Wednesday, May 30, 2012

The Blanket

Every mother keeps mementos of their children's childhood.  These things offer tangible proof that this now very grown being before you began life cradled in your body under your heart and the memories surrounding these objects wield palpable emotion.  Tara's woobie...For those of you unfamiliar with the term, it means blanket.  This blanket was a yellow fluff of complete softness encircled with yellow satin hand stitched with love.  This gift was proffered by my mother's friend, Emily Tetrault, whom we did not see often and now offers her hearty rich laugh to the delight of  the angels having left this old world many years ago.  I know that Emily, not really a frequent guest in my daughters life, had no clue of the importance this blanket was to play in the life of its recipient.

My daughter was enchanted with the blanket from the moment her soft pink fingers sought their first tentative grazings over its soft surface.  This was a keeper her non-verbal self said as she quickly grabbed hold of it and went to sleep.

This yellow square soldiered on with my girl as she became a toddler and moved into middle school- always a constant presence. Middle school offered the usual complaints of friendships gone awry, just yesterday vital and now some small spat morphs  into a complex blame game of who said what to whom and hurt their feelings.  Everyone with a girl in middle school knows the drill.  Still, the woobie persevered offering the consolation of its soft presence without a voice. 

Woobie could be counted on to help even with the pain of physical injury -clung to with the tenacity and strength reserved only for life boats during one of those sinking ship stories.  Once, having stepped on a rather large piece of glass  on our pool deck  my daughter was perfectly willing to submit to having this foreign object removed and the wound cleaned by her own personal nurse, her Mom, but first, Woobs would have to be brought to the operative theater (AKA-our bathroom.) Frankly, that day, I could have used Woobs myself but watching the courage, acceptance and steel resolve frame my child's eyes as she held it burying her face in it,  I simply proceeded with the unpleasant task wishing I had a woobie of my own.

High school began and with it came puppy love, test stress & the ever encroaching future etc.  Having already witnessed an entire childhood, a bit more faded, a bit tattered from the love it had rendered and received and washed with less frequency as each washing might prove its undoing- woobie still remained in the room silent, present, accepting comforting and cherished.

Recently, my friend of a lifetime's daughter died unexpectedly and very young.  Never lost for words, I found they wouldn't come. Nothing seemed right, every syllable insufficient and too pale for the job.  I called her one day and she was engaged in putting away some of her daughters belongings. Seeing them about the first thing every morning proved a task that was too rough and raw for grief so complete and new.  She began talking about her daughter's doll collection and then moved on to the her daughter's blanket.  I had to stop myself from saying...."Don't put it away. It might prove a silent, steadfast friend when words won't change anything and  can be wrong no matter how well intentioned they are meant and you just need comfort." 

Happy Birthday Tara!  May woobie and all of her kind live long and prosper in the hearts of children and adults alike.

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

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Asheville Half Marathon

Locals and tourists alike walk Asheville.  Part of the charm of the local bed and breakfasts is that many of them are within walking distance of downtown.  Further, the downtown area is small enough to be intimately & much more thoroughly explored on foot than could ever be possible in a car.

Some olocals and visitors will be taking walking to the next level and they Run Asheville.  This year, we'll offer the Half Marathon event taking place on September 15, which just coincidentally...yeah sure... is also the date of BrewFest here in Asheville.  The 1/2 Mar will be sponsored by Mission Health Systems. The start off will begin at the Citizen-Times on O'Henry.  The tried and true course of North Asheville, West Asheville and the scenic French Broad River will still be run. The Half Marathon of 2012 will be topped out at 1,650 runners.

2013 will see the addition of the Full Marathon to the already celebrated Half Marathon as Asheville will be kicking it up a notch, according to this race's director Greg Duff. 
I am observing that Asheville is trying to capitalize on the fact that Asheville is already a destination by putting trendy and fun events spaced out along the calendar year to fully define the already present interest in our area. With the addition of So Con and now the enhancement of this marathon, a destination can become an experience, exactly what Greg Duff had in mind. The Half Marathon (at 13.1 miles)  is the fastest growing run in the country and clearly Asheville has begun the pursuit of cities capitalizing on this trend like New York and Boston.  Proceeds will benefit the health and wellness of our entire community as those funds funnel through local charities.

If you're interested, please visit

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

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Asheville Contemporary Dance Theatre,Things to do in Asheville

Asheville is Art.  From substantive art to performance art, the opportunities for seeking cultural exposure in Asheville are endless  and on May 27th at 3:00 p.m., the Sunday afternoon performance of Sleeping Beauty ballet will take to the stage of BeBe Theatre. 

This fairytale by French author, Charles Perrault, also responsible for the tales Beauty and The Beast and Puss and Boots knows his way around fairy tales.  All the usual suspects of: chivalry, betrayal, malevolent queen, foxy prince and lovely maiden princess are to be found in full regalia as this story plays out.  Not to worry about the the evil queen folks....You see this is a fairy tale and unlike the harsh reality of the world in which we all make our journey...In fairy tales, good always triumphs.  This alone is reason enough to attend.  When coupled with lavishly beautiful costumes, an intimately sized stage, creatively original choreography, a live string quartet and the best price around for an afternoon of theatre at $17-Suffice to say, it simply can't be beat!

We are happy to secure tickets for guests here at our Asheville North Carolina Bed and Breakfast.  The theatre is located in our downtown area and is within walking distance.  After this fun matinee, enjoy a trek through our vibrant downtown finding just the dinner palate pleaser you will most enjoy before heading back home to the inn. 

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

Friday, May 18, 2012

Memorial Day Getaway

 Memorial Day has long been considered the "blast off" of the summertime so your Asheville Bed and Breakfast wants to help begin your very best summer with a perfectly selected Memorial Day Getaway.

Arrival:  Friday, May 25 2012.  Hopefully, the powers that be at your job take pity sakes on both you and themselves by clearing the decks  a bit early enabling everyone to hit the ground running on this fine weekend.
This would possibly allow you to be on the road and make the 3:00 p.m. Check in at our premier Asheville North Carolina Bed and Breakfast.  After a treat and glass of frosty beverage...first stop....Asheville's Red Trolley.  Always a great place to start when arriving in a new city for a great overview. The drivers serve up a plethora of interesting tid bits about all things Asheville as the tour moves through the various areas of our city.  When it returns to Asheville's Chamber of Commerce parking lot,  that is a great time to take to the streets of downtown Asheville. Take in the night view of our fair city and  enjoy tapping your feet to the night music of buskers adorning the streets.  Seeking a lovely evening meal.  No worries!  Selections could include Circle in the Square downtown location (the other on Merrimon) for a NY state of mind SLICE, Kathmandu Nepalese Restaurant, Chai Pani, Indian Street food or Market Place for some highbrow, locally sourced and very delicious American continental and that is just to name a few.
It is very likely that as you emerge outside  from whatever dining establishment you have sated your culinary muse in...the sounds of the Asheville Drum Circle will be on display. Follow your ears to Pritchard Park and join visitor and local alike as the drums beat out a magic all their own weaving the beat into everyone present from toddler to elder. After your first night in Asheville, not to worry you are only a 6 block return walk from downtown to your Asheville B&B.
Feeling like a ride instead.  Taxi's about $5-6 and you are home! Need a midnight snack.  We got you convered. Nightie night!

Saturday, May 26 2012.  Wake up will not prove a hardship as our bed and breakfast delight our guests with an awesomely fresh, locally sourced, three course gourmet breakfast served by glow of candlelight.  This much anticipated guest event is a crowd favorite and some of our regulars are known to entertain themselves before coming downstairs by attempting to discern elements of the breakfast solely by the aromas drifting up to their room.  Some enjoy startling success.
One of the uniquely beautiful delights of Asheville, figuring larger than life  in  the attraction folks have to Western North Carolina, is the exquisite natural beauty of this region.  So once breakfast is completed, we want to send guests to places that showcase this beauty.  One of our favorites is Dupont Forest.  A short 45 minutes from the inn but light years removed from urban, this gorgeous place waits to unveil all its attributes to visitors.  From the strength of the glistening waterfalls which you will hear before they become visually apparent to the vast vistas able to be viewed from lookouts along the way-Dupont Forest is a highlight for Gary and I.   It is a place we visit every time we can break away from our responsibilities at the inn.  By late afternoon, you may wish to return to the inn for some of our fabulous treats which can be enjoyed on either the front or back porch or the comfortable wooden seating throughout our garden perfect for whiling away a bit of time while making plans for dinner.  We'd love to help you find just the right place for the appetite we know you worked up a the park.  After dinner, take thee to The LAB (Lexington Avenue Bar-you guessed it....It's on Lexington Avenue.)  Thurs-Fri-Sat will usually find some local band mixing it up there while you find a glass of vino or house drink special that finishes up the night to perfection.  Want to put on your boogie shoes?  Try Tressa's or Stella Blues or explore your  extemporaneous side and dance in the street like a local. 

Sunday, May 27, 2012.  One of the glories of any federal  holiday is the American tradition or getting Monday off.  Yea and God Bless the USA!  Breakfast will again be the mornings highlight and will provide all the fuel you need  for the day ahead.  We can't quit now for goodness sake,  it's your last day.
Biltmore Estate is the largest privately owned estate on the east coast and it would be sad to leave our surrounds without exploring the gardens of the picturesque 8,000 acres and the French Chateau that is an architectural monument particularly in view of it's date of construction- 1895.  Suffice to say that lo these 13 years later and as many times as I have seen this edifice coming into view; it never fails to impress.
Between your excursion through the house and even a modicum garden tour plan to dedicate a minimum of 4-5 hours to this endeavor.  You could have lunch or dinner there too if the mood and the appetite strike.
Should you finish the Estate in time, cruise on over to the Asheville Chamber of Commerce where you could meet up with our friend, Wes, at Moving Sidewalk. He would be delighted to take you on a very specialized Asheville tour...the Segway.  Don't be daunted, after a bit of instruction, you'll be tooling around the parking lot a the chamber like a professional and then the real tour starts.  Downtown, the Montford Historic District or Riverside Historic Cemetery are customarily offered on the tour.

Dinner time can find you seeking another of Asheville's culinary expositions or back at Biltmore for a visit to one of the four restaurants they have on property or in Biltmore Village where The Fig Bistro, Rezzaz or Corner Kitchen might be right up your alley.  Asheville has nearly anything you would want to eat and your innkeepers can give you the skinny on the best of the bunch based on your personal preferences. 

This itinerary is but one of so many that could be changed and adapted as needed to fit your personality and lifestyle to a T.  Our Asheville NC Bed and Breakfast really is a Better Way to Stay.  We hope you'll give it a try and we know it will be your most memorable  Memorial Day ever.  I haven't even gotten to White Water Rafting, the zipline tour at Navitat, Horseback riding or hiking with the bears.....Oops, was that my outside voice?

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

Monday, May 14, 2012

Strawberry Salsa Recipe from At Cumberland Falls Bed and Breakfast Inn

The first of the beloved and much anticipated strawberries are in and they are completely awesome.  I will be sending out a few recipes using these compact red and oh so delicious treats.  Low fat, great source of folate and also Potassium...even better source of manganese, fiber and Vitamin C.
They are so tasty and portable to boot so are great hiking and traveling food.

A guest provided this wonderful  Strawberry Salsa Recipe from At Cumberland Falls Bed and Breakfast Inn.
I have made it and served it on the side for egg dishes served here at the inn.  The crowd was wowed.
Hope you enjoy it all summer long as a healthy, delectable side dish.  I also think it would be awesome with either fish or pork.

Strawberry Salsa

2 lbs. of strawberries
1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and diced
1/2 orange and 1/2 red pepper
1/2-3/4 cup of red onion
1 ripe tomato seeded and petite diced
cilantro to taste...about 1/3 cup
Juice of one lime
2 T. of first press olive oil
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. sugar

The only downside of this recipe is that if prepared ahead the product will not be as good.  Ideally, not longer than one hour out as the strawberries will begin to be less firm and delicious if prepped earlier.
As some of you might have noticed on the recipe sites folks make alterations in ingredients or amounts rendering a superior product.  If any of you experiment  and come up with anything better, please drop me a note.

Here I will list what I added to the recipe.  I think it subtle but perfect compliment.

1 T. of great quality balsamic vinegar.

You see what you think!

Happy Summertime! Bon Appetit!

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

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Asheville's Shindig on the Green

It is absolutely vacation planning time and in the sure and certain knowledge that plans are being made to come to Asheville, N.C. I wanted to get the information out a bit early on Asheville's Shindig on the Green.  The first weekend is June 30 and it progresses forward into the summer to include the following dates:  July: 7,14,21 and August 11, 18,25 with the last gathering as fall begins its steady sweep into the mountains on September 1, 2012. 

For those of you with any kind of music appreciation in our souls please find your way to our brand spanking new Pack Square Park, Roger McQuire Green.  The acts that "take to the stage" will also have a brand new stage upon which to showcase their talents-our Bascom Lamar Lunsford named in honor of the gentleman who with much hard work and dedication founded the longest continually running Mountain Dance and Folk Festival. 

The richness and ever soul stirring cultural sounds reveal the heart of the Southern Appalachian Mountains and the wealth of history in which those tunes found both their inspiration and voice.  Beginning in 1967 every person responsible for this festival from the musicians to the dancers, storytellers and set up folk commit to this event in the spirit of volunteerism.

They invite you to jam in with them.  Bring your instrument, family, friends and come hungry as Okie Dokies Smokehouse and The Hop will be this year's vendors.

Time:  Long about until 10:00 p.m.

Parking:  You can walk to this event if you are staying At Cumberland Falls Bed and Breakfast Inn avoiding the pitfalls of parking entirely or park free in any available space downtown after 6:00 p.m.
or you can park in the College Street Parking Deck, (yup, you guessed it...It's on College Street-$1 per hour.

Cost:  Free.  Now is that awesome...or What?  Over the years, hundreds of thousands of locals, regionals, and world travelers have thought so too. 

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

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Mother's Day, The Perfect Gift

In the not too distant past at this time of the year, I was frantically in search of Mother's Day, The Perfect Gift.  That all changed in January of 2010. After a long illness my Mom died and Mother's Day as it always was left with her.  My Mother was my only parent. The concept of her not being in my life at any point was never real to me though from a logical perspective, it should have been.  Love is not logical.  It cannot be defined with words, though maybe by works.  I am not sure of that yet.  It just is & I believe it lives forever. 

I have had many blessings in my life. Like most of us as we live our daily lives many of those go unnoticed, under appreciated and are largely ignored as just part of our belief that these blessings are just "our lives."
My Mom was not what I would call a warm fuzzy.  She could be brutal in her evaluations of you, your life, your decisions, and coupled with this was the very unfortunate fact that she was often spot on in her analysis of the situation- All the better to eat you with.

That said, though no one wants to admit it in these very politically correct times, when calling a spade a spade is often frowned upon in fear of damaging the party receiving these tidings- A bit of truth can prove transformative.

Certainly, to continue to tell someone you are supposed to love and whose welfare you are in charge of that they are making stellar, well thought out decisions regarding everything in their lives when there is palpable evidence to the contrary is really not all that loving.  It sets up  an expectation that moving forward in your life your best will never be demanded, that every person you encounter will say everything they wish to communicate to you in just the right manner lest your tender feeling be hurt and that just you-exactly as you enough.

God loves us unconditionally but I think most of us have been alive long enough to realize that as an emotion, love is very conditional. It may be based on our looks & how we dress, it may leave if age anything else alters those attributes, it may be based on the good behavior others expect from us and may be lost if we no longer feel capable of or become disinterested in supplying that behavior, friendships of a lifetime can, under the right circumstances, evaporate in seconds. Till death do we part can become a thing of the past if a life altering illness crops up or expectations of what "happily ever after" really means changes.

Life is scary.  It demands our best. Phoning it in was never condoned by my Mom.  She demanded your very best at all times. Nothing else would do.  If your job or yourself was not up to par, she had no problems telling you that and expected immediate efforts to improve.  I was intimidated by those demands feeling that if I failed to live up to them, the love I counted on and needed could be withdrawn.

Who knew that what she modeled is simply what the deal is?  That isn't pretty - but it is real.
I'm not sure if I ever gave her the perfect gift  It is what all mothers want for their children and work toward as they raise them enjoying  more or less success-their good lives, well lived, using every single attribute they have to create their very best life. I'm still a work in progress Mom, I hope you'll like the final edition as I would like to honor the investment, hard work, sacrifice and reality you brought to the job.

Patti and Gary Wiles,  Innkeepers 

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Civility, A thing of the Past?

 There is a great deal of discussion these days about whether civility, is a thing of the past?  By definition, civility could be described as behavioral mores that have been adapted by and adhered to by members of society to advance orderly, respectful and ethical behavior thereby keeping society functional and intact. 

It would seem more and more  we are not playing by these rules any longer.  Those we have elected to serve us in our Congress shout at our Commander-In-Chief while he is giving a public address to our nation, another U.S.  president had to duck a flying shoe directed right at at his head, his safety more a testament to his good reflexes than civil behavior.  Music award acceptance speeches are disrupted by someone else barging on to the stage and initiating a tirade right in the middle of the award speech.  Disputes once settled by cool heads, diplomacy, judgement and calm speak are now settled with a punch knocking out teeth. Everything, it seems, is a free for all.

I own a bed and breakfast in Asheville North Carolina.  One day, while serving breakfast to our guests, shortly after our purchasing the property, I was juggling more than a few plates during this process when a very young woman at the table said rather abruptly, "I want some water."  No problem with that.  I continued serving the rest of our guests & offered my assurance that I would have it to her just in a minute as soon as I dropped off everyone's plate.  To be clear, this girl was not in distress, had not choked, was not coughing and was merely thirsty.  I feel qualified to evalutate this as I am a Registered nurse.  Moving to our Sunroom to finish dropping off the plates 3 feet away I hear her say, "NOW." All my guests were as shocked as I was.   It is a small thing by comparison to demonstrations of road rage, violence, and disrespect to a country in the form of disrespecting it's head of state- but perhaps it is not a thing apart really.

My Nana, a very wise woman having led a challenging life but always an illustration of grace under pressure gave me a bit of instruction in my coming up years. She said that completely irrespective of any one else's behavior, your must keep your own code of conduct and that the moral compass guiding your actions is solely your own.  In other words, it is not reactionary.  It is controlled and is a measure of yourself completely in your control and ideally should have nothing to do with the behavior of others giving them all the power and leaving you simply a flag flapping in the wind responsive to whatever way the wind blows.

Finding your moral and behavioral compass is not easy and sometimes requires trials, tribulations and the living of life to really make your own. Keeping it is even harder to do but as the author, Os Guinness, states so effectively in his recent novel, The Case for Civility And Why Our Future Depends On It the result of our failure to seek civility and keep it sacrosanct could create a society leaving us all at risk for chaos.

To finish the earlier story about the young woman's demand for water.  I found myself enraged and wanted to respond by ignoring her request for a time or calling her on the behavior but I sought and found the quiet but insistent voice of my Nana saying clearly, "You are responsible for your own behavior. Any breach you make in response is not someone else's fault.  It is yours."  Quietly, in measured reaction, in keeping with courtesy, I went to the sink, filled the glass and smiling I handed it to her.  She did  not apologize but she did not look at me either.  Likely, retaliation or anger might have felt better to me but it might not have proved as powerful a tool in creating change and thought. 

Patti and Gary Wiles, Innkeepers