Asheville Brewery Stops

17 11 2010

Asheville, North Carolina is one of those great cities where they have lots of brewing companies, ten currently and probably more to come.   In between the low key vibe of downtown and the river arts district you can eat at great restaurants, visit the Grove Park Inn, go to the Asheville Museum of Art and hit up each and every brewery in town and those just beyond. With a brewery scene that is as recent as 1994, the veterans and newbie groups have got something happening in this town, and it is beer!

Here are few of the favorites and luckily, many of these are on the Asheville Brews Cruise, a tour of local breweries that requires no driving on your part.  Come on now, doesn’t this sound like fun?!!

Asheville Pizza and Brewing Company – With two locations, this brewery is certain to hit the spot. One location shows movies, and the other is perfectly situated downtown.  Great people watching and even better beer.

French Broad Brewery named after the river in the area, the French Broad Brewery is located very close to the Biltmore Estate and has a wide selection of seasonal and standard brews.  Live music is often available. 

Highland Brewing Company The first brewery in Asheville, opening in 1994, is a large producer and the largest distributer in town.  Beginning in the basement of Barley’s Taproom and Pizzeria they quickly outgrew their space and have been producing excellent beer since.

Pisgah Brewing Company – Serving certified organic beer, this brewery is located ten miles outside of Asheville in Black Mountain, North Carolina (also worth a trip).   This brewery is also located on the Asheville Brews Cruise.  Perfection!  With a spring concert series on the outdoor stage and a rotating door of musical events all  year long, you are able to pair beer with music.  Sounds like a night out to me. 

Wedge Brewing – As one of the new kids on the block, this brewery is making a splash, in beer of course.  In the river arts district of Asheville, you could find a movie playing outdoors a few nights a month, enjoy the beer in the repurposed building off the train tracks and just relax. Try the Julian Prince Pilsner.   

There are other breweries in town, and a few other notable spots to grab a meal, and enjoy other microbrewery are Jack of the Wood who serves Green Man Ales, and Barley’s Taproom and Pizzeria.


Design Sponge Southern Book Tour

6 10 2011

We all love our Design Sponge. The crafts, ideas, and just general things of interest I gleaned since adding Design Sponge to my reader program years ago has been incredible.  Grace Bonney and her crew, being the crafty and super smart people that they are, published a book this year.  The book is simply amazing. Seriously Martha Stewart better watch out, Design Sponge is the heart beat of the people!

In case you are lucky enough to live in or close by any of these great southern cities, make sure you stop in to buy your book, or get your book signed. Many of the cities are also hosting crafts as well, but you must RSVP (I know all of our southern ladies will of course).

Have a blast out there and craft away!

October 13Dallas, Texas

October 15Austin, Texas  

October 24Raleigh/Durham, North Carolina 

October 25Asheville, North Carolina

October 26Charleston, South Carolina 

October 27 – Savannah, Georgia

November 1 – Birmingham, Alabama

November 2Athens, Georgia.  

November 3 – Atlanta

Sallie Middleton: A Life in the Forest

21 10 2010

My family is a sucker for animals.  You know, all of those adorable, sometimes awkward, and absolutely engaging animals?   Interestingly enough we are especially partial to birds, especially my mom.  Mom and Dad are both able to identify most birds in Florida and around the south.  It is a gift, at which they excel. 

On our recent trip to Asheville, North Carolina one of the “must see” outings included a stop at the Asheville Art Museum to enjoy the nature paintings of Sallie Middleton (1926-2009).   Middleton, having grown up in Asheville and Charleston, South Carolina was no stranger to the birds, plants and beauty of the south.  With influences from her storytelling father and architect uncle, Sallie’s young life was a cradle of creativity that produced detailed, and awe inspiring paintings.  You can see most of her father’s influence in her work, as he often told stories of fairies, elves, and all things magical during walks through the woods.   Her work takes on a story and is itself, magical.

 The Sallie Middleton: A Life in the Forest exhibit at the Asheville Art Museum is available for viewing through December 5, 2010 and features many of her famous pieces, in addition to a series of Christmas Eve prints about Sallie and her sister.

See if you can find Middleton’s calling card in almost all of her paintings!

All pictures from .

The Grove Park Inn

16 08 2010

Not far from downtown Asheville, North Carolina, and overlooking Mount Pisgah is The Grove Park Inn. Per the vision of business man and elixir peddler, E. W. Grove, the inn was built in 1913 in only twelve months.  Reminding me of a time when buildings were actually beautiful, the façade was constructed using boulders, stones and rocks of all sorts from the local area and paired with a red roof.  Upon entering you will be warmed by two 14 foot fireplaces on opposite ends of The Great Hall. Here you can sit in a rocking chair or order a cocktail and enjoy the evening time piano playing. 

Our trip to Asheville did not include a stay at The Grove Park Inn, but rather dinner and drinks on the Sunset Terrace.  Arriving an hour or so before our reservations for dinner, we enjoyed a cocktail in the Great Hall from the specialty list.  We also immensely enjoyed the people watching (our favorite pastime) and the incredible cross breeze sweeping over the mountains and through the rather large front doors of the inn. 

Dinner on the Sunset Terrace, can include many options and activities, but most important being the sunset.  Sipping on white wine, we enjoyed the views of Mount Pisgah, and the Asheville skyline (we are grateful it is so meager as to not interrupt our view), and feasted upon a selection of seafood appetizers.  As our dinner progressed and as day transitioned to night the stars began to show themselves during the entrée course and another bottle of wine.  Some of our entrée selections included the pork chop (order it without any sauces – you don’t need them), Springer Mountain Farms chicken two ways, and a curried fish selection. All delicious.  While I am still on the quest for the “best meal of my life,” all was perfectly cooked, timed well, and the outdoor atmosphere of family, wine, sunset and stars created a perfect evening.  Truly, I could not ask for more.

On your trip to The Grove Park Inn, you will find a few other restaurant options, including a buffet style, and one which permits wine pairings and tastings.  The Spa is ranked #13 in the world according to the 2008 listing by Travel and Leisure Magazine of Hotel Spas.  Golf is included on the premises, as well as, shopping, a fitness center, children’s activities and of course, downtown Asheville is only moments away. 

After my first trip to The Grove Park Inn, I hope to return to stay overnight, dine on more delicious food and experience the views of beautiful North Carolina. 

Top photo from  All other photos from

Carolina Chocolate Drops

5 08 2010


Stumbling upon the Carolina Chocolate Drops concert on my trip to Austin, Texas was one of the best things that could have happened.  This trio of musicians played to the happy ears of everyone at the show that night.

The Carolina Chocolate Drops, a modern folk band features instruments traditionally associated with folk music, such as the fiddle, and banjo.  The retelling of many old mountain jigs, fused with sounds straight out of a jug, kazoos, and clacking bones (yes, it can be used as an instrument), you hear the beat.  Hip hop beats created by body parts or foot taps of band members paired with a banjo and fiddle is a fascinating combination.  Instruments aside, the vocals could be featured a cappella and you would still be just as enraptured. 

Individually the members of the Carolina Chocolate Drops are impressive, and truly standout in this trio.  First meeting at the Black Banjo Gathering in Asheville, North Carolina in 2005 and since then five albums are now available of which each is unique, heartfelt and completely refreshing. 

At the concert, we heard stories from the origins of many of their songs which included African American fiddler players from Appalachia.  The girl in me loves the music of old, the stories, the history, and the character of folk music, and I am even more excited about how this music is so beautifully paired with the future.  I love what band member Justin Robinson says, “Tradition is a guide, not a jailer.”

The Carolina Chocolate Drops is the modern folk band you have been waiting to hear.

Around the South: July 2010

3 07 2010

July 2010

North by Northwest: Native American Art

The Mary Brogran Museum of Art and Science

Tallahassee, FL

July 2010

Life on the Edge: The Story of Florida’s Nature Coast

Florida Museum of Natural History

Gainesville, FL

July 2010 (Saturdays in July)

Market on the Square

Cathedral Square

Mobile, AL

July 2, 2010

Lexington, KY

Patriotic Music Concert — lawn at Transylvania’s Old Morrison Hall

8 p.m.

featuring the Lexington Philharmonic Orchestra and Singers

Young at Heart jazz band will perform in Gratz Park before the concert

July 3, 2010

Summer Concert and Fireworks

Boaz, AL

7 – 10 p.m.

July 3, 2010

Marietta, GA

Let Freedom Ring Parade 10 a.m.

followed by crafts, carnival games, and entertainment throughout day

Evening Concert beginning at 7 p.m. followed by fireworks at dark

July 3, 2010

Peachtree City, GA

Fourth of July Celebration

Decorate your golf cart and enter the parade, then drive over to the golf course and lake for an evening fireworks show at dusk.

July 3rd, 2010

Lexington, KY

Red, White & Boom

Downtown Lexington beginning at 11 a.m. with a reading of the Declaration of Independence, followed by a parade, performances by Mark Wills, Josh Gracin, and others begin at 4 p.m. in the Cox Street parking lot

Kids Zone with pony rides, petting zoo, and inflatables will be set up on the corner of Short and Limestone

Carnival games in the Centerpointe block

Fireworks show begins at 10 p.m.

July 3, 2010

Tupelo, MS

Family Picnic in the Park

Ballard Park

entertainment for all ages, food, activities

July 7, 2010

She & Him performing at “9:30 Club” in Washington, DC

July 9, 2010

Concerts in the Park, She and Him

Atlanta Botanical Gardens

Atlanta, GA

July 9-August 2010

19th Century Vibrations: Color Resonance in Antiuqe Quilts 1860-1940

The National Quilt Museum

Paducah, KY

July 9-10, 2010

The Most Southern Weekend on Earth

Ground Zero Blues Club

Clarksdale, MS

July 10, 2010

Birmingham, AL

She & Him performing

Sloss Furnace

July 11, 2010

The Big Crafty

Asheville Art Museum

Asheville, NC


July 14-18, 2010

National Black Arts Festival

Atlanta, Georgia

July 18, 2010

Cactus Pear Young Artists Fellows in Concert

McNay Art Museum

San Antonio, TX

July 22, 2010

Mary Chapin Carpenter


Asheville, NC

July 23, 2010

Jazz at the Mansion

Bellamy Mansion Museum of History and Design Arts

Willmington, NC

A Tale of Two Farms

A Southern Summer Celebration about the Local Food Movement

Sponsored by The Oxford American

Arkansas River Valley, AK

501.376.1894, ext. 31 for info

July 25, 2010

Concerts in the Park, John Hiatt

Atlanta Botanical Gardens

Atlanta, GA

July 28, 2010

Movie Showing: Groundhog Day

NOMA Capital Hill North

Washington, DC
July 30, 2010

The Treble Clefts Big Band swing

Dali Museum of Art

Saint Petersburg, FL

Around the South in June 2010

1 06 2010

Memorial Day weekend marks the official beginning of summer for most Southerners. We hope yours was a perfect mix of relaxation, family, food, and memories made.

Now that you’ve had a long weekend to relax, get out there, South. We’ve got a host of great activities to keep you busy this month.

Let the summer fun begin!

May 28th – June 13th 2010

Spoleto Festival USA in Charleston, SC

One of the world’s leading cultural festivals, Spoleto Festival USA is known for its intimate, Old-World charm, Charleston offers its churches and quaint historical spaces for exceptional performances in everything from dance, opera, and theater to jazz, choral, and chamber music.

HEYDAY: Photographs of Frederick W. Glasier Circus Photos

The Ringling Museum

Sarasota, FL

Life on the Edge: The Story of Florida’s Nature Coast

Florida Museum of Natural History

Gainesville, FL

Hands in Harmony: Traditional Crafts and Music in Appalachia

Asheville Art Museum

Asheville, NC

June 5, 2010

International Biscuit Festival

Knoxville, TN

June 11, 2010

Art Break, Hands in Harmony: Traditional Crafts and Music in Appalachia

Photographs by Tim Barnwell

Asheville Art Museum

Asheville, NC

June 11 – 13, 2010

Vieux To Do in New Orleans, LA

Three festivals in one weekend — The Louisiana Seafood Festival, the Cajun Zydeco Festival, and the Creole Tomato Festival.

Celebrate the cuisine, culture, and music of The Big Easy. Festival sites include the French Quarter, the legendary French Market, and the Louisiana State Museum’s Old U.S. Mint.

June 12, 2010

Beans + Rice: A Culinary and Cultural Odyssey

The Historic New Orleans Collection

New Orleans, LA

June 12, 2010

Seventh Annual Wine Auction and Gala Dinner

Asheville Art Museum benefit

Arden, NC

June 16, 2010

Harry Connick, Jr.

Blumenthal Performing Arts Center

Durham, NC

June 24-25, 2010

Southern Foodways Alliance Field Trip

Atlanta, GA

June 25, 2010

Concerts in the Garden

 Emmylou Harris

Atlanta Botanical Gardens

Atlanta, GA

June 30 – July 25, 2010

Wicked in Houston, TX

Hobby Center

Around the South in May

28 04 2010

May 2010

Cezanne and American Modernism

The Baltimore Museum of Art

Baltimore, MD

May 2010

Run! Jump! Fly! Adventures In Action

The Children’s Museum of Memphis

Memphis, TN


May 2010

Herb and Dorothy:A Glimpse Into Their Extraordinary Collection

Mississippi Museum of Art

Jackson, MS

May 2010

Hands in Harmony: Traditional Crafts and Music in Appalachia

Asheville Art Museum

Asheville, NC

May 1, 2010

Grand Re-Opening of Botanical Gardens

Atlanta Botanical Gardens

Atlanta, GA

May 1, 2010

Kentucky Derby

Louisville, KY

May 1-2, 2010

The Art of Entertaining with William Yeoward

Blackberry Farm

Walland, TN

May 3, 2010

A Taste of Thomasville

Area’s Best Restaurants and Food Providers

Thomasville, GA

May 2010

Life on the Edge: The Story of Florida’s Nature Coast

Florida Museum of Natural History

Gainesville, FL 

May 13, 2010

Spring Fling 2010

Ohr-O’Keefe Museum of Art

Biloxi, MS

May 14, 2010

Jazz at The Mansion with the Cape Fear Jazz Society

Bellamy Mansion Museum

Wilmington, NC

May 20, 2010

American Roots Music – Fiddle and Guitar

Town Park

Madison, GA

May 25-August 31 (Tuesday evenings beginning at 7 p.m.)

Big Band & Jazz Concert Series in the Park

Ecton Park

Lexington, KY

May 26 – June 27, 2010


Dallas, TX

Music Hall at Fair Park

Pictures from and

2nd Anniversary: North Carolina Feature

19 04 2010

In celebration of our second anniversary we are featuring a southern state each day and highlighting some of our favorite posts.  Today’s feature is North Carolina.  This state is my home away from home and a refuge when the world seems to be falling around me. 

Here are a few of our favorite posts:

Charlotte Guide, Part I

Charlotte Guide, Part II

Screen Door Series: Clyde, NC

Eat Your Veggies!!

Banner Elk, North Carolina

Asheville, North Carolina

Because we love North Carolina so very much, we wanted to share with you the first three books in Jan Karon’s, The Mitford Series. This series of nine books tells the tale of Father Tim and his parish in Mitford, North Carolina. It is the absolute perfect summer read and I have a feeling you will not stop reading with just book three.  They are nothing but love.   Enter to win by Sunday, April 25, 2010.   

Please leave your comment and a way to get in touch with you.

Snowy Times in Downtown Waynesville

7 01 2010

On the family’s yearly trip to North Carolina, we are only a hop, skip and jump away from the cutest of cute, downtown Waynesville.  Last year, when visiting with friends we went to the Biltmore Estate, pub crawled in Asheville and shopped in Waynesville.  I had to share the joy with my friends. 

Sometimes I catch up on Waynesville based websites, and I was speechless when I found these amazing pictures of the downtown area covered in beautiful snow and still decorated for Christmas.  Downtown also has great art pieces.  All of the pictures are from Ed Kelley at the Ridge Runner, a great store in Waynesville.  Wishing I was there!