Andon-Reid Inn Bed and Breakfast
500 Excellents 22 Apr 2016, 6:42 am
Andrea and I are thrilled to announce that the Andon-Reid Inn has reached a major milestone. We just received our 500th “Excellent” review on TripAdvisor. Coming on top of last year’s election to the TripAdvisor Hall of Fame and Traveller’s Choice award, we are glad that we have been able to carry on the Andon-Reid Inn’s tradition of excellent service and have maintained the high standards set by former owners. Andrea and I are especially proud that more than 80 of these “Excellent” reviews have been posted since we took over the Inn last July.
We would like to express our gratitude to all the reviewers for their kind and generous comments and support. 500 “Excellent” reviews represent a near perfect score out of a total of 508. To all our past, current and future guests we want you to rest assured that this achievement does not mean the Andon-Reid Inn will be resting on its laurels. Instead we will strive for continued excellence and look forward to the day when the Andon-Reid Inn celebrates its 1,000th “Excellent” review.
Gentle pastimes at the Andon-Reid Inn 7 Apr 2016, 6:12 pm
One of the things Andrea and I love about owning the Andon-Reid Inn is that it is smack bang in the middle of so many wonderful things to do in Western North Carolina. Within a relatively short drive you can be hiking scenic trails in the Smokies, marveling at the region’s many beautiful waterfalls, fly fishing in pristine waters, getting up close and personal with wild elk, white-water rafting, zip-lining, winter snow skiing, touring the astounding Biltmore, or trying your luck at the casino in Cherokee. Our guests are never bored.
For those times when folks prefer to stay closer to home we have the extensive Andon-Reid Inn games room. With its pool table, full sized table shuffleboard, competition darts set-up, many board games, professional gym equipment, and dry sauna, you can keep fully occupied without leaving the premises. Given this cornucopia of diversions, it’s amazing, therefore, just how popular one of our most gentle pastimes seems to be.
As you check into the Andon-Reid Inn one of the first things we point out is a communal jigsaw puzzle laid out on the coffee table by the comfy sofa in our guest lounge. Depending on the weather and general level of enthusiasm you will generally see one or more of our guests locating a few puzzle pieces and contributing to the jigsaw’s slow but inevitable completion. For some guests the jigsaw seems to have a magnetic attraction – helped no doubt by the puzzle being so near to our self-serve baked goodies, coffee and specialty teas. The puzzle will often bring guests together and after just a short time we see a small group of former strangers working together as a closely-knit puzzle solving machine.
The puzzler’s task is ephemeral. Just as soon as it is finished, we break down the jigsaw and put out a fresh one. Guests are left only with bragging rights for having put in the final piece – although this in itself can involve an extensive hunt for an elusive puzzle piece under the coffee table or behind the sofa (early on we learned to vacuum in those places VERY cautiously).
Every once in a while we have guests whose dedication and puzzle solving skills are astounding. We call them our “Jigsaw Grandmasters”. These are the guests who sit down and assemble the complete puzzle in a single sitting. To our amazement, just this week we had not one, but two “Grandmaster” couples staying with us. One couple, David and Teresa started and finished the 500 piece Biltmore puzzle in a single sitting, while the very next day the other couple Kevin and Shainna did the same with our Teresa Pennington puzzle. (In fact Kevin and Shainna completed yet another puzzle the next day). If this keeps happening we are going to have to get a lot more puzzles or even another coffee table.
Why don’t you come and join us at the Andon-Reid Inn. Even if attaining Jigsaw Grandmaster status is not top of your priority list, there is still so much to experience at the Inn, in wonderful Waynesville and the surrounding area. Andrea and I are sure you’ll have a marvellous, memorable time.
Cat Tales 12 Mar 2016, 5:29 pm
Andrea and I are animal lovers. However, because we respect that some of our guests have allergies we have continued the policy of keeping the Andon-Reid Inn pet-free. Therefore, when we bought the Inn we were pleasantly surprised to find a “loophole” in this policy in the form of Bibb the neighborhood cat who “conveyed” as one of the Andon-Reid Inn’s amenities.
Bibb is a sweet, affectionate fourteen year old tabby who spends her days circulating between local houses collecting meals and pats. She has turned out to be a real asset for the Inn, greeting many of our guests and acting as a surrogate pet for those guests who miss their own cats or dogs.
Bibb was a fairly skinny little thing when we first took over the Inn. However, as Andrea is a soft touch, Bibb’s diet at the Andon-Reid has improved considerably from the get go. Bibb now eats only the finest cat food, supplemented with numerous treats of gourmet bacon, ham and sausage leftover from our breakfasts.
We feed Bibb (about five times a day) on the small porch outside the Andon-Reid Inn’s kitchen. A few months ago we noticed some bloody footprints around her food bowl. On closer examination we found that Bibb had somehow managed to tear her toe quite badly. She didn’t seem particularly bothered by this but it looked nasty to us so we decided to take Bibb to the vet and have her seen to. Bibb had never been to the vet before and we were worried that she would be a bit traumatized by the experience. Instead she took her treatment stoically and then, when she had to stay in the vet’s warm indoor cattery for a few days to recover, she seemed to think she had been sent on a luxury vacation. We almost couldn’t get her back in the carrier and back to the Inn.
Guests who pat Bibb notice she has two snaggle teeth. I think these make her look a little like a very small sabre toothed tiger. At Halloween I did suggest that we tie a cape around her neck and take her trick-or-treating as “Vampire Cat” but the idea didn’t go down too well with Andrea (or with Bibb I suppose) so it didn’t happen.
Bibb’s normal sleeping quarters are in the barn on the Smathers-Gaultier property (that’s the elegant Queen Anne Victorian house next door to the Andon-Reid Inn for those of you who have been here before). Under normal circumstances Bibb comes meowing at our kitchen door for her evening meal around seven pm and then beds down in the barn for the night. In January, however, we noticed that she was now spending the whole night on our exposed kitchen porch. On further investigation we found out that the folks next doors had gone away on vacation and a pair of burly groundhogs had used the opportunity to move into the barn and evict Bibb.
In the meantime the weather was getting more and more wintery with temperatures sometimes in the twenties or lower at night, not to mention the occasional snow shower. We were therefore quite concerned for Bibb’s well being and safety. Once again Andrea leapt into action. She dug out one of our old cat carriers and lined it with some of our cat’s blankets. She also found a small heating pad and installed this into the carrier. I added a cardboard box around the whole thing as protection against the elements and, hey presto, Bibb had the perfect little centrally heated homeless shelter – which we have christened the “Bibbloo”. She seems to really love it and it has sheltered her comfortably through some quite frosty nights as well as the big January snowstorm.
The most convenient electrical socket for plugging in the Bibloo’s heating pad is right outside our Garden Suite so this is where the Bibloo is currently situated. I suppose it is a bit of an eyesore (like putting a tent city on the lawn of the Biltmore) but given Bibb’s homeless circumstances none of our gracious guests has had the heart to complain. In any case, the owners of the barn will be back in the next few weeks and will hopefully manage to get the groundhog squatters humanely evicted so Bibb can be reinstated to her former residence – though I suspect we may have a bit of struggle on our hands convincing her to leave her comfy little temporary home.
Bibb truly has truly proved herself to be an Andon-Reid Inn amenity. She has told us that she would love to meet you. So if you would like to meet her – or just enjoy a relaxing break in wonderful Waynesville and the Smoky Mountains – come and join us all at the Andon-Reid Inn.
Five amazing things Part 5 – Spontaneous Acts of Kindness 26 Nov 2015, 6:46 pm
Today is Thanksgiving – my first one as a US resident – and all I can say is that Andrea and I are so thankful for the all wonderful guests who have stayed at the Andon-Reid Inn so far.
We have often been the lucky recipients of their unexpected and wonderful kindness and generosity. Just this morning I was a bit overloaded getting breakfast out. This is very rare of course, but with our Innkeeper Ashley having the day off for Thanksgiving, and poor Andrea still suffering from a broken ankle and not able to move around the kitchen too well on her on crutches, all of the service and a fair share of the cooking was down to me. Our lovely guests must have noticed because, lo and behold, once breakfast was over they all got up and bussed their own tables, bringing their dishes, cups and glasses into the kitchen and saving me the whole messy chore of the morning cleanup. Bless them all.
On occasion, our guests will bring us gifts. We have been the lucky recipients of jars of local honey, apples from Waynesville’s famous Barber Orchard, t shirts, mugs and even a fine bottle of port. When this happens I like to think it’s because we have made them feel so at-home at the Inn that they think they are visiting old friends, completely forgetting that they are actually paying for the privilege.
What really warms my heart is when guests spontaneously show this same level of kindness to each other.
We had a truly striking example of this a short while ago. A young bride and groom had booked the Chestnut Room (our last remaining room) for the first few nights following their wedding. They arrived a little late from the wedding still dressed in all their regalia. The word quickly went around among our guests that there was a beautiful bride still wearing her gown at our front door so they all quickly came out to see.
Well, as soon as one pair of guests – Barb and Bill – laid eyes on the young couple, they immediately offered to donate their nights in the Carriage House Suite to the newlyweds. Don’t get me wrong, the Chestnut Room is a really charming room, but the Carriage House Suite is larger and more private as it’s in a separate building apart from the main Inn, and therefore more suited to a honeymooning couple.
You cannot buy a moment like that. I’m sure Barb and Bill’s karma bank overflows with a huge positive balance.
In my first blog I described the Andon-Reid Inn as the “Inn of Serendipity”. After this episode I think I can also describe it as the “Inn of Kindness”. Come and visit us find out for yourselves.
Five amazing things Part 4 – A Breakfast Serenade 6 Oct 2015, 4:57 pm
Hand on heart we can honestly say that all our guests have been absolutely wonderful during our first few months as innkeepers at the Andon-Reid Inn. Every once in a while we get some guests who are particularly memorable and a few weeks ago this was the case with a honeymoon couple that stayed with us at the Inn. William and Sarah were two delightful young musicians from Sylva near Waynesville who were relaxing at the Andon-Reid Inn as a weekend treat after their wedding the week before.
We don’t normally ask our guests to sing for their supper (or breakfast). However, when they discovered that I also played an instrument they convinced me to pull out my trusty old 1954 Australian Maton guitar and we had a fine old musical evening on the wraparound porch on Saturday night swapping songs and improvising melodies.
A number of guests overheard the sweet sounds in the night and asked Sarah and William if they would mind putting on another impromptu performance in our Garden Room lounge after breakfast on Sunday. Because William and Sarah were such lovely people and natural entertainers they happily agreed. So after polishing off the fruit and granola parfait, peach-pecan stuffed French toast and hickory smoked bacon, they proceeded to serenade our lucky group.
Everyone was enchanted by the music. Sarah has the voice of an angel and a deft touch on the fiddle, and William is an expert guitar picker and a fine accompanying vocalist. We were lucky enough to capture one of their songs, a lovely rendition of the traditional gospel song “I’ll fly away” and put it on YouTube https://youtu.be/9udYpUzw_HQ .
I’m afraid we can’t promise you a magical musical moment every time at the Andon-Reid Inn (although we hope to have William and Sarah back here soon), but even so, I’m sure you will find plenty of wonderful experiences here at the Inn, in Waynesville and in the beautiful Great Smoky Mountains area.
Five amazing things Part 3 – Small Town Packs a Big Punch 26 Sep 2015, 7:45 pm
I must confess to being a big city boy. I have spent most of my life in cities with 2 to 8 million inhabitants including Sydney, London, Budapest and Shenzhen. I have loved all the excitement and variety and have willingly put up with the pollution, crime and overcrowding.
So you can imagine that I might have thought that moving to Waynesville (population 9,700) would be quite a culture shock. I had visions of stepping into Pleasantville (the movie not the town in Iowa) or a Norman Rockwell painting where I would pluck my guitar with a band of other old coots around a wood stove in the back of the general store. What a surprise Waynesville turned out to be.
For a start, Andrea and I love good food and Waynesville is blessed with a plethora of great restaurants covering all tastes and budgets.
Downtown, for fine dining at a leisurely pace we love Chef’s Table. An equal favorite downtown is Frog’s Leap who has an inventive modern Southern menu and a great bar. Nearby we often go to the WineSeller for small plates and wine, or fantastic themed wine pairing dinners and entertainment. We also love Boojum and The Tipping Pont, both excellent microbreweries with upscale pub food. Oh, and don’t forget Nick and Nates for fresh pizza and Blossom on Main for surprisingly good Thai food.
Just outside the downtown area is the Haywood Smokehouse for truly excellent barbecue. Nearby everyone loves Bogarts – down home cooking and great steaks. Pasquales is another regular stop for us, good honest mom and pop Italian. Maggie’s Galley continues to serve the freshest fish and seafood despite being located here in the Smoky Mountains, and we must also mention the Bourbon Barrel for an eclectic and delicious menu.
Waynesville’s brilliant amenities don’t stop with food alone. It has great live theater at the highly regarded Hart Theatre where our guests have recently enjoyed excellent productions of Rogers and Hammerstein and Steven Sondheim musicals.
During the season Waynesville puts on a wide range of fine cultural entertainment such as the Folkmoot festival that host singers, musicians and dancers from 20 different countries. Waynesville also organizes “Art after Dark” every month when the many fine artists and sculptors of the town open up their galleries downtown and display their work.
Finally I have to mention the street dances held every two weeks during the summer. This is a little bit Norman Rockwell, but it’s great fun and it’s free. Main Street is closed to traffic and two or three fine local traditional bands playing fine old mountain music while the local state senator Joe Sam Queen calls the steps and encourages everyone to join in. The evening usually includes a performance by one of the local clogging groups and spectating is as much fun as participating.
As I have only been here a few short months and have spent most of my time at the Andon-Reid Inn keeping our guests happy I’m sure I haven’t started to really scratch the surface of what Waynesville has to offer. Even so, I am surprised by the range and quality of amenities. For a small town Waynesville certainly punches well above its weight.
Five amazing things Part 2 – Mother Nature’s Firework Display 15 Sep 2015, 12:58 pm
Our first weekend running the Andon-Reid Inn was the 4th of July. The Inn was absolutely full and we had to get to grips with the B&B business very quickly. Nevertheless, we had lovely guests and Andrea and I, aided by our wonderful team of Ashley and Amber, were in a cheerful and eager 4th of July mood. To celebrate we decorated the Inn with loads of patriotic bunting and whipped up special breakfast treats like our “Red White and Blue Breakfast Parfaits”.
Our guests were all geared up to go off and enjoy the renowned fireworks display held nearby at Lake Junaluska. We packed them off with our good wishes, blankets to spread on the ground, and the hopes of a thrilling show of pyrotechnics. Unfortunately for us, part of the role of an innkeeper is to stay behind at the Inn and make sure everything is comfortable and ready for our guests’ return. As I was brand new to the USA, missing out on my first proper 4th of July was not what I had hoped for. That’s when Mother Nature came to the rescue.
Coming from Australia, I’m used to all manner of weird and wonderful surprises from nature – Kangaroos, the Platypus, the Tasmanian Devil and cute Koalas just to name a few. None of these prepared me for the enchanting natural firework display put on by the Andon-Reid Inn’s fireflies that danced around the trees at the back of our property as soon as it was dark.
I had never seen fireflies before, certainly not in this profusion. It was like watching an extravagant Christmas light show that swirled and moved in a dazzling array of patterns. This magical display then continued nightly for several more weeks with the last stragglers still flickering here and there in the mid-August night.
As far as I am now concerned, you can keep your fancy man-made
fireworks. I can’t wait till next July when Mother Nature’s
Firework Display starts again. Come and stay at the Andon-Reid Inn
and join us for a front row seat.
(Firefly photo courtesy of renowned Waynesville photographer Kevin Adams www.kadamsphoto.com )
Five amazing things Part 1 – The Inn of Serendipity 14 Aug 2015, 3:58 pm
From the very beginning, acquiring and running the Andon-Reid Inn has been an amazing experience. Narrowing down this blog to five highlights from our first few weeks has been very difficult, but we hope you find some of our stories interesting.
Amazing Things Part 1 – The Inn of Serendipity
Finding and buying an Inn is a notoriously complicated business…unless serendipity steps in.
Andrea and I had been daydreaming about owning a bed and breakfast for more than twelve years. However, being based in the UK, and then moving to in China for five years , we couldn’t seriously start looking until after I finished up my 30+ year career at IBM (the last five in China) and we were able to settle down permanently in the USA. As Andrea is a US citizen, returning to the USA posed no problem for her. On the other hand, as an Australian/Englishman, I had to wait over a year for my Green Card to be approved. Finally, in mid-March of this year, I became a legal alien and our search for the perfect B&B began in earnest. Based on the experience of others we were expecting the search to take months or even years, but things turned out a little differently.
We based ourselves in Northwest Florida near Andrea’s family and signed up for the next available “Aspiring Innkeepers” seminar. We wanted to make sure we were well prepared for our B&B search. The seminar, run by the excellent B&B team, was in Kennebunkport, Maine in mid-April so we decided to combine it with a lengthy road trip that would let us view as many prospective Inns for sale as we could manage. Thanks to Andrea’s amazing planning skills we ended up with a three and a half thousand mile driving itinerary and eighteen prospective inns to view.
The Andon-Reid Inn was not on the list of eighteen. It was operating successfully under the careful management of Mark and Kari, friends of ours from China. Our search, however, did take us near Waynesville so we contacted Mark and Kari to see if we could drop in and get them to share some of their practical experience of innkeeping. We had a lovely visit at the Andon-Reid Inn, learned a lot from Mark and Kari, before continuing on our road trip and inn search. We returned to Florida a few days later feeling a little disheartened as none of the eighteen inns for sale really fit the bill. We thought we were in for a long and disheartening search.
Then, later that week, we had our first experience of Andon-Reid Inn serendipity. We received a surprising email from Mark and Kari offered to let us buy the Andon-Reid Inn. It seems that, from a lifestyle perspective, they had gone into the B&B business a little too early and still had other things they wanted to achieve before settling into the full-time innkeepers life. We suppose our visit may have prompted them to make a positive decision to sell. Anyway, the price was fair and Mark and Kari are two of the most decent and trustworthy people we know. We therefore sealed the deal with a simple handshake and were well on the way to becoming innkeepers.
Before we could start living the dream, however, we had one more challenge to overcome. Mark and Kari managed to live comfortably in very compact accommodations – using one of the Inn’s smallest rooms as their owner’s quarters. With our three cats and all of our “stuff” from our former large London home we simply needed more space. We contemplated fitting out the attic, borrowing some space in the basement, or possibly building a small owner’s house somewhere on the Inn’s grounds. None of these were ideal nor were they rapid solutions.
That’s when Andon-Reid Inn serendipity stepped up again. Andrea had the bright idea of contacting a respected Waynesville estate agent, Rob Rowland, and asking him to discretely knock on the door of all the properties surrounding the Andon-Reid just to find out if they were interested in selling to us. Clearly this unsolicited approach was a long shot but worth a try – and it paid off. The owners of the house and land behind the Andon-Reid Inn were interested in a sale and we swiftly agreed a price and moved to a rapid completion. When we looked at the deeds, to our surprise, we discovered that the house we had just bought was originally a part of the Andon-Reid Inn property. That would explain the identical wallpaper in both kitchens. We had unwittingly reunited the original estate.
So as we look back, we are now sure that it had to be fate that led us to become the owners of the Andon-Reid Inn. Because of old friendships forged in China we were in the right place at the right time and a fabulous B&B that was not on the market was offered to us. We then found the best possible house as our owner’s quarters, also not on the market, and realized we had recreated the original property boundaries at the same time. The Andon-Reid Inn has surely been the “Inn of Serendipity”. We are looking forward to the next lucky break it brings our way.