Archive for the ‘Holidays’ Category

Things To Do in Asheville For the Holidays That Are Inexpensive or FREE

November 30th, 2010 by Skyla Grimes

Want to come to Asheville during the holiday season, but don’t have a lot of money to spend? Well, here are a handful of cheap or free thrills!

  1. Lake Julian Festival of LightsLake Julian Festival of Lights – Starting December 3rd, the annual Festival of Lights runs from 6-9 pm nightly until December 19th.  This cheap thrill is a drive-thru light show located in a neighborhood around Lake Julian Park (about a mile from Blake House). The cost per car is just $5 ($10 for vans) with a portion of the proceeds going to the Buncombe County Special Olympics. A must-see for the holidays!
  2. National Gingerbread House Display – I wrote about this in an earlier post. The competition is over, but the display goes on until January 2nd.  Walking through and seeing the displays is free Mondays – Thursdays. New for 2010 will be gingerbread cookie workshops called “Baking Memories.” Participants will be able to create their own gingerbread cookie masterpieces with the help of The Grove Park Inn’s chefs and staff. The “Baking Memories” workshops will be available Wednesdays through Saturdays at 10:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. The cost is just $10 per participant and includes a sweet take-home treat. “Stories of Gingerbread” guided tours will allow guests to go behind the scenes and get details about the construction of unusual entries as well as the workings of the judging, competition and display itself. The hour-long tours will be available Wednesdays through Saturdays at 9 a.m. and 3 p.m.  The cost is $10 for adults and $5 for children ages 12 & under.
  3. Dickens Festival in AshevilleBiltmore Village Dickens Festival – The first weekend in December (12/3 – 12/5), Biltmore Village transforms into a quaint Victorian village with horse-drawn carriages, carolers, storytellers, and instrumentalists. Everyone will be in period clothing and the Montford Park Players will perform excerpts from Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol.  Cost is FREE! Hours: Friday, 5:00 to 7:00 pm; Saturday, 11:00 am to 7:00 pm; Sunday, 1:00 to 5:00 pm.
  4. Santa on Chimney RockSanta on the Chimney at Chimney Rock Park – Watch Santa practice his climbing skills on 315-ft Chimney Rock. Santa sightings are between 11 am – 2 pm on December 4th & December 11th. Check out the website for more details. Park admission is required and we carry $1 off coupons at Blake House!Cost per person is $14; $6 for children age 6-15; children under 6 are free.
  5. Downtown Asheville Jingle Fest – Sunday, December 5th from 3 pm – 6 pm. Cost is FREE! The first ever Downtown JingleFest will start off at 3 pm at Reuter Terrace in Pack Square Park with traditional Christmas caroling by Asheville Chorale Society, a few dance numbers from Asheville Ballet’s Nutcracker, a 6th grade African Drum group and girls choir from Delta House, the Montford Park Players portraying Dicken’s characters from A Christmas Carol,” the North Pole mailbox and a visit from Santa (the real one!), elves, reindeer and hot cider and snowman building competitions, snowball throwing contests.  At dark, we’ll go inside Pack’s Tavern to the Century Room (second floor) for some hot toddies and a special performance by Mark Keller and friends previewing their upcoming Holiday Jam benefit for Mission Hospital. More games and prizes… “Did someone say “Pin the tail on the reindeer?”  In keeping with the season of giving, people are asked to bring a blanket, gloves, scarf, etc. for ABCCM and/or cans of non-perishable food for MANNA Food Bank.  This will become an annual family-friendly (not beer-friendly until after dark), festive celebration of the season!
  6. Last, but not least, I am running a couple of VERY Festive Specials at the Inn. One special per reservation. They are:
    • BILTMORE ESTATE TICKET SPECIAL – Book a 3-night stay between 11/26 – 12/23 and receive a general admission ticket to the Biltmore Estate for half price!  Add a 4th night and receive a second general admission ticket for half price. All reservations are based on room availability and must be made with at least 48 hours notice before arrival.
    • HALF OFF SPECIAL! – Through January 5, 2011, stay 2 nights, get the third night 50% Off! – Offer valid on stays between Sundays – Wednesdays (not applicable Thursdays – Saturdays).

      • Offer valid on any room, based on availability.
      • All other Inn policies apply.
      • Days must be consecutive and in the same room.
      • 50% Discount is on the nightly room rate only.
    • SECOND PET STAYS FREE – Now through 12/23, pay the nominal $10 per day pet fee for the first pet and the second pet fee is WAIVED! This special applies for stays of two or more nights, any pet-friendly room, any days of the week.


Yoga South Moves Next Door to 1847 Blake House Inn B&B and Brings Hot Deals for Inn Guests

November 15th, 2010 by Skyla Grimes

Yoga South recently opened its doors at 160 Royal Pines Drive, next door to the Inn. And they are offering discounts just for our guests!

Besides yoga, guests can enjoy massages (Thai, Deep Tissue, Prenatal, Hot Stone, and Couples), and meditation classes. Blake House guests will receive a 15% discount off all services when you mention that you were referred by the Inn. In exchange, people who are referred to the Inn through Yoga South will receive a 15% discount off the nightly room rate for stays between Sundays – Thursdays.

If you want to relax a little before a hard day of shopping, Yoga South is offering a Black Friday Hot Flow Yoga Class:

Black Friday Hot Flow Yoga: November 26th, 8 – 9:30am

Burn the calories and sweat out the bad stuff from Thanksgiving. Come to a pre-shopping/post-turkey day detox class to recover from Thanksgiving and get mentally set for the rest of the year (as well as all the upcoming holiday shopping).

I have a couple of cards for a free yoga class to the first two Inn guests who mention this post.

18th Annual Gingerbread House Competition

October 28th, 2010 by Skyla Grimes

The 18th Annual Gingerbread House Competition is coming up at the Grove Park Inn Resort & Spa.  There is still time to enter if you’ve ever had dreams of winning. Even children can enter and win cash prizes!

The competition date is Tuesday, November 15th. Deadline to enter is Monday, November 8th.  Full details can be found on the Grove Park Inn website.

For those who cannot make their own gingerbread house, you can admire all the work during the Display period which will run from November 17 – January 2, 2011.

And the best part is that we have a room Special going on through January 5, 2011!  Our Half Off Special gives you 50% off the nightly rate for the 3rd night of your stay (good on stays between Sundays – Wednesdays).  Check our Specials Page for full details!

It’s the End of Summer and I Can’t Think!

August 31st, 2010 by Skyla Grimes

I’m not a writer, so I can’t have writer’s block. I’m not a blogger, so I can’t have blogger’s block.  But I’ve definitely been having trouble coming up with the topics and the energy to write anything. I think it all started in June when my dog, Hummer, passed away. Since then, I began working at Eagle’s Nest Foundation and July and August have been pretty busy months at the Inn. Between being depressed about losing my baby and dealing with the summer crush as well as a new job, I feel like I haven’t had the energy or inspiration. You’d think that with all the summer action around here, I’d have no problem coming up with interesting topics.

But I can’t think of ANYTHING that I want to/feel like write about!

I’m sure I could blog about the new piece of flooring in the kitchen I had done last week ($1600 later and it’s only 1/4 of the entire kitchen floor space). Or, I could talk about the Family Reunion Cruise I just returned from (I probably will share that soon). There’s also all the fun summer activities that took place in Asheville or the cool fall lineup, including the Flower Carpet at Biltmore and Octoberfest (another beer festival). There’s a wedding at the Inn this weekend that could inspire me to write and another one the first weekend in October that I’m preparing for. Lastly, I could always talk about my super sister, Jessica, and her admirable battle with breast cancer these past six months (another probably will blog).

There are definitely lots of topics to write about. I just need to find my mojo and get back into the groove.  I’d really love to hear from anyone (professional writer, blogger, or novice) what tips they might like to share with me and the general public about how they deal with the infamous “block” that invariably happens.  What can/do you do to get past it?

Post-Valentine’s Day Spa FREEBIE

February 8th, 2010 by Skyla Grimes

Come stay at Blake House for 2 or more nights, between 2/15 – 2/18 and receive a FREE student spa service at Privai Academy (up to $30 value). Students will be close to the end of their training program and are just about ready to go out on their own. However, all are fully supervised and quite capable.

My mother and I have both received facials and have scheduled more services. If you don’t mind a 10-minute drive from the Inn, you will be surprisingly pleased. While all the spa services are performed by students, you will be pampered during your appointment and in some cases, a one-hour service may stretch into an hour and twenty minutes of sublime treatment.

Here is the list of student services:

Let me know when you make your reservation what service you would like and the day you prefer. I will try my best to get your day and time, but these student slots fill up quickly so make sure to provide me with a couple of options.

Holiday Tour of Historic St. Augustine Inns

December 15th, 2009 by Skyla Grimes

Although I lived in Florida for 8 years, I never had a chance to visit St. Augustine. What a shame! It wasn’t until this past weekend that I finally went, and although it was technically for business, there was a lot of pleasure involved in the trip.

St. Augustine’s Historic Inns host an annual charity tour of the Association’s 25 B&Bs and my mother and I decided to take the tour this year. The main reason was because the Asheville Bed & Breakfast Association, of which the Blake House Inn is a member, is looking to start an annual tour as well. While the Association has had holiday and garden tours in the past, we are hoping to start an annual event. Since the St. Augustine tour has been going on for 16 years, it’s obvious they have a good thing going down there and after speaking to the Chairperson earlier this year, I felt it would be a good idea to see the tour in action.

Leaving the business aspects for the Association to consider, we had a wonderful time.  The tour is over a two-day period and you see half the Inns on the first day and the other half on the second day. The historic district of St. Augustine allows you to walk from B&B to B&B and for those who may not want to, there are two trolley tours that have regular stops near several B&Bs on the tour.

When we arrived in St. Augustine, the weather was chilly and in the 40s and 50s. By Saturday, the first day of the tour, the weather had warmed up a bit, but there was a virtual downpour all day.  That did not keep the tour goers away and there were crowds at just about every B&B we visited. Some of the Inns were side-by-side, but the walking tour takes about 2 – 2 1/2 hours to complete.

One very cool thing about this tour is that there was a different restaurant represented at each In

n and besides viewing guestrooms and common areas (all done up in their best holiday finery), tour goers got to sample food from all over the city.  It was definitely filling and we went to one of the restaurants from the tour for dinner. We would never have gone to or found this restaurant had it not been for the tour.  A few of the B&Bs also had products and items for sale from local artists and stores. We visited several of the stores as well.

The second day of the tour was completely different, weather-wise. The day was sunny and the temperature was close to 80. We were sweating halfway through the second day, but we made it nonetheless.  I even snapped a few photos at some B&Bs if they offered something I liked, mainly in their decor or holiday decorations.

A Florida Snowman

Snowman, Florida-style.

Look! Even Florida can have a snowman. This was an ingenious decoration at one of the B&Bs. It looks pretty  simple to make.  Now why didn’t I think of it?

Oh, and we did stay at one of the B&Bs on the tour. The Casablanca Inn on the Bay met our needs quite nicely.  One thing about St. Augustine that I picked up on very quickly as I was looking at places to stay, is that parking is a definite issue. Most places do not have adequate on-site parking so several B&Bs will share a parking lot, and the lot can be 3-4 blocks away from the Inn itself.  What I also found to be common is that many of the Inns consist of several buildings (the main house and a Carriage House and/or multiple cottages), possibly connected, but not necessarily.  When I came across the Casablanca Inn, I noticed that they offered a Secret Garden which is behind the main house and across a street, but that the Secret Garden Suites each had a parking space on site while parking for the Inn was a block or two away and around the corner.  So, we got to park right next to our

Suite and didn’t have to search around for a parking spot.  I’m sure that parking is a major bone of contention for many innkeepers.

Our Inn overlooked Matazanas Bay and at night, the city is lit up with holiday lights and decorations. The B&B tour coincides with the city’s Nights of Lights and one thing that St. Augustine offers are horse-drawn carriage rides and night ghost trolley tours. This is a city that stays up late.

In all, we had a very enjoyable visit and I have a lot of good information to report back to the Asheville B&B Association. Who knows what we’ll come up with.

Turkey Trivia and Asheville Thanksgiving Options

November 18th, 2009 by Skyla Grimes

Here’s something fun to try. A 20-question Thanksgiving test. See how well you do. I did horribly and only got 5 correct out of 20!

For anyone who will be in Asheville on Thanksgiving, if you are still looking for a place to eat some holiday grub, here is a very short list:

I am happy to make reservations, just give me three options (location and time) and I’ll do my best for you.

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