Monday, June 28, 2010

Reasons to Spend the 4th of July in Asheville

I think fireworks are best observed from a place of elevation. They appear more dramatic and one can gain the best perspective of the whole display as it reaches up toward the night sky. Asheville has many peaks that are capable of providing just that very thing. Every year here At Cumberland Falls Bed and Breakfast Inn guests return to the house having discovered another vantage point. Of course, there are also those that prefer the up close and personal experience gained by being in throngs of people all looking for a sparkling good time as they seek out there special place in Pack Square. All things "4th of July" commence in this area at about 4:30 p.m. finishing in the grand finale of fireworks at 9:30 p.m.
Bring your lawn chairs or a blanket and seek your spot early.
Music, food and vendors will all be on hand offering plenty of choices for things to buy, food to eat and more.

Near Asheville there will also be celebrations at the following locations:

Black Mountain/Montreat

Antique Car Show:
If firewords is not your first love, fear not----Asheville can still deliver the goods.
We host folks at our Asheville Bed and Breakfast that mark this date on the calendar for an entirely different reason. The Antique Car Show will be on for July 2, 3, and 4th showcasing 18 acres dedicated to all lovers of automobiles past and present. It will be held at the Western North Carolina Ag Center near the Asheville Airport.

Shindig on the Green: If mountain music is more to your liking than the sound of blasting fireworks, July 3rd is just one of several Saturdays when you could take yourself out for some Southern Appalachian mountain culture and guitar picking. It's free. Bring lawn chairs or blanket, find your sweet spot and enjoy.

Summertime Art and Crafts Show: In their 21st year this show is home to the most respected and unique artisans calling the Appalachian mountains their home. This year they expect more than 100 exhibitors. Some of their items will be available for sale. About one hour drive.

Patti and Gary Wiles Innkeepers At Cumberland Falls Bed and Breakfast Inn Your Asheville Bed and Breakfast

Summertime and the Grillin is Easy in Asheville

Chicken and Bacon Shish Kabobs:
1/4 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
2 T. honey
2 T. canola oil
10 Crimini mushrooms
2 green onions minced
3 skinless boneless chicken breasts
1/2 pound thick cut bacon, cut in half
8 ozs fresh pineapple chunks
Cut up yellow, red and green peppers and onions

In a large bowl, mix the soy sauce, apple cider vinegar, canola oil and green onions. Place the mushrooms and chicken into the mixture and stir to coat. Cover and marinate in the frig for minimally one hour.

Pre-heat grill for high heat

Wrap the chicken with bacon and thread unto skewers so that the bacon is secured. Alternate with mushrooms halves and pineapple chunks and pepper pieces.

Lightly oil the grill grate. Arrange skewers on the prepped grill. Cook 15-20 mins. bushing periodically with remaining soy sauce mixture until back is crisp and chicken juices run clear.

Ok girls, this grillin recipe is for you. Man (Woman) your grill. Start your engines and impress the crowds. This recipe is glorious for summer not only having your protein, fruit, veggies all rolled into one but easy beyond belief both in prep and cooking. After cooking a big breakfast here At Cumberland Falls Bed and Breakfast Inn sometimes one is just not in the "big" cooking mode. This recipe is fast and delicious. You could prep it the night before if desired. Bon Appetit!

Patti and Gary Wiles Innkeepers At Cumberland Falls Bed and Breakfast Inn Your Asheville Bed and Breakfast

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Summertime in Asheville Recipe

One of the blessings of summer is the fun of growing your own tomatoes.
As soon as the herb festival hit our local farmer's market we hot footed it over there from our Asheville Bed and Breakfast
. This year I restricted myself to only two plants. Why you ask? Well, though tomato plants come in those adorable little 4" pots...they don't, God help me, remain that size. The first year we owned At Cumberland Falls Bed and Breakfast Inn was also my first experience with growing tomatoes. I sought advice from the innkeeper across the street. She looked at the space on my back porch and promptly identified that I could have 5 tomato plants. I sought my pots, got my soil, planted those little tender plant friends, watered and fertilized them as instructed and in return....They took over the entirety of the back porch. Those five plants completely absorbed the back porch.... so much so that my guests, though impressed with these titan plants, were relegated to the front porch, the garden chairs or the picnic area at our inn unless they wanted the stems of the verile beasts around their throats.

In any event, having told my funny tomato plant story I am now going to offer you something to do with the bounty of tomatoes I hope you enjoy this season.
This recipe is from my nurse midwife friend Laine Epstein. I make it every summer and every summer I thank her for sharing. Enjoy!

Laine's Gazpacho

4 cups cold tomato juice (If you like the taste of V8 better it will suffice quite nicely.)

1 small well-minced onion

2 cups freshly diced tomatoes

1 cup minced green pepper

1 diced cucumber

2 scallions chopped

1/4 cup fresh parsley

1 tsp. each of tarragon and basil (if fresh, twice the amount)

Juice of 1/2 lemon and 1 lime

2 T. Wine Vinegar or Balsamic Vinegar ( I have used both with success)

1/4 tsp. of ground cumin

1 clove garlic crushed

1 tsp. honey

Tabasco Sauce ( a dash or more if you like)

2 T. Olive oil

Kosher salt and pepper to taste

Combine all ingredients. Chill for at least two hours but is best served at room temp or slightly colder but not refrigerator cold.

This soup can be pureed if desired. Serve with crusty rolls for a Sweet summer dinner that just can't be beat.

Patti and Gary Wiles Innkeepers At Cumberland Falls Bed and Breakfast Inn Your Asheville Bed and Breakfast

Monday, June 21, 2010

Asheville Historic Buildings-Part IV

Located at 22 S. Pack Square is the site of the most treasured and most photographed skyscraper in our downtown area; The Jackson Building.
Asheville is chock full of beautiful art deco structures so the guests At Cumberland Falls Bed and Breakfast Inn are not lacking for places to snap a pretty picture but this place is special. At 13 stories this Neo-gothic structure has a plethora of fan appeal. Everyone wants to know if they can go to the top and view the city. The answer to that is no, it unfortunately is not available for that purpose. Completed in 1924 it is the first building to earn the title skyscraper in Western North Carolina.

It was commissioned for design by Ronald Greene by Real estate developer L. B. Jackson to illustrate his faith in the real estate market of the 1920's. It actually has a search light specifically placed to draw the attention of tourists in the city. It's height makes it perfect for those lost to use as a landmark and "Can you see that very skinny, very tall building from where you are now?" is a frequent question asked by Gary and I as we answer the "help, I'm lost calls" directed to our
Asheville Bed and Breakfast.

Constructed on a particularly tiny 27' X 60'piece of real estate, the general consensus was at the time that it was entirely too small to be built on.... the Jackson building strong steel frames began to snake upwards, later to be framed in brick and terra cotta and adorned near the top with watchful stone gargoyles rendering it, despite it's reed like appearance, impressive.

Patti and Gary Wiles Innkeepers At Cumberland Falls Bed and Breakfast Inn Your Asheville Bed and Breakfast

Thursday, June 17, 2010

11th Anniversary At Cumberland Falls Bed and Breakfast Inn

When June 19, 2010 rolls around we will celebrate our 11th year as innkeepers. That seems nearly impossible but is nevertheless a reality.

So much has happened in that time for us personally and also in the world of business.

Our guests have been a constant. Some traveling to get away from personal stress or life changing occurrences in their sphere seeking a place of serenity to regroup and recalibrate. Some celebrating times of growth like passing their boards or taking the MCAT with prayers in their heart either for the success they have found or that which they are hopeful to find. Some marking birthdays and anniversary occasions in a special way. Others saying goodbye to their previous lives sometimes in pain, angst and regret and sometimes with resolve and hope for a brighter future.

Our home here At Cumberland Falls Bed and Breakfast Inn has been designed inside and out for our guests. We have made well thought out choices in creating places of comfort, peace, and even solitude in designing both the garden and interior spaces of our home. The idea, of course, to create a special place providing for just those kind of needs. It will come as no shock that many folks these days are particularly stressed. Economic times are uncertain at best. Personal or familial responsibilities create a pressure cooker atmosphere in the lives of many. Getting a break from those elements can mean the difference between a person feeling that their life is out of control or actually feeling in charge and capable of navigating their course.

Innkeeping is listed as a job but quite honestly, most of the innkeepers I know more consider it a vocation. A hotel provides a clean room and pleasant environment but an innkeeper is a resource of a different nature.
Once you've known that kind of hosting the difference is apparent and meaningful.

Blessings to the guests who have shared their good times, bad times and in between times. Our thanks are abundant and the honor has been ours.

Patti and Gary Wiles,  Innkeepers 

Monday, June 14, 2010

Beat the Summer Heat Citrus Dressing

Summertime and the living is easy. We embrace this concept here At Cumberland Falls Bed and Breakfast Inn and invite you to join us around the table with friends, family and this Wowser dressing. It will be a hit!

Beat The Summer Heat Citrus Dressing

1/2 fresh squeezed orange juice
1 T. of fresh lime juice
1 T. Orange Blossom Honey
1 tsp. grated orange peel
1 T. balsamic vinegar
2 scallions minced
1/2 garlic clove minced

Give a quick whirl in the blender or use an immersion blender if you have one. Refrigerate taking out 15 minutes before use.
Serve over your favorite green. I love Spring Mix but anything green will do.

For those liking a more creamy dressing, feel free to stir in a bit of sour cream.

Patti and Gary Wiles Innkeepers At Cumberland Falls Bed and Breakfast Inn Your Asheville Bed and Breakfast

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Asheville Getaway on A Shoestring

Fireflies are flashing in the calm dark skies heralding the advent of summertime and all thoughts are turning toward much needed vacation time.
Right after that thought likely comes the thought that "times are tough" and likely the trip to Tahiti is out. Not to worry though..
Tahiti may be out but Asheville is In.

One of the many positive spins on our fair city is that there are so many things that are literally free for enjoyment. The guests at our Asheville Bed and Breakfast tell me this all the time. We live here so we are somewhat, dare I say, used to this benefit.

Below are just a few of the things to be enjoyed in our fair city. Check them out before someone here gets the bright idea of charging for them.

The Drum Circle: I believe this phenomenon has been going on for nearly 10 years in Asheville, N.C. The drum celebration of our joy at living in Asheville, the commonality of our community rhythm is given human form in Pritchard Park. Welcoming in each weekend Friday night at about 7:00 p.m., the drums begin to sound. Drumming, jamming, spontaneous dancing, juggling or heaven only knows what else you will see. No fear, you can watch too for those of you too shy to boogie. I assure you, you will see all that and more. It's totally free and further, if you have drums, bring them and join in. The more, the merrier!

Auto Touring and the Celebration of the 75th Anniversary of the Blue Ridge Parkway: For the time being, despite the horrible trouble in the Gulf of Mexico and beyond, gas in the southest is not too painful averaging about $2.64/gallon. There is so much to see on this amazing 469 mile parkway connecting Shenandoah National Park in Virginia to the Great Smoky Mountains. The Rhododendrons bloom at different times June and forward on the parkway dependent upon how much sun they get. They are a sight you will not forget. Opportunities for hiking, picnicing amid views that will delight your senses are free for the viewing.

Shopping at little Mom and Pop stands along the road offer an opportunity to procure anything from fresh fruit and local honey to homemade preserves and crafts. There's literally something for everyone.

Beer City 2010: No, the beer is not free. Asheville, beating out it's far more populated challenger, Portland, Oregon is beer city 2010. You can actually go online to try and win Brewtopian getaway to Asheville. The prize takes care of your accommodations as well as providing tickets to the much sought after and harder to find then hen's teeth tickets to the Brewgrass Festival. Ok, so generally you don't enter contests. If you are a lover of beer there is none finer than the beer crafted in Asheville.
That I have on the best authority direct from our very discerning guests here At Cumberland Falls Bed and Breakfast Inn.

So, ditch those grass skirts and those rediculous flowered baggies and find your Blue Grass soul. Destination Asheville, N.C.

Patti and Gary Wiles Innkeepers At Cumberland Falls Bed and Breakfast Inn Your Asheville Bed and Breakfast

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Asheville Historic Buildings-Part Three

The Scottish Rite Building:

The contract to construct the Scottish Rite Building was signed on May 10, 1913 for a price of $56,260. Despite the plethora of information customarily available in the computer age, it seems very unusual that in my search for data to write this blog there is extremely little data available about it anywhere. Until recently, when long delayed yet seriously needed repairs and upgrades generated a “reach out to the community” by the generally very secretive Masons, this building was actually closed to the public.

A Mason himself, Richard Sharp Smith was also responsible for the design of Asheville's Masonic Temple. Smith, initially from England, was also chosen by Richard Morris Hunt to supervise construction of Biltmore Estate. Our Asheville Bed and Breakfast is located in the Montford historic section of Asheville close to the downtown area. Many homes in this historic district some of which are now Asheville Bed and Breakfasts were designed by Richard Sharp Smith. He also worked in collaboration on the design of St. Lawrence Basilica.

The building was to include a library, reading room, secretarial offices, dining room and kitchen. The second floor was to be used by the Blue Lodge and bodies of the American or York Rite while preserving the third and forth floor of the building for the Scottish Rite Cathedral.
In the basement there was a bowling alley (has since been removed).

Doorknobs on the first and second floor are adorned with the square and compass. Third and forth floor door knobs have the double headed eagle.

The building contains 600,000 bricks make in Knoxville at a cost of $9.40 per thousand. All these materials arrived by rail which was present in Asheville at that time though nearly three miles from the building.

The street the building stands on was once known as Main Street though now the given address is 80 Broadway.

Patti and Gary Wiles Innkeepers At Cumberland Falls Bed and Breakfast Inn Your Asheville Bed and Breakfast

Friday, June 4, 2010

The Craft Fair of the Southern Highlands-Summer

One of the joys of the summer and certainly gladdening the hearts of the guests at our Asheville Bed and Breakfast is the arrival of the summertime expo of the Craft Fair of the Southern Highlands.

This summer the dates are Friday July 15, 2010 and ending up on Sunday July 18, 2010 and will be held at our Asheville Civic Center on 87 Haywood Street in downtown Asheville right across from the Basilica of St. Lawrence.

This eagerly anticipated event has real legs having been in session, so to speak, since 1948. For those of you thinking this is cheezy arts and crafts think again. The guild that sponsors this event has over 900 members comprised of mountain regions in nine states.

During our tenure as innkeepers At Cumberland Falls Bed and Breakfast Inn our guests have consistently voiced surprise and amazement not only by the quality of the available items but their diversity too. Glass, ceramics, wood, fiber, textiles, jewelry, canvas, metals and music will be displayed;likely in ways you'd never imagine. Now, I hear you thinking you might need some energy to plow through all that stuff. No worries...In Asheville, we think of everything. There just happens to be some better than you can stand strudel as well as some fantastic nuts just in case you need sustenance. We want you to shop but we have a heart in Asheville and don't really want you to drop.

Patti and Gary Wiles Innkeepers At Cumberland Falls Bed and Breakfast Inn Your Asheville Bed and Breakfast

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Teriyaki Burger from Asheville with Love

Memorial Day is the unofficial kick off for the Summer season and Asheville native, Traci McConnell, has hatched a burger that sounds like something we might all like to try some time over the summer. It is an out of the box burger and it just might be on the menu for my family fest after leaving work At Cumberland Falls Bed and Breakfast Inn on July 4th. Thank you Traci for this new slant on an old favorite: The Burger.

Hawaiian Teriyaki Burgers:

1 pound of ground sirloin
1/2 pound of ground pork
1/2 c. of red onion chopped very finely
4 slices of bacon cooked and crumbled
1 egg, slightly beaten
1/2 cup of panko bread crumbs
3/4 tsp.of garlic minced
1/2 tsp. of fresh ground pepper
3/4 tsp. of Anything Goes spice rub. Just in case you don't have a Fresh market near to you this spice rub contains blend of sea salt, sweet paprika, cumin, fennel, brown sugar, coriander, mint, red chili flakes, cinnamon, cloves and cayenne for an added kick so have fun with it and adlib.
2 T. spicy brown mustard
4 T. of Hawwaiian Teriyaki sauce
6 fresh pineapple rings thinly sliced
3 T. fresh cilantro

Making the Patties:
Combine sirloin, pork, onion, bacon, egg, bread crumbs, garlic, pepper, spice rub, mustard and teriyaki sauce.
Handle meat as little as possible to avoid compacting.
Divide mixture into 6 equal parts and form patties making them slightly larger than the bun you plan to use.

When grill is heated up (gas or charcoal)place patties on rack, cover and cook turning only once. Approx. 7 mins on each side until internal temp of 165 degrees is reached. Now, truthfully, if you want a less done burger it goes without saying that you will reduce the time. For commercial purposes, I must give you the totally done burger instructions.

Grill pineapple slices on the grill as well for about 2-3 mins on each side.

Assembly of the burger:
Bun down
Place burger on bun
Place grilled pineapple ring on top. Brush top bun with teriyaki sauce, sprinkle with 1/2 tsp. cilantro. Serve to your adoring crowd, stand back and watch the fireworks go off.

Patti and Gary Wiles Innkeepers At Cumberland Falls Bed and Breakfast Inn Your Asheville Bed and Breakfast