Carolina Bed and Breakfast

The Kitchen Garden

Notes, recipes, and thoughts of an innkeeper

So it’s Winter. Doesn’t Stop Asheville!

Posted on by Susan Murray

It’s cold outside (as if you didn’t know that). But the cold doesn’t stop Asheville!  Here’s a quick round -up of some of the things we have seen and done from our base at the Carolina Bed & Breakfast in the past week.

It was a cold but beautiful day to visit the Biltmore

It was a cold but beautiful day to visit the Biltmore

1) Upstairs-Downstairs at the Biltmore.  Last week, my daughter, Sarah and I went to view the Downton Abbey Costume exhibit at the Biltmore and we also took the Upstairs-Downstairs tour which has been created to celebrate the “joining” of the two houses.  Firstly let me say how amazing the costumes are and how much they add to the experience of touring the house.  Even if you are not a big fan of the PBS Television Series “Downton Abbey” you will find the costumes displayed on mannequins throughout the house bring the rooms, and the people who lived in them, to life.

The Upstairs-Downstairs tour takes you behind the scenes to see in much more detail where the servants lived and where they worked.  There is virtually a second house behind the main house with halls which enabled the staff to get from room to room without being seen and a series of clocks which were linked to the master clock in the bell tower so that

Our cupboard from its design to the wood and hardware matches that at the Biltmore

Our cupboard from its design to the wood and hardware matches that at the Biltmore

meals were always served on time and all of the servants movements were synchronized.  We were fascinated to see the built-in sideboard in the Butler’s Pantry was exactly like the one in our pantry.  We have always known that our house was designed and built by Richard Sharp Smith, one of the architects who worked on the Biltmore.  This is the first time I have felt the connection so clearly.

Check our Special’s Page for more information about the Exhibit and the Upstairs-Downstairs Tour. Our mid-week February tour was completely full so if you would like to come, please book early!

2) The Mardi Gras Parade.  How’s this for the perfect Asheville Mission Statement? Asheville Mardi Gras is a social aid and pleasure club as well as an arts and culture group. Their purpose is to strengthen Western North Carolina’s community connections through promoting creativity, frivolity and celebration, based on the traditions of Mardi Gras.  So it might have been 20 degrees out in the sun with a brisk wind but the parade went on!  It’s a small parade although it has been getting bigger over the years since its inception and, while the turn-out was small compared to last year’s warm and sunny day crowd, it was a joyous celebration.  Our home is bedecked with beads!

It night be cold but these celebrants weren't letting on!

It night be cold but these celebrants weren’t letting on!

3) Snow, rain and ice.  Yes it has been a challenging week for businesses in Asheville but even though the roads were nasty to travel on, it was possible to find an open restaurant and convivial crowd.  We don’t get a lot of snow here and when we do the residents form two camps:  those who huddle at home and wish they had moved farther South and those who go for long walks and enjoy it, knowing it will all be gone in a day or two!

Coming this weekend we have the Indoor Bluegrass Festival at the Crowne-Plaza Resort.  The hotel is filled to the brim with Bluegrass enthusiasts and pretty much non-stop music.  But if you would prefer some sleep along with your tunes, it is possible to stay elsewhere (like here!) and join in the fun at your own convenience.

The Asheville Truffle Experience pairs the pleasures of dining on truffles with learning more about them, their cultivation and history.  It culminates with an amazing sounding dinner at the Market Place.  Pretty good for a small mountain town that just scored three (!) James Beard Award Nominations for Best Chef Southeast

It’s like I said, a little cold and snow won’t slow this town down!

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