Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Spring Decorating Ideas II, Asheville Bed and Breakfast

In my last blog I discussed some minor additions that can create a WOW factor in decorating your home.  In Spring Decorating Ideas II, Asheville Bed and Breakfast pulls out all the stops to help you get just the look you are hoping for as we usher in our much waited for Spring season.

1.  Our Asheville Bed and Breakfast is a historic property located in the Montford historic district.  Asheville's Historic Society takes very seriously the charge of "keeping it real" and as it was in the period of time our homes were built down to even the color of paint chosen for the exterior of our homes.
That said, all of us can kick it up a notch in doing one very small and economic thing.  Our front doors are vital.  As the eyes are the window to the soul-Front doors matter.  It is integral in that friends and family alike enter our homes through the front door in most homes.
Use that opening effectively.  Don't be so sedate.  Pick an interesting color-Red-Pumpkin-Anything collaborative but fun.   It shines and practically screams-"Welcome."  It is said that people will forget many things but not how you made them feel.  To feel welcome and wanted is the highest compliment we can offer those entering our homes.  A lot of payback for a simple door color.

2.  My mother had a fixation with lampshades believing that when a great lamp and shade work in tandem that they can and often do become more than the sum of their parts.  They soar!  That was driven home to me recently at a consignment store.  Someone had consigned a lamp shade that was home made & had been stellar.k  It appeared to have had a bad encounter with a light bulb likely a bit too close and a small aspect of the very delicate fabric had melted in one spot.  I frequent this consignment shop and I noticed that it had not sold as soon as I entered the housewares area.  I saw another woman staring at it and I knew she was contemplating the same thing I had when I'd first seen it.  "How can I fix this small hole?"  The shade was enchanting.  Make your lighting special, invest in a great shade that can turn a functional, but alas a bit boring lamp into something so much more.   

Patti and Gary Wiles,  Innkeepers 

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Spring Decorating Ideas

Sometimes after "the drearies" of winter- one needs a boost.  Spring has sprung and thought I would just toss a few plum Spring decorating ideas, inn- style out there.

1.  Don't be afraid of a bit of color.  I realize that sometimes elegance and taupe are synonymous terms but color, effectively used, is lively and generates warm and happy feelings in a home and that is never a bad thing in a place where people congregate and call home.

2.  Can't afford, but need, a bathroom makeover?  You are not alone.  It is amazing what a difference small things in a bathroom can render.  A soft, special rug, some pretty colored bottles in a window, a new shower curtain or if a bit more flush in funds but not flush enough for the whole reno...New towel bars and sink fixture can practically make you think the bathroom contractor got lost and found your home instead.  Yea!

3.  Use mirrors to make a small spaces infinitely larger.  Mirrors are one of the best decoration ideas ever.  They can make a room whose measurements are challenging open up right before your very eyes.  They are also particularly alluring when used in "out of the box" ways.  Under your candles at the dinner table or under your flower arrangements, they can create such magic even you won't even believe it and your guests will be wowed.

In the next At Cumberland Falls Bed and Breakfast Inn blog, I will expand on some other ideas that are inexpensive, fun, and will create effects you will be pleased with  at little cost.  Spring is here....Let's live it up

Patti and Gary Wiles, Innkeepers 

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Artisan Cheese in Western North Carolina

Our beloved Asheville is quickly gaining notoriety.  Already known for its lively art scene (both performance and visual), inspired cuisine with multinational representation and yes, craft beer and even moonshine...No one who lives here where farm to table is key was surprised to see Artisan Cheese in Western North Carolina. Ashevillians are food snobs.  They love fresh, organic and well prepared food and they also appreciate both the freshness and safety of locally sourced food.

At latest count there are approximately 15 artisanal-cheese makers plying this craft in Western North Carolina.
Currently, collectively they are beginning to explore the devising of a "cheese  trail" for consumers much like the ones tourists frequent in places already on the map for their cheese..ie Vermont and Wisconsin.
Artisanal cheese makers own their own goats/cows (some do both) or failing this, they use only locally sourced milk.

Some of these cheese makers already accommodate tours to the public.  The Round Mountain Creamery, now in production for their third year, welcomes visitors but need them to call ahead.  Actively involved in goat's milk production, they stand now as the only licensed goat dairy in the state able to sell milk and owner, Linda Seligman revels in educating the public  to all the benifits of locally sourced products.

In 2013, the American Dairy Goat Association will hold its annual meeting in Asheville and all local cheese makers feel this will bring this collection of creative cheese makers together generating further WOM and interest in the cheese trail concept.  If the dairy's that are interested in tours all publish days and times they are available for touring it could very well be something that would peak the interest of visitors and locals alike and moving forward,  Vermont and Wisconsin will not remain the only places that "cheese" is the word.  Asheville is innovation and I am betting that from Fairview's Looking Glass CreamerySpinning Spider Creamery in Marshall,  Heatherlane Farm in Asheville,  Marshsall's,  Three Graces Dairy to all the others in Western North Carolina will, through their collective efforts, soon be spinning their cheese and milk into coin.

Our Asheville Bed and Breakfast often uses these cheeses in morning eggs and dessert offerings and trust me, once you've had them....You too will be on the cheese trail.   

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

Friday, March 16, 2012

Hunger Games Story

The continent of North America as it was before has been destroyed.  The new nation, Panem, consists of a wealthy capitol and is surrounded by 12 districts with far less wealth.  The story opens in District 12, a known coal rich area and home to the story protagonist, Katniss Everdeen.

In retaliation for a rebellion brewing in Panem, actually resulting in the destruction of District 13, a lottery is developed. Functionally, there is a drawing of two names per district from youths and girls age 12-18 as a means of equitable selection for a yearly televised event-The Hunger Games.  Those chosen are called tributes. Once chosen, all tributes are taken to the Capitol, where these games are controlled  in an outdoor arena.   They are to fight until only one tribute remains. 

District 12, as well as all remaining districts conduct their lottery.  The story picks up at the 74th Annual Hunger Games and Primrose Everdeen, Katniss Everdeen's sister, is 12. It is her first year in the lottery.  As the name, Primrose Everdeen is called, Katniss, understanding her sister's youth puts her in even more serious peril, immediately loudly announces that she will take her sister's place.  The youth chosen is the baker's son, Peeta.  Katniss and Peeta know each other from school and Peeta generously offered bread to the Everdeen family when food was so scarce they were starving.

Katniss, Peeta and all the chosen tributes are transported to Capitol where all the treachery, deception, fear, hope, bravery, compassion, friendship, sacrifice, suspense and yes, even love (How could this help but be a great book with all the aforementioned in full play?) are played out in spectacle as The Hunger Games begin. 

So many of our guests have read this book, have expressed interest in knowing more about it and actually seeing the kind of terrain Katniss and Peeta grew up in.  This entire film was done right here in North Carolina with Asheville and surrounds composing much of the movie.  We thought it would be fun to offer tickets to "Walk Like a Katniss Everdeen"-A Survival Game in which we introduce you to area topography we are sure will inspire, challenge and delight you.  We'd love to host your stay while exploring the Asheville area the Hunger Games way.   

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

Monday, March 12, 2012

Hunger Games Filming Locations Movie Release March 23, 2012.

 Reception to the Hunger Games Trilogy seems to be without restraint enticing some fans to make their own site visits.  Some attempting to get up close and personal to Hunger Games Filming Locations, Movie Release March 23, 2012 North Carolina.  Filming took place entirely in the state of North Carolina and was 84 days in production during the Spring and Summer of 2011.

Asheville, Barnardsville, Black Mountain, Cedar Mountain, Charlotte, Concord @ what was the Phillip Morris plant, Hildebrand, Shelby & Raleigh inclusive. 

Henry River Mill Village-An abandoned ghost town now but originally a planned community inclusive of a textile mill, dam, water and fire protection systems as well a a local store to serve their community.  Much can be viewed from the road but this area remains a privately owned community just outside Hildebran NC east of Asheville. This entire village and mill are designates of the North Carolina Study List of the National Register of Historic Places Filming duration was 9 days.

P&M Warehouse in Shelby, NC S.E. of Asheville has now been transformed into a District 12 Replica.

Dupont State Forest:  45 Mins.  S.W. of Asheville.  Filming at Triple Falls and also Hooker Falls Road and Bridal Veil Falls Road. The arena shots in which the tributes chosen fought to the death.  There is only one survivor of The Hunger Games.

Live the Hunger Games by making your own journey to North Carolina.  At Cumberland Falls North Carolina Bed and Breakfast Inn is very centrally located to many of these locations making it a perfect choice to serve as your home base as you explore the territory Katniss, Peeta, Rue and others experienced while fighting for their very survival.  

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

Friday, March 9, 2012

Hunger Games, Author Suzanne Collins

Gaining insight into most things require starting at the beginning as it is only from there an entire understanding can be found.  Hunger Games, Author Suzanne Collins.  Involved in children's television since 1991 another author of children's books, James Proimos became a friend encouraging her own entrance into writing books geared for children.

One day, as her thoughts turned to Alice and Wonderland and the beautiful description of the landscapes and surrounds described in this book- it drove home thoughts of how completely foreign that type of environment would seem to a city kid who would be far more familiar with man holes than rabbit holes. Further, if one fell down that man hole...the last thing they would likely encounter was a tea party.  Thus began, from 2003-2007, her 5 book Underland Chronicles with the first of the series-Gregor the Overlander.

Collin's journey into children's literature begun the first of the Hunger Games Trilogy which was released in 2008.  Muses came in many forms to Suzanne.  Her father had been in the Air Force and as result, she had a better understanding of poverty, the effects of war and starvation.  Secondarily, the Greek mythological story of Theseus and Minotaur and the selection by lottery of seven youths and seven maidens who were sent to be devoured by the Minotaur in sacrifice.  These influences proved powerful and were received with resounding popularity.  Since it's initial release in 2008, it has been translated in 26 languages and can be found in 38 countries all revolving around the book's heroine, Katniss Everdeen.

Stay tuned as we plumb the depths the Hunger Games.    

Patti and Gary Wiles, Innkeepers 

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Hunger Games Filming, Movie Release March 23, 2012, North Carolina

A buzz about anything begins in whispers, privy only to those with a "need to know"and burgeons like a dust storm from there.  The Hunger Games Filming, Movie Release March 23, 2012, North Carolina was no exception. The first inkling our Asheville Bed and Breakfast gleaned  about the sensation that was about to sweep through our area came in the form of  a small, nearly unnoticed article in our local paper, Asheville Citizen- Times, reporting that Gary Ross, director of  Hunger Games  was heading, with cast in tow, to Asheville.  What began as a whispered rumor was soon to morph into full blown Hunger Games Mania.

For those of you as clueless about this book as I was before Asheville and surrounding areas, being similar to the topography described in the book, was selected as a location for this film shoot...Please stay tuned for all the who, what, where and why of this literary sensation.  I'll be blogging it all.

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

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Customer Service

On occasion, something taps such resonance that it plumbs both the experiential and the sense of humor.  Recently, Mallard Fillmore has found that place.  Now, Mr. Tinsley, the writer of Mallard Fillmore since 1991 lives in a place to the right of my own political persuasion but on the issue of customer service I believe that all of America over a certain age can remember a time when:

1.  Dialing a business phone resulted in a real, live person answering at the other end with a voice that at least topically indicated that they were alive and would seek to help you with the reason for your call.

2.  If by some chance the call required knowledge the answerer did not possess, they sought the answer without sending you through another 15 locations while you grew in frustration still with no resolve. 

Two of Mr. Tinsley's most recent submissions dealt with how things are now.  In review, a call is made to a business. After more than a few rings hope rises in our souls as the phone appears to be answered only to be dashed as the outgoing message announces begins very much like this:

We appreciate your call.  We are experiencing a "higher than normal call volume" and this may delay our response.  The approximate wait time is ____.
If you would like to leave your number, one of our representatives will return your call.

The deconstruct: The level of appreciation of your call is dubious.  Higher than normal call volume?  Well, when this is the 4th or 5th call of this kind you have made in an attempt to actually speak to a person. It would indicate that "higher than normal" appears to occur with more regularity than that which is dubbed "normal."  Logically, if the appreciation of your call has not driven a more effective solution than the continual use of this outgoing message, it would follow that the likelihood of anyone being called by a representative after leaving a number would require pathological optimism.

I have often wondered while listening to my husband work through the telephone tree of various companies....Dell, Hewlett Packard and more in his valiant & largely vain attempts to fix some equipment problem associated with running our inn how much productive time in businesses all across our nation is wasted in the pursuit of a real live human capable of rendering assistance.  I assure you, it is considerable.  There are days that are dedicated to "getting assistance" and in a small operation the impact of this is immeasurable.  This due not only to the time involved in the pursuit but also the degree of frustration, disbelief and anger that inevitably accompanies this. 

Mallard Fillmore Number 2 on this issue prompted this blog.  Again resonance, so often elusive- found.  The cartoon idea, finding Mallard on the phone again waiting for the always elusive customer service is meandering through his head that ...if you would like to speak to their customer service representative...It is more than likely that you have never had this experience before.
Another truism.
Once locating a  live human (which is a considerable feat)...It is more than likely that: 1.  This human is the wrong department.  2.  The wrong aspect of their company but no worries...they will now transfer you to the RIGHT ONE. Of course, this requires another 40 years to interface with another live human. 
3. This waiting problem is daunting to be sure but also likely not something  you will have to suffer through at this moment anyway.  It is far  more likely you will be entirely disconnected.  I could go on and on but all of us have been there so that is unnecessary.

It has been said that in the political climate in which we exist commonality is not possible.  Not so, I say.  Certain experiences are so universal that they sound our souls.  If Mr. Tinsley and I can find a place of mutual understanding...I can only believe there is hope.  Congratulations Mr. Tinsley of Mallard Fillmore fame...You have brought hope to the  bridging of the political chasm with the "every humans experience" related in this cartoon and I know the rest of America feels the same.  

Patti and Gary Wiles, Innkeepers