Writers Advance Boot Camp at the Cove, Asheville, NC

I spent last weekend at the Billy Graham Training Center at The Cove, in Asheville, North Carolina, for the Writers Advance Boot Camp. Located in the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains, this is my kind of place. 
My room, in the "Pilgrim Inn" (one of a couple at the Cove), was top notch, from the bed and pillows to the bent twig rocking chair in the corner (see below)--a great place to pray and read. 
The common seating areas (see below) were inviting. I would have totally enjoyed them if I'd had any time to do so, but I worked like a rented mule. 
Most incredible, though, was the people. Worshipers. Writers. Passionate, responsive, appreciative, good people. Most of them even pretended to like me. 

A Night at the CSO

The lovely Robin and I joined our old friends (well, him, anyway) Thom and Cindy Speakman last Saturday for a lovely evening at Cincinnati's historic Music Hall. Together, we enjoyed a concert by the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, conducted by guest conductor Han-Na Chang, Music Director of the Qatar Philharmonic Orchestra and Artistic Director of the Absolute Classic Festival in Korea.
Robin and I tried to remember the last time we'd been to Music Hall. Short answer: It's been too long. Longer answer: Maybe an event (the Nutcracker?) when our kids were in grade school. Yeah, that long ago. Much too long, as it is a wonderful venue.
Our seats were in the second balcony, which afforded a great view and beautiful sound. The program included Tchaikovsky's Suite from The Sleeping Beauty, Korngold's Violin Concerto (with guest soloist Simone Lamsma), and Mussorgsky's Pictures at an Exhibition. It was an enjoyable program, made more so by good company--and a surprise reunion during intermission with more friends, whom we hadn't seen for thirty years or so! 

The Symphony Hotel Restaurant

The lovely Robin and I enjoyed a double date last Saturday evening with our friends, Thom and Cindy. We began with dinner at the Symphony Hotel Restaurant, across W. 14th Street from Music Hall.
The Symphony Hotel offers a unique experience (and yes, it is also a hotel). We pre-ordered (via email) our entrees for the five-course dinner. The menu changes monthly, and the only choices to be made are for the entree and dessert. We all had the roasted tomato soup, salad, and black rasperry sorbet. I enjoyed the prime rib (I try never to miss a chance for prime rib) and Robin loved her Amish chicken. For dessert, we both had the seasonal berries...which could have used a little sugar or whipped cream.
The restaurant makes the most of their floor space. There's no dance floor, for sure. The building, at 210 W. 14th Street, was originally an old mansion that was later converted into a hotel. We didn't explore the rooms upstairs, but according to their website (http://www.symphonyhotel.com/), they do accept reservations.

It wasn't a cheap experience by any means, but the location for an evening at the symphony couldn't have been more convenient.