Sunday, May 30, 2010

Home Repair - When it rains; it pours!

Those of you owning homes know that disasters run in herds like elephants. Homes are seductive places providing their occupants with an area of calm, peace, fun, great food and provide all of us a sea of calm in the hurricane that can sometimes be life. That is, unless things get dicey.
For about 10 days now we have had "issues" here At Cumberland Falls Bed and Breakfast Inn. Beginning late last week during the honeymoon of a very lovely couple the t.v. in our Natural Mystic Room took a powder. Ok, off to the t.v. replacing store for a new flatscreen. They were delighted...We were off on another expedition of, "Can you figure out your audio-visual devices better than a fifth grader?" The cost of replacement is enough of a downer without adding the installation process as well.
Despite our trepidation, the installation proceeded flawlessly in the hands of my intrepid husband, the couple was estatic and we were relieved.
Fastforward 2 days.

Right at the front door of our  inn sits a delightful Pineapple fountain. It has been in service for more than 13 years despite being knocked over by local teenagers, allowing it to freeze (hey, we didn't know that was a boo-boo.) We are from Florida after all and it was not part of the in-service education from the previous owner. Well, at least we don't think it was. That was almost 11 years ago and at that time we were being assaulted with so much information who can remember? At first, we believed we only had a pump issue so off to the Home Depot we go to buy the pump. Unfortunately, during the installation of the pump which requires lifting up the actual pineapple part of the fountain...well lets say... the base of the pineapple is not in it's hey day.

So, once again intrepid husband seeks to repair it with a fiberglass patch. Progressing nicely don't you know. Ok, pump is on, pineapple top firmly back in place and just like that a patch that had been placed in the side of the bowl just falls out. Yup, falls right out. Now, more fiberglass must be used and hydraulic cement. That hydraulic cement stuff is the "big guns" for sure but of course that bowl holds the water flowing out of the top of the pineapple. Holds the water is the key phrase here folks.
Finally, miraculously in lieu of it's advanced age, at the end of the successful project my man is dancing around like he's in heaven that this repair is complete and now we can move on. Not so fast.

The day is rounding up and I decide to begin the setting of the table in our Sunroom here at the inn. I gather the tablecloth and sashay in there. Dead ahead on the table in the Sunroom is not one but two puddles of water on the top of our lovely glass top table. Looks like we're not yet through around here and I sure wish I didn't have to be the one to break the news as Gary is still nursing the knee he dropped the Pineapple on during it's replacement into the fountain. It goes without saying that the roof over the Sunroom is likely not going to be a hoped for project.

Right after breakfast Gary leads the charge to the roof top and blessedly, yes blessedly, it is only a flashing issue. He loosens one row of the flashing and inserts the new,shiny, handy, dandy flashing and Voila and thank God, no more leaking. At least, that's the game plan. So, I am sure there is another reason why I am walking so slowly into the Sunroom.

Well, I'd finish this Blog except that while I was deadheading the pansies in the bed right next to the pond today I began to think that in lieu of the fact that we have had virtually no rain it seems a bit boggy there. Please, for God's Sake someone tell me it's not the pond.

Patti and Gary Wiles, Innkeepers 

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Asheville Is Beer City Supreme in 2010

This is just the "short of it" Blog. Asheville, North Carolina is reigning supreme over beer in 2010 having been chosen again as Beer City USA

Last year, we tied with Portland,Oregon but this year, well, we beat 'em by a landslide!
Asheville brew is well crafted beer and one need look no further than the comments by those living in Portland to see that most of them agree too.

Much hard work went into winning this title against a city with way more breweries than we have and a population that well exceeds ours but Asheville has heart as well as beer. Social networking, Facebook and Tweets rang strong through our city engaging the votes of not only our residents but those who visit our fair city and have experienced our beer.

The craft beer scene here began 16 years ago with the opening of Barley's, followed by Highland Brewing. Many other breweries have followed each pursuing excellence one blend at a time.

All the beer officianado's that visit At Cumberland Falls Bed and Breakfast Inn say that it is the best beer they have ever tasted and further that there are so many blends to choose from that there is something "golden" for any beer drinker no matter what type of brew they enjoy.

Plan a visit and check it out for yourself! There's a foamy delight with your name on it waiting for you.

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

Monday, May 24, 2010

Asheville's Beer City

Beer is becoming a "hot buzz" in our fair Asheville, North Carolina. Unbelievably enough, in 2009 our little hamlet of Asheville with a whopping 72,000 population actually tied with the widely touted beer town of Portland, Oregon one of America's best known crafted beer cities. Amazing feat with our whopping 8 breweries; nine, if you count Pisgah in Black Mountain. Many of the visitors we host At Cumberland Falls Bed and Breakfast Inn are more than a little interested in all aspects of beer from the process involved in making it, ingredients used and certainly, its consumption.

In the voting process counting more than 16,000 votes, both Asheville and Portland tied with 6,000 votes each. Evidently, what we lack in numbers we made up for in blazing, unbridled enthusiasm.

In continuation of this thunder... on June 5, 2010 Asheville will host a new spring fest aptly named Beer City. Tickets for the annual Brewgrass event, a long time favorite fest in Asheville, went on sale in May and were sold out in one day.

If you hurry, you can still snag the $35 tickets for Beer City Asheville at any of the nine (count ‘em) local breweries, or at Barley’s Taproom or Bruisin’ Ales. But if you want to go, act fast. Only 3500 tickets will be sold and the other festivals have sold out well in advance.

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

Friday, May 21, 2010

Memorial Day-Just the Facts

Memorial Day in Asheville is less than two weeks away and in order to send my guests for a rolicking good time for that weekend I sought to become familiar with the "fun things" they could do when they leave our  inn after breakfast. I began my search. Then, I came to another thought. Is Memorial Day really about the celebrations? Perhaps the celebrations, the long weekend, the kick off to the summertime has concealed the real meaning of Memorial Day and it is to that reminder this blog will be dedicated.

In the United States of America this federal holiday takes place on the last Monday in May. Initially known as Decoration Day, the purpose of this holiday is in celebration of the U.S. men and women who died in military service for our country.

Began first to honor Union soldiers who died during the American Civil War and after World War 1, it was expanded to include those who died in any war or military action.

The official birthplace of Memorial Day celebrations is Waterloo, New York observing the holiday on May 5, 1868 for the first time as Decoration Day. Each subsequent year, General John Murray and General Logan, both distinguished citizens of Waterloo, N.Y., called for the day to be observed and hence were directly responsible for the spread of this holiday to the entire nation.

The South was reticent to adopt this celebration due to lingering attitudes toward the Union Army, which this holiday was commemorating and failed to acknowledge this holiday until after World War 1. While first used in 1882, the name, Memorial Day, did not attain popular status until after World War II. It was not declared the official name of the holiday by Federal law until 1967. President Nixon made it a national holiday in 1971.

This year, while you are happily kicking off your summer whereever that may find you thanking God for the three day weekend you are lucky to enjoy living free in our blessed country honor A National Moment of Remembrance which takes place at 3:00 p.m. In that silence remember the teenager, sister, son, brother, daughter, mother and more titles than I can possibly count, who all served under the common title of soldier. Use that silence to honor the sacrifice of their lives and join me in a fervent prayer for the day when the Joint Chiefs of Staff can be joined on Capitol hill with the Department of Peace.

Patti and Gary Wiles, Innkeepers 

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Facebook Foibles

Early this morning before I began to create breakfast At Cumberland Falls Bed and Breakfast Inn, I was listening to the radio while gently coming into the morning with a delicious cup of coffee.

The radio announcer was commiserating with caller regarding the trouble she had brought down on her head with a Facebook posting she had penned concerning her employer. In the aftermath of her employer reading her post, this woman has been "invited not to return to work." She seemed unclear as to whether this was a permanent decision or a cooling off period her boss needed before he could "face her again" after having reading her post. She assured the listeners that the post was taken out of context.

It seems that, much to her chagrin, the mother of one of her son's friends at school had made a copy of her posting and forwarded it to her boss. She seemed at a loss to explain the reasons for this action. She stated she had "friended" the boy's Mom on her Facebook Page though she really did not know her well.

I am not of the Facebook generation at my nearly 58 years of age. Quite honestly I have no understanding of the allure that this social interaction brings to its fan base. Further, as in the case described above, I see serious immediate and long term, occasionally of the very sticky nature problems associated with this type of social networking.

This woman is now unemployed. She is unemployed due to conversation with those she "friended" (her employer, clearly not one of the friends). Clearly, she felt free to share details of her life and work that were not well received by her employer with these people. I have seen much more sensitive data, with far greater implication than this, shared on Facebook pages.

Let's be honest. Though in those teen angst years we believe these are our "friends for life" many of us don't remain in contact with those we graduated high school with. I would say most of us, save for our very closest friends, don't even remain in contact with those with whom we graduated college. Time moves on, we mature, our geography as well as our personal paths diverge, we get married, have families, they have families. Time is finite. Most of us have a difficult time juggling our social agenda between working, responsibilities to our immediate families e.g. and just getting on with the business of living in real time.

As we enter 2010, the demographics of Facebook users break out as follows: 40% of Facebook users are under the age of 25
60% are 26 or older.
20% are 45 are older. ... I note the final decreasing number as the member population ages.

I get that. These people have been alive long enough to know that "real relationships" of long duration function best with "face time." Those with whom we have a vital thread and truly love deserve our time and we deserve the gift of that too. People don't live forever.
Folks that you knew in high school have lived whole lives of time in which you have not been a part. Having no knowledge of what that time has brought and what effect it has had on them, their lives and how they morphed into the people they are today may give you pause about sharing very personal parts of your life, your spouses life and certainly your childrens lives with who they are today. You don't have any idea who that person is currently and your vacuum of insight could prove a problem for you.

Friend is defined by Webster as: a person attached to another by feelings of affection or personal regard.

I for one, do not believe this definition or any real definition of this word can be achieved in snippets of discussion about one's life.
A life and the person describing it is a much more complex form than this venue could possibly enhance understanding of.
I will liken it to the difference between a diamond and a shard of glass. As long as one understands and appreciates the difference.... a good outcome would be no harm/no foul. A failure to understand the difference could cause you to settle for so much less. In the end, the context is important. It is the substance of our lives. It is the weave of our existence and to relay it in small, fractioned parts is to diminish and distort it into meaningless, vacuous one liners.

Patti and Gary Wiles, Innkeepers 

Brevard Music Center-An Asheville Area Treasure

Every year in the warmth of the summer, four hundred of the best music students in the world flock to Brevard, North Carolina where they benefit from an ambitious program of classes, lessons and rehearsals. The result of which is the emergence of a remarkable musical community.

Though Brevard is not located in Asheville, North Carolina all the surrounding residents of this small town benefit greatly from its presence.
So do many of the guests in our Asheville Bed and Breakfast, At Cumberland Falls Bed and Breakfast Inn. Enriched by music they have enjoyed there, it remains a great regional gift to our area.

Here is a preview of just some of the magic that the 2010 Season at Brevard Music Center will provide:

June 19, 2010: Rave On! Presenting the music of Buddy Holly
June 25, 2010: Lockhart and von Stade in concert
July 29, 2010: An Evening with Ricky Skaggs named "Entertainer of the Year" by the Country Music Association
August 8, 2010 Effron and Shaham in an all-Brahms Program inclusive of the Violin Concerto in D major and Symphone No. 3.

Music is a vehicle to the soul.
Were it not for music, we might in these days say, the Beautiful is dead. ~Benjamin Disraeli

Take a moment to go to their website above. They have something for everyone and I promise it will be a night to remember.

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

Thursday, May 13, 2010

The Asheville Antiques Fair Asheville

Things are gearing up for the summer here at our Asheville Bed and Breakfast and I want to keep you all in the loop. If you are looking for a fun, informative and oh so intersting day out, I have your first August weekend well in hand.

The Asheville Antiques Show is one of the longest running antique fairs in the entire Southeast currently in its 64 year. The first year of this show was 1946. It has blossomed into one of the best attended and most prestigious affairs of its kind.

This year, the fair will be held on Friday, August 6, Saturday, August 7 from 10:00 a.m.-6:00 p.m. and finishing up the season Sunday, August 8th from 12 p.m.-5:00 p.m.
It will, as is the custom, be held at the Asheville Civic Center hosting more than 60 vendors as well as an Heirloom Road Show providing expert, spot on evaluations of your personal antiques. It also offers some valuable lectures on a variety of intersting subjects pertinent to antiques. Parking will be available next to the Civic Center in Civic Center Parking Deck.

This fair is owned and managed by The Vetust Study Club, Inc and has been responsible to date for the distribution of $167,000 to various community charities and in concert awarding more than $328,000 to the conservation, restoration and preservation of local historic projects. In total this fair has been responsible for $495,000 to the community of Asheville.

So, plan to attend. Not only will you have a wonderful time, see some cool antiques, learn something you might not know, perhaps enjoy a great lunch and be able to walk it off, but you will also be helping to make a positive difference to the very strained budgets of some great organizations and the work they do. Western Carolina Rescue Ministries, Meals On Wheels, and the Salvation Army to name just a few have all benefited in the past by this very fun community offering. Mark the date, bring your treasures for evaluation and let the games begin.

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

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

Monday, May 10, 2010

Asheville Historic Buildings- Part One

This segment of Blogs regarding Asheville's historic structures is dedicated to Shonet Stiles, a curious and fun Canadian who, with her enquiring mind, has set in motion this segment of At Cumberland Falls Bed and Breakfast Inn blog history.

On a recent morning the above named guest posed some intriguing questions about our elegant and interesting Asheville architecture.
Frankly, I didn't have the answers. I am not alone in my fervent enjoyment of our historic and beautiful downtown area but lacked knowledge of the history of some of those powerful structures and their significance to our town.

Located in Pack Square, The Vance Monument can be found. It was my first subject on the blog of historic buildings/structures in Asheville.
Those of you who have been to Asheville, N.C. will remember this tall spire in the center of downtown, likened to the Washington Monument on a much smaller scale but most of you will not understand its significance. When you do, I believe you will understand why I chose it first.

The Vance Monument takes the name of Zebulon B. Vance, a politician by trade and to his credit a zealous supporter of justice, individual rights, and local government. Acting as North Carolina's governor during the civil war he also served in the U.S. Senate for many years before his death in 1894. Zebulon Vance was what some would call a reluctant rebel. Perfect for Asheville. Anyone who lives here can tell you that the political views found here are as diverse as the population calling it home.

The Vance Monument has been the site of anti-war protests and strong political views of every kind. Ever since that cold winter day in 1897 when a granite cornerstone was laid in honor of a Confederate christian, Zebulon Vance, who took a stand for the Jewish community this monument has become the beacon for the most cherished of First ammendment freedoms: Freedom of Religion.

Famous for his easy rhetoric, one of Vance's most important speeches, "The Scattered Nation" in which he extolls the "the wickedness and the folly of intolerance" also recognizes the intelligence,strong family values and the lack of crime present in the Jewish community. Not politically expedient at the time of its writing, the feelings can be nothing but genuine in view of the fact that at that time there were reportedly less than 500 people of Jewish ethnicity in the entire state.

In celebration of this for more than 100 years, through decades of political unrest of all types-From the KKK years when hooded haters of all Jews, people of color and targeted religious persuasions burned crosses, torched homes and likely more horrible things in other towns of the south---- Asheville's chapter of the United Daughters of the Confederacy teams up with B'nai B'rith, a national and global leader in the fight against anti-semitism to conduct a ceremony at the foot of the Vance Monument on or about May 13 each year in honor of the birthday of Zebulon Vance. The message is tolerance. He took a stand just because it was right; an atypical politician who sought his conscience rather than pander to political gain.

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

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Alfredo to Die For

I believe that after the long wasteland of winter we appear to be heading into a sweltering summer. The forecaster talking heads are discussing the possible La Nina weather pattern. Areas around At Cumberland Falls Bed and Breakfast Inn here in Asheville are reporting record high temperatures and all too soon I believe we will begin to hear as much fussing about the heat as we dedicated to the unseasonable cold.

In the aftermath of all this discussion about the blazing cauldron weather yet to come, I read an article in a nursing journal recommending not eating an over abundance of protein as its processing actually makes your body feel hotter.

Likely, with no one wanting that, you all will enjoy this lovely carbohydrate feast from your neighborhood Asheville Bed and Breakfast Inn
. So, here goes. Bon Appetit!

Alfredo to Die For:

Prepare Pasta. Whatever you like. I generally use 16 oz. of cellentani pasta. It is corkscrew shaped and I think it's pretty.
While that is cooking, prepare your Alfredo Sauce.

Put 2 cups of milk ( I would use at least 2% or the sauce will be very thin) in a saucepan over medium heat. Add a bit of flour,about 1 tsp. as you stir it for thicking. Add 2 T of butter. Add fresh, minced garlic to taste.
Cook down until this begins to thicken. You are only simmering. Do not boil milk mixture. Whisk in 3/4 cup of finely grated Parmesan cheese. 1 T. fresh,finely chopped parsley, 1/4 tsp. salt and hint of nutmeg. Pepper to taste.

Toss sauce with hot pasta. Let stand for 5 minutes and serve.
Coupled with fresh, regionally grown salad greens & a magnificent summer tomato from one of Asheville's excellent tailgate markets it will be a meal not to be missed.

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

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Asheville's Historic Buildings-Part Two

The next installment on historic buildings in Asheville comes under the Love it or Hate It category. Most of our city residents, would likely fall in the later category. With its completion in 1965, the 220 feet tall BB&T Building is the highest building structure in Western North Carolina. It may hold that distinction for much time to come as scads of builders and architects have approached Asheville with other skyscrapers and consistently have been turned down by the residents of Asheville.

It serves a vital purpose for our Asheville Bed and Breakfast in that its height makes it a perfect place from which to issue directions to our guests. Even among the "directionally challenged sect" I have never had a guest say they could not find the BB&T building. At 18 stories of concrete and glass, one would not consider the term inconspicuous as a description.

Designed by architects Whittington and Associates this sky reacher was initially built for Northwestern Bank. Currently, it houses lawyers, financial assets and other business offices. I have always thought that an upscale restaurant could be the ticket for this icon of our vibrant downtown. Offering some of the most exquisite views in the city, being convenient to the entire scope of downtown and known as the most visible signature of Asheville's business district does this often maligned structure proud.

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

Monday, May 3, 2010

Cades Cove-An area Treasure

I have lived in this area for nearly 11 years and I am so excited to report that one of the most verdant, beautiful locations of the area is soon to be re-opened. The Natural beauty of this area of the country is legendary but one of the most awesome places we have visited in this area for sheer wonder and natural beauty is Cades Cove. After buying our B&B, a trip to this pristine location was our first outing and our first exposure to autumn in the mountains. This scenic wonder has been closed undergoing it's first major renovation since 1978. The work began in February of this year and was slowed a bit due to the vile atypical winter Asheville experienced this year. The workers pressed on and even finished ahead of their May time slot.

A bit of history and some lore regarding our beloved Cades Cove.
Initially this property had been a part of the Cherokee Indians domain.
In 1821, William Tipton obtained approx.640 acres and to this he added over 3,000 acres in the Cove and surrounding mountain sides. White settlers followed and soon the entire area was forest cleared and planted in crops, orchards and some left as pasture land. Isolated by the sheer ruggedness of the surrounding mountains it was 3 days to the nearest town & back by horseback.

The noted self reliance of these rugged pioneers was responsible for the continued isolation of some three or four generations that followed the original settlers.
Schooling was actually maintained and confined in the Cove from 1825 until the 1940,s. Church's followed first in 1927 by the Baptists and followed in 1930 by the Methodists.

Daniel D. Foute bought up large parcels of the land in the 1820's and later for the purposes of establishing forges. Due to financial hardships he had to sell much of it but was able to keep 20,000 acres in the Cove and immediate surrounds at the time of his death.

As mentioned earlier, provisions were 3 days away so a major contributor to the mountain diet was corn. Its versatility made it and the mills that rendered it into meal crucial. Small "tub" mills were built on many of the streams of the Cove as precursors to the larger ones to follow such as the John P. Cable Mill.

Though the folks of this region did little actual travel, they kept in touch with people on the outside. It is documented that as early as 1832 a mail route was in operation between Sevierville, Wears Cove, Tuckaleechee Cove, Millers Cove, Cades Cove, Carson Iron Works and Chilhowee. The round trip was accomplished weekly increasing in later years to two times a week. As you might imagine, with the coming of age of automobile roads slowly the isolation of the mountain people came to an end.

Summer, fall, winter and spring each deliver their own magic to the Cove. Fortunately, I don't have to choose as I am blessed to call Asheville my home. So, come ahead,schedule your getaway, bring your tennis shoes and be prepared to be enchanted.

Patti and Gary Wiles