At Cumberland Falls Bed and Breakfast Inn
Words Matter 27 Sep 2016, 8:28 am
Being an innkeeper has provided an up close and personal view of human behavior. Some observations have left me keenly aware of stoicism, courage, kindness, altruism, thoughtfulness and genuine concern for others. The key word there is “others.”
My son-in-law Aaron, many years ago shared his feelings regarding people and their basic differences. He broke it down to that his belief that in general there were two kinds. Those that take and those that give. There’s something to be said for this theory.
Over the years, I have observed great kindnesses rendered from one guest to another. Also such above the call of duty concern for me and my husband that even remembrance of them brings a flood of feelings. Some of our guests have risen well above any kind of expectation one could reasonably expect from people not really known to you. They have demonstrated authentic attributes of grace and kindness we know to be present in our fellow humans but regretfully do not always see on display. Selfless displays of aid, love, concern for others even including conspiring with other guests in house to really bring a special celebration to fellow guest.
Every once in a long while we witness personalities that seemingly reflect the very worst that exists in this world. When we allow ourselves a screwed belief system, particularly in the name of God, parent to us all, that ethnicity, religion or some other inborn trait in a fellow human being is so reprehensible to us that we are right in our judgement. In that “rightness” assuming the we have responsibility to act with heinous behavior, speak badly or disrespectfully to them, perpetrate ideas born in misunderstanding or unkindness~ we underscore our lack of understanding of God.
While it would always be our very highest calling as innkeepers to offer all our guests the gift of welcome and comfort; when a guest cannot offer that to their fellow guests, our responsibility as thinking, rationale human beings must be one of protection so that all can be valued and respected because behavior matters too. We must all own our own.
Summer Time 2016 at our Asheville Bed and Breakfast 21 Sep 2016, 7:46 am
In talking with women friends there seems to be a general consensus that life feels cyclical. We plan for certain occurrences in our lives by season. This planning runs the gamut from birthdays, holidays used not only in celebration but as markers of life.
Summer time ends tomorrow and the patches of color dotting the burning bushes about town act as harbingers of the blazing color that will soon envelope the mountains of Western North Carolina but much like my friends I wanted one last brief examination of Summer time before plunging head long into one of my favorite Asheville season’s~Autumn.
We’ve owned the inn for a long time now begun as much younger versions of ourselves. We commenced our 18th year here on June 19. It has been a very busy summer punctuated with visits from repeat guests and introduction of many new ones.
Sometimes, the best way to identify that you live in a wonderful place is when family visits. My brother and his wife, Cindy visited this July. Being very well versed in concierge after all this time, I began the compilation of the list of “fun things to do.” In the making of the list, I could not help but be impressed, as I always am, with the circuit of really awesome activities available from zip lining, white water rafting, hiking of a lifetime to the more sedate activities of pub crawling to partake in our vibrant craft beer scene or gallery trolling in thorough examination of all the variant forms of art our city is known for. Whether you are into canvas, glass, metal, wood or fiber~you can likely find your heart’s desire in Asheville.
Meanwhile, things at the inn moved forward just as predictably as the hands of a clock. We refurbished the gravel in the parking lot and driveway, repaired a post on our back deck, had a, no pun intended, bird’s eye view to the birth of not one but two families of Robin’s. Beloved staff of long standing moved inevitably into new arenas of their lives and new staff members were introduced. The front door was re-varnished and looks lovely, a quasi, but very functional sprinkler system was installed to help our flora friends get through one of the driest summer seasons we’ve experienced since we arrived in Asheville. Mounting water usage enabled creative garden re-design thinking. In the aftermath, we made some really significant changes to the lay of the garden carving out some of the greenery to create simplicity and a less robust design resulting in some very awesome views of the waterfalls in the back. It all looked so fresh, invigorated and inspired, a complete window washing was in order so that all this work would not go to waste wanting the views from guest rooms to be just perfect. It was at this point standing in the garden or possibly the need to sit down for a spell… that we thought to really thoroughly clean the teak garden furniture we have spotted all about the garden to enhance guest enjoyment of this area.
If you will remember my starting of this blog about life being cyclical: so is activity. One thing starts, it’s finish creates another idea, spurring on yet but another…. each feeding on the impact and success of the last. Now that I’ve reviewed Summer time 2016, it is little wonder I got the Fall wreath up a bit earlier than Fall actually began. I think we might have been trying to cycle out of Summer before I spotted something else that needed tackling. Well, there’s always Summer 2017.
Trip Insurance Can Save The Day 8 Sep 2016, 7:58 am
Life is uncertain. No one can argue that nor likely would
When making plans for a successful trip all kinds of decisions are made. What location would make for the very best, most memorable of trips? What kind of accommodations would be the best fit to enhance the mission statement of this vacation; a cozy bungalow, a huge, multi activity resort, private cabin among some stately evergreens? Clothing to be packed, plane reservations to be made and a host of other incidentals. Sometimes, depending on the level of responsibility connected to your job, it may seem that the preparations for your departure take longer than your vacation lasts.
Travel is fraught with timetables. The plane takes off at exactly….It should take this long to get to the airport, unless there is an accident or traffic jam so we should leave X hours early to be sure making it to the plane on time. Accommodations have cancellation periods, so do scheduled treatments or activities. Somehow, we often forget about securing a really important part of planning a successful trip; Trip Cancellation Insurance.
As I began this piece…Life is uncertain. Sometimes we plan everything down to the minutia and then something completely out of left field happens affecting our health, our children’s health, our livlihood or some other aspect of this thing called life we could not possibly have had on the radar. It is an emergency and it cannot wait. No sense in going skiiing for instance if you’ve broken your leg 3 days before your scheduled vacation. No one plans on that but your failure to have put Trip Insurance in place could leave you holding the bag for some very costly expense. Your plane is non-refundable, there is insufficient time to meet your cancellation policy in lodging you booked, your spa treatment had a cancellation period and you owe for that too. Never has more money been spent that will prove completely valueless to you. All this could have been avoided with Insurance to protect your trip funds.
We learned this lesson the hard way. We were finally, at long last, getting to go on vacation from the bed and breakfast we purchased in 1999. We were so excited to board the plane and had driven to Greenville, S.C. the night before as our plane left at 6:00 a.m. We wanted to take no chance on missing it. My sister agreed to spend the night at the inn with the guests. The innsitter was to arrive the next morning. Long about midnight, our cell phone rang. The voice on the other end of the phone was immediately recognizable as my sister. She sounded so sad as she related to my husband and me that there was water leaking at a rather rapid pace through our foyer light into a bucket she’d just installed there. Uncontrolled water in a historic building can be very expensive. We had no idea as to the source of the water leak. It could be a pipe, it could be anything. We looked at each other as I disconnected the phone call with only six hours remaining until we were to be sitting in a plane. We each knew that the plane was leaving without us. We lost the flight and we lost the accommodations money. We lost an entire vacation we’d paid for and could not leave to enjoy. We had not purchased Trip Cancellation Insurance. We had no children left at home and we just didn’t plan on this very unexpected occurrence completely de-railing a trip we’d planned on and saved for during the entire year. We’re quick learners though. We never plan travel, save a day trip, without insurance. Once burned, twice shy. The very next year it saved our bacon when a trip to the beach was short circuited due to an unexpected situation with my Mom.
One of the definitions of insurance is the following: ” a thing providing protection against a possible eventuality.” Not getting to take your trip is disappointing. Having to pay for it anyway is an expense we can all avoid with securing Trip Insurance.
Things to do in the garden in August 29 Aug 2016, 11:11 am
The garden at our inn is a place of peace and singular beauty. It has hosted weddings, large and small, it has been a guest favorite for marriage proposals long hoped for and it has provided a perfect place for a good read that was well savored while enjoying a fine wine or comforting cup of tea.
It is also a place of discovery, hope, work, anticipation and feeling truly at peace as my hands work the soil the offers life to our garden and instill nutrients that will make the upcoming growth season successful.
August in the garden finds some of the annuals planted in late spring looking a bit less than robust providing an opportunity to replace them with something that will bring us down the stretch till the first freeze of fall. This year, I planned ahead.
Earlier in the season, I chose some really colorful and very robust coleus plants that I have been pruning by and by and as their little roots sprouted out I transferred them to selected pots throughout the yard. They respond to this treatment well. Coleus is a member of the mint family and unless pinched back to encourage fullness, they become leggy and unattractive. I have been rooting one or the other of these specimen plants throughout the entire Spring and early Summer. When choosing these coleus, I selected them with appearance of my lithe and lovely pinkish phlox in mind. They are up now, and just as I’d imagined in my mind’s eye, even in the absence of those early annuals now plucked and discarded, everything still looks lush and well filled out.
The roses remain in bloom but still need to be scoped out for late appearing aphids or black spot. A bit of trimming back helping them to stay in their place and not become invasive looking, It has always seemed to me feast or famine in the rain department in Asheville. This year, we hit it lucky and it rained in good measure. While this really aided in the blooming department, the roses are a bit leggier than normal.
A bit of clean up is needed as short lived plants need to be removed and replaced. Ornamental grasses need to have dead blades removed from their base and day lilies, some of which are finished for the season, need to have dead stalks and flower pods removed to encourage plant health or maybe, if you’re lucky, some last of the season blooms. Always a gardener’s gift and great compensation for hours spent in caring for plants.
In too short a time, inevitably, the approaching arms of winter will enfold the garden once again here At Cumberland Falls Bed and Breakfast Inn and I will be relegated for a time to cruising the garden books dreaming of Spring.
Hope Floats Asheville NC 16 Aug 2016, 7:35 am
I have a long history as a walker. I’ve been engaged in that activity since 1988. It has served me well in so many ways from creating a path of clarity though some difficult times to keeping this now 64 year old body in motion and reasonably limber.
My sister has recently taken up walking as well. This past Saturday after serving breakfast at our Asheville Bed and Breakfast we struck out for the road~ water bottle in hand. Nearby the inn is a greenway, a perfectly lovely place to walk and designed as pathway in which one is likely to meet and greet both their neighbors and their pets. It was a perfectly lovely morning for a walk well timed for avoiding the more intense heat and humidity that would surely accompany the later hours of the day.
My sister and I use our walking time to talk about items of daily life, our shared recollections of our childhood, our Mom, now gone to heaven some 5 years ago but seemingly just yesterday to both of us and much, much more. All kinds of topics come up for discussion during this time together.
We came to the end of the greenway part of our walk and turned Right onto Magnolia Street heading back to the inn. Waiting for us upon our return were the remains of the breakfast dishes. We’d taken only a few steps when we took note of a congress of people up the way a bit on the left side of the street. I did not have my glasses on but as we made our approach something seemed a bit out of sorts. A woman was leaning up against the front of her car holding what appeared to be a belt sander very close to the front of her body. Bent down in front of her were two gentlemen who appeared to be trying to use screw drivers on the belt sander she was holding. Everyone, the woman and the two men looked a bit alarmed.
As we approached they looked up. I also, closer now, got a good luck at the woman’s face. I asked what was wrong. It would seem that the woman had inadvertently turned on the sander by mistake. When she did this, the sander sprung to life and pulled the carry pack she was wearing about her waist and also apparently part of her abdominal skin into the inner mechanism of the belt sander. Her abdomen was quite literally enveloped in the belt sander. The gentlemen present, her neighbors, one of which she knew and had gone to get after realizing her rather dire distress. She needed help to get released from this machine. The man, clearly her best hope and another man, were desperately trying to dismantle the belt sander in order to free her abdomen. I asked her if she thought much of her abdomen was taken into the machine and she felt it was not. Clearly she was not bleeding out, nor shocky because they’d been out there for some time when we’d encountered them. I recommended that they get her a chair so she was at least able to sit while they worked on disengaging her from the belt sander. Also, the belt sander was heavy and as she was the one “engaged” into it, I thought she would best be able to determine the best position for this tool creating the least amount of pain for her.
I told all of them that I was going back to the inn to obtain a clean cloth which I felt would be useful to have on hand in case there was bleeding when they finally freed her from the sander. Jane and I walked on with both men still working diligently on the belt sander wishing nothing more than to help this woman who clearly needed their help.
We went hurriedly to the inn to secure the promised cloth. With the scene of these three in my mind I began to think of all the racial unrest brandished on nearly every headline you see recently. I mentioned earlier that the woman stuck in the sander went to seek her neighbor’s help understanding she was in real trouble. Her neighbor is black. She saw only a neighbor. He did not care that she was a white woman. He didn’t see that. He saw his neighbor in real trouble and sought only to help. The man who later came to help was also a black man. These people saw nothing of each other except that one person was in trouble, had gone to another to seek aid and aid was provided.
Asheville is a city of diversity. Rich, poor, well educated, less educated, hard workers, trust fund kids, black, hispanic, white, gay, straight…Everyone seems to get on well most of the time. We work on that actively here. I do not live in a fairy land where I am clueless to the real problems of race in the United States but this much I’ll say clearly. In all my years of nursing, I’ve never had an organ recipient ask what color or ethnicity their donor was. After the first incision, it’s patently clear we’re all the same either way. All I ever heard was gratitude and a feeling of being blessed to have received such a gift. In the military when I served, no soldier ever cared who had their back, just as long as someone did. On 9-11 no one cared what color the fire and first responders where. They just didn’t want to die that day.
I took another walk the other day taking the same path as the day I came upon my neighbor stuck in the belt sander and the two men doing all in their power to aid and assist. I met Sam by name this time again that day. He was one of the men trying to help the lady stuck in the sander. I told him I had returned with the promised cloth and they were gone. He explained the entire procedure, including scissoring off her clothing to try and get her loose. My sister and I told Sam how nice he was to offer his help. What a kindness it was. He was only trying to help he said and jokingly, I dubbed him Dr. Sam that day. We all laughed as Jane and I said goodbye to Dr. Sam and walked on.
I hope to get to know “Dr.” Sam better. I have a feeling if just that one small thing could happen… All of us getting to know each other better, I’d be reading fewer horrible headlines. For today however, Hope Floats in Asheville. I bet it floats in your town too.
August Vacations 2016 4 Aug 2016, 12:27 pm
We spent many years living in the state of Florida and many avoid making summertime plans for the month of August due to the propensity of hurricanes. By the time the dog days of summer arrive, the Atlantic, bathed in sun for several months becomes a cauldron of warm water just perfect for the cultivation of hurricanes.
In Asheville though August is quite simply a great time to vacation. It’s still season so everything remains open and available to experience. With children returning to school all the people that are “mom and dad” to someone have likely already completed their summertime vacation and are now actively engaged back to school preparation. All this translates to no lines, less trouble getting dining reservations at that place you’ve been dying to try and accommodations that may have some handy dandy specials you can take full advantage of.
We have a special running at our inn too. Summertime Biltmore Package-Book 3 Mid Week nights (M-T-W-Thurs) Summer 2016 and we’ll help you see Biltmore in Bloom with BOGO tickets! There is no more beautiful time at Biltmore House than Summertime. We want to help you experience this awesome Asheville opportunity.
Many performers in the Biltmore Concert Series schedule in August and 2016 is no exception to that rule. August 12, August 14 and August 23, 2016 will highlight everything from the haunting Christian sounds of Casting Crowns to Emmylou Harris and Rick Springfield rocking it out on stage.
We hope to see you this August. It’s a great month to make a fine Summertime 2016 memory.
Leaf Downtown Asheville 2016 30 Jul 2016, 4:17 pm
This is the second year of Leaf downtown Asheville. Many have asked me to describe downtown Asheville as an experience. We’ve lived here since 1999 when with the purchase of our inn, we became dedicated Asheville residents.
Large parts of our downtown has preserved historic buildings conveying a strong sense of the past when Asheville was a much different place. Asheville is viscerally alive fairly buzzing with music (buskers are everywhere.) It would be hard to walk 10 feet without finding 1. an art gallery 2. A local craft brewery, 3. A local art seller 4. A fine opportunity to get something excellent, unique and completely yummy to eat 5. Get into a chat with a local 6. Pick up the vibe of something very special and very alive. 7. Find yourself in the middle of some festival. I’ll stop right there to tell you that tomorrow, Sunday, July 31, 2016 is the very last day of the Leaf Downtown AVL 2016.
This year, Asheville soul, funk and blues are on display. Here you can participate in community, local culture, food opportunities from more vendors than you could possible capitalize on in one day all while listening to any one of a number of local performance artists singing their hearts out on 3 separate stages. Find yourself some Faerie Kin, learn a bit of yoga and make some hay while the sun shines. It’ a great day at Leaf Downtown AVL and you have one last day to enjoy. Maybe we’ll see you there! For more information: www.theLeaf.org.
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!