Friday, December 31, 2010

At Cumberland Falls Bed and Breakfast Inn Tree Throwdown

One of the most unhappy and tedious jobs of the Christmas season is definitively taking down the Christmas tree. For those of you following the Food Network, I am sure you are familiar with the term throw-down and At Cumberland Falls Bed and Breakfast Inn Tree Throwdown will be in warp speed on January 3, 2011.

Now, as opposed to the Food Network where basically the job is to achieve a great cuisine done on a specific food in the time allotted...Here, it will be getting all the ornaments off our inn Christmas tree, carefully cleaning and preserving each ornament, wrapping it neatly in tissue paper and gently placing it in the Christmas box until next year.

Every year, we have great plans for this to occur as a "well orchestrated event" despite the fact that this nearly never happens.
We plan this endeavor as not only an organized take down and carefully put away event but also an assessment of future needs. For example such questions as the following should be asked, answered and scribed down for the following Christmas so that the "put up" is a well oiled machine.

THE PLAN:

1. Do all the lights work?

2. Do we have enough fuses?

3. How is the garland faring and does it need to be replaced?

4. Remove all the hangers from said ornaments before packing away and place them in the "remembered place" so that we don't have to empty the entire box next year to hang the ornaments.

5. Do we have enough "in good condition" ornaments or should we hit the sales and secure some for next year?

6. How many "Christmas containing boxes" are there at the end of the "take down" operation? Accuracy here would enable us to actually appear with all of them at the inn at the same time on the "throw down" day.

7. Do we have a sufficient number of extension cords of the right length, color and polarity? If so, they are to be placed at the top of (rather than at the bottom) of one of boxes.



REALITY BITES:

1. The lights, carefully tested, have taken a powder during their Christmas break leaving US not exactly illumined.

2. We did have enough fuses, the notes say we did... but no one knows where they are.

3. Garland remains ok.

4. According to "the plan" there are no ornament hangers left on the ornaments. Why those dirty little creepers can wreak havoc on the surface of the beautiful ornaments if left on... rendering them ugly and scarred for next years debut.
However, not according to the plan....they are no where to be seen and have evidently hidden themselves quite thoroughly as they remain resistant to detection until in desperation and not being able to continue the tree decoration we go to the store to buy others. Then the sneaky little creepers res-surface.

5. The ornaments look a bit less ok than they did in optimistic light of the New Year when they were last seen.

6. Now, some families take all the mystery out of this hunt by buying those neat little red and green plastic bins so that Christmas items are readily apparent. But hey folks those little bins, even on sale, are pricey.
Not as pricey as driving back and forth from your house to the inn four times with gas at more than $3.00/gallon .... but pricey nonetheless!

7. The extension cords are chameleons too. Why, they have either elongated or shrunk and they have also decided the color they were before was lack luster because that has changed for some of them as well. I say some because the rest have defected entirely and are not even present for the roll call.

Thank God for the reliability of the Garland. Why without that, a girl might just give us the entire idea of a plan!!!


Patti and Gary Wiles, Innkeepers 

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Auld Lang Syne

As the clock strikes midnight heralding in 2011 folks in Asheville will join most of the English speaking countries of the world in a poignant rendition of Auld Lang Syne. Many of those engaging in correct or mostly muddled interpretations of this song have little understanding of it's meaning, what the real lyrics are or the reasons it has been adopted as the "national anthem" of New Year's Eve.
The song is a reasonably rough adaptation of a poem written by a Scot, Robert Burns, in 1788.
The words Auld Lang Syne mean, old long since or for old time's sake. It was introduced to the fame it now enjoys in the place of your Innkeeper's birth, New York City in 1929 by Guy Lombardo at a party where he first played it.

There are as many uses for this song as you can imagine. It is used as a song of friendship, as a song of parting at the end of a gathering and even as a funeral song in South Korea. The general feeling of those hearing this ballad is one of sadness, loss and longing but it's initial intention was merely to re-connect and recall memories of times gone by and possibly reflect on their meaning in one's life. Clearly, this could, in most of us engender feelings of loss as we explore our lives, loss of people we have loved and are gone from us, roads not taken that we now deem were better choices. Sometimes, it is easier to long for choices one did not make and paths deemed, at the time of decision making, not good paths to choose..... than to actually own and choose to make the most of the path we did decide to choose. Likely, we are much less in awareness of the potential problems we did not ever encounter, allowing them to basque in a rosy and easier to manage glow, than the ones we did. This is likely only perceptual rather than reality based thinking.

Now, on a more cheery note, here is the first verse of this song so that you do not have to muddle your way through it anymore. So, take on the leadership role in your party...Belt it out in the sure and certain knowledge these are the words. You can do it! Blaze a new Trail! Sing a new song! Be your own Alpha Dog!

A word of warning: Should you find you have over indulged in drinks of the alcoholic persuasion...Perhaps, it would be best if you choose to turn over the task of leading this rousing, yet angst producing song to a less intoxicated member of your party. I know it would be in your best interest to turn over the car keys...Lest you are really in mourning about the path NOW taken having injured yourself or injured or killed another because that would be something even a "cup of kindness" cannot fix.

Auld Lang Syne

Should old acquaintance be forgot and never brought to mind?
Should old acquaintance be forgot, and old times since?


Chorus:
For auld lang syne, my dear, for old lang syne. We'll take a cup of kindness yet, for auld lang syne.

Happy, Healthy and Awesome New Year 2011

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

Sunday, December 26, 2010

At Cumberland Falls Bed and Breakfast Inn... Calling All Locals

Well, the hubbub of the holidays have passed. We are Merry Christmas-ed and Happy New Year-ed Out and now we are back to the grind of living. Not quite...At Cumberland Falls Bed and Breakfast Inn is...Calling All Locals. Asheville area locals that is.

Recently, we were part of the Historic Montford House Tour. The tour is offered yearly and offers an opportunity for local and visitor alike to access historic properties they have curiosity about and enjoy the architecture and glory of these fine homes the likes of which will never be seen again in this country due to the completely superior(and consequently, more expensive) mode of construction. We had the opportunity to meet many of our neighbors and many potential friends as they viewed our home. One couple from Hendersonville made what we considered a wonderful suggestion! They felt it might be a mutually advantageous opportunity that we use our less busy months to offer the area locals an opportunity to enjoy a stay at their local bed and breakfasts on kind of a staycation. The definition of this is a vacation spent at home or nearby. We heard you and we concur.

So, in response to this great idea from a Montford Tour of Homes couple, here is our:

See Asheville First Staycation Special:

Stay any two nights mid-week At Cumberland Falls Bed and Breakfast Inn and you will find yourself completely rejuvenated, ready to emerge and engage with 2011. This package tends to all aspects of your complete relaxation including 2-One hour massages offered in the privacy of your room and a platter of our special hand dipped Chocolate Strawberries. Guaranteed to please and find you ready, willing and able to start off the first months of the year bright eyed and happy. Pricing begins at:$370.00. Additional evening room charges can be added at 20% discount.
Call for details, must be phone reservation, cannot be combined with any other offer and based on availability. Special begins: January 3,2011 and good only on reservations booked after 12/26/2010.



Patti and Gary Wiles
Innkeepers

New Year 2011 in Asheville NC

Hi ho, Hi ho, it's in to a New Year we go. New Year 2011 in Asheville NC will present all kinds of opportunities for rockin in a brand New Year.

Music is the life's blood of Asheville. From the sounds of "the blues" as only Stella Blues can play them to the Jazz scene Tressa's is noted for.... to the sweet sounds of the street musicians flooding the town with anything from blue grass to soul. More interested in the big band sound...We've got that covered too.

Find yourself in an intimate,luxurious bed and breakfast inn close to downtown where all the action is enjoying any one of the myriad of fine to eclectic dining venues Asheville is so noted for. Wake up to a three course gourmet breakfast starting your New Year off with a moment of "together time." Hit the road in search of a perfect antique or piece of art, perfect for your personal style found in any number of art galleries Asheville offers as your first purchase of 2011. If you'd rather, seek the trail in your first efforts at defining 2011 as a year of more healthy pursuits incorporated in your lifestyle. Your innkeeper will have plenty of suggestions in keeping with your fitness level as to where to best seek the beauty Western North Carolina claims as her own.

Now, let's say you have determined that 2011 is going to be a year to break down personal barriers, seek new challenges and frontiers. Asheville has a new guest experience for those who dare. Ziplining through the trees will most certainly allow you to seek the flora and fauna adventure in a very up close and personal manner. Now, that would surely be a New Year to remember. Asheville is your New Year 2011 destination. We hope to see you here whether strolling the galleries, seeing a play or zipping through tree tops. Surprise yourself in Asheville and find a new you in the New Year.



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

Friday, December 24, 2010

Christmas Eve At Cumberland Falls Bed and Breakfast Inn

We have officially owned At Cumberland Falls Bed and Breakfast Inn for 11 1/2 years as of a few days ago.

Innkeeping is an awesome endeavor offering much in the way of learning experiences. Personal & professional growth, organizational skills, interpersonal relationship skill enhancement, home repair, negotiation skills, friendship with folks from far away places sharing their time, lives and memories with you, opportunities for enhancing your culinary and floral skills, mastering administrative and computer skills and so much more. Nearly every day a new person or persons enters your life making the term six degrees of separation more than just something you've heard about.

In just this comparatively small amount of time, we have hosted guests born on the same day we are, married on the same date, having a child of the same name born on the same day as my daughter and other bizarre serendipities. All this to say that folks with whom, upon initial contact, might seem as though you would have little in common consistently surprise you with the the fact that the story of them is not so very unlike the story of you. As the old saying goes,"that which joins us is far greater than that which separates us."

So, today, while the Inn is closed while we pause to celebrate our 40th anniversary, Christmas Eve and Christmas Day we are grateful to all those guests,now known to us, by the passing through the doors of our home and into our lives. We thank you for memories of shared stories, laughter generated by commonalities and the chaos all of us share on occasion and the gift of your friendship and patronage through the years.

It has been both our privilege and our pleasure. We look forward to seeing you in the New Year of 2011 as we welcome back old friends into our inn while awaiting opportunities of camaraderie & fellowship with new ones.

Patti and Gary Wiles, Innkeepers 

Monday, December 20, 2010

Christmas Gift Certificate

Just a quick note for those of you with aching backs, tired feet and desperation in your souls still desperately searching for "just the right thing." Not to put you under stress but you have only 5 days left. A bit of a procrastinator aren't you?
Not only will you have to find it, wrap it and deliver it to the post office in a frantic frenzy but likely after all that....It will arrive late; never good. We can save you from all that!

A gift certificate for At Cumberland Falls Bed and Breakfast Inn in Asheville, North Carolina is something that you will not have to tromp back to the mall jeopardizing your very life and limb because it is not the right color or size to return. It is not something that you thought they would love but they already have 5 of them. It is not something that the receiver, unbeknownst to you, will subtly slip to a "re-gifter" stack for passing on to someone (anyone) else next year.

Everyone will be delighted with a few days away, in a very fun town, in Asheville's premier inn where they will be pampered, tended to, concierged effectively and dine like queens and kings. No worries about scheduling their time because we make all that so easy by just allowing the recipient of the gift certificate be totally in charge of choosing their own time when it is convenient and they will truly be able to relax. What could be better or easier than that? You know the answer is: Nothing. The hardest job the recipient of your gift has is picking up the phone to call our toll free number or choosing their own casually elegant room at our home.

What are you waiting for?


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

Thursday, December 16, 2010

New Year's Eve in Asheville NC

Though it seems quite unbelievable it is soon to be 2011! The elders all my life have told me that you know you are getting older when the passage of time is quick and you can't believe that it is almost New Year's Eve in Asheville NC and that is about where I am sitting now. It seems like we just hailed in 2010.

Accomplishments here at the Inn include face lifts for two of our rooms:
Garden Vista and The Natural Mystic. New, gorgeous king beds and associated bedding adorn them and to say it all looks lovely is the understatement. New couch for the living room in soft mahogany colored leather, new chairs for Sunshine and Daydream, work on the pond to include a new pump creating more water flow to the water feature and on and on.

Some new recipes tried and received to widespread accolades. Yea!
Also, a new reservation service creating ease in online reservations for our guests (not without a few glitches) for sure.

So, now, to get back to the point. To all our previous guests and certainly to any newcomers.... we'd love to host you for New Year's Eve At Cumberland Falls Bed and Breakfast Inn. We will be having some cool hors d'oeuvres, Asheville will offer a plethora of music venues as it always does from jazz to contra and everything in between, the Asheville vibe will be in full swing and a good time is sure to be had by all. Also, this year the New Year's eve holiday falls on a Friday. So, try and creep out of work, arrive Thursday to get the lay of the land, party like it's 2011 on Friday, see Asheville in the daylight on Saturday possibly taking in the last of Candlelight at Biltmore Estate, rest up from all this excitement on Sunday & wake up Monday to one of our famous At Cumberland Falls Bed and Breakfast Inn gourmet feasts and begin the year with a bang. What could be better?

Patti and Gary Wiles, Innkeepers 

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Best Christmas Gift They've Ever Gotten

No matter who you talk to at this time of the year, they are desperately trying to locate the "best Christmas gift they've ever gotten" for someone they love Regretfully, finding this gift can be fraught with problems.

It might be the wrong color, God forbid, the wrong size and all the problems that can call forth, the style could be unsuitable for the recipient or they could just hate it generically despite the fact that much thought and effort has been dedicated to the purchase.

The pressure is on but honestly, it doesn't have to be. When posed the question, "Would you rather have an article of clothing or a lovely excursion out of town in an elegant location, enjoying your life or spending time with a loved one relaxing and enjoying each others company?"...Who do you think is going to choose the sweater?

Most of us love Christmas and the holiday season. However, we also report being additionally taxed, time crunched , overwhelmed and just exhausted from the extra responsibilities associated with this season.

Give someone you love a Gift Certificate to our Asheville Bed and Breakfast. It will be the right gift, the right size, just the style they like and it always fits. It has flexibility in that they can choose the room, the date of stay at their convenience and it is always appreciated.

You don't have to fight the herds at the mall or suffer for hours wandering through all the stores in the place trying to find just the right thing when you really don't even have a clue what the "right thing" is no less the wished for color, size or style. A phone call to our inn is the easiest thing in the world and I assure you.....with a gift like that... your imitation of Santa Claus will be very,very bright!


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

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Asheville Bed and Breakfast Appetizer

Doing this Blog on the fly today as we continue to ready for the Montford Tour of Homes Saturday, December 11 in support of our historic community.

A guest of ours At Cumberland Falls Bed and Breakfast Inn gave it to me stating that she uses it every single year because this particular appetizer has all the qualities she requires in an appetizer.

As you might imagine, before I even asked about the components of the recipe, her criteria intrigued me so I asked what they were.

Her response:

Had to be easy
Had to be fast
Had to be delicious
Had to be portable
Had to be visually attractive

The upshot is that she gave me the recipe. I have made it. It does all she said it did and more and I think that you will enjoy both eating it and serving it.

More after the Tour of Homes. Christmas is a stellar time of the year and it is a flurry of "to do's" as well. Hope to see you at the Montford Tour of Homes. Let me know if you make this appetizer and if you liked it.

The Goat, the Nuts and the Sparkle

Get a log of goat cheese of a size suitable for your guest number.
Allow it to be out of the refrigerator just a bit until the outside of the log can get a bit tacky.

Shelled Pistachio nuts, Salted and chopped in chunky sizes.
Craisins chopped Fine

Mix just these two items together and roll the Goat Cheese log in it until well coated. Voila! If you are not serving immediately, return to refrigerator wrapped in plastic wrap.

It looks like Christmas and I assure you, it is yummy. Now, all this beautiful cheese preparation will be for naught if it is not accompanied by a glorious cracker. Carr water crackers are awesome as are Vinta or Champagne crackers.
Make like a goat and munch happily!


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

Monday, December 6, 2010

Show the World a Better Place to Stay

We have owned At Cumberland Falls Bed and Breakfast Inn for very close to 12 years. In that time, the changes that have occurred in accommodations, guest preferences and tastes and even the guest themselves are exponential.

One thing has stood out as a constant.
When our guests are visiting our place and it is the very first bed and breakfast they have stayed in... They are, without exception, blown away...In a good way!
When they are so impressed and in the mood to talk, considering this a learning opportunity, I use their revelation to sit down with them if they have time to chat.

If this was their first bed and breakfast experience--- Why?
What reason caused them to choose hotels as their primary lodging option in the past?
What was the primary factor that caused them not to pursue accommodations at a bed and breakfast?

I have gotten some spectacular answers to these queries.

The response as to why this was the first time they chose to stay in a bed and breakfast for their accommodation need was nearly always the same. They simply hadn't thought about this option. They have a lot of company as it is estimated that approximately 5% of the traveling public choose bed and breakfasts.

When asked what caused them to choose hotels as their primary option in the past the responses were mixed:

1.Drove till they decided to stop and it (the hotel) was right there on the interstate or turnpike indicating kind of a destination mentality rather than the entire vacation (including stops along the way) being the vacation.

2. Didn't have to reserve ahead of time.

3. They've always used hotels. (Refluxing to, THEY SIMPLY HADN'T THOUGHT ABOUT IT.)

The last question I asked regarding potential concerns about choosing a bed and breakfast basically was designed only to gain information from the meager 5% of the traveling public that at least had the term: bed and breakfast in their mindset at all.
Factors that might have deterred them from seeking out a bed and breakfast for their lodging needs.
Now, that question sparked the most startling and amazing answers of all.

They expressed concerns of varying types:

Much discussion regarding their potential innkeepers e.g. rude, intrusive, too personal, too needy or requiring personal interaction they might not desire.

Fear of outdated properties fraught with doilies, oppressive curtains and falling down bathrooms in disrepair coupled with no hot water.

Antiquated furnishings/Dirty

Annoying pets belonging to owners.

Dealing with pressures of being social with a group of unknown folks at breakfast.

After hearing some of these responses.... I was the one who was blown away.

I will not tell you that none of their concerns have merit but what I will tell you is that most of them are likely to be more an issue in a hotel environment than in a bed and breakfast.

We'll begin with the innkeeper issue. Most innkeepers are inn owners. They have every possible vested interest in meeting their guests every expectation. As a group of people they spend a great deal of time doing just that. Most of these folks come from business or the professions (many of them from the helping professions) and you will likely find them very intuitive and insightful regarding each guest's need. That is to say they are observant, mindful people who generally don't have to be hit over the head with a brick to know if privacy, quiet, and less conversation is desired by their guest. They want what you want. Further, they understand that their efforts on behalf of your total guest experience being positive will encourage bed and breakfasts being your choice the next time. Maybe even their bed and breakfast. I always tell my guests that a Repeat Guest is my favorite and most highly prized compliment. It is is referendum on your job and everyone enjoys a good review.

While I have often experienced tattered furnishing, stains on furniture, rugs and bedding the ORIGIN of which I try very hard not to contemplate... in hotel settings.... This is not the case in any bed and breakfast I have ever booked. We do not have hundreds of rooms; even those of us managing larger than average bed and breakfasts. We have comparatively small numbers so each room is decorated and maintained to present well to be a showcase in fact. Our business depends on that and our guests expect it.
We are not able to be cloaked in corporate anonymity but rather we stand with our few "well dressed rooms" awaiting your inspection and prepared to deliver guest enjoyment.

For those not of the "pet loving genre" or those who have beloved pets of their own at home but wish not to have to interact with owner pets- We have many pet free properties. Even those innkeepers owning pets often restrict them to owner areas unless their presence is specifically requested by a guest.
For those of you traveling with your beloved furry friends...We'll we've got that covered in spades too with many Pet Friendly inns not only allowing pets but welcoming them as part of your family.

For those not wishing large guest interaction for the morning meal, most inns accommodate for that in one fashion or another either by staggered seating times or other means of making it all ok for our guests. Guests are our focus in the bed and breakfast industry.

Stay tuned to learn more about A Better Way to Stay in our Next Blog!

Hoping this finds your Thanksgiving having been wonderful, your Christmas Tree up and ready and all moving full steam ahead to a most blessed Christmas!









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

Friday, December 3, 2010

Enjoy The Nutcracker Suite while Staying in an Asheville Bed and Breakfast

Christmas is a magical time of year. Part of the magic for me, always more important than shopping, is the musical, theatrical and visual magic that is always on display for the season. The local churches usually do their bit with either Handel's Messiah or some other more eclectic Christmas rendition. It is Asheville after all and since purchasing our Asheville bed and Breakfast nearly 12 years ago, we have availed ourselves of very interesting holiday events like Christmas music from Africa and a poetry reading from a visiting Russian poetess in the year we first came to Asheville. It isn't everywhere on the planet that type of holiday fare is available.

This year on the holiday docket we will once again find our inner child as we experience the magic of Clara, her nutcracker doll and the march of the toy soldiers as The Ukranian Ballet entralls us with The Nutcracker Suite.
We'd love to share the magic with you and hope the evening of December 21 finds you at the Diana Wortham Theater for an evening of excellence and Christmas magic. Merry almost Christmas!

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