Thursday, April 29, 2010

Asheville Bed and Breakfast Packages

Happy Spring morning to you all from the mountains of Western North Carolina. Today it is so completely beautiful outdoors that all but the most disciplined among us will simply decide to blow off work entirely. I am still thinking about doing just that but have just finished feeding our guests at our Asheville Bed and Breakfast moments ago. Went out and made a joke with those around our table that we were having a "learn how to garden" party in the back property as soon as they finished breakfast but so far, no takers.

As will come as no surprise to most of you, the economy, while improving slightly, is still far from robust. However, there are some cool things going on in this part of the world so wanted to take a moment to let you know about some packages we have developed here At Cumberland Falls Bed and Breakfast Inn we believe might help you to decide to plan that desperately needed vacation anyway. We began this as a Spring Package but have extended it to run through June of this year in an effort to help you make your Asheville Getaway a reality.

Sweet Spring At Last Biltmore Bonanza: Join us for a minimum 3 night mid week stay here At Cumberland Falls Bed and Breakfast Inn through June 30, 2010 and receive Buy One/Get One Free Biltmore Passes (can be used for 2 consecutive days- Festival of Flowers opening soon) included in your stay. Cannot be combined with any other special, blackout dates apply and must be mentioned at the time of booking. Pricing begins at $477.00. Call for details 888-743-2557. Tax not included. Cannot be combined with any other special. Based on availability.

Patti and Gary Wiles Innkeepers At Cumberland Falls Bed and Breakfast Inn Your Asheville Bed and Breakfast

Asheville Food Tours

Chris and Janice Ortwein have hatched a brilliant and oh so fun new happening in Asheville. They host guided walking food tours complete with tastings of some of our cities finest culinary offerings. Sometimes, in the exploration of a new city without guidance and sometimes even with it, one can make a poor dining choice. Take Chris and Janice's Asheville Food Tour and this fate need not be your own.

They have two tour options available:

1. Downtown Tour explores the varied and eclectic dining options in our edgy, art deco collage downtown area. Asheville, in its collaborative total, is honing quite a name for itself in the food and beverage department. From its home made brew, to coffee that would make an angel weep to the most varied, diversified food in the south-- Asheville rocks it home! Join the walking food tour downtown and see what all the chatter is about. All of these fine establishments ply you with their best menu selections. During your walk to each of these bastions of culinary delights you are also locating gift shoppes, art galleries, (in every medium the imagination can conjure) and architecture galore you can return to after you have snacked and trolled all the fine restaurants they have included in this fancy fine food tour.

If you have been here a few days already and have had your palate pleased by our downtown master chefs, fear not, there's more to dining in Asheville than our downtown --Gift that it is.

Tour Two: Biltmore Village Tour.
While terms like edgy, gritty, eclectic, electric fit downtown nicely...Biltmore Village has a grace all its own. Galleries, clothing, a feel of days gone by with restaurant fronts out of Dickens will afford you another magic cuisine experience. Chris and Janice have lived in Asheville long enough to select the best and brightest this village has to offer for the food tasting tour of this area.

Chris and Janice were kind enough to allow Gary and I to take this tour so we could experience exactly what guests of our Asheville Bed and Breakfast Inn would be a part of. We had a truly magnificent time. Both tours offer excellent glimpses into the food world of each restaurant we stopped in. All put out their finest wares to woo and it worked. We have eaten at several of these restaurants not fearing we would not really enjoy the food there. We knew we would because we'd already been there.

So, put on your tennies, bring your appetite and Chris will expertly weave you through our finest eateries. Catch the magic of Asheville as the street vendors impress you with their wares and the songs of the street musicians weave their sweet melody into your soul. A good time will be had by all and while you certainly can't shop during the tour....well, there's all that food to walk off, shopping to be done and you might as well know how to get there and of course-Dinner to plan.

Patti and Gary Wiles
Innkeepers At Cumberland Falls Bed and Breakfast Inn
Your Asheville Bed and Breakfast

Monday, April 26, 2010

Gardens Gorgeous in Asheville

Today, I spent some time in my very favorite place in our Asheville Bed and Breakfast garden. It occurred to me that those of you visiting from other places might enjoy knowing what is blooming and free for the looking right about now in Asheville.

The trees and bushes are glorious. We have our beloved double Cherry tree, our lilac and Crabapple in the back saying goodbye to our Weeping Cherry just bidding its last blooms goodbye.
In our front garden both azaleas, bright red and pink, are stunning.

The daffodils are bidding us adieu and their able replacements, the tulips, are bringing up the rear with their friendly competition grape muscari.

The creeping phlox, all colors ably represented, are in their glory and hidden but coming on strong are the perennial poppies that in, by the size of their blooms, about 8-10 days will be a force to be reckoned with.

The hostas are shooting up with vim and vigor....Well, upon further inspection of some of the shoots; the bunnies are the ones that appear to be exhibiting their fair share of vigor.... likely from all the early hosta shoots they have chewed up. Guess they needed a snack. Live and let live and all that jazz.

In both the front and back of the property the Japanese Maples are furling out their leaves with innocence and trust that a late freeze will not wreak havoc upon their tender shoots as it did last year. I have my fingers crossed as our last freeze date here in Asheville is May 10.

Meanwhile, in the "still in small pots" category I have incubating and ready to bring here my old friends the marigolds, zinnia, teddy bear sun flowers, cosmos, African daisies and more. Now, think I should tell you this is my second foray into the seed department. This year, man I was with it and got all my seeds planted the last week of March. I was so excited with my timeliness. Put the flats out in those handy, dandy black individual receptacles and covered them with those "oh so neat" clear plastic lids and I was "good to go." Well, naturally March left like the lion she was and that very night we had a healthy blow and also some unexpected rainfall and yes, you guessed it, off came those little clear plastic lids. I even had small rocks on top of them but the wind was persistent.
Watered and talked to those little seeds from March 27 through April 18 when even the hopeful among us had to cry "uncle" and realize that in all likelihood the rain had rinsed out my tiny seeds right down the driveway.
We gardeners though, always basically a hopeful lot, understand the pitfalls of Mother Nature and I replanted again Sunday. It was a sunny, lovely day, not a drip of rain or wind expected but I did not give that sneaky Mother Nature a chance to derail my seeds again and tucked them safely in my garage for the night. Once burned, twice shy!

Patti and Gary Wiles

Patti and Gary Wiles
Innkeepers At Cumberland Falls Bed and Breakfast Inn
Your Asheville Bed and Breakfast

Public Transportation in Asheville

I normally do not rant in public but recently a decision was made in our fair city of Asheville, N.C. that I find just bad policy. Commencing in July 2010, voted on by our city council, the cost public transportation in Asheville will be increased. It is not that there is no understanding of the fiscal woes present in the city of Asheville. We share the fate of many cities across the United States in that our bills exceed our current resources. It is also becoming clear to me and many others that this economy has wreaked havoc on most citizens. It would seem evident that the less fiscal ease one had before the economy plummeted the less of a drop one has to the abyss of real poverty.

Asheville has public transportation available for those who chose to use it. Reasons for the use of public transportation by the general population vary but some of those would include.
1. Economics 2. A greener way to live 3. Provides community jobs
4. Allows access to areas of the city not within walking distance for those not having the availability of POV's. 4. May provide elders with driving issues who remain ambulatory more autonomy for both their daily activities and social interactions.

The use of this form of transportation benefits everyone users and non-users alike. The roads are less used and hence require fewer repairs, fuel is more economically utilized & the air is cleaner for everyone. It is an activity that should be encouraged, facilitated and rewarded.

This is a time of significant financial hardships for everyone. Rampant job loss and unemployment along with concurrent health insurance loss bring about a downward spiral that can seem endless. A choice to land the burden of our budget shortage on the backs of those who can least afford to bear it is just reckless. I have a private car. I do not at this time in my life rely on public transportation so I do not have a dog in this fight but truly it seems wrong to raise rates on folks that are choosing this option for whatever reason it was chosen. Public transportation is something that is a "better choice." To chose this segment of the population to shoulder the burden of coming up with more money for this city is wrong. Perhaps the taxing of a more luxurious pursuit than getting to work, grocery shopping in the absence of a car, taking a child to the Dr. or just choosing to be more mindful of our planet should be rewarded and the costs of getting more money into the city of Asheville might be more fairly distributed to other less worthy pursuits.

Many of the employees we have hired through the years here at our Asheville Bed and Breakfast, did not have cars and wanted to work. Despite not having a car, they sought employment and arrived on time for work with our city system. I applaud them.

Patti and Gary Wiles
Innkeepers At Cumberland Falls Bed and Breakfast Inn
Your Asheville Bed and Breakfast

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Mother's Day

In the year of our Lord 2010 we will all celebrate Mother's Day on Sunday, May 9. This year will be the first Mother's Day I will not be celebrating with my Mother. She died on January 19 this year after a very long illness.

My Mother and I had been through much of our lives together as even in adulthood I lived close enough to make "going home" a frequent event. Obviously, she had been through all of mine but I, only the part of hers that provided her the title: Mother.

I was going to begin this sentence by stating that we had always been close. That is true but not the entirety of the truth. My father had been out of our picture for many, many years & I noted early on the differences that develop in a family unit in which a woman is at the helm. In my growing up years most of my friends, nearly all of them in fact, were in man led families which is likely the reason for my early awareness of the differences in my own sphere. My Mom was my parent.

I was raised by a woman of titan standards. My Mother worked to support my brother and me in a small market down the street from our apartment building in Bayside, N.Y. making approximately 58% of the salary her male counterparts were enjoying. She was 26 years old at that time. It was years before I understood that though she soldiered on, she was likely exhausted, fearful, stressed out and lacking in hope for much of this time. To me, she was just Mommy. My Mommy.

I never gave thought to her youth, that she might really have liked a new dress or hat (how she loved hats, fashion maven that she was.) I never processed the enormous burden she must have felt in the sole care of two children when she was little more than a girl herself. I never thought her lonely for adult companionship though likely she was. I, like most children, devoted the largest part of every day to my Burger King mentality of "having it my way." My Mother was the strongest woman I have ever known. She pressed on through difficult moments in her life in which lesser people would have given up. She never lost faith in life and even in love. Certainly, she never lost faith in me. When, after 28 years of working as a nurse, my husband and I became the owners and innkeepers of At Cumberland Falls Bed and Breakfast Inn I was more scared than I had ever been in my life. My Mother’s faith in my ability to do this (or anything) never wavered.

For all our time together, I never knew the woman I called Mother until circumstances in her life forced that strength away and revealed the struggling woman beneath it all. It was in that fragile state I began to discover my Mother.
Strange that--- that strength can be crippling. It enables those that love us to perceive we are in control all the time and that nothing is too much for us to bear.

My Nana once said that sapling trees were, in some conditions, stronger than their much larger and older contemporaries. They have resilience she said. I was very young at that time and part of the "women games" of my youth were word games. We got a new word every day. Resilience in Webster says:"the power or ability to return to the original form or position, etc., after being bent, compressed or stretched." My Mother, one day began to die from the effects of resilience. A peculiar diagnosis one thinks but not upon further inspection.
In being able to recover from the adversity of legions of assaults one can trick themselves and others into false thoughts. Beliefs that no amount unkind words can cause real, lasting damage, that no situation can be too much to bear, that no force in this universe can land the death blow. Why titans don't die. They prevail!

In caring for the woman I called Mommy I looked far beyond the woman I had always known and got to know the girl she was once & the woman she later became. I learned about her life, her experiences as a person; someone other than my parent. Many things, totally unfathomable both as her child and later as we interacted as adults became clearer. Our journey together; my Mother as the patient and I, her nurse, lasted slightly over 8 years in the most acute aspect of it but it provided me with information and understanding of her actions, behaviors, thoughts and feelings I did not possess before. In short, she was, as we all are, an accumulation of her walk through this world and this was revealed in both the bitter and most often, in the sublime. I am blessed to have been given the time and circumstances enabling me to know this woman as someone other than my Mom. She was so much more than just that one parcel of her life and the wisdom I was so often the benefit of was earned with her very soul.

Mother's Day presents an opportunity to acknowledge the person who gave you life. My wish for all of you for your Mother's day is that you take the time to know the woman who is your Mother not just in that one confining role but as the myriad of parts she really is. In the knowing of her fears, her dreams, her thoughts, her values and her life you may find more than you ever thought. You may find she is not so very different from you. You may find the only person on the face of this earth who wants more for you than for herself and wishes you the sun, the moon and the stars every day you live. You may find a woman who loves you with a strength you cannot even imagine unless you have a child of your own. You may find your heart held in the gentlest hands that will ever touch it again because you began under her own.

Patti and Gary Wiles

Monday, April 19, 2010

Asheville's Best- Outdoor Adventure Activity

It has been a very long winter here in Asheville, N.C. and everyone in our city has a healthy dose of cabin fever. Around the breakfast table here at the inn, all present Sunday morning seem to be of the same mind no matter where they hail from.

As I was serving our glorious morning breakfast of Banana Macadamia Pancakes topped with candied nuts, there was discussion regarding "new availabilities" in the outdoor venue scene. Since all of us seem to be most interested in getting outdoors, allow me to supply one more opportunity to "trip the light fantastic-amid the treetops." These new, sour like our avian friends tours basically provide a birdseye view of white oaks, frazier magnolias, flame azaleas, thick mountain laurel and and rhododendron. Additionally, the tour provides excellent information about the natural environment, animals inhabiting it as well as some local area lore.

American Zipline Canopy Tours: Ok, perhaps the word canopy has taken you aback and you think I am sending you bed shopping. Not so fast. It is canopy- as in tree and is Western North Carolina's newest, cutting edge adventure designed for speed and not for the faint of heart.

Navitat Canopy Adventures: Soar like and eagle can be more than the words to a song. Moody Cove, a 240 acre wilderness setting houses some of the largest tree specimens in the area and is also the flagship location of Bonsai Design Inc. none other than America's leading zipline canopy tour designer.

So, take a spin amid the trees suspended only by cables, harnesses and a healthy dose of faith...take in some never before seen sights, enhance your appreciation of Mother nature and her wonders and lastly view a tree from a completely different perspective. It might even change yours!

Patti and Gary Wiles

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Asheville's Best White Water Rafting-River Seven

The Pigeon River courses through the Great Smoky Mountains National Park in Western North Carolina and East Tennessee rising above the town of Canton, N.C. providing a perfect rafting experience for families. There is both an upper section and a lower section. The upper being reserved for the more experienced rafters while the lower river provides an easy and relaxed ride for both children and seniors alike. I mentioned in earlier blogs my consideration of two rivers for my next ride. The Pigeon is River Number 2.

The Upper has five miles of intermediate Class III and Class IV rapids which provides a fun, fast-paced whitewater run through rapids named Powerhouse, Big Rock, Roller Coaster, Lost Guide, and Chubbie Checker.
The name harkens from the passenger pigeon and avian friend now extinct whose migration path once included the river valley of North Carolina.

Some troubles for the Pigeon river were noted in the aftermath of Hurricanes Frances and Ivan which visited the region in September 2004 forever changing the character of the river. The rains from the storm were seemingly never-ending; the resulting flooding was severe. Canton and Clyde were underwater in area resulting in severe damage to both towns. Upstream, these water heights were never seen before causing the catastrophic collapse of Interstate 40 actually capsizing into the river gorge due to the waters force. The guard rails were just hanging on flailing about with nothing anchoring them. Trees became dislodged when the soil holding them was eroded in response to the flow of the water. The entire shoulder of the road and a good part of the dirt was claimed by the water. Trust me, for many businesses that are affected by this closure as well as our own Bed and Breakfast, we are all hopeful this issue will be resolved shortly.

Regardless of this temporary 1-40 issue, while I might put the Pigeon on hold until I-40 is repaired and can be accessed-I would do an immediate re-install as soon as I-40 allows. I assure you that you will have a lot of company as this river offers a white water mind game that will blow yours.

Patti and Gary Wiles

Friday, April 9, 2010

Asheville's Best White Water Rafting-River Six

Oh! Oh! Ocoee! This river is a tributary of the Hiawassee River and runs through the Cherokee National Forest in Southeast Tennessee. The flow is controlled by the Tennessee Valley Authority and their utilization of three dams. These dams are responsible for 67,000 kilowatts of electricity.

It is the middle section of this river that is largely known for its white water rafting providing some 20 named rapids. A rousing five miles of hair raising, nearly continual Class three and Class four raging rapids will have you feeling fully alive for sure.

In fact, the upper portion of this river boasts Olympic fame. In the 1996 Summer games, a one mile course provided the locale for Whitewater Slalom events. It's big, yet closely spaced rapids makes it a crowd favorite. Not surprisingly, Canoe magazine listed this river as "one of the 10 best Whitewater rivers in the entire country." Offering quick and consistent challenges and variety keeps this river a "must do" for the whitewater sect.

During the time we have owned At Cumberland Falls Bed and Breakfast Inn the notoriety of this river has grown and some summer guests actually come to our area to experience the Ocoee. A provision with most rafting companies, actually all that I know about in the area, places a minimum age of 12 years to raft this river.
This trip is offered in both half days and full ones.

Patti and Gary Wiles

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Asheville's Best White Water Rafting-River Five

Ah, the mighty Nolichucky! Located only 45 minutes from Asheville, the Nolichucky is a challenging river but offers in return the most incredible backdrop of scenery. The changing water levels of this free flowing river create for rafters a different trip nearly every time. Different locations of this fine river should provide an excellent experience for every member of your party. The young children will enjoy the lower Noli while the Nolichucky River Gorge will provide the razor sharp adventure the more experienced rafters in your group may desire. Why inside the "Quarter Mile Rapid" the participant will be treated to both Class 3 and Class 4 rapids within the span of only 1/4 mile. This river is rated as one of the "top rafting adventures on the entire east coast."

This river begins on the slopes of our beloved Mt. Mitchell about 45 minutes North on the Blue Ridge Parkway offering its climbers the highest vantage point on the entire east coast. Moving forward it moves through North Carolina and Tennessee offering up a riotous gorge with cliffs towering straight up and tucked amid all this the rhododendrons in the months of June and July make it a magical kingdom just waiting for discovery. Though this trip is offered both as half day and full day, it's hard to get the feel of your new kingdom in only half a day. Splurge.

I already mentioned that I rafted the Nantahala River for my 50th birthday. My birthday is coming up again soon. For my 58th birthday I am investigating this river and one more river. So, as soon as I finish feeding my guests on what I hope will be a bright,shiny and warm day full of promise, we will leave and head for the white water. Wish me luck. I mean, how often can a girl get a whole kingdom for her birthday?

Patti and Gary Wiles

Friday, April 2, 2010

Asheville's Best White Water Rafting-River Four

The Nantahala River I have personally experienced. The main attraction for me was its reputation for being a good starter experience for all that white water rafting has to offer. On the morning of my 50th birthday, after fixing breakfast for our guests, we left to celebrate my birth. I joined some 250,000 rafters that raft this river yearly. I can truly say, save my required ongoing efforts in keeping my sister (positioned at the stem of the boat) seated restricting her efforts to observe the water over the top of the boat)it was total fun.

This Western North Carolina's river reputation as a good place to start is accurate. It provides the novice with a wonderful, exciting opportunity to observe all the vistas of the river surrounds without scaring them so effectively they do not wish to experience this activity again.
A rambling relaxing ride though Class 2 rapids before the "big enchilada" at the end Natahala Falls(Class 3). The company we rafted with took pictures of that event and let me tell you-- those are completely hysterical. The looks on those faces I swear is worth the price of admission. Fortunately, folks will usually let you see their pictures because when you are actually in the act of "descending the Nantahala Falls" trust me you are too busy making your own faces. The only thing on your mind is ....Oh God help me! Though this river actually has Class 2-Class 5 rapids (kayakers, after some good rain, are able to put their skill to the test in a place called,"The Horns of God." Most of the general public experience the Class 2-3 portion of the river.

The Nantahala is a dam controlled river and also one of the oldest rivers in the world. Every day, a release from the Nantahala Dam (upstream by about 15 miles) pulls fresh and cool water from the bottom to flow into the river. Even on the hottest of summer days this river provides a cool respite. The water has taken centuries to carve the canyon in which it flows. The force of that water has created a canyon so deep that there are areas that see only limited amounts of sunlight each day.
Our native Cherokees used this fact to provide the name Nantahala: Land of the noon-day sun.

So, plan a Birthday trip and raft our Nantahala. I promise it won't blend in with all those other birthday celebrations. The Nantahala will make it a stand out event.

Patti and Gary Wiles