The Greensboro Coliseum

Coliseum Complex

Greensboro’s largest entertainment complex is the Coliseum, a multi-building complex that offers a range of activities including athletic events, cultural arts, concerts, theater, educational activities, fairs, exhibits, conventions, and trade and consumer shows.

The Coliseum is just two miles from the Troy-Bumpas Inn Bed & Breakfast, so we frequently have guests who are in Greensboro for a Coliseum event. In recent months, guests have attended a major convention, participated in a regional diving competition, checked out RVs at a large exhibition, and attended concerts staring Rascal Flats and George Strait. Upcoming guests will be attending the Taylor Swift, Rod Stewart and Bonnie Raitt concerts and plays presented as part of the 2013-2014 Triad Best of Broadway series.

I was surprised to learn that this modern complex is 54 years old. Greensboro voters approved a bond for the project in 1956. Ground was broken in 1958 and the original complex opened in 1959 with a capacity of 7,100 seats, making it then one of the largest arenas in the East Coast.

Numerous expansions and updates later, today’s Coliseum complex includes a 23,500-seat arena, the 2,400-seat War Memorial Auditorium, the Greensboro Aquatic Center, the White Oak Amphitheater, the 300-seat Odeon Theatre, a 167,000-square foot special events center with three exhibition halls, a 4,500-seat mini arena and the 30,000-square-foot Pavilion.

The list of celebrities and performers who have appeared at the Coliseum during the past 56 years is too long for a single blog! The Coliseum has played host to Barack Obama, Mikhail Gorbachev and Archbishop Desmond Tutu. The Jackson Five played the Coliseum in 1970, and Elvis performed there in 1972. The Rolling Stones were there in 1975 and the Grateful Dead in 1991. American Idol came in 2005.

For many of our “Coliseum guests,” staying at the Troy-Bumpas Inn B&B helps make the event especially memorable and convenient. After the event is over, it takes just a few minutes to drive back to the inn to relax and reflect. To learn more about the Coliseum and upcoming scheduled events, visit their official website.

Triad Farmers Market — Food, Plants and Fun

Tons of Tomatoes

If you love farmers markets, a visit to the triad area of North Carolina is not complete without a stop at the Piedmont Triad Farmers Market. Located near Greensboro off Highway I-40 at the Sandy Ridge Road exit, the market draws thousands of shoppers each week. They come to buy produce, plants, meat and cheese from North Carolina farmers. As their website says, “here you can talk to the individuals who grew it and you can buy any quantity you wish.” The market is a great place to buy interesting plants; choose your own fresh and locally grown produce; and enjoy loads of people watching.

The Triad Market is one of four Farmers Markets owned by the State of North Carolina and operated by the North Carolina Department of Agriculture and Consumer Service. The market has two enormous permanent farmers buildings plus a retail building open year-round that offers locally grown foods including baked goods, candies, jams, jellies, honey, eggs, cheese, meats, nuts, ice cream and wine.  A separate garden center is complete with a greenhouse.

If all this shopping makes you hungry, you don’t need to go far. The Moose Café Restaurant on the market grounds is open daily and serves delicious meals family style. Farm-fresh vegetables right from the market make the food fresh and delicious.

The market has plenty of free parking and is free and open to the public daily from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. (The Moose Café Restaurant is open until 8 p.m.) To learn more, visit the Piedmont Triad Farmers Market website. Located at 2914 Sandy Ridge Road in Colfax, NC, the market is a short 20 minute drive from the Troy-Bumpas Inn Bed & Breakfast. It’s the Inn’s go-to place for locally grown and produced foods and wonderful garden plants.

Great Fun — The Greensboro Grasshoppers

Greensboro Grasshoppers TM

Baseball has a long history in North Carolina. In 1862, captured Union soldiers played baseball while in a prisoner of war camp in Salisbury, NC. Trivia buffs may recall that Babe Ruth hit his first homerun at an exhibition game in Fayetteville, NC, in 1914. And present day North Carolina is home to eight minor league baseball teams.

Thanks to the movie Bull Durham, possibly the best known of North Carolina’s farm teams is the Durham Bulls, a Triple A affiliate of the Tampa Bay Rays. The names of the other NC minor league teams may not be as familiar, but they certainly are colorful: the Ashville Tourists, the Burlington Royals, the Carolina Mudcats, the Hickory Crawdads, the Kannapolis Intimidators, and the Winston-Salem Dash. Here in Greensboro, the home team is the Greensboro Grasshoppers, a class A affiliate of the Miami Marlins and part of the South Atlantic League.

The Grasshoppers play their games at NewBridge Bank Park, 408 Bellemeade St. Greensboro, a beautiful, modern stadium within walking distance of the Troy-Bumpas Inn Bed & Breakfast. The ballpark opened in 2005 and cost $21.5 million to build. The red brick stadium seats up to 7,499 including 5,300 chair-back seats. Parking is available immediately around the stadium.

Greensboro Grasshopper games are among the best attended in the minors. Minor league baseball games have all the excitement of major league games, but with added fun and at a much lower ticket cost than the majors. Tickets, available online and at the stadium, typically are $6 to $9 each. Pre-game autographs are encouraged. There’s a kid-safe play area for children, private grandstand box seating, plenty of concessions, lawn seating and picnic areas, and special promotions like Thirsty Thursdays (when beer is bargain priced), Family Fundays, Money Off Mondays, and Bingo nights. Every Friday and Saturday when the team is in town, a spectacular fireworks show signals the end of the game.  (A common question at the Troy-Bumpas Inn’s breakfast table on weekends during the baseball season is about what all the booms were about!)

If you’ve never been to a minor league baseball game, add this as another reason to visit Greensboro. We’ll be sure to provide great accommodations at the Troy-Bumpas Inn B&B. To learn more about the Greensboro Grasshoppers, visit their official website.

2013 Bryan Series Subscription Tickets on Sale

 

BRYANSERIES2013Since 2002, Guilford College in Greensboro, NC, has presented the Bryan Series, an amazing speaker program featuring well known figures in the arts, humanities and public affairs. Past speakers have included Nobel Prize laureates, former U.S. Secretaries and State, winners of MacArthur Fellowships and Academy, Tony, Grammy and Emmy Awards.

Speakers in the 2013 Series will be Robert Gates on Oct. 29, 2013; Robert Ballard on Nov. 19, 2013; Itzhak Perlman on Feb. 13, 2014; Elizabeth Alexander on March 4, 2014; and Lara Logan and Steve Kroft on April 8, 2014. Events start at 7:30 p.m. and last approximately 80 minutes.

 

The Bryan Series events are presented in the 2,400-seat War Memorial Auditorium, 1921 West Lee Street, which is part of the Greensboro Coliseum Complex.

 

The War Memorial is a short 2.2 mile drive from the Troy-Bumpas Inn Bed and Breakfast, making the inn a great location for out-of-town guests to stay when attending the series. We have been honored to have several subscription holders stay at the inn during past seasons. Conversations at the breakfast table the morning after each event are always interesting as guests share and discuss what they heard!

 

The Bryan Series has frequently sold out quickly during the subscription ticket sale, which is currently underway. Subscriptions can be purchased online at www.bryanseries.guilford.edu or by calling 336-316-2852 to request a ticket order form. Cost of the 2013-14 subscription series is $195 each.

Free Things to Do in Greensboro

Greene StatueVisitors to Greensboro have a wide variety of FREE attractions to visit. Three of my favorite free history-related sites are listed below. A visit to these historical sites transports you to the time of the Revolutionary War, the Civil War, and the 1960s Civil Rights movement. Both the Historical Museum and Walkway of History are within walking distance (or a very short car ride) of the Troy-Bumpas Inn Bed & Breakfast. The Guilford Courthouse National Military Park is a 15-minute drive from the inn.

Greensboro Historical Museum  Located in a former church that once served as a Confederate hospital, the Greensboro Historical Museum lets you discover Greensboro history through a wide variety of diverse exhibits. You can follow a timeline of Greensboro history in the Welcome to the Gate City exhibit; learn all about pottery produced in North Carolina at the Jugtown Pottery exhibit, and see one of largest collections of Civil War firearms at the Murphy Confederate firearms collection. The new 8,000 sq. ft. Voices of a City exhibit tells the story of Greensboro from the voices of its residents. The museum shop has a variety of items including children’s items, cookbooks, history books, tee shirts and much more.
Museum Hours: Tuesday to Saturday. 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.;  Sunday,  2-5 p.m.
130 Summit Ave.
336-373-2043
www.GreensboroHistory.org

Guilford Courthouse National Military Park  Explore more than 220 acres of historic ground and 28 monuments honoring one of the most pivotal battles of the Revolutionary War where British General Cornwalis fought against Colonial forces led by Natanial Greene, for whom the city of Greensboro is named. Be sure to watch the movie at the visitors center to get a good understanding of the importance of the battle as well as how it was fought. The museum shop has, among other things, a large collection of history books.
Open daily, from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.
2332 New Garden Road.
336-288-1776
www.nps.gov/guco

 Walkway of History  Located in the area of downtown that was home to the start of the civil rights sit-in movement in the 1960s, you can view sidewalk markers that chronicle six chapters in local African-American history. (The nearby International Civil Rights Museum is not free, but does an excellent job of explaining the history of the sit-ins and progress in civil rights both in the U.S. and internationally.) The sidewalk markers are located in downtown Greensboro at South Elm Street at February One Place.

A Dress that has Fueled Imaginations

Dolley Madison's red velvet dress

Dolley Madison’s red velvet dress

This week a scarlet velvet gown that once belonged to former First Lady and Greensboro native Dolley Madison returned to the Greensboro Historical Museum. The gown previously had been exhibited at the Smithsonian Institution’s National Portrait Gallery in Washington, D.C.

Starting on March 23, 2013, visitors to the Greensboro Historical Museum can view the dress in an exhibit titled “Draped in Legend: a Velvet Dress, a Carriage Trunk and a First Lady.”

So what might make this dress unique among first ladies dresses? Legend has it that the dress might have been made from White House drapes. Here’s the story:

In August 1814 (during the War of 1812) the British invasion of Washington, D.C. and occupation of the White House was imminent.  Determined to save items critical to our young nation, First Lady Dolley Madison helped gather important government documents, George Washington’s portrait and, maybe to cover these items, velvet scarlet curtains that hung in the White House. Fast forward many years later to when a conservator was examining the dress that had come to Greensboro along with other Madison artifacts. He noted the dress seemed to be made from drapery weight fabric. Was Madison’s dress made from the very drapes that were saved as she fled the White House? We may never know, but scientific examinations are continuing, and someday we may have a definite answer. You can read more in the June edition of the online Smithsonian Magazine.

I’m looking forward to seeing the dress so I can decide for myself. The exhibit runs through June 16 when the fragile dress goes back into protective care. The Greensboro Historical Museum, just a mile from the Troy-Bumpas Inn Bed and Breakfast, is located at 130 Summit Ave., Greensboro, NC 27401. Admission is free and the museum is open Tuesday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and on Sundays from 2 to 5 p.m.

Troy-Bumpas Cookies: Almond Joy Cookies

Almond Joy Cookies

Almond Joy Cookies

This week I baked cookies that might be considered confections more than cookies. Either way, these are delicious treats. As the name suggests, the main ingredients are similar to those in an Almond Joy candy bar: coconut and almonds. For people looking for a gluten-free or egg-free cookie, this recipe will work for you.

A few tips: Be sure to grease the baking sheet well. I prefer to cover my baking sheets with a sheet of parchment paper which, for this recipe, I spray with vegetable cooking spray. This makes clean up a breeze. These cookies freeze well, but separate layers with wax paper so the cookies don’t a stick together into one big lump! Enjoy. If you try this recipe, let me know what you thought of it! – Innkeeper Judy

 

Almond Joy Cookies

1 can (14 ounces) sweetened condensed milk (NOT evaporated milk)
2 ounces unsweetened chocolate
¼ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
3 cups shredded sweetened flake coconut
45 whole almonds, plain or salted

Heat the oven to 350 degrees F. Position the racks in the center of the oven.

In a large glass bowl, combine condensed milk, chocolate and salt. Heat on high in the microwave oven for a total of 2 minutes, stirring every 30 seconds. The chocolate should melt completely and the mixture will thicken slightly. Stir in vanilla extract and coconut and mix well.

Form cookies by dropping rounded teaspoonfuls of the mixture onto a well-greased cookie sheet, 1 inch apart. Top each cookie with an almond. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes, watching the cookies carefully after 8 minutes since these cookies can quickly get too brown. Immediately remove the cookies from the baking sheet with a metal spatula and cool on a wire rack that is covered with a sheet of wax paper.

Makes 45 cookies.

Troy-Bumpas Cookies: Peanut Butter Tartlets

Peanut Butter Tartlets

Peanut Butter Tartlets, a Troy-Bumpas Inn favorite

One of my favorite cookies is this recipe for Peanut Butter Tartlets that I developed when I worked as a test kitchen home economist. These little tarts are rich in peanut flavor because peanut butter appears in both the tart pastry and the filling. You’ll need mini muffin pans to make these treats. The full recipe follows these step-by-step photos.

 

Dough should be crumbly
At first, the dough should be crumbly.

Begin by making the tartlet dough. Combine the dry ingredients and then use a pastry blender to cut in the butter and peanut butter. The mixture should be crumbly.

 

Wrap the dough ball
Form the dough into a ball and wrap in plastic wrap.

 

 

Using your hands, gently pull the mixture together to form a ball. Do not knead the dough since this will cause the tarts to become tough. Wrap the ball of dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 20 minutes. This allows the dough to relax and firm up and also gives you time to prepare the filling. To make the filling, simply blend the ingredients together, mixing until smooth.

 

Dough formed into tarts
Form the dough into tart shells.

 

Take a rounded tablespoon of dough and roll it into a ball. You should be able to get 45 balls from the dough. Place each ball into the cups of mini-muffin pans. Use your fingers to hollow out the dough and form a tart shell. Be sure there are no holes in the bottom of the tartlets.

Filled tarts

Add the filling to the tarts.

 

Fill each tart shell with a tablespoon of the filling. Do not over fill. If the tarts are too full, the filling will overflow and create a mess!

Bake in the center of a preheated 350 degree F. oven for 25 minutes or until the tarts are golden brown. Set the hot muffin pans on a wire rack to cool for about 5 minutes. Then turn the tarts out of the pan and allow them to cool completely on wire racks. These tartlets can be made ahead and freeze well. Enjoy!

 

 

 

Peanut Butter Tartlets

Dough:
2-2/3 cups all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon salt
½ cup granulated sugar
1 cup butter or margarine, at room temperature
1/3 cup creamy peanut butter

Filling:
2 eggs, well beaten
½ cup creamy peanut butter
½ cup granulated sugar
½ cup packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon all-purpose flour
2 eggs, at room temperature
2 tablespoons milk or cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

To make the dough: In a large bowl, combine 2-2/3 cups flour, salt, and ½ cup granulated sugar. Using a pastry blender, cut in 1 cup butter and 1/3 cup peanut butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs and ingredients are well mixed. Shape into a ball. Dough will be soft. Wrap in waxed paper or plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 20 minutes.

While dough chills, prepare filling: In medium bowl, combine ½ cup peanut butter, ½ cup granulated sugar, brown sugar, 1 teaspoon flour, 2 eggs, milk, and vanilla extract. Stir to blend well.

Heat oven to 350 degrees F.

For each tartlet, place one rounded tablespoon of dough into ungreased mini muffin cups. Press and shape to form a pastry shell. Spoon one tablespoon of filling into each tart.

Bake 25 minutes or until filling is golden brown. Cool in pans for 5 minutes before removing; complete cooling on wire racks.

Tips for Shopping in the Furniture Capital

Here is Greensboro, we are fortunate to live about 20 minutes from the “Home Furnishings Capital of the World.” The enormous multitude of furniture retailers in and around High Point, NC, makes it easy to find places to buy home furnishings.  (For a great list of High Point area stores, visit the High Point  Convention and Visitors Bureau at http://highpoint.org/cvb/.)

The largest of these stores is Furnitureland South in Jamestown, NC. Famous for the gigantic chest of drawers in front, Furnitureland South has 1.3 million square feet of showrooms spread throughout three buildings. Merchandise from about 1,500 manufacturers is displayed in room settings and also grouped by manufacturer. Because Furnitureland South ships furniture anywhere, people come to this area from all over the country to shop for home furnishings.

To successfully shop for home furnishings when you are miles from home takes a little preparation. The following tips will help you choose furnishing that are right for your home.

  • Bring room layouts noting all room measurements including the size and location of doors and windows. Note how high off the floor windows are placed.
  • Take pictures of the current room so you can discuss things you like about the room and things you would like to improve (such as furniture placement).
  • Take photos and bring measurements of any items you plan to keep in the room. Be sure to include sentimental items that are certain to stay in the room that you might want to spotlight.
  • If available, bring samples of existing carpets and fabrics, such as window treatments and upholstery. Take photos as well. Bring color chips of wall colors, or take photos if chips are not available.
  • Bring the dimensions of hallways, doorways and stairways so you can be sure the furniture you select will actually be able to get into the house.
  • Look online and in magazines for inspiration photos of rooms, styles, artwork and patterns that you like and that make you feel good.

To prevent yourself from quickly becoming overwhelmed in a big showplace, work with one of the store’s design consultants. They will discuss your project and identify your goals and budget. Then they will help you find items that match your style and wallet without a lot of dizzying walking around!

Wear comfortable clothes and shoes! If you get hungry and need a break, Furnitureland South has its own café! And, it makes sense to stay somewhere like the Troy-Bumpas Inn Bed and Breakfast where you start the day with a great breakfast and end your long day of shopping with a relaxing whirlpool bath!

Things to Do in Greensboro: Replacements, Ltd.

One of the most popular tourist sites in the Greensboro area is Replacements, Ltd. You don’t have to be a dinnerware junky to appreciate this wonderful mega store, which is located about 15 minutes from the Troy-Bumpas Inn. Like many successful businesses, Replacements, Ltd. was the brainstorm of one man with a passion for collecting beautiful things.

About 40 years ago, Bob Page, an auditor for the state of North Carolina, began collecting china and crystal as a hobby. Before long, his friends started asking him to be on the lookout for pieces of their dinnerware to replace pieces that were broken.  His bedroom soon became a makeshift office from which he fulfilled china and crystal orders. His hobby soon became his business.

In 1981, Page left his auditing job and opened Replacements, Ltd. in Greensboro, NC. Initially he had just one part-time assistant. Small ads placed in the backs of magazines met with tremendous response. Customer dinnerware requests were recorded on 3-by-5 inch index cards. Sales that first year were $150,000. By 1984, when the company began converting their database to computers, sales were close to $4 million. In 2008, sales exceeded $85 million. Products now include china, stoneware, crystal, glassware, silver, stainless and collectibles.

Today, Replacements ships more than 50,000 items a week to customers all over the world. The company, which has the world’s largest selection of old and new dinnerware, has 500,000 square feet of modern facilities and an inventory of more than 13 million pieces. People anywhere in the world can do business with them via their website. Customers can register patterns they are interested in and receive email notifications when items become available. About 85% of Replacements’ business is done online, but for those of us lucky enough to live in  or visit the piedmont Triad area of North Carolina, Replacements is just a short drive away.

The showroom is open seven days a week (except holidays) with free tours offered daily between 9:30 a.m. and 6 p.m. Unless you take the tour, you see only a small percentage of the merchandise on display in the 12,000 square foot showroom. The showroom also includes a museum that displays rare tableware pieces in beautiful, massive antique display cabinets and counters. The top 500 china patterns are displayed in a long hallway display aptly named “The Great Wall of China.” The tour walks guests through the huge Replacements warehouse where merchandise is neatly stored. The backroom area also houses the crystal and silver restoration and repair and the shipping departments.

Wall of most popular china patternsReplacements obtains its merchandise from manufacturers and from buyers throughout the country who seek out desired patterns at estate and yard sales. Many individuals also sell dinnerware that they no longer need to Replacements.

Replacements is an easy 15 minute drive from the Troy-Bumpas Inn. Anyone who loves china and other dinnerware is certain to enjoy the visit and likely to find something beautiful to take home.  Even if you’re not into dinnerware, it’s fascinating to see how such a well organized company operates. Replacements, Ltd.is located at 1089 Knox Road in McLeansville, NC 27301. To learn more call 1-800-REPLACE or visit www.replacements.com.