listed in the National Register of Historic Places.  The district is located an easy walk or bike ride from downtown Asheville.

Unfortunately, it misses passing our inn — also a “Robert Sharp Smith” — by a block. Their trolley cruised by an old home which years ago was a sanitarium. It is where Zelda Fitzgerald, the beautiful debutante flapper from Alabama who inspired F. Scott Fitzgerald’s Jazz Age stories was a patient and where she died in March of 1948.

After leaving Montford, the trolley meandered through the Grove Park neighborhood until it reached the Grove Park Inn. It is here that George Vanderbilt stayed during his first trip to Asheville. My parents and their friends decided to jump off the trolley and check out the Grove Park Inn, more specifically the spectacular view of the mountains from the terrace. The trolley guide informed them it was this terrace where George Vanderbilt looked out and decided he would buy all the land he could see.

Next stop: the Thomas Wolfe House.  Your trolley ticket allows you free admission to the historic home where the writer, Thomas Wolfe lived as a boy. Mr. Wolfe is also buried at the Riverside Cemetery.  Hopping back on board, the trolley headed toward downtown and into Pack Square.  Following the depression, many art deco buildings were constructed and through the years the city has tried to retain the architectural heritage by maintaining and restoring these beautiful structures.  After driving through the square the trolley made its way over to the Haywood Hotel. Everyone was ready to stretch their legs so they hopped off and wandered around downtown for a while. They strolled through the Woolworth building which houses 2 floors of artist galleries and an old fashion soda fountain. They then crossed the street and indulged in some sinfully delicious chocolate at the Chocolate Fetish, a local Chocolatier,some might say “chocolate artists.”

Rejoining their fellow tourists, and a few locals enjoying the tour, the trolley made its way down toward the French Broad River.  The River Arts District is currently experiencing a major resurgence and is quite the happening place these days. Several breweries are moving in and more restaurants are surfacing in this lively center of art, artists, galleries and studios.

The trolley then headed south to Biltmore Village. Biltmore Village was built by George Vanderbilt in the late 1890′s as a classic planned community at the entrance to the Biltmore Estate. Today the Village is a cottage community of shops, restaurants and art galleries. At this point everyone was getting hungry so they departed the trolley and walked around the Village, which has tree-lined streets and brick sidewalks. They ended up at Chelsea’s Tea Room for afternoon tea and finger sandwiches. They sat outside in the lovely courtyard and despite the warm temperatures they really enjoyed themselves…even the men. As they strolled back to the trolley stop they passed some of the original buildings, such as All Souls Church (now All Souls Cathedral) the church built for the Vanderbilt’s, the old train depot which is now a restaurant, and some of the original estate cottages.

Although you can take the entire tour in about an hour and a half, this little adventure took all of 5 hours.  Crazy kids!

For more information or to book a room visit www.pinecrestbb.com or call 888-811-3053.

A Day Spent Being a “Tourist” in Asheville

June 29th, 2012 by Stacy Shelley

It looks like I am going to be forced into taking more time off work to do more hiking and sightseeing (a.k.a. “guest research”). The response to my last blog on our trip up to Max Patch was over the top. Honestly, I really didn’t appreciate how many people actually read our blogs. Many of our guests have been inquiring about Max Patch and venturing up there for a hike and to take in the beautiful views. Several have even made their way over to Hot Springs for a relaxing soak. One guest suggested that I emphasize the road is narrow, gravel and winding, but well worth traveling to see the views.

Unfortunately, I am at the inn 7 days a week and do not have many opportunities to go on such adventures. However, this last weekend my husband and I found ourselves kidless, which rarely happens in our active house of three of the little time traps.  On Saturday, my husband had to pick up a rental car for a work trip to his surprise they suited him up in a neon-lime sherbert colored convertible mustang. It screamed “rental” or at least we hope it did as we made our way through downtown Asheville on a sunny Saturday afternoon. We decided to meander through town with no plans except to hit the Fine Arts Movie Theatre at 7 for a movie. I know most people do not come to Asheville to see a movie, but we have a great small theatre downtown, which features mostly smaller independent films. It has two screens, serves adult beverages and doesn’t show blockbusters or Disney films so kids are a rarity. It is a very adult experience and you really can’t go wrong with whatever is playing here.

Gourmet Potato Chip Company

We started our adventure at the south location of 12 Bones restaurant after dropping our youngest off at his friends on that side of town.  12 Bones is well known for great barbeque and may be more famous as President Obama’s first stop when he arrives in Asheville.  I dined on the Wedge salad – yes, 12 bones does have lighter fare and my husband made a mess of their award winning Blueberry Chipotle ribs.  We sat outside and sipped ice tea and reveled in how it felt to be sans kids.  We decided to do a little shopping at the outdoor adventure stores, Diamond Brand and REI before heading back into town. We visited the newest bicycle shop Beer City Bicycles on Biltmore Ave. Asheville has a slew of bike stores but this one serves local brew and chips and salsa. My husband has been mounting a steadfast campaign to convince me he needs a new road bike. I guess he thought if I had a beer while we shopped that I might warm up to the idea. Even in Asheville there is probably not enough beer — especially since road bikes can cost as much as a new car for me to give in.  After leaving there without a bike, we parked downtown and started walking. Asheville’s sidewalks are always bustling with people and it always fun to take in the sights and unique shops.  We stopped in the Gourmet Potato Chip Company…seriously they hand make and then sell just potato chips, seasoned in many creative and delectable ways.  Only in Asheville.

We checked out some of the local street performers and heard some music at Pritchard Park.  Eventually making our way over to the Grove Arcade to check out the local craft artists selling there merchandise outside.  We had developed a thirst from our walk so we secured an outdoor table at Carmel’s, wolfed down a pizza and slaked our thirst with blueberry lemonade.   This is one of the better spots for people watching in Asheville.

We needed to get home to shower and then head back out in time to see our movie. This seems to be the way our guests go about their visit – returning the Bed & Breakfast in the late afternoon after their day’s activities before heading back out for dinner. We skipped dinner, but did hit Limones (conveniently located just around the corner from the Fine Arts Theater) for a quick margarita. Limones has the best margaritas in Asheville. They also happen to have great food and great people working there. We did make it to the movie, but got talked into seeing Bernie instead of The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel.  It was funny and Jack Black did a wonderful job.

After the movie, we walked over to the restaurant Storm Rhum Bar and again sat outside and enjoyed a late dinner and some crazy rum drinks. The food was fabulous, the atmosphere intoxicating and the company delightful. What a day. I just wish I could visit here all the time. But alas, we have to retrieve the kids and get back to work.  I guess we can live vicariously through the guests that visit our Asheville Bed and Breakfast.  We will keep up the research.

For more information about Pinecrest Bed and Breakfast Inn, visit www.pinecrestbb.com or call 888-811-3053.

Scenic Drives from this Asheville Bed and Breakfast

September 13th, 2010 by Stacy Shelley

Asheville’s proximity, snuggled into the Blue Ridge Mountains, provides guests to this Asheville Bed and Breakfast easy access via car and no shortage of opportunities to see the rolling landscape from the crest of the mountains that run primarily southwest – northeast.  North on the Blue Ridge Parkway: Craggy Gardens and Mount Mitchell. A short drive north from Asheville (24 miles from downtown) will take you up about 3,000 feet in elevation to Craggy Gardens and their Visitor Center (where you can pick up a trail map) with great views to the east and to the west. There is a large picnic area and a short hike to the top of Craggy Pinnacle. Continue north on the Parkway for nine miles and turn left onto N.C. 128 to Mount Mitchell State Park. This peak, the highest east of the Mississippi River, provides 360 degree sweeping views. In addition to expansive views, the Park offers an observation tower, hiking trails, picnic areas, a natural history museum and a restaurant.  You can return to Asheville via the same route.

South on the Blue Ridge Parkway: Mount Pisgah and Graveyard Fields. Drive south on the Parkway for a gradual climb with lots of tunnels and beautiful vistas. About 15 miles from Asheville is Mount Pisgah, a favorite hiking and picnic spot. The Pisgah Inn there offers good food and views from 5,000 feet in their restaurant that is open from April-October. Continue another 10 miles to Graveyard Fields (another popular hiking spot). Just before Graveyard Fields are great views of Looking Glass Rock. Return the same route back if you want a leisurely return or drop off the Parkway via Rt. 276 to Brevard (stopping for ice cream before taking Rt. 180 back toward I-26 and Asheville.

Cold Mountain Loop
This approximately 85-mile loop drive is a beautiful, hilly, curvy drive through a very rural area around Cold Mountain, made famous by the novel and major motion picture. From Asheville, travel south on the Blue Ridge Parkway. To view the famous peak, stop at Cold Mountain overlook at Milepost 411.9. (The views from the overlook are spotty with overgrown trees blocking most of the view. For the best view, go to the Wagon Gap Road Parking area at Milepost 412.2. Then walk back north on the Parkway a short distance.) At Milepost 423.2, take N.C. Highway 215 north for 13 miles. If you want to drive an extra 8 miles roundtrip to go to the base of the hiking trail, turn right onto Little East Fork Road. Views of the mountain here are very limited. Back at N.C. 215, continue for 5 miles. N.C. 215 will turn into Highway 110. Continue 5.3 miles. In Canton, turn right onto U.S. Highway 19/23 north. Turn left onto Church Street, and right on Newfound Road. Go 1.6 miles to I-40 East to return to Asheville.

Black Mountain Rag to Chimney Rock
Take exit 64 off Interstate 40 at Black Mountain to follow the Black Mountain Rag, a scenic route named for an old fiddle tune about the dark green Lauada Firs that give the Black Mountains their name. In musical terms, a “rag” is a tune with multiple twists and curves up and down the scales. This scenic route twists and turns through the mountains like the music itself. Coming from Asheville, turn right off the exit ramp at Black Mountain and follow N.C. 9 south towards Bat Cave. The road winds along the Rocky Broad River, joining Hickory Nut Creek near the intersection of U.S. 64, U.S. 74 and N.C. 9 at Bat Cave. Turn left and follow N.C. 9/ U.S. 64 east to the village of Chimney Rock. At Chimney Rock Park you can drive to the top of the Chimney overlooking Hickory Nut Gorge. Continue past Chimney Rock to see beautiful Lake Lure. Turn around at Lake Lure and head back. Instead of returning via N.C. 9 in Bat Cave, follow signs for U.S. 74 back to Asheville.

Our beautiful Pinecrest Bed and Breakfast in Asheville is close to everything you want to do and see this fall!  For details and reservations at our inn visit www.Pinecrestbb.com.

Fall is Coming Soon to this Asheville Bed and Breakfast

September 9th, 2010 by Stacy Shelley

Fall is just around the corner and with the burst of cool weather this gorgeous Labor day weekend leaves are already starting to show some color. As the cool Autumn breezes start to to be felt, the most oft-asked question at this Asheville Bed and Breakfast  is: “When is the peak color weekend?”  It seems like every year the color change gets later and later. Last year the leaves peaked (depending upon location) around Halloween weekend.  But, no matter when you plan an autumn visit to this Asheville Inn, you can always take a short drive on the Blue Ridge Parkway to find the best color. In early October you can head north on the Parkway to take in the highest elevations, Mount Mitchell, Craggy Gardens and Grandfather Mountain areas. By mid-October color should be in full swing heading south on the parkway,  Mount Pisgah, Black Balsam, Devil’s Courthouse, Waterrock Knob and Graveyard Fields,. It will also be peak color in the Highlands area, with plenty of waterfalls to enjoy, and the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.  Around the third and fourth weeks of October the city of Asheville will show it’s brightest colors. Head to Chimney Rock area (elevation of 1,300 feet) the end of the month and beginning of November and take a  ride to the top of Chimney Rock or take a boat tour on Lake Lure. As you can see, no matter when you visit this Asheville B & B you will be able to take in the beauty of Fall.  This schedule could, of course, change and will vary according to the temperature and rainfall we get between now and then.  We are beginning to see the first signs so you may want to go ahead and plan your trip.

Trolley Tours of Asheville

November 12th, 2009 by Stacy Shelley

During your visit to Asheville, North Carolina and this Asheville Inn enjoy a ride on a Gray Line Historic Trolley Tour.  There is no better way to discover what Asheville has to offer than on a Gray Line Trolley Tour.  Hop on board one of the RED trolleys for a fully narrated journey, highlighting the history, homes and hot-spots of Asheville.  Learn about Asheville’s early settlers, famous citizens and illustrious authors through interesting stories and colorful anecdotes.  The tour includes our own diverse Montford Historic District, the Grove Park Historic District, the Grove Park Inn Resort & Spa, award winning Grovewood Gallery,  Art Deco-rich Downtown, the River Arts District and the quaint historic Biltmore Village .

Enjoy the tour at your own pace.  Remain on board the trolley for a  1.5 to 1.75 hour tour, or hop-off at any of Gray Line’s 9 trolley stops to shop, dine and explore, then re-board the next trolley to continue your tour.  Join the tour at the Visitor Center or any tour stop and enjoy a beautiful ride through Asheville. Tickets can be purchased at this Asheville Lodging or at the Visitors center just 4 blocks away.  Tours run seven day a week, March thru December. Tickets  for adults are $20 per person; Children (5-11 years) $10 and children under the age of 5 are carried free.  This is a great way to get familiar with Asheville.

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