Saturday, January 23, 2016

January Snow Days

Snow Day in Pisgah National Forest at the Inn on Mill Creek, Jan 22, 2016
Winter Storm Jonas visited us on January 22, 2016, blanketing the ground with snow and resulting in a pristine winter landscape for us to enjoy over the next couple of days (next weekend's forecast...60 degrees!).

We wanted you to enjoy the gorgeous winter scene inside Pisgah National Forest as well, so we share these photos from our winter wonderland weekend:

The sun rises over Bernard Ridge, Jan 23, 2016
A winter resident of our area, the photogenic Dark-eyed Junco
Snow under a blue sky at the Inn on Mill Creek, Jan 23, 2016
Ice expands on the pond by the Deck House, Jan 23, 2016
Winter wonderland, Jan 23, 2016

Friday, January 22, 2016

Ray Spillenger Exhibit at Black Mountain College Museum

Ray Spillenger Sketch 7: Orange and Black, c.1948-49  Mixed media on paper
Estate of Raymond Spillenger
Black Mountain College, an experimental liberal arts college that existed from 1933 to 1957, and which produced several influential artists, poets, musicians and dancers of the late 20th century, has been receiving some well-deserved recognition lately. For example, the Institute of Contemporary Art in Boston is inviting its visitors to explore Black Mountain College with a comprehensive exhibition that was recently featured in the New York Times

Black Mountain College was located in -- you guessed it -- Black Mountain, North Carolina, not far from the Inn on Mill Creek B&B. And while the college's former campuses are now utilized by a kids' summer camp, an events facility, and the YMCA, you can still immerse yourself in the history and legacy of college with a visit to the Black Mountain College Museum & Arts Center in downtown Asheville (just a few minutes west of Black Mountain).

If you'll be traveling to the Asheville/Black Mountain area between now and May 21, 2016, you'll have the opportunity to catch a special exhibit at the museum: Ray Spillenger: Rediscovery of a Black Mountain Painter. From the museum's website:

"Ray Spillenger studied with Willem de Kooning and Josef Albers at Black Mountain College during the summer of 1948. This exhibition comprises two decades of his work from the BMC era to the late 1960s. Spillenger’s paintings demonstrate a total commitment to abstraction and a passionate love of color.

This is a very exciting exhibit because these are works that had not been shown to the public while Ray Spillenger was alive. He had kept them in his home in New York for decades and when he passed away, his family wanted to know if the artwork should be preserved. Enter Dr. Theodore Stebbins, Harvard Art Museums Curator of American Art and Professor Emeritus and all-around expert in this sort of thing. Dr. Stebbins knew that this art was something special, and he is, in fact, the curator for the upcoming exhibit at Black Mountain College Museum & Arts Center.

Ray Spillenger Untitled (Small Zig 10), c. 1965-70 Oil on canvas
Estate of Raymond Spillenger
If you have a chance to see the museum and the exhibit, you should go. For more information about the exhibit, visit www.blackmountaincollege.org/ray-spillenger-rediscovery-of-a-black-mountain-painter.

Sunday, January 17, 2016

2016 Asheville Restaurant Week (Jan 19- Feb 1): Updated


Asheville Restaurant Week is a special treat -- not just for locals, but also for wintertime visitors to the North Carolina mountains. From January 19 through January 28* (yes, it's more than a week, we like our weeks to stretch out here in the mountains), you can dine at dozens of restaurants that will be offering special menus ranging in price from $15-$30 per person.

* Update (Jan. 26): Asheville Restaurant has been extended to February 1, due to the wintry weather we had over the weekend.

Some of our guest favorites are participating, including The Blackbird, Corner Kitchen, Lexington Avenue Brewery, Chai Pani, Curaté, and Posana, among others. For an example of what to expect, see Posana's delicious Restaurant Week menu of three courses for $30.

[Pssst: Hey. Fellow chocoholics. Yes, you. French Broad Chocolate Lounge is on the list, too.]

There is a reason that Asheville is consistently mentioned across the globe on lists of fabulous dining hotspots... Asheville Restaurant Week is a great way to discover what distinguishes this vibrant foodie destination from the rest.

See a full list of the participating restaurants at www.exploreasheville.com/restaurant-week.

Bon Appetit!

Monday, December 28, 2015

Quiet Season in the Asheville / Black Mountain Area Begins January 1

A warm fire in the Inn on Mill Creek Great Room wood stove welcomes winter
[Photo credit: Rod Scott]
There are plenty of advantages to visiting the North Carolina mountains in what we call the Quiet Season (January-March). Last year, we gave you the top five reasons to visit the Asheville and Black Mountain area in wintertime. Here's a refresher:
  1. Fewer crowds and less traffic
  2. Less wait time at restaurants
  3. Little foliage on trees = better views on hiking trails
  4. Great wintertime events and exhibits
  5. More green in your pocket with our 10% Quiet Season discount on stays of two nights or more
Another reason to consider a getaway to the Asheville area in the Quiet Season is that it's perfect for de-stressing after the holidays and getting a fresh start to the new year. Here are five ways you can enjoy peace and quiet, find some inner calm, and get some great rest and relaxation during your stay in the mountains:
  1. Try a hike: A lot of people list exercise as a New Year's Resolution. Not only does hiking get your heart pumping and muscles moving, but it is also a superb stress reliever. If the temperatures are a bit wintry for your liking, make it a short hike or nature walk. Some good wintertime "short and easy" hike options are the (paved) Point Lookout Trail greenway near the Inn, the trails around the wildlife sanctuary in Montreat, and Toms Creek Falls in Marion. Looking for something more strenuous? Check out our list of winter hikes around Asheville.
     
  2. Get a little bit of "retail" therapy: Yes, it's true that local restaurants are easier to navigate in the wintertime, but so are the shops. Fewer crowds means a more relaxed experience and our local shops and art galleries have something for everyone who wants to do some "retail" therapy to begin the new year. If cosmopolitan Asheville is too busy for your style, the town of  Black Mountain next door to the Inn on Mill Creek is a fantastic alternative. With everything from yarn and dulcimers to wine, jewelry, locally handcrafted housewares and art, Black Mountain is a great place to go if shopping helps you to de-stress. And don't forget the excellent Arrowhead Gallery & Studios in nearby Old Fort for cool handmade art and craftwork.
       
  3. Get a massage after that hike or day of retail therapy. There are several great massage therapists in the area. We recommend Deena Wade of Sensible Bliss in Black Mountain, just 10 minutes from the Inn on Mill Creek B&B.
     
  4. Treat yourself and your loved one to a spa day at Shoji Retreats. Located in a beautiful wooded setting not far from the Blue Ridge Parkway and about 20 minutes west of the Inn on Mill Creek B&B, Shoji offers several spa packages to help you start your 2016 with a relaxed mindset.
     
  5. Enjoy a day in at the Inn. Looking to do a lot of nothing? Guests love the Inn on Mill Creek B&B because of our spacious guest rooms that are perfect for a quiet day of relaxing, reading, relaxing, reflecting on the year to come, resting, and did we mention, relaxing? The Great Room is also a perfect place to kick up your feet and relax, with plenty of comfy couches and windows for taking in the surrounding Pisgah National Forest.
Inn on Mill Creek Great Room -- Great for lounging!

Evergreen Room at the Inn on Mill Creek B&B
Check availability at www.innonmillcreek.com.

Saturday, December 26, 2015

North Carolina Mountain Birds: Broad-winged Hawk

Broad-winged Hawk [photo: Audubon]
For our final month in this year's 12 Months of Birding at the Inn series on our blog, we feature a bird that loves the forest just as much as we do: The Broad-winged Hawk. We didn't have a chance to feature the Broad-winged Hawk in the summertime when they make Pisgah National Forest their home, so we're closing out the year with a nod to this special bird.

Broad-winged Hawk [photo: Wikipedia]
Broad-winged Hawks are small raptors with reddish-brown heads, stocky brown bodies and pale undersides bordered and barred in dark brown. Look for black and white bands on the short, square tail. Broad-winged Hawks are so named because their wings are very broad, coming to a point at the tips.

Broad-winged hawks are known for their long distance migrations, flying thousands of miles in huge numbers to their winter abodes in southern Mexico, Central America and South America. We're glad to welcome them back each summer. Choosing the forest for their breeding grounds, we will typically start noticing Broad-winged Hawks in late springtime. Listen for the call of the Broad-winged Hawk, which sounds like a loud single-pitch whistle. The Cornell Lab of Ornithology describes the call this way:

"Broad-winged Hawks give a plaintive, high-pitched whistle that lasts 2–4 seconds, with a short first note and a long second note: kee-eee. The male’s call is an octave higher in pitch than the female’s. They give this call on the nest and in flight throughout the year."

We hope you've enjoyed this year of birding at the Inn on Mill Creek! Our 2016 12 Months of Birding at the Inn series begins in January with a yellow-eyed songbird. Can you guess what it is?

Friday, December 25, 2015

Merry Christmas from the Inn on Mill Creek B&B

OK, so it's 64 degrees here in the mountains of North Carolina on Christmas... well, even without a snowflake in sight, we're still going to have hot cocoa with marshmallows by the tree and enjoy this first weekend of winter. It's winter, right?

Merry Christmas from the Inn on Mill Creek B&B

Wishing you a wonderful Christmas weekend and a happy holiday season!

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Black Mountain December 2015 Holiday Events

Time to break out the Christmas music, light the tree, and be merry -- some really fun holiday events are going on this year in Black Mountain, NC, including outdoor movies! They'll be showing “It’s a Wonderful Life” (Dec. 4), “A Christmas Story” (Dec.12) and “The Polar Express” (Dec. 19) at The Junction building on Black Mountain Avenue. All movies play at 8pm.