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Archive for the ‘Innkeeper Advice and Musings’ Category

The History Behind Our Beloved Holiday Traditions and the Best Ways to Celebrate them in Asheville: Part 1- The Christmas Tree.

December 4th, 2014 by abedofroses

Christmas at A Bed of Roses

Christmas at A Bed of Roses

T’is the season! We love Christmastime and all the trappings, decorating the tree, singing carols, eating holiday goodies, kissing under the mistletoe, exchanging gifts with our loved ones. But what is behind the traditions we hold so dear? Many of them were popularized during the Victorian era, the period in which our inn, A Bed of Roses, was built. Many started much earlier.

Evergreens have always held special meaning for ancient inhabitants of northern climates, and many believed that they keep away illness, witches and evil spirits.  Christians in Germany first adapted these “pagan” practices into their religious traditions by decorating an evergreen tree and bringing it inside. Although the Christmas tree has been a German tradition as early as the 16th century, Prince Albert, the husband of Queen Victoria, introduced the custom to the royal family in 1841 and a tinted etching of the decorated tree was published in the Illustrated London News, causing Christmas trees to be all the rage in Victorian England. They decorated the live trees with lighted candles (do not do this!), ribbons, paper chains, fruit and candies. The fashion conscious American East Coast Society quickly followed suit.

The Christmas Tree in the Grand Banquet Hall at the Biltmore Estate

The Christmas Tree in the Grand Banquet Hall at the Biltmore Estate

While Europeans decorated small trees, Americans, of course, went for the biggest, floor to ceiling trees. In Asheville, the grand Biltmore Estate demonstrates this passion for the biggest and most elaborate Christmas trees. George Vanderbilt first opened the Biltmore House to friends and family on Christmas Eve 1895 and Christmastime has been celebrated there in grand style ever since. The mansion is filled with dozens of uniquely decorated trees, but the most impressive is a 35 foot tall fraser fir that has been raised in the Grand Banquet Hall, ablaze with lights. The most magical and romantic time to see the impressive display of trees and decorations is during the Biltmore Candlelight Evenings. All the fireplaces are aglow as carolers and musicians play throughout the house guiding you from one spectacular holiday scene to another. A Bed of Roses offers several Biltmore Candlelight Evening Packages, customized to let you choose your special holiday experience.

Stay tuned for more holiday traditions and the joyous ways we celebrate them here in the heart of the Blue Ridge Mountains.

Happy Holidays from Our Home to Yours

Happy Holidays from Our Home to Yours

An Innkeeper’s Secrets: Easy Ways to Decorate Your Plate

August 22nd, 2014 by abedofroses

Chilled Raspberry Peaches

Chilled Raspberry Peaches

We really do “eat with our eyes first”. How a dish looks on the plate plays a large role in whether we decide to eat it or not and it also enhances the sensory experience tremendously. Even though I was an artist and illustrator before becoming an innkeeper, you don’t have to be an artist to make beautiful, appealing dishes than invite your guests to taste the food and savor each bite. A colorful garnish that looks special can be so easy to put together. Fresh ingredients are always key, but a few slices here and a twist there can make it look really special. Here are some easy tips on decorating the plate.

Remember three rules for creating an appealing plated dish:

  1. Color WheelTaste- when garnishing a plate the first consideration should be, will it taste good? Will the taste of the garnish go well with the rest of the meal? A good garnish is edible! Going to elaborate lengths to create a dramatic look is unnecessary and futile if the eater doesn’t want to consume it.
  2. Color- a plate needs contrast. If all the dishes are monochromatic you lose an opportunity to create interest. Contrasting colors in a garnish like a red tomato and green herbs or bell peppers work well. Complementary colors are at the opposite sides of a color wheel, like red and green or yellow and blue, but use common sense. Not all colors occur naturally in foods and you do want it to look edible! An organic edible flower may provide the right contrasting color too.
  3. Complementing tastes, colors and shapes make an inviting plate

    Complementing tastes, colors and shapes make an inviting plate

    Shape- Pleasing shapes can be created just by how the food is arranged. Fanning a sliced strawberry or avocado creates a harmonious shape. Arranging a few slices of plumb tomato in an arc does the same. Think in threes and curves instead of in straight lines.

For a sweet meal, like our orange stuffed French toast or Peaches with orange sauce in a puff pancake, a sliced orange with a small cut from the middle to the outer edge can be twisted to make a lovely nest for a sliced and splayed strawberry or an organically grown flower.  I love to use nasturnum. For the strawberry, wash and hold with the stem side down, then thinly slice without cutting to the stem- just enough that you can smoosh the strawberry to splay the slices.

Nest a splayed strawberry on a twisted orange slice

Nest a splayed strawberry on a twisted orange slice

For a savory meal, slice a tomato and decorate it with contrasting colored sliced peppers and a sprig of fresh curly parsley or a scored cucumber. Wash and cut the cucumber in half, then take a sharp tined fork and run it down the sides of the cucumber making shallow cuts at even intervals. Then thinly slice crosswise and place on top of the tomato slice. A bell pepper can be cut in half lengthwise, from stem to bottom, and then thinly sliced across. You can also create a bell pepper ring by cutting a circle around the stem, removing the center seeds and membrane and then slicing across. Arrange the slices by crossing them or the rings by layering them in threes like an Olympic seal.

If your main dish is a spicy southwestern or Mexican dish you can top your tomato with fresh cilantro. To garnish an Italian main dish, like our Italian Egg Cups with Proscuito de Parma, you can top your tomato with a fresh basil leaf or a Rosemary sprig. We always have plenty of fresh herbs growing in our “kitchen garden”. Parsley, chives, thyme, rosemary and mint are easy to grow and always look fresh and inviting on the plate.

Cilantro grilled chicken with rice pilaf decorated with avocado.

Cilantro grilled chicken with rice pilaf decorated with avocado and plumb tomatoes.

Avocado adds a creamy cooling taste to any spicy dish and is decorative as well. While working at a French Restaurant right out of college I learned how to thinly slice a peeled avocado and then gently push on it to splay the slices on the plate. All it really needs is a touch of salt and fresh ground pepper, but you can also slide slices of tomato between the slices or drizzle with a little balsamic glaze. Top it with a shaving of fresh Parmesan Regianno and it’s heavenly to taste and to look at.

Bon Appetit!

A New Year’s Retrospective of 2013 from the Pens of Our Guests

January 10th, 2014 by abedofroses

Online reviews are wonderful- there’s no better way of getting the word out there about a place you love (or not!). But the things guests write in our guest books are so much more personal and expressive! We don’t get a chance to read them every day, but how rewarding it is when we do! They share not only their feelings about their stay at A Bed of Roses, but what’s happening in their lives- their new marriage, their baby coming, their travels and the new places they discovered in Asheville. And the hand drawn illustrations are the best! Here are a few of our favorites from 2013.

We love the little drawings!

We love the little drawings!

April 1, 2013

Our first trip to the cool city of Asheville was made perfect by our gracious hosts Bill & Emily. They love what they do and it shows! We enjoyed downtown, (especially Jack of the Wood pub) and our travels and hiking through the Blue Ridge Parkway (do hike the Frying Pan Tower!) We will definitely be back!

Joel and Andrea

Fort Wayne IN

10-14-13

Recipe for a perfect day in Asheville:

  1. Wake up in a lovely room. Enhance your shower with plushy towels and a chic robe.
  2. Ease into the morning with hot coffee on the porch. Breath deeply. Relax.
  3. Get fueled for the day with a large and sumptuous breakfast by Emily & Bill Stir in some stimulating conversation.
  4. Add a hike along the Laurel River and a drive through Autumn Splendor on the Blue Ridge Parkway.
  5. Return for a short nap, with Fall air drifting through the windows (after a cookie!)
  6. Enjoy a famously succulent dinner at the Grove Park Inn – world class tastes & view.
  7. Come home to the SWEETEST B&B in Asheville.
  8. Turn out the lights and dream about tomorrow’s breakfast!

Thanks, Emily & Bill for your TLC! Blessings!

Cathy & Rusty

Olympia Washington

People come from all over the world to experience Asheville.

People come from all over the world to experience Asheville.

Dec 2013

We came to Asheville for our last couples getaway before we have our first child in April. Emily and Bill provided a warm atmosphere and a lovely home for us to enjoyl I am sad to be leaving behind the cozy Carolyn Gray room and Emily’s amazing breakfasts! Thank you for everything!

Zack and Taylor

April 2013

We had a wonderful stay high up in the cozy “nest” with the best breakfasts, very delicious and creative*, we had yet during our 7 weeks travel through the Eastern U.S. Emily and Bill are wonderful hosts. Thank you very much.

Barbara and Wolf

Athens, Greece

*not to forget with beautiful Baroque music

 

The brief message and the wonderful little sketch made this one like a Haiku poem.

The brief message and the wonderful little sketch made this one like a Haiku poem.

November 5th 2013

Beautiful house and

beautiful hosts.

Delicious breakfasts.

 

 

 

Dec 2013

As a honeymooning couple, we needed a cozy retreat to relax and spend time together. Emily & Bill provided us (along with the help of Judith & the cats) with the most perfect spot to spend our first days together as a married couple. They provided the most caring and heartfelt service and we were blessed with the hospitality! We will try to take on their sweet tradition of a candlelit dinner together in our married days to come! Thank you for everything!

Blessings,

Raj & Sara

PS Breakfast was superb!

May 2-13

We came to A Bed of Roses to celebrate our first year of marriage. This was our first time experience staying at a bed and breakfast and our standards are now set HIGH. Emily and Bill are such lovely hosts and know how to make your Asheville experience incredible. Ensure you attend breakfast EVERY morning to enjoy their sensational breakfast creations!

Ben and Kara

And thank you to all of our guests for making this another exceptional year at A Bed of Roses! This is why we love this job!

Emily & Bill

Owners/Innkeepers

A Bed of Roses

 

 

 

Following Aiden through Peru: An Innkeeper Travels Vicariously

June 8th, 2013 by abedofroses

The Ballestas Islands in Peru

The Ballestas Islands in Peru

What does Peru have to do with an innkeeper in Asheville? Very little, but I know our guests love to travel and so do I, Running a busy B&B gives us very little time off this time of year, since it’s such a popular time to see the mountains of North Carolina! Following my sister’s travels through the mountains of Peru is a great way to get to experience an amazing place in real time and share the neat things my sister is discovering with my fellow travelers.

Aiden left Asheville last Sunday. Her first trip was to see the Ballestas Islands, with Penguins, seals and thousands of migrating and nesting birds. The area was at the epicenter of an earthquake in 2007 and tourism to the islands is helping the economy recover.

El Candelabro

El Candelabro

One tourist attraction there is El Candelabaro, a strange lamp dug into the sand. The exact age of this geoglyph is unknown and there are various theories about why it was created. Archeologists found pottery belonging to the Paracas people from around 200 B.C. near the site. It may be a representation of the lightning rod of the god Viracocha, a mythological figure known throughout South America, or a sign to sailors. At 595 feet long, it would be visible from sea for miles.

The next thing on her itinerary was to fly over the mysterious Nazca Lines, the most famous geoglyphs, dating from between 800 B.C. and 800 A.D. This amazing site is on a dry plateau in southern Peru and stretches over 50 miles. The pictographs range from simple geometric designs to complex figures of animals and birds.

A figure from the Nasca Lines

A figure from the Nasca Lines

Archeologists, historians and mathematicians have studied these lines since they were discovered in 1927 but why they were created is still a mystery. They were probably scraped from the copper colored rocks between 200 BC and 700 AD by the Nazca Indians for religious purposes. A popular book published in 1968, “Chariots of the Gods” by Erich Von Daniken proposed that they were created by aliens to use as landing strips!

Next Aiden travels to Arequipa and then the Sacred Valley of the Incas.

First Time at A B&B? How to Get the Most Out of Your B&B Experience.

April 29th, 2013 by abedofroses

Oregano in bunny pot

You’ve decided that maybe a B&B really is a “better way to stay” than an anonymous hotel with cookie cutter rooms. Now how do you make sure that you’re really getting all the benefits of a bed and breakfast when you’ve never been to one before? Here are some tips on how to maximize your stay and make it really memorable.

First of all, at a bed and breakfast be sure to stay for breakfast! This may seem like a no-brainer, but it’s natural to want to pack the most into your vacation or weekend stay in a new place. You want to see it all and do it all! But breakfast at a bed and breakfast is the main event. It’s integral to the whole experience of an inn versus a hotel. Of course there’s the food. One of the reasons people become innkeepers is because they love to cook and they love to present their guests with a beautiful plate that will make their inn stand out in the crowd. Most likely it is home cooked from scratch, many times from fresh local ingredients or even from the innkeeper’s own garden. It’s not at all unusual for an innkeeper to have culinary training in gourmet cooking or catering. You won’t be getting short order eggs and bacon! It’s going to be special.

Dining room table

Dining Room Table Set for Breakfast

Beyond just the delicious food is the experience of sharing your breakfast with the other guests. Depending upon how the individual inn handles breakfast, you will meet all or many of the other guests staying at the inn at the breakfast table. I’ve always felt that this is where the magic happens! People from all different regions of the country or the world, with totally different backgrounds, ages and in different stages of their lives come together over a good meal. Connections are made, discoveries are shared and conversation flourishes. It’s definitely worth scheduling that tour a little later in the day. Most B&Bs will post the time(s) they serve breakfast on the website. If not be sure to ask!

Another thing that helps to make your breakfast a wonderful experience is to share any dietary restrictions or things you don’t eat for breakfast with your innkeeper well in advance of your arrival. That way you’re sure to get a breakfast that will be enjoyable for you. There’s no need to feel uncomfortable about not eating when everyone around you is enjoying the meal. Innkeepers want to prepare a meal you’ll relish, so don’t be afraid to ask them to leave out the onions or bacon on yours. Some restrictions, like not being able to eat dairy or eggs take time to prepare for or may involve buying special ingredients so be sure to let your hosts know well in advance. If they aren’t able to accommodate you they will let you know, but most innkeepers are adept at special meals.

The LAAFF Festival on Lexington Avenue

Shopping in Asheville

Pick your innkeeper’s brain about things to do, places to eat and must see attractions in their area. The Internet is great about advertising these things, but the locals know what’s really good or what’s all hype. They can help you find what you will like, not just what’s popular. An innkeeper is also used to being a concierge. They can get you a reservation, schedule a tour, and sometimes get you a little extra special care at places they know well. Plus they know the shortcuts that your GPS won’t tell you!

Be sure to make use of the common areas. There usually are menus available for area restaurants and brochures on things to do and see. It’s also a great opportunity to socialize with other guests and find out what they’ve enjoyed doing in the area.

Pick your room carefully. This isn’t going to be like a hotel, where the rooms are basically the same with different prices for different size beds. Each room in a B&B is unique, just like those in any home. Each has its own décor, some frilly and filled with antiques and others more masculine or modern. Some are large suites and some are cozy nooks. You may have a shower but no bath or a jetted tub with no shower. Pick what you like and what is important to you. Don’t judge a room just by its price. A less expensive room may not be a value if it doesn’t have the amenities you want. Photos will make the room look as good as possible so don’t be afraid to ask how large the room is, how many windows it has or where in the house it’s located. Having expectations that are based on as much information as possible will help you avoid disappointment. Staying at a B&B should be a delight!

For more tips on your first stay at a B&B see our whole series:

  1. First Time at a Bed & Breakfast?
  2. First Time at a Bed and Breakfast? What Can I Expect at Breakfast-time?
  3. First Time at a Bed and Breakfast? What are the amenities like at a B&B?
  4. First Time at A B&B – Bed and Breakfast Etiquette: Reservations and Cancellations
  5. First Time at A B&B – Bed and Breakfast Etiquette: Should I leave a tip at a B&B?
  6. First Time at A B&B – Bed and Breakfast Etiquette: Breakfast Etiquette.
  7. First Time at A B&B – Bed and Breakfast Etiquette: Whispering and Tiptoeing around the Museum!
  8. First Time at a B&B Series: Giving up Control

Tree Falls on Owner’s Quarters: This Innkeeper is Counting Her Blessings This New Year’s Day

January 1st, 2013 by abedofroses

Tree Damage_0003

A large tree fell on our owner’s quarters

The deafeningly loud crash and flash of light that woke us from our sleep in the middle of Christmas night was definitely not Santa and his sleigh landing on the roof! High winds and rain conspired with insects that had done their damage hidden from view to crack a giant pine tree in our neighbor’s yard and hurl it across the alley onto the roof over our bed. Miraculously the power lines behind our owner’s quarters broke the fall so that only a large branch punctured our roof rather than the entire tree trunk. Stunned and groggy from an abbreviated night’s sleep we ventured out into the rain to find out what happened and take stock of the damage. It was almost 5AM by that time and we had a house full of guests to serve breakfast to. So with half the power out we lit candles, figured out what was working and what wasn’t and came up with a plan for breakfast for 8 over the stove that didn’t require the ovens. This was a first- cooking by the light of a flashlight! We managed to pull it off before the power company shut us down completely to remove the tree. Electricians, appliance repair people, insurance adjusters and roofers are still being dealt with, but we’re back in full operation and incredibly grateful to be alive. After a season of things breaking, a sick kitty that has required a months worth of treatment on the heels of Bill’s October hospitalization it would be easy to get overwhelmed and feel like life is just responding to one crisis after another. I must admit I indulged in a bit of self-pity. But this New Year’s Eve we chose to take stock of all of the challenges we did meet and all the things we accomplished this year. We truly have had a great year.

Antique sconces now light up our goodies

Antique sconces now light up our goodies

Besides meeting the challenges of breakfast under duress the other day and operating the inn with one innkeeper down in October, we’ve met all of our little challenges with success as well. A broken CD player that I put totally out of its misery when it tried to steal my favorite Christmas CDs, pushed us to finally go digital with our sound system for the inn. I had always wanted to find the time to research systems and hook the sound up to our computer, but now I was forced to do it! I couldn’t be happier with our new Sonos system, operating by WiFi to wireless speakers. Business has been up since last year too. December was our busiest yet with lots and lots of people taking advantage of our Biltmore Candlelight Evening Package. This past year I was elected to the Asheville Bed & Breakfast Association Executive Committee  (ABBA) as Secretary, a post I’ve been enjoying and have just been re-elected to. After numerous production delays, we finally succeeded in replacing all of our robes at the inn with new, plush hunter green ones. Table and bed linens have been upgraded and we’ve added a “new” antique carpet and comfy chair to the parlor as well as a reproduction Victorian lamp to the foyer. We upgraded the Turret Suite, changing the carpet and adding a Tiffany lamp and 2 antique chairs. We painted and got new wicker furniture for our cozy front porch as well (see our improvements!) We started the year off by lighting up the kitchen! We added several recessed lights to brighten up our work-space and installed the antique sconces that we brought with us from Boston over the antique buffet where we serve afternoon tea and goodies. And we ended the year with a beautiful and incredibly life-like new 9 foot Christmas Tree from Balsam Hill to match the outstanding garlands we got from them last year. We definitely dressed up the inn for the holidays! As we go into the New Year we hired painters come in this week and re-paint all the guest rooms. We just chose new plush carpeting that will then be installed in the Oliver Davis and Carolyn Gray rooms. And then we will take a well-deserved vacation in St. Martin! We look forward to returning rested and so gratefully alive to a freshly painted and improved inn to start the season again. Happy New Year!

A Community of Innkeepers: The Asheville B&B Association Pulls Together for the Busy Leaf Season

October 17th, 2012 by abedofroses

Autumn leaves in Asheville

Autumn view on the Blue Ridge Parkway in Asheville

October is a glorious time to visit Asheville and the Mountains of Western North Carolina. For inns and B&Bs it is our busiest time of year. When disaster, major or minor, strikes an inn in October it is a big deal. There are no “days off” this time of year to deal with untoward events. So when my husband ended up in the MICU at the VA hospital this past week, my panic was not just about my husband’s health. (Spoiler alert- he is now fine and quickly getting back to his cantankerous but lovable self!) How was I going to take care of a full house of guests by myself with no end in sight and take care of my husband’s health crisis as well? It seemed unfathomable. This is where I discovered what a wonderful community of innkeepers we have here in Asheville. We are so proud and grateful to belong to the Asheville Bed & Breakfast Association.

ABBA logo

ABBA Logo

We have always appreciated the marketing benefits of a strong Association as well as the camaraderie and moral support that ABBA has given us since we bought our B&B. But when we put the word out that Bill was sick we really found out how our community had our backs. During a time when they were all their busiest, we had offers of help that ranged from cooking breakfast for 10 for us to checking in guests while I was in the hospital and baking cookies for us, so our guests wouldn’t have to sacrifice their home baked afternoon goodies! Besides my personal gratitude to our wonderful colleagues, it makes me feel really good to know that when you stay at any one of our ABBA inns, you will be taken care of no matter what happens. If one of us is down the rest will pitch in to be sure your experience is not compromised. There’s a promise not many businesses can make! So we’re back on our feet here at A Bed of Roses and I got a great new recipe for biscotti from the Carolina Inn. Thank you ABBA! And thank you so much to our housekeepers, Angie and Faith for pitching in and going that extra mile to support us when we needed it. It’s a great community.

First Time at a B&B Series: Giving up Control

July 11th, 2012 by abedofroses

Woman in Doubt

Worried about your B&B visit?

Let’s face it. Innkeepers aren’t supposed to say this but there are some guests that are just “difficult”. You can usually tell from the first phone call. They may demand answers to what seem like a million questions or call into question the innkeeper’s basic policies or ways of operating. But it’s not their fault. They aren’t trying to be difficult just to ruin our day. Coming to a B&B requires a leap of faith. You do need to give up control over many things that are basic to your day-to-day life, and that’s not always easy. The first thing to remember is that your innkeeper wants you to have a wonderful time at their B&B and they will go out of their way to ensure that, to a point. An inn’s policies may seem arbitrary from the outside looking in, but there are usually good reasons for them. Things like when you drink your first cup of coffee or what you eat for breakfast may have to be determined by the innkeeper. Your habit of an egg over easy every morning at 6AM may have to be broken if your B&B’s kitchen isn’t set up for short order cooking. On the plus side, you’re likely to trade that familiar breakfast for a two or three course gourmet treat served at 9AM! You may not be able to check into your room as soon as you arrive from out of town. Unlike a hotel, there may not be a “desk staff” that is there 24 hours. When you do check in, however, you’re likely to meet the owners in person and get advice on what to see and do in their town, as well as being personally welcomed into their home. You give to get.

Here are some things that you can do that will avoid head-butting with your hosts and make your stay an enjoyable and stress-free one.

Find out what an inn’s policies are. They are usually posted on the website and most B&Bs will include those policies in their reservation confirmation email.

Decide for yourself what you’re willing to give up control of and what you’re not, then shop around for an inn that can accommodate you. Some inns have multiple seatings for breakfast and others can’t do that. Some can take pets and others can’t. Don’t choose an inn that can’t possibly accommodate you and try to force them to make an exception for you. It’s akin to trying to change a spouse after the wedding. Better to pick one you like to begin with!

That being said, if you’re not sure how flexible a policy is, contact the B&B’s owners. Communication is the key! Some may offer an early continental breakfast for those who can’t stay for the larger meal and a phone call or email to the innkeeper can clarify that. This is also true for special diets. Most will do their best to accommodate dietary restrictions, but always check with them in advance. It may require the innkeeper to adapt the menu for the rest of their guests or to make a special trip to the store. If the website says check-in is between 4 and 6PM and you just can’t get out of work early enough to make that, give them a call. They may or may not be able to check you in later depending on the inn.

Check on-line reviews. If you’re afraid of being given an unfamiliar breakfast and all the reviews rave about the food it may make giving up control of that part a little easier. You can have faith that there will be something on the table you will like. Reviews can also give you a sense of how accommodating the innkeepers are and what to expect from the rooms.

Remember that the innkeeper is on your side! They really do want you to enjoy your visit.

innkeepers bill and emily

A Bed of Roses innkeepers, Emily and Bill

 

Ten Quirky Little Things That Make Us Love Asheville

October 13th, 2011 by abedofroses

Zoom Tour Character

Sister Sin from the Zoom Tour

In Asheville you’re likely to see bumper stickers that quote philosophers and literary figures. A recent citing: “Doubt is not a pleasant condition, but certainty is absurd. Voltaire”

In Asheville, a trip to the local grocery store includes buskers serenading you and chair massages, along with the ubiquitous organic offerings.

In Asheville, a car trip downtown may involve trying not to hit a nun in drag weaving through traffic on a souped up bicycle. Meet Sister Sin, a character on the Zoom Tour.

Speaking of sin… In Asheville, our local public radio station gives T shirts to donors emblazoned with “Welcome to Asheville, Cesspool of Sin” for donating to the station. A NC Senator opposed to gay marriage dubbed Asheville a “cesspool of sin” and Ashevilleans embrace it! They even got the host of NPR’s Wait Wait Don’t Tell Me to do the promo.

White Guitarist Statue

Guitarist "Statue" may come to life!

In Asheville, lunch at an outdoor café may involve viewing the white guitarist statue, periodically “come to life” and play his guitar for a moment, only to freeze again into a statue mid tune. Variations on this theme abound. Watch for the peasant girl statue holding a planter, the drummer girl statue and even a junior duo flower girl statue.

In Asheville, getting to the top floor of the 8 story Westall Building involves going next door to the Jackson Building, Western North Carolina’s first skyscraper, to use their elevator! The slender neogothic Jackson Building opened in 1924 and was built on an amazingly small 27 by 60 foot lot. The same architect stuffed the Spanish Revival Westall Building on the even smaller lot next door in 1925, but had no room for an elevator.

Friday Night Drum Circle

The Friday Night Drum Circle

In Asheville, a summer Friday evening kicks off the weekend with the pulse of 100 or more drums that you can literally feel throughout downtown. Bring a drum and join this quirky, fun tradition in Pritchard Park.

In Asheville, one of the most traveled corners in downtown is home to, no, not yet another Starbucks, but a wig store! Multicolored wigs adorn dozens of mannequin heads in the storefront windows in a dazzling display.

In Asheville, there are no McDonald’s downtown. Chains of all kinds are discouraged. But the neighborhood of Biltmore Village has the most unusual McDonald’s you’re likely to see. No golden arches here. The village elders ensured that the architecture of the fast food restaurant fit in totally with the historic, bricked pathways and tree-lined streets. They even have a player grand piano and fireplaces!

In Asheville, on a stroll through the city’s historic Montford district you are likely to come across some interesting yard décor. One stately home sports an ever changing installation of Barbie dolls in varying poses and in and out of costume. Another porch hosts a giant polar bear.  And is that a giant turtle on their roof?

That’s our home- not the one with the turtle. I mean Asheville! We love it!

 

First Time at A B&B – Bed and Breakfast Etiquette: Whispering and Tiptoeing around the Museum!

July 11th, 2011 by abedofroses

Fragile museum specimens sign

Should I be afraid to touch?

This is the latest in our series, First Time at a Bed and Breakfast?

Many if not most B&Bs are in antique homes. Old houses have a charm that you just can’t get anywhere else. Old homes may not always be as soundproof as we might like, however. That doesn’t mean you have to tiptoe around or whisper in your room! Enjoy your visit!  Just be considerate of the guests in adjoining rooms. Be aware of how high your TV volume is and realize that yelling or other loud noises probably will be heard by others. Many inns, like ours, have “white noise” radios to help you sleep over the creaks and sounds of old houses and your neighbors. Just don’t expect the sounds of the “rainforest” to drown out your full blast late night sports extravaganza on ESPN.

These old houses are usually your innkeeper’s home as well, filled with their antiques and linens and collectables. Accidents happen and things break and spills occur. It’s okay. Innkeepers expect this, so please don’t try to hide it. As you would, if visiting friends, let your host know as soon as possible of a mishap so they can try to get that stain out while they still have a chance or fix that broken chair before the next guest sits in it!

lace on a table

Try not to spill red wine on the antique lace!

If something malfunctions or you don’t know how to use it, just ask. It’s okay, really! That being said, all innkeepers hope that you will use common sense in trying to prevent damage to their home or furnishings. Cleaning your car window with the monogrammed bath towels or leaving your dripping red wine bottle on the embroidered dresser scarf might not be appreciated. Your innkeeper will be more than happy to provide you with a rag or a coaster. Just ask.

Courtesy and clear communication are really synonymous, especially at an inn. It is our responsibility to communicate clearly about what we expect of and offer our guests. We expect that our guests will be clear in asking for what they need to make their visits enjoyable. Neither of us are mind-readers! We ask that if something isn’t right you let us know so that we can have an opportunity to make it right. That may not always be possible, but we will do our best. If you haven’t given the innkeeper an opportunity to address your concerns it is truly the worst etiquette to later write a poor review of the property. If an innkeeper does not treat your complaints with courtesy and concern, a poor review is warranted! And don’t forget to write good reviews when you’ve had a great experience at a B&B. A good review is the best thank you note.

 

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