BBOnline Member SINCE 1998
 

At Cumberland Falls Bed and Breakfast Inn

254 Cumberland Avenue, Asheville, North Carolina 28801
Innkeeper(s): Patti & Gary Wiles

Asheville’s Lyric Opera’s Man of La Mancha 8 Jul 2016, 2:17 pm

There are so many true jewels of Asheville from a cultural perspective that singling out one or two feels like telling only part of the story.  We’ve been Asheville residents since 1999 when we pursued a new career path and up and bought an inn.

I did not encounter the multi-focal talents of Asheville’s Lyric Opera in the traditional way.  My Mom spent a bit of time in an Assisted Living Facility. One of the Christmas’s we spent there, the Lyric Opera singers gave their time and energy providing one of the best Christmas shows I’ve ever seen and I am a native N.Y.’er.  It was as magical as the transformation it rendered in the residents as melody weaved into memory transporting the residents to happier, healthier times.

Lyric Opera will again weave magic as Man of La Mancha opens at Diana Wortham Theatre’s stage on July 15, July 16 and final performance at a July 17th matinee. For those unfamiliar with this play’s background, it’s back story takes you back to the Spanish inquisition and relates the story of Cervantes and his manservant as they do their job as tax collectors.  They, like many others of the time, run amuck of the church and are incarcerated.  Stripping Cervantes of everything, included his heart felt manuscript undoes him. With the help of an unlikely ally~ a “lady of the evening”, and engagement with his fellow prisoners,  he finds a creative way way to try to get his manuscript returned.  The music is as heartfelt as the struggle in the story line as each person in the story tries to create the life they desire.  The heart stirring sounds of  Impossible Dream, Dulcinea and Little Bird will warm your heart. Coupled with the unrivaled expertise of the Lyric Opera singers you will be humming these melodies long after leaving the theatre.

Event in Asheville June 25-26, 2016 Family Farm Tour 22 Jun 2016, 12:21 pm

The Appalachian Sustainable Agriculture Project (ASAP) began in the mid 1990’s and frankly, through hard work, creative minds and sincere effort they have come a long way.  Their mission statement is partly to create sustainability in the farm community in the Appalachian area.  In recent times, farms largely engaged in “enlargement” as a strategy for success.  Due to the mountainous topography, the customary methodology of success by growing larger was not really an option for locally owned small farms. That path was closed to them but they simply sought another option to achieve viability.   Relevance could be an option, helping people understand the real connection of the land to their food was an option, seeking to develop close symbiotic relationships with farmer’s and the customers they serve was an option and engaging Asheville’s culinary scene enabling direct buying (farm to table) was an option.  They pursued each and every one of these with vigor.  The result is that Asheville is blessed with the best, freshest, locally sourced produce around creating significant health benefit options for our small city and a population that has been educated to understand that value.

This weekend ASAP is offering a Self Guided tour of locally owned farms willing to open their doors to the public offering a birds-eye view of all the workings of farm life.  Meet farm animals, taste fresh farm products, buy their product, meet the growers who can help you gain a more complete understanding of the growing process.  On this tour you’ll  really get a “behind the scenes” look at all the variant taskings that the people actually growing the food we eat accomplish every single day.

It is one of my very favorite events in Asheville and we try to go every year.  From the goat cheese, to beef, to chickens, rabbit, eggs and more…I guarantee that you will leave the tour knowing much more than you ever did before about farming and the lives of those who grow our food.  You’ll learn about the cyclic nature of farming from planting, to harvesting and production and in that knowledge gain a real appreciation for those working every day to provide fresh produce, meats, eggs and more to our population.

When:  Friday, June 25, 2016 and Saturday, June 26, 2016

Where:  You’ll get a map with your ticket purchas.   From Fairview to Madison County there a participating farms.  You can see them all in the two days or pick the ones that hold the most interest for you. l

Cost:  Tickets Required  One full car load pass is $30 in advance and $40 on the weekend of the tour.  Go to the ASAP Connections.org for more information.

Advice:  There is much for sale on these tours.  Some of the farms are set up to accept credit or debit cards.  Some are not so bring some cash with you.

 

When A Dog Dies 9 Jun 2016, 12:41 pm

My friend of a lifetime, Kim, recently lost her canine friend to a series of health maladies.  The dog had elevated liver enzymes, heart issues that led to fatigue and respiratory deficits and in general terms was just experiencing a very challenging exit from this world.

Kim and I met at the hospital we worked in.  I was labor and delivery and she worked newborn nursery. We bonded over our careers, raising the kids and a host of other similarities including our love of four legged friends.  In later years, we worked in a private practice together sharing work again, more “tales of the children” and as women friends do sharing and bonding over the large and small events in our lives.

My child was older than her kids and when the time came, as it eventually does for all Mom’s, for my daughter to spread her wings and leave my nest it was the most difficult of things for me to adjust to.  I’d been a Mom since I was 20.  The termination of that job I’d done my entire life requiring such love, constancy, diligence, caring, sharing and overwhelming management left me bereft and a bit at loose ends.

One of my very astute young patients noticed my less than chipper altered state and immediately hatched a fix for that.  Her Mother’s dog said she, had just had puppies in Tampa and she was going there this weekend.  She was bringing me a puppy to rescue me from the doldrums.  I immediately told her that I so appreciated her kindness but that this job at the office was one of 3 jobs I currently had.  I would have to find another coping mechanism as there was no way I had time for a dog.

Fast forward to Monday and patient Stephanie appears at the office with said dog. I see her with in in the waiting room and send my friend Kim to tell her that I did mention NOT to bring the dog.  She is to relate that I am still with patients but saw the puppy and I cannot possibly take a dog but THANK YOU SO MUCH.  I continue seeing my patients for the following hour to finish my day when Kim comes back looking decidedly  stealthy.  She is clearly hiding something.  You guessed it.

I said, “You were supposed to tell her why I could not take this puppy.  You were supposed to tell her how little free time I have.  She was supposed to take the dog with her when she left.  Why have you still got the dog?”  She then pulls the apricot poodle fluff ball from behind her lab coat and plaintively says, “Look at her.  Look how cute she is.  How was I supposed to send this back?”   I do look at her.  She is cute.  Really so cute.  She is looking at me as though in study knowing that I have tried to have her returned.  I explain to apricot fluff ball that it’s nothing personal. I have no time to housebreak…Yada, Yada, Yada.  We find a box at the office to put her in and all the way home in the passenger seat of my car I reiterate these very true statements. Molly, as readers of this blog know, lived 20 years in our home, was loved truly and was a fine friend till the very end when we had to part company for now. I will see her again I know.

It was this feeling I knew my friend Kim was dealing with now.  Only worse.  Recently, Kim found herself and her position “absorbed” with no notice whatsoever after having worked as a nurse in her office for 18 long years.  Anyone who’s worked their whole life knows what a serious adjustment this is.  Particularly when it was completely unexpected.

Missy, her little black poodle was her confidant, her friend of long standing, quietly listening to her life stories as only dog wisdom can.  She was also the only current co-resident in her Florida home and she was so sick. Despite every effort, it would seem she was not going to get better.

In the short aftermath of time after Missy’s death my friend was so very sad.  Job gone, kids up and out and time became something to get through each day.  She missed that crazy, funny companion and all her many antics dotting the days of her life bringing humor and a warm cuddle by request.  Every place in her home became a catalyst for remembering Missy.  Kim had many losses of late.  Her ex-husband had died, her nursing job and truly loved patient contact, was eradicated in a very unexpected and unpredictable move by the practice in which she worked. She was floundering.

You guessed it.  One of the things I love most about my friend is her stalwart resilience.   She has faced much in her life and times with courage, grace and self determination.  She did not wait for someone else to save her.  Rather, she allowed the true love, friendship and loyalty of her dog friend Missy to direct her to the next chapter of her life~Her name is Jolie.  She is black with a smattering of white garnishing her lower jaw and she is a handful.  I just know, that somewhere in that house, some part of the spirit of Missy is smiling and laughing hysterically as my friend enters the next Dog Chapter of her life.  Run Kim….Run!

Asheville Bed and Breakfast Baby Birds Fly the Nest 26 May 2016, 1:09 pm

I want to begin this blog with a most sincere thank you to my guests At Cumberland Falls Bed and Breakfast Inn in recent months.  In great kindness, they have made every possible accommodation to further the joys of nature and motherhood while staying at our home.

Another bird in residence at our Inn.

On our back porch there is a small round picnic table with overhead umbrella.   A mother robin looking to provide a safe, secure place for her eggs began the rather slip shod efforts of nest building a few months back.  Her chosen site was in the top of the umbrella.   Initially, more of the nesting material found it’s way to our boxwood hedge than remained in her nest , but she persisted as Mother’s are wont to do,  finally getting the knack of it.

We had many phases of development in the bird saga here at the inn. After the nest finally got pulled together, we noted 3 blue eggs had been deposited in it.  We were all so tickled.

There is something about “baby” anything that intrigues people.  Our guests during this time where awestruck about all aspects of this Robin Adventure and we fielded a litany of questions. Some were posed during the guest stay and some were so excited to have had a front row seat to any part of it that that wanted to know how it all turned out and emailed me to see how things were going.   Is the nest finished?  How long did it take her to finally get it together?  How many eggs and what color are they?  When will they hatch?  Do they leave the nest right away?

What did I know about Robins?  Well, a bit because this same bird or maybe not? made a nest in exactly the same location last year.

So now we move on to the answers!  The nest must function for more than a month, some are used more than once.  It must be sturdy enough to support not only the eggs (from 2-4) but also house them after they hatch providing stability and warmth so careful construction is required.   The light blue to darker blue eggs generally hatch between 12 and 14 days and the birds remain in it about 2 weeks post the hatching.  Both the mother and father co-parent the safety of the nest. The nest is not left unattended for more than 10-12 minutes and then the mother is perched only a short distance away easily able to return should the nest need protection.   Any approach to the nest creates a loud warning screech to “go away.”  The mother, after the hatching, is quiet tending to the eggs seeking to avoid drawing any attention to the location of her nest.   Our Facebook page under At Cumberland Falls Bed and Breakfast Inn catalogs in photo’s for readers of this blog wanting more information. Baby Bird and nest photos are there.  More in depth information is available also at Washington’s Nature Mapping Program.

It’s been an adventure to watch this for the second year in a row.  Just yesterday morning we arrived at work and the moment we went up the back steps to enter the kitchen, the complete quiet assailed us and we knew the kids had gone.  We’ll miss them and all the interest they generated by guests and staff alike.  Babies bring out gentleness.  No matter what kind of babies they are and no one would question that the world could benefit from more of that.   It has been a fun adventure genuinely. Now, as you might imagine, the back deck, “ahem” needs a bit of very serious attention so I have to wrap this blog up.  Happy Birding and to my little robin friends I bid thee, “Live long and prosper.”

Iris Flower meaning and bed design 17 May 2016, 11:59 am

I have been a gardener a long time.  Spending time with my Nana was something I always looked forward to.  Anything she was interested in from her stories of the “olden days” to her love of flowers enthralled me.  Nana was a native Virginian and she often talked about irises and how much she loved them.

Fast forward to my time at our inn.  Recently, I was having a challenging day and my ex-innkeeper friend Cathy invited me to her home for a cup of tea. Generally, we meet at a local coffee house but the view from her home on the mountain is so charming she thought a day in the clouds might lift my spirits. She was right.  She lives on a mountain and my poor car, (circa 1992) stalwartly met the challenge of going “up the mountain” to her home.    I exited my vehicle making my path to her front door when I encountered the selectively placed, thoroughly beautiful Irises she’d planted near her front door.  Iris means “rainbow” and the height, intense hues and subtle shading of these ever so pretty flowers held me spellbound.   I fell in love immediately. Graceful, lithe and in astounding multi hued, vibrant color they invited any and everyone to observe their beauty and I did, all over her yard.  From the Medici Prince Bearded Iris to the Penny Lane variety to the lovely Louisiana~Cathy’s yard was awash in Iris. I will never again see this flower without returning in my mind’s eye to her beautiful gardens so lovingly tended and the painter’s touch with which she chose her color palette.

When planting irises, it is recommended that they are not planted in groups.  They have good height and can be arranged in groupings either by themselves in a monochromatic color scheme or complimentary color scheme. They are also beautifully showcased  as accents to other lower lying plants. They must be planted in sun to flower but they have minimal water requirements and a drift rose, limonium, alstromeria and japanese bloodgrass or other perennial grasses make famous companions.

Though I already had some of these lovlies planted in my driveway, her innovative, astoundingly beautiful selection and use of these powerhouse plants has inspired me to create something that will prove as special to my guests as Cathy’s garden was to me.  A garden truly is something of remembrance!

 

 

Montford Music and Arts Festival 2016 9 May 2016, 3:46 pm

Every May all of us fortunate enough to live in Asheville (any many visitors)  look forward to enjoying and participating in a great day of awesome music and local arts while enjoying a beautiful springtime day in our Montford Historic District.

We are bed and breakfast inn owners in Montford and have had the opportunity to introduce our neighborhood and all the real musical talent and artistry displayed at this festival to guests staying at our inn.  For a small Western North Carolina neighborhood, the stage rocks for hours with mountain music, folk ballads and” Party like it’s 1999″ style music for hours. Every imaginable kind of art will be available for purchase ~ locally made pottery, jewelry, textiles, swings and more.

Hungry?  Not one single problem!  Food trucks selling food way better than anyone could possibly expect from a food truck.   Asheville has gained considerable notoriety in recent years for awesome cuisine and our food trucks have risen to the challenge offering absolutely one of the best lunches or dinners you’ll find anywhere in a restaurant or out of one.

In 2016, the festival will be held on Saturday May 21 10 a.m.-7:00 p.m. occupying the streets from W. Chestnut to Waneta.  The opportunity to enjoy great, varied music, dance, dance, dance, view and purchase unique, high end art and jewelry all while enjoying the varied and gorgeous architecture of days gone by does not present itself every day.  Come on out and support our musicians and local artists, dance it out and have a great Montford day.

Accommodation Best Deals for Travelers 26 Apr 2016, 9:42 am

Vacation time is premium time.  A time looked forward to all year long much like a drink of water when thirst has turned the back of your throat into something reminiscent of the Sahara.  Your body needs it, your mind needs it more.  Every creative or energetic juice has left your body and a re-charge is in order.

With so much at stake, one might think that a great deal of investigation would go in to this decision. A thorough investigation, if performed, would render all kinds of meaningful data upon which a traveler would be fully armed, informed and ready to use every tool at their disposal to come up with a great result.  An accommodation that is perfect for your needs at the best price available.

We’ve owned At Cumberland Falls Bed and Breakfast Inn for 17 years now.  We have carefully cultivated room amenities, extra special elements of comfort throughout our home all designed to offer the very best in creature comforts from our careful selection of the sheets and duvets, to our hand painted in room water bottles and video library.  Every single element of environmental contact with our guests are planned to create their very best and most comfortable stay.  As a result of this, we have a loyal following of inn guests and we, like most small properties, have developed a loyalty program for previous guests hoping to influence their decision to return to Asheville and our inn.

A small property, regardless of its quality, it’s ever present desire and dedicated effort to render the best guest experience possible will never hatch another 300 rooms.  Most innkeepers are not looking to house that many guests.  They concentrate on what they do best; creating intimate, personal, quality environs with top quality amenities and great customer service.  They consistently seek to help create a guest experience that will be remembered by guests as one of their best vacations ever.

Enter the OTA. For those not working in hospitality, these are companies that warehouse rooms outside the owner’s contact range.    Booking.com, Hotels.com, Priceline, Orbitz and a host of others.   They promise ease to the customer, in that once you’ve bought a room on these sites, all info is retained delivering a “one stop shopping experience.” One click and you’re done.  They also promise the best pricing for travelers but that is not the whole story.  These companies pay for their advertising, websites, representatives etc. by the fees they charge the lodging properties they represent.

This becomes a bit easier to understand if I tell you about yourself.  We’ll call you Joe. This is how your week went:

Ok, Joe, about your job at the company.  I know that last week we paid you X. This week, regretfully, we want to get you out there in front of a lot of people, we want people that will never see all your efforts at this company to know about them.  We know your work is solid, it’s awesome.   You clearly care and your work a this job shows that.  We get that Joe!  We do, but this advertising and all the folks necessary to get this information out is gonna cost us big Joe.  Really big!  Darn it Joe, we so hate to do this~ but someone has to shoulder the burden of getting the word out Joe.  It’s business man.  So, last week, you got X and this week, well that’s down to X MINUS 15%.  Now, Joe is, as stated above, a caring, excellent and dedicated worker working to create excellence.  He truly is rendering the best he knows how in his job….But even good old Joe will be dismayed at this deal.

I encourage you to give Joe a chance.  Bed and Breakfasts are small accommodations.  They do not have 300 or more rooms against which to balance loss.  Further, in choosing lodging with a bit more personal flair, perhaps you might enjoy a conversation with your host.  They live where you are visiting, they’ll know just the perfect room to offer you for your stated needs, they want to offer you an incredible experience~ not just accommodations and they are worth it. They are no anonymous.  Further, if asked, they’ll also offer you the best price.  Try it out and you’ll see I’m right.

 

5 Things to do this Spring In Asheville 13 Apr 2016, 6:22 am

The notoriety of Asheville in fall is widely discussed. The “leaf peeper” phenom is legend.  Perhaps a  bit lessor known but majestically lovely in its own right is Spring.  After a long winter’s sleep, the earth begins to warm.  Green begins to pop out everywhere and having been remanded to the indoors to avoid the cold, the explosion of people to the out of doors is palpable.  There are so many awesome things to do in Asheville as spring wraps her arms around our area but here are 5 things to start your Springtime sojourn.

Spring Picnic in Asheville!

  1. Blue Ridge Parkway:  The parkway’s 469 miles will take drivers from Cherokee, NC to Shenandoah National Park in Va.  This drive provides opportunities for both hiking and also scenic views.  Please remember the parkway has reduced speed throughout and is not the quickest way to get anywhere.  So, relax and take time to smell the flowers.
  2. North Carolina Arboretum:  South of Asheville, you will find the best place to spot and become familiar with every kind of native species plant in the state of North Carolina. Many of these are identified and though you likely won’t explore all 434 acres, this stop promises the very best of Spring and is ideal for those who would love to see nature in a more controlled, secure environment.
  3. Botanical Gardens:  Within easy walking distance of our inn, these lovely gardens invite our visitors to enjoy easy walking paths, a small gift shop, opportunities for bird watching and is largely wheelchair accessible.  Native species like trillium and Crested Dwarf Iris are in full flourish in April and May.
  4. Carl Sandburg Home: One of my favorite places to visit in the Spring is in nearby Flat Rock. Standing high on a scenic hill, his beloved home Connemara, reflects Carl Sandburg’s legacy.  From information on his Pulitzer prize winning book on Lincoln: Abraham Lincoln: The War Years (1939) to his acute and perceptive analysis of all that sought the definition of the American people, this journalist/poet of the people became their voice.
  5. Montford Historic District: Most of the homes built in Montford occurred between 1890-1920.  Reflected in the architecture, the ancient tree lined streets and the historic Riverside Cemetery is the story of a period of exponential growth in our area as a few very influential and well funded individuals began to architecturally define what is now a period piece of the turn of the 20th century. Proximal to city center, it is not only the home to our inn but the among the most vibrant and well loved areas in Asheville.

Spring Flowers in Season Asheville North Carolina 19 Mar 2016, 5:55 am

Our home of 17 years is awash in blooms.  The garden At Cumberland Falls Bed and Breakfast Inn is always a joy to me but never more than in Spring.

Pineapple Sage and Sweet Potato accompaniment!

Fully emerged from the soil are daffodils, hyacinths, snow drops and the tulips leaves are up, blooms are present but we get to anticipate their opening a bit later in the season.  Hellebores, Grape Muscari, narcissus,and winter camilia are gracing the landscape, as the soil once so cold from winter dregs begins to warm.  The cycle of life is begins its show for us to observe once again.

In the last few days driving around the city it’s easy to be enchanted.  The redbuds, (not really red but rather varying shades of pink or purple contingent upon species) have opened their tiny, yet very profuse pea like blooms and are gorgeous.  They are everywhere and a lovely harbinger of Spring.

The Bradford pear that used to live at the inn succumbed to the perils of one of 2016’s snows of December and we bid farewill to it with a tree tribute in the purchase of a Ginkgo Biloba. The Bradford Pear tree provided one of my most happy early Asheville memories.  Their tiny, too numerous to count fluffy and soft white blossoms are stunningly beautiful.  A short bit of time after blooming, some windy day will generally appear and with it the very magical dancing of these blossoms floating through the air in such profusion as to resemble snow is bound to delight anyone seeing it.  The sight makes you want to run through the garden dancing with these tiny blossoms.  It’s just that beautiful.

 

 

Daylight Saving Time 2016- 5 Incentives 11 Mar 2016, 9:26 am

Whether it is a boost to your consciousness or a bane to your existence, Daylight Saving Time 2016 officially commences on Sunday March 13 at 2:00 a.m.  At the inn, we always set the clocks ahead one hour in the early evening and apprise our guests we’ve already taken care of it.  This ensures that our glorious breakfast served at 9:00 a.m. is not made in vain.  Also, clocks, particularly those you are not familiar with, are a bit tricky and before we adopted this policy of doing it ourselves we got all kinds of interesting breakfast arrivals.

I love Daylight Saving time because rather than getting up at dark o’clock to feed our guesties, I can feel  a bit more civilized with daylight hinting on the horizon.  So, before I burn any more daylight- I will give you my five, very personal tributes to appreciate this time policy.

  1.  Those of us who operate on “time centric” terms can feel superior to those who will inevitably forget all about doing this and will hence be late for everything they do that day.
  2. Those of us whose eyes may not be as functional in the dark as they were in our youth (just sayin) will be blessed with one hour more to do errands and still get home before dark.
  3. All those yard tasks that you ran out of daylight to accomplish can be tidied up nicely in a few weeks of using that hour more of blessed sunlight.
  4. Exercising,  which can sometimes be delayed in the first bleary hours after your eyes flap open, can appear a less daunting task in the evening.
  5. For those really feeling much, much more cheerful when there is a more sunshine in their day, shake away those winter, bleary, bleak days because sunshine is here and hearkening clearly in the not too distant future is Spring and the cycle of life it begets each year.