Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Asheville's Best White Water Rafting-River Three

Now, for those of you who can pronounce Watauga, this name comes from the Cherokee Nation although in the Cherokee language it is more accurately written Watagi.

Dual in meaning, it can be "the land beyond" "beautiful river" or "beautiful water."
This scenic river is located downstream of the Tennessee Valley Authority formed by communion of Shanty Spring Branch and The Green Ridge Branch. The TVA controls the water levels of this river by scheduling controlled releases from both Watauga and Wilbur dams. It flows generally north and west where it receives the Doe River.

You will find commercial rafting companies both from Western North Carolina as well as Tennessee in the summertime. Fishing guides make use of this river throughout the year.

Rafters in this setting can find Class 1, 2 (the anaconda)& 3. There is also a section providing Class 4-5 but requires significant rainfall to bring this area to runnable levels frankly best pursued only by expert paddlers.
Other sections of this fine river have been rafted by some of our guests . Most reported this river as tame and a great "starter river" for those less familiar with this activity trying to make a determination of their desire to pursue a more aggressive river.


Patti and Gary Wiles
Innkeepers

Monday, March 29, 2010

Asheville's Best White Water Rafting-River Two

Next river on the hit parade beginning near Asheville and going into Tennessee is the Nolichucky.
The Nolichucky River is about 45 minutes from Asheville, N.C. and is also a free flowing river. As such, it is subject to change by the day having to do with rain fall. This may be something to bear in mind if drought conditions are in effect.

It is a challenging river in a relative wilderness setting showcasing the Unaka Mountains as a splendid backdrop. Leaving North Carolina crossing in to Tennessee, it provides the steepest river gorge east of the Mississippi River. Even the brave may let loose a scream or two as they navigate this rivers 9 mile course experiencing Class 2, 3 and 4 rapids all in the same fantastic river.

If that's not enough to wow you with the experience- portions of this river flow through a Black bear sanctuary.The tracks of these animals may often be noted on the bank of this river and those with eagle eyes may actually spot a bear.

Glory in the sheer rock face as it ascends 2,800 feet from the base of this grand river to the tippy tops of the treed mountain top.
It is as beautiful as it is exciting and is a white water rafting trip not to be missed. Parts of this rafting trip can be experienced in either half day or a full day trip.

Why, you may even find your trusty innkeepers there after we serve your gourmet breakfast.


Patti and Gary Wiles
Innkeepers

Friday, March 26, 2010

Asheville's Best White Water Rafting-River One

Asheville's Best White Water Rafting - River One

Spring is finding the mountains and as surely as night follows day sweet summertime is soon upon us. Contrary to popular belief, Asheville does get warm in the summer. Sometimes, as warm as can be. Gary and I were not prepared for that when we first purchased At Cumberland Falls Bed and Breakfast Inn here in Asheville. Nothing could possibly feel better and more exhilarating than a few moments spent on a local river. This blog is but one of a series to be written on White Water Rafting so at the end of this creative endeavor you will have all the data you need to select just the right river to “float your boat.”

The French Broad River is the closest river to Asheville so if time is a big factor in your choice, you might consider it. 22 miles of this body of water flows right through the city of Asheville. It also enters Tennessee, the Mississippi River and lastly, the Gulf of Mexico.

Facts you might like to know:

The French Broad River because of the direction the river flows, notably north. Only two rivers in the entire United States flow in that direction. It was initially flowing toward land owned by the French. It also is a very wide river. Hence, the name French Broad with its main stem in Rosman, N.C. It flows right through the Pisgah National Forest.

Today we are discussing it’s virtues as a source of White water Rafting but it also is home to small mouth bass and also catfish both of which could contribute to a fun day of getting one’s line wet.
It is an old river, is free flowing and known for its beautiful scenery.
Most companies provide both a whole day on this river as well as a half day excursion so it’s great if you want to engage in this activity but you are inexperienced or have limited time.

Now, some folks will tell you that the French Broad has no soul. They will try and tell you it’s a cheap thrill more suited for the elderly but they haven’t experienced Frank Bell’s Rapid or Needle Rock Falls. Every lady worth her salt keeps a few surprises up her sleeve.


Patti and Gary Wiles
Innkeepers

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Puppies

I will commence this blog by saying that no one you have ever truly loved can be replaced. Some of you following this blog know that my old, beloved girl Molly, died in October of 2009. She lived with my family for 19 years. She came in her babyhood and robbed our hearts and her physical self stayed as her mind wandered to "greener pastures" and her legs would no longer allow her to romp and play as they had in earlier days. I will miss her for always.

Currently, quietly, I have been evaluating whether my loss of Molly could be lessened by a "new addition." To that I answered a resounding "NO!" again in realization that Molly cannot be replaced. She was unique. Her personality not able to be duplicated and her tenure in our family could not be replicated. A different time, a new climate and even less people are now living in our home. We are older, wiser, work longer hours, have less energy to expend on endless games of catch, cleaning up the anticipated accidents as the training of a new puppy would surely bring about and.....Well, the differences reflected in our family in Molly's time (1992) and now are endless.

Mostly, I know I can train in manners and behavior, accomplish the said "potty training" and care of potential puppy if I can bring the. Less known is my ability for the unabashed excitement,devotion and anticipation to a new foundling that I was able to provide to Molly. I also don't know if I am prepared to give up the "freedom" of not having a dog. One cannot be spontaneous in travel if one has a canine friend. One cannot spend the night away if that opportunity presents itself. One cannot retain entire independence either as truly loving any living creature creates an interdependence, some sacrifice and some willingness on your part to give serious consideration to the needs of another.

Conversely, walks are totally not as amusing and might have to be accomplished alone. The look of complete adoration is generally not seen routinely if ever by a soul you know will love you to the end of time... whether or not your behavior is worthy of such a precious gift.
Obviously, the jury is still out.

Patti and Gary Wiles
Innkeepers

Monday, March 22, 2010

Koi and Koi Ponds ( Oy Vey)

I must credit my sister for the topic of this Blog. The moment she mentioned it I knew it was perfect.

Here, At Cumberland Falls Bed and Breakfast Inn, as the name Falls implies we have both man made waterfalls and Koi ponds. Many of our guests have asked questions regarding Koi fish largely generated by their love of our mascot "Bubba." "Bubba" is our Southern Gentleman Koi fish. We have owned this inn for nearly 11 years and Bubba is substantially older than that.
He is and has always been part of the welcoming committee here at the inn. Bubba is so socialized from the constancy of people contact here at our Asheville Bed and Breakfast that he believes himself a dog. So, the following facts are an ode to Bubba and those of his kind.

Koi are ornamental domesticated varieties of the common carp. Koi are also called Japanese Carp.

They are a symbol of love and friendship.

Common colors include white, black, red, yellow, blue and cream.

It is their natural ability to adapt to many climates and water conditions that have allowed them to survive and thrive in many locations.

Carp were first bred for color mutations in China more than a thousand years ago where selective breeding of the Prussian carp resulted in the beloved childhood pet: the goldfish.

The Common Carp were first introduced to Japan by way of China between 400-600 years ago. The hobby of keeping koi eventually spread worldwide.

Koi are omnivorous fish and will often eat a wide variety of foods including peas, lettuce and watermelon. Commercial pellet food is actually designed to float on top of the water so that in order to feed the Koi has to surface enabling them to be viewed. Almost all the Koi at the inn can be hand fed as they are socialized by years of human contact.

The feeding regimen is customarily nearly halted through the winter months as their digestive system slows and they nibble only a bit of algae from the pond's bottom. When this slowing occurs protein or any food can go rancid in their stomachs, causing illness. They do not generally feed again until the spring when water temperatures in the pond become warmer.

Koi are capable of living for centuries. One famous scarlett koi, was owned by many individuals and was reported to be 226 years old upon her death.

Koi reproduce through spawning. The female lays a vast number of eggs and one, or more than one, male fertilizes them. Their offspring are called, "Fry". They can produce thousands of offspring from a single spawning.

Koi have either purposely or inadvertently been released into the wild in every continent except Antarctica. In some areas they are considered pests or at the very least an invasive species. Due to their constancy in stirring up the substrate in the water often creating turbidity making the waterways unattractive, unsuitable for swimming and not conducive for aquatic plants vast money and efforts are sometimes expended to eradicate them. Largely, these efforts are not successful.

A well designed outdoor pond will have areas too deep for herons to stand in and overhangs high enough above the water that animals can't reach in gaining their own dinner. Shade trees overhanging ponds helps shield the fish from overhead predators and failing that, rubber snakes are the next best thing.
Proper filtration and good water movement are high priorities for good success with koi. Ideally, the pond should be drained yearly, the decorative rocks cleaned and organic waste matter removed from bottom liner before refilling.
Beware of herons,raccoons, cats, foxes, hedgehogs or badgers all of which are capable of emptying your pond given the right opportunity. Bubba wanted you to know.



Patti and Gary Wiles
Innkeepers At Cumberland Falls

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Healthy Delicious Recipes

Good food is a fine thing on so many counts. It nourishes the body and the it can be the highlight of a fine gathering of friends.
A couple of old innkeepers (not long in the tooth old)but folks who have either run inns for a long time or as in our case are still running inns gathered last evening for a fine feast.

We have been owners and innkeepers of At Cumberland Falls Bed and Breakfast Inn for 11 years this June. In that time we have shared many meals with those we love. Last evening one of them treated us to a fine meal. The occasion offered the opportunity to be with and re-connect with many friends of long years. I would like to share one of those recipes with you now. It is healthy, it is awesome and makes a beautiful presentation:

Paulette's Roasted Harvest Vegetables Heat oven to 350 degrees.

1. Toss together in a large baking dish 2 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into same size pieces to ensure even cooking, 2 parsnips(same protocol), 4 stalks of Bok Choy, and two fresh onions.

2. Mix 1/2 cup each of Catalina Drsg(we used Kraft),Pomegranate juice or cranberry juice, 1/4 c. maple syrup. Pour over veggies.


P.S. Be creative! I am of the mind that any collection of your favorite root vegetables would render a delicious result for your gathering of friends.


Patti and Gary Wiles
Innkeepers At Cumberland Falls

Monday, March 15, 2010

Top Retirement City- Asheville, N.C.

I am unabashedly in love with Asheville, N.C. It remains singularly one of the most beautiful locations I have seen in my life. Beauty is one of the city's most valuable assets. However, there is generally more than physical beauty that goes into the ranking of cities for whatever criteria is being examined in each contention.

My Nana has a routine pronouncement though not ever very far from my thoughts, "beauty is as beauty does."
However, as I leave At Cumberland Falls Bed and Breakfast Inn daily to do the most routine of errands, I think that saying is validated here in this Western North Carolina city.
Ashevillians are courteous, happy, socially conscious and fun.

One day, now nearly 11 years ago, when I first moved to this city I now call home I was walking downtown. We were to have a wedding at our bed and breakfast and I was meeting the bride at a downtown location for a cake tasting. I could and should have gone to the crosswalk to cross the street but I jay-walked making a quicker arrival. The car turning in the intersection (that I had not seen) waved me across and off I went. I was nearly to the other side of the street when I realized what a phenomenon that was. I stopped dead in my tracks, turned around and went back to the driver of the car who was waiting in line for a parking place. He smiled and rolled down the window. As he was rolling I said, "Do you have any idea how rare it is to live in a city where someone would waive you across the street when you are jay-walking as opposed to showing you another part of their hand placed in a familiar upward position?" He laughed, I laughed and I thanked him for not running me over. We both spent a moment in discussion about the courtesy of Asheville and were both grateful for it.
I have thought of that day many times. A thing of beauty is a joy forever. May the real beauty of Asheville- both that which is evident to all of the fortunate, retired or not, living here always be preserved. May we make the choices necessary to keep our natural beauty intact and long may the flag of courtesy reign in our hearts keeping us high on the top of all "Best and Top" lists.


Patti and Gary Wiles
Innkeepers At Cumberland Falls

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Asheville Tail Gate Markets Sizzle

It hardly seems possible but in slightly (very slightly) over one month Asheville will welcome Spring with the re-opening of their Tail Gate Markets.

In Asheville there is much anticipation of this because these markets function as a social meeting place, an entertainment venue, dogs on parade, music playing, flower displaying mecca bringing local cheeses, meats, fish and produce all together while offering, quite simply, the opportunity to have a blast.

Everyone is nearly bursting at the seams to be outside after a winter that has seemed interminable, dark and dreary. Sunshine is craved and friends long not seen, as we all hunkered in our homes trying to wait out the snow, will be available for "catching up and hugs" and we will be treated to the best local produce grown in our area.

So, put on your tennies you couch potatoes and join the innkeepers of At Cumberland Falls Bed and Breakfast
as we shake off the blues of winter and seek the solace and new beginnings of Spring. See you around the breakfast table with fresh strawberries or dipped in chocolate for sharing in one of our Jacuzzis.

Patti and Gary Wiles
Innkeepers At Cumberland Falls

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Live Theater in Asheville, North Carolina

Live Theater in North Carolina

Originally from the North East and accustomed to being able to access live theater, that became a criteria that weighed in to our choice of possible living destinations when we left our home in Florida to begin our lives as innkeepers At Cumberland Falls Bed and Breakfast Inn. Asheville proper and within easy drive from Asheville there are more than sufficient choices to keep any thespian lover happy.
A notable in theater selection is The State Theater of North Carolina located only an easy 35 minutes from Asheville.

Every year they put on some totally awesome productions and this year will be no exception.
Please find their production list for 2010 Season. It will be a memorable one! Join us for a night at the theater.

Schoolhouse Rock Live
Clint Holmes
Steel Magnolias
For the Glory
12 Angry Men
The Producers
The 39 Steps
The Seduction of Sheila Valentine
Treasure Island
A Christmas Carol


Patti and Gary Wiles
Innkeepers At Cumberland Falls

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Snow Follies in Asheville

Hello from the frozen tundra of At Cumberland Falls Bed and Breakfast. Now, at this point I am beginning to wonder whether I have entered some geographical time warp and I really reside in Maine somewhere rather than my home of Asheville, N.C.

We have lived here for very nearly 11 years come this June and this is the wackiest winter we have experienced in our tenure here. We are being delivered snows in such rapid succession that the last one doesn't even melt before the next one arrives. Blessedly, the deluge of Tuesday, March 2
was such a light and lovely snow that for reasons I am less than clear about did not adhere to the roads too well. Always a blessing for those of us who do not have 4-wheel drive and are praying all the prayers they know while driving about the city. Also, thanks to this last "soft snow" there is a small chance, albeit petite, that my boxwoods and cherry tree, both of which have been pummeled this season...may survive. It's March so hopefully the poor little foundlings can hang tight, hold fast and await with baited breath (as I am) the long elusive and much desired first breath of Spring.


Patti and Gary Wiles
Innkeepers At Cumberland Falls

Wine and Food Pairing Class

The proverbial dinner party can be a cause of anxiety on occasion as one ponders what to feed guests that will be widely accepted and generally enjoyed.
Now, to add to the mix, could be a question of what wine should be served with a particular dish to enhance the merits of both.

This class will take a cause and effect look at how food interacts and changes the flavor of the wine.
As part of the class you will sample elements representing the 5 basic food tastes of sweet, sour, salt, bitter and umami, and will follow it with a sip of wine.
Now, if you have read this last word, as I did, wondering what in the name of heaven that means...Here goes.... Umami is defined as: A taste sensation that is meaty or savory and is produced by several amino acids and nucleotides (as glutamate and aspartate)
Hey, never let it be said that one cannot obtain advanced knowledge from a simple blog.

After learning some basic food/wine pairing principles, you will be much better prepared to know the change one can anticipate in the wine you choose to serve when tasting it with food.
This class should prove enlightening and exciting providing an opportunity to make excellent choices when preparing dinner for your friends.

Classes are $25.00/p.p. and include samples of six wine varietals.
Contact At Cumberland Falls Bed and Breakfast for further details.


Patti and Gary Wiles
Innkeepers At Cumberland Falls

Monday, March 1, 2010

Wine, Wonderful Wine

Wine here At Cumberland Falls Bed and Breakfast Inn is a topic often discussed. Every morning at our breakfast table we overhear couples discussing a wine they particularly enjoy drinking at home or one they experienced at last evenings dinner and are recommending to another couple in hopes they will enjoy it as well.
Wine, it seems, is a topic of much interest.

On March 10th, our Asheville Bed and Breakfast, is partnering with Travels in Wine Tours for a wine dinner and wine tour.
We are offering two nights accommodations here At Cumberland Falls Bed and Breakfast Inn along with reservations at Fiore's Toscana, a downtown restaurant, as they present a five course Italian feast coupled with five spectacular Italian Wines. Please see our home page under Innkeeper's Notes for details.

On Tuesday, March 16 2010 for those interested in learning about the intricacies of food/wine interactions, a class will be offered at Hops and Vines discussing all this and also offering samples of six wine varietals.
Class size is limited so let us help you reserve your spot.


Patti and Gary Wiles
Innkeepers At Cumberland Falls