Tuesday, April 29, 2008
The East of Asheville Studio Tour (EAST) is an open house where local artists in the Black Mountain/Swannanoa area invite visitors to see where it is that some of our fantastic local art you hear so much about is created. Fine jewelry maker Robert Vengoechea who owns Visions of Creation, Will and Trish Byers of New Moon Pottery, and Southern Highland Craft Guild member Akira Satake are just a few of the artists who will be inviting visitors to their studios. EAST takes place in the Spring and Fall. This tour will be May 3 (10am to 6pm) and May 4 (12pm to 5pm). Visit the EAST website for a map and full list of participating artists.
Work by artist Robert W. Stephan
The North Carolina Glass exhibition at Blue Spiral 1 Gallery (just north of Biltmore Village) begins with an opening reception on May 1. The group exhibit, which runs through June 28, features the work of more than 20 artists. Pieces include sculpture, vessels, wall installations, furniture, goblets and even kaleidoscopes. From the photos on the Blue Spiral 1 website, it looks to be an amazing exhibit if you enjoy glass works.
Other exhibitions at Blue Spiral 1 during this timeframe are works by Sylvie Rosenthal, Scott Upton & Sang Roberson and an exhibition called Referencing the Earth, featuring glass, wood, clay and paintings by four artists. The gallery is open Monday-Saturday, from 10am to 6pm and Sundays from 12pm to 5pm.
The Lake Eden Arts Festival (LEAF) will take place May 9, 10 and 11, at Camp Rockmont in Black Mountain. LEAF is a non-profit organization "established to build community and enrich lives through the Arts - locally and globally - with festivals, events, mentoring and educational programs."
LEAF will celebrate the arts over a three day period, with musicians, dancers, handcrafts, healing arts, poetry, culinary arts, and even a kids village. The outdoor setting at Lake Eden is spectacular, with great views of the beautiful mountains as spring arrives. LEAF also takes place in the Fall, so if you miss it this time around, you can check it out October 17-19.
Tuesday, April 22, 2008
Be sure to check out Biltmore's Bloom Report for weekly information on what's in bloom at Biltmore. The website currently reports several blooming shrubs and trees in the Shrub Garden, Azalea Garden, Walled Garden and Spring Garden.
Love gardening or even just strolling among the beautiful blooms? Learn more about the gardens and their history by taking a Guided Garden Walk. Walks are available Saturdays and Sundays, April 5–June 1, at 11:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m. The cost is $15.00 per person. Make reservations at the Welcome Center on the day of your arrival.
Don't forget, for your convenience, you can purchase discounted Biltmore tickets here at the Inn on Mill Creek. Those tickets are good anytime for two consecutive days.
Friday, April 18, 2008
Currently, the herb section contains spearmint, rosemary, chives, cilantro, lavender and a couple of types of thyme.
This year, we are growing herbs from seeds to add to the herb section of the Pool Garden. We're starting off with large leaf basil, red leaf basil, dill, fennell, two kinds of chamomile and St. John's wort. We've read that St. John's wort is difficult to grow from seed and it was suggested to buy it as a plant. We're happy to report that all the herbs we've started are now baby plants, including the St.JW.
Brigette did break down and buy one set of herbs as plants rather than seeds. She could not resist buying chocolate mint (which, unfortunately, doesn't taste like chocolate, but has a good chocolate mint color and scent).
Wednesday, April 16, 2008
Since we're a small business, we feel a certain kinship with other small business owners. When we help out another small business, it makes us feel good and part of the small business movement. So we were intrigued when we learned about Kiva a while back. Kiva is an organization that helps set up microloans for small business owners in developing nations, lifting them out of poverty, helping their economy, and generally making the world a better place.
With a microloan, philanthropically-minded individuals each loan a small amount (in our case, $25) to a small business owner in a developing country through a microfinancing institution. As the business owner pays back the loan, we receive periodic updates, and then once the loan is paid off, we get our $25 back. We can choose to withdraw our money, donate it to Kiva's operating expenses, or to set up another loan.
We like the fact that this is more than just charitable giving or a handout. It's investing in another business and aiding in breaking the cycle of poverty. We get to be very selective about which business owners we'd like to support. We can pick certain kinds of businesses, which country they're in, and even the gender of the business owner.
Since we fresh-squeeze our own "house blend" juices each morning for our guests, one business that caught our eye was Meredith de Jesus' business, Carlita Juice Shop, which is located in a small outdoor market in Peru. Meredith asked for a $500 loan and we, along with several other individuals, loaned $25 toward making her business better.
We just learned today that Meredith paid off her loan, so now we're thinking about the next business we want to help through Kiva. We currently have three other loans in the process of being paid off by small business owners, one each in Azerbaijan, Ukraine and Vietnam. We're looking at countries in Africa as the next destination for our loan.
Thursday, April 10, 2008
The Gold Festival kicks off on Friday, April 18 at noon and goes until 9pm, then starts again on Saturday, April 19 from 9am to 9 pm. Admission is free. At the festival, you'll find gem and mineral displays, a mountain treasure hunt, storytelling, Battle of the Bands, arts, crafts, and food vendors, and demonstrations.
Music includes Country Current, a U.S. Navy Band, who will perform at 2pm and 7pm on Friday, and Juleigh Ed of Morganton (with the Dixie Dawn Band) returns this year to perform a tribute to veterans and active servicemen and women at 6pm on Saturday.
Wednesday, April 9, 2008
Today was butterfly day at the Inn on Mill Creek. Earlier this week, a guest pointed out to us what we think was the first butterfly to arrive this year, although it might just be that we hadn't seen earlier arrivals. There was a single butterfly hanging around the creeping phlox that day.
Today, our resident butterfly brought his friends to visit. About 20 of them. We took photos of several. They're not easy to photograph because they love to flutter about and don't really stay in one place for too long. So many flowers, so little time...
Even Joey the cat was observing the butterflies. We think he was keeping a safe distance due to the fact that there were lots of buzzing bees hanging around the flowers, too. Being ten years old, Joey knows a thing or two about staying away from things with stingers. He's a smart cookie, even when he's outwitted by butterflies.
Monday, April 7, 2008
Today was the second sunny and cloudless afternoon in April. We're hoping the drizzly rain that we've had off and on for the past few days can be considered the April showers that bring May flowers.
Until the May flowers arrive, enjoy the April flowers that are starting to bloom in the Inn's Pool Garden, and a visit by our first butterfly of the season!
Speaking of flowers, Biltmore Estate's Festival of Flowers is happening now through May 18. At the Main Entrance and other spots around the Estate, the forsythia, pansies and hyacinths are in full bloom. Hundreds of tulips inside the walled garden will likely be blooming in full force very soon. Azaleas and rhododendrons won't be far behind, followed by roses and peonies.
The inside of Biltmore house is decorated with thousands of blossoms right now, making Biltmore a beautiful place to visit in Spring. Be sure to check out their weekly bloom report to get an idea of what's in bloom at Biltmore.
Don't forget: When you arrive at the Inn on Mill Creek for your next stay, you can purchase discounted Biltmore tickets that are good for two consecutive days. We call that "blooms times two."