Display cases filled with diamonds, rubies, sapphires, and emeralds are a treat for the eyes at any jeweler's, but at Colburn Earth Science Museum, they dazzle visitors intellectually as well. More than 1,000 cuts from around the world make up the museum's extensive gemstone collection, which guests learn about via a gem-mine replica featuring a faux dynamite charge and gem pockets. The museum's additional exhibits showcase mineral specimens from the museum's collection of more than 4,500, as well as fossil specimens including teeth from a wooly mammoth complete with calcified floss.
Guests can take a more hands-on approach to scientific discovery during the museum's school programs and spring-break camps, which focus on subjects such as fossils, gravity, and space rocks. Voyage deeper into the galaxy during Spaced-Out Saturdays, when a digital spaceship whisks passengers on journeys throughout the solar system. After expeditions, stop by the Museum Gift Shop to pick up your own minerals or crystal-filled, 44-million-year-old geodes that museum staff can crack in half for you during your visit.
Grovewood Cafe could very well be a cottage from a fairytale. Greenery seems bent on overtaking the restaurant and completely surrounds its patio, where whimsical sculptures from Grovewood Gallery pop up from the ground. On the inside, flowers bring color to tables bathed in light from oversized windows. And, like many a Brothers Grimm character, chef and owner Larry Waldrop depends on local farms for sustenance.
Larry believes that the best meals are made from scratch, and without too much help from machinery. He prefers to chop his meat by hand, for instance, rather than use his government-issued butcher robot. His menu of Southern-inspired plates gives credit to several area farms?there's grilled meatloaf from Hickory Nut Gap Farm, pork from Heritage Farms, and chicken breast from Ashley Farms, which arrives encrusted in crunchy walnuts. Every day, there's a special free-range omelet available for lunch. And if you're in the neighborhood on a Sunday morning, stop by for the Grovewood's take on eggs benedict with fried green tomatoes, grilled Sunburst Farm trout, and swiss chard.
Celebrating five years under the current owners, Frame It to a T boasts a staff experience in a multitude of aesthetically driven fields—from visual art to interior design—but they specialize in conservation framing. The specialists expertly match jerseys, diplomas, photos, and artwork with acid-free mats and eye-catching frames. Ultraviolet-filter glass prevents sunlight from bleaching artwork or keepsakes, ensuring that prized childhood toys age as imperceptibly as a Twinkie. Those who do not already have artwork they wish to frame can peruse the shop’s selection of art and prints.
Named one of the top 100 Art & Framing Retailers by Decor magazine in 2006 and 2007, BlackBird crafts custom frames to preserve pictures and keep walls stylishly clothed. With an ensemble of framing options and three picture framers certified by the Professional Picture Framers Association, BlackBird honors each item with a frame that complements and enhances its appearance. In addition to framing paintings, photographs, and diplomas, the professional portrait preservationists have successfully mounted sports jerseys, steering wheels, fax machines, bowling ball halves, and electric guitars that music legends have used to practice their penmanship. Plus, TruGuard UV Protection glass options, such as anti-reflective museum glass, enable customers to display their favorite pieces of art while blocking nearly all the harmful UV rays that emanate from the 10,000-degree fireball our planet floats around.
The Asheville Art Museum annually presents an exciting, inviting and active schedule of exhibitions and public programs based on its permanent collection of 20th and 21st century American art. The Museum also offers a wide array of innovative, inspiring and entertaining educational programs for people of all ages.
Asheville changed drastically in the half-century following 1880. Railroad workers broke through the Appalachian Mountains' natural barrier and connected the city to the world, forever changing its culture and social zeitgeist. Though decades have passed, Brenda Seright Williams still feels the impact of this period, and the tour guide isn't content to let it fade into history. As it says on her website, she believes "the study of those who came before can inspire us to stretch our own limits."
Her Urban Trail walking tours not only explore the 19th century’s Gilded Age but also tiptoe through four other time periods, including the Frontier Period and the Age of String Cheese. Alternatively, Brenda shifts the spotlight to Asheville's pivotal female figures during the aptly named Herstory tours. However, neither of these excursions are cookie-cutter adventures. To weave her stories, Brenda has conducted more than 100 interviews and spent countless hours researching minute details and the correct pronunciation of the word "pioneer."