BBOnline Member SINCE 2001

Abbington Green Bed & Breakfast Inn

46 Cumberland Circle, Asheville, North Carolina 28801
Innkeeper(s): Nick Poulos and Steve Donahue

Nick's Notes 12.9.2016--I Love the Holidays Each Year! 11 Dec 2016, 6:58 pm

I Love the Holidays Each Year!

We begin to decorate Abbington Green on the first of November for Christmas to coincide with the Biltmore Estate being fully decorated.  I always tell our guests that the main difference between Abbington Green and the Biltmore is that they have 2000 employees to help and we have 8... so it takes about 2 weeks to finish the 20 trees in the house, display the over 180 Nutcrackers, string hundreds of lights, and to light the exterior of the Inn and the property.

We always leave the dining room decorated for Fall until after Thanksgiving, and we host a full 3-course Thanksgiving Dinner for our guests that are interested. We will do the same for Christmas Day Dinner, since most restaurants are closed for the holiday.

This past Thanksgiving was wonderful.  We had 6 repeat guests and 12 new guests for dinner--we are always welcoming new guests to become a part of our Abbington Green family!

The dinner this year was amazing! We served 2 turkeys, ham, mashed potatoes and gravy, green bean and sweet potato casseroles, Steve's Mom's stuffing recipe, salad, cranberry relish, and rolls.  To finish off the meal, we had an amazing assortment of desserts.

My compliments to Zack and Carey in the kitchen for helping me prep for days ahead of Thanksgiving.  Also to Steve and our friends Ivy and Ken who helped on Thanksgiving Day by serving our 18 guests.

I thought you all might want to see a few photos from our Thanksgiving Dinner:

We have so much to be thankful for.  The holidays are always busy, but it is really important to take a moment and stop to think about how fortunate we are.  I'm extremely thankful for my family and great friends. I'm thankful that I believed in myself and that Steve believed in me so much that he'd be my partner in taking steps to achieve my dream of owning an Inn.  I'm thankful for the wonderful staff and great guests I get to meet each week--all of them with interesting lives and stories to share.

Abbington Green allows me to experience so many wonderful things and people from all of the world.  I've truly been blessed with a great life!

All the best,

Top Ten Lists and Doing What You Love--Carey's Turn at the Blog 15 Nov 2016, 5:00 am

Top Ten Lists and Doing What You Love--Carey's Turn at the Blog

Not so long ago, when I traveled back and forth from up North to visit Abbington Green and pitch in a little help in decorating for the winter holidays and such, I was lucky enough to meet a guest staying at the Inn and “his lovely wife” as he jokingly asked us to refer to her during their stay in order to gain some husband points…

At that time, the idea of coming to Asheville to work at Abbington Green Bed & Breakfast Inn hadn’t yet been hatched.  Somehow, though, the guests had a premonition that I’d be here permanently and wrote out this list, David Letterman Top Ten style, to influence a decision to come and work at the Inn should the opportunity arise.

I have been carrying this list, written in their handwriting, around with me since last year November:  

Top 10 Reasons Carey Should Move to Asheville…(and work at the Inn)

10.  Husband can work from anywhere
  9.  Shop small, also = work small
  8.  Clearly you are a hostess at heart
  7.  Embrace your inner decorator
  6.  The view from the front porch at Abbington Green B&B Inn
  5.  Free breakfast
  4.  Puppy love from Lady Amber Abbington whenever you need a fix
  3.  Mild winters and cool summers
  2.  Guests love you
And the #1 reason to move to Asheville and work at the Inn…Never miss an opportunity to work with someone you love.

So…that is just what we did. Our lease in Connecticut came to a close and we moved to Asheville this past June.  We love it here and we’ve never looked back.
We are still exploring and learning about the area. It is always fun for me to hear about what the guests are up to during their day as it gives me great ideas of things to do on my days off. We have a list of restaurants (really, it is the one that Nick sends out to our guests that are his favorites) that we have been exploring and my husband and I have no trouble hopping in the car and taking off to see the sights from the Blue Ridge Parkway, visiting an orchard or two, or picking an interesting named place (like Bat Cave) and pointing our car in that direction.
We have always loved taking drives, and living in Asheville has certainly given us inspiration to get in the car and go!  
Beauty surrounds you here in Asheville. It catches me by surprise every now and again. The mountains, beautiful sunsets, getting to see a black bear in the mountains…it is all a part of the Asheville experience. In addition, the great restaurants, shops, donut shops and ice cream joints will keep me busy exploring for a long time.  Not to forget the Biltmore Estate and its beautiful grounds…we have season passes now and popping over for an afternoon is in our plans.
Abbington Green is also such a pretty place to get to come to work in every day. This historic house is one of a kind, and getting to see our guests appreciate it is very rewarding. As I type this, there is a lively 5pm Social Hour taking place on the grand front porch of the Inn. Conversations are easy, wine is flowing and friendships are being forged. It is terrific.
We have big plans coming up in the coming months for the Inn. We’ve started decorating all of the rooms but the dining room (which stays firmly rooted in Autumn/Thanksgiving) for the winter  holidays—to match the Biltmore’s holiday decorating schedule. I can’t wait to see what design Nick has planned for us to implement…as it changes each year.  This will be my third time getting to decorate the Inn for the holidays, but my first full holiday season at Abbington Green!  We’ll also be cooking and hosting Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners with and for the guests of the Inn…

As far as plans for next year, we’ve been hard at work updating the Abbington Green website, , to better reflect the updates and improvements that have been made to the Inn.  I have gotten the chance to be a part of some terrific initiatives at Abbington Green:  such as having fresh flowers in each guest room, and our work with Clean the World to create new soap bars from our gently used soap that our guests leave behind.  We send them to Orlando to be boiled down and reshaped in to new soap bars that are then distributed to the people of developing countries to help curb dysentery. We also have plans for a new on-site spa to offer services and treatments that will enhance our guests experience even more! Stay tuned for details....

It is an exciting time to be at the Inn and to be in Asheville. I'm honored to work with this wonderful team and I look forward to having the chance to meet you and have you stay with us!



Nick's Notes, 8.26.2016--A Familiar Face in a New Role at Abbington Green 26 Aug 2016, 11:18 am

A Familiar Face in a New Role at Abbington Green

Many of you know about my retail background as a Regional Vice President at Williams-Sonoma.  During that time I supervised 70 stores and worked with an amazing group of District Managers. We were a great team!

One of them was Carey.  We only worked together a short time before Carey and her husband, Robert, were married and moved to Munich, Germany for his job. Steve and I went to visit them and Carey showed us all around---we visited Munich, Prague, Vienna and Salzburg.

When we purchased Abbington Green in 2014, Carey and Robert had just moved back to the US. Carey came to help several times--unpacking boxes, helping with guests, working in the kitchen, decorating for Christmas, and giving Amber some love.

Carey started working on some Social Media projects for me to ease my work load.  She was a huge help to allow me to focus on all the updates going on at the Inn.

In January, 2016, Steve and I took a wonderful vacation, a cruise.  Carey and Robert came to Asheville to watch the Inn and spend time with Amber.  We closed the Inn, but left huge lists for Carey and the team to work on.  The team loved working together, and it was great to come back to a completed checklist.

Carey and I had been talking for a while about the possibility of working together again at Abbington Green. Robert enjoyed Asheville while he was here and they even found a house that they could rent.

We continued to talk about the role Carey would play at the Inn and soon decided that it was the right thing for all of us.  Things fell into place quickly and in June, Carey and Robert moved here to Asheville!

Carey has now taken on the role as our General Manager which allows me more time to focus on additional initiatives here at the Inn. We have some big plans for 2017...and with Carey added to the team, more of my dreams will become reality.

So Carey and I are back to working together again.  It seems like just yesterday that we were working together at Williams-Sonoma.  We compliment each other and guests love her already.  I love my new partner at Abbington Green.  Come visit and meet her soon!

All the best,

A Heartfelt Thank You from Abbington Green Bed & Breakfast Inn 20 Aug 2016, 10:09 am

It has been an exciting 18 months here at Abbington Green Bed & Breakfast Inn. Thank you to all of our wonderful guests and friends for helping us to make our dreams come true.

To read more information about the Top US B&B Award from Bed&, click here.

Nick's Notes 7.1.2016--Bailey, Cassie and Chance are back together at Abbington Green 1 Jul 2016, 7:30 am

Bailey, Cassie and Chance are back together at Abbington Green

When you walk up to the front porch of the Inn, you can't help but notice the 3 dog statues in the front yard: a St. Bernard fountain, a Boxer and a Golden Retriever. These statues represent my 3 dogs Bailey, Cassie and Chance.

Yes, we had 3 large dogs at the same time, and I loved every minute of it. Finding statues that look like them was important for me to have displayed here at Abbington Green.

There is so much that I want to share with you about them. I got Bailey, my St. Bernard, as a puppy from a breeder in Illinois.
I wanted her to be a Show Dog, and she actually won 2nd Place in the only competition I entered her in. Bailey developed a limp in her front paw and could no longer be shown. It was a birth defect, and surgery did not work to fix it.  I learned about a Pet Therapy Program at the Broward County Humane Society where you could take your dog to schools, hospitals and nursing homes.

Bailey passed the test on her first try, and on Saturdays we would visit a hospice in Boca Raton, Florida, visiting mainly cancer and Alzheimer patients. Bailey was amazing at it! Based on her height, patients could easily reach her without bending over or getting out of bed.

I have to say, this was the most rewarding and fulfilling thing that I have done in my life. Bailey touched many lives and was an exceptional Therapy Dog. Even when a patient went into a coma, she would lay her head on their shoulder in bed as if she was still communicating with them.
Cassie, my Boxer, was a gift for my 40th birthday. She was so sweet and tiny compared to my big, 155lb. Bailey.
Bailey took her under her paw immediately. even teaching Cassie how to be house broken. I remember one of the first days Cassie had an accident in the house. Bailey pushed Cassie to the sliding glass door to go out.  Their bond with each other and us grew so strong.  Eventually, Cassie started to climb on top of Bailey and sleep on top of her...and Bailey let her.
When Bailey started to get too old and it was harder for her to walk so much at the nursing home, Cassie became a Certified Pet Therapy Dog and took over where Bailey left off.  Both Bailey and Cassie knew when we would say..."Let's go visit your friends"...that it was time to put on their green vest that said "I love working for hugs and kisses", and head over to the nursing home.
When Cassie was 3 and Bailey was 6, Cousin Chance, a Golden Retriever, stayed over for a visit while good friends went away on vacation.  They were all 3 instant friends, with Bailey taking on the "Big Alpha" Dog role, in charge.
A few months later, Chance joined our family as a permanent member. You certainly get a lot of stares when you walk 3 big dogs down the street! Chance was never the smartest of the 3, but he was loyal and loving.
I lost my "Bailey Girl" in December of 2011. It was such a hard loss for me. Bailey had been there for me during some difficult times in my life and she had become my personal Therapy Dog too. She always knew how to cheer me up. She was twelve years old. That is a long life for a St. Bernard, as most pass away at 8-10 years old.
I found a website that creates Andy Warhol-like photo prints on canvas and I decided to have three made for Bailey, Cassie, and Chance.

In February of 2012, I found Amber, a 4 month old mixed breed puppy, on the highway.  She reminded me of 'Scrappy Doo' with her big head and her small body.

We tried to find who she belonged to, but had no luck and after a week at the house, Amber, Cassie and Chance had become best friends.  I think that it helped them get over the loss of Bailey too. Cassie even tried to sit on Chance like she did with Bailey, but he would have no part of it.  Amber brought the puppy out in both of them and they loved playing with her.

I always say that things happen for a reason. In April 2012, we had to put both Cassie and Chance down, 10 days apart from one another.  First Cassie developed a brain tumor and went blind. She started having seizures.  Then we found out that Chance had developed stomach cancer. Sadly, we lost them both very quickly.

Amber was there to support us and needed our love too. She was still only 6 months old, so full of energy and she needed to play. She helped give us the strength to move on. Amber has grown into a beautiful dog..."Lady Amber Abbington"... as guests and our team refer to her.
She will be my next Therapy Dog, and our goal is to be out visiting nursing homes here in Asheville as soon as she is ready to be trained and passes her test.

I think of Bailey, Cassie, and Chance often and love having the statues of them in the front yard at Abbington Green. I hope that you will too.

All the best,


Steve's Say --5.18.2016--At Work in The Gardens 19 May 2016, 12:42 pm

At Work in the Gardens

When we purchased Abbington Green in the fall of 2014, it became clear that Nick was planning on having me be in charge of taking care of the gardens.  So I set aside 2 weeks of vacation in May last year to work on them.

Although we did a lot of gardening in Florida, it was more just maintaining and weeding our grounds since everything grows so fast there.  Here in North Carolina, when things started to come up I had to decide what to add, keep or move.  

The previous owner, Valerie had done an amazing job laying out the gardens by design and what plants she used.  I didn't want to take away from the English style gardens that she created, but I wanted to add some of my own personal choices to the grounds.   

My mother always had a large vegetable garden along with many varieties of flowers on her large property. When I was young, I helped her with her vegetable gardens growing up, mostly by just picking them when they were ripe. 

At the Inn, we had to decide where to put the vegetables and which ones we wanted to grow here at Abbington Green.  Our friends, Ken and Ivy helped with picking out what annuals we should plant along with some perennials that would come up every year. They suggested growing a variety of berries that we could use for jams for our breakfasts. 

We decided to plant blueberries, blackberries, raspberries and black raspberries. For vegetables we planted, lettuce, spinach, carrots, cucumbers, asparagus, tomatoes, radishes, and green peppers.

During those 2 weeks last May, I spent most of the day outside working in the gardens.  Our guests would compliment me on how good everything looked-even going as far as to compare our gardens to the amazing gardens of the Biltmore Estate....but a smaller version. 
A few guests even gave me pointers and tips on how to do a few things.  My biggest fear was what and when to prune and when and what to fertilize.  It was a trial and error learning experience for sure.  Some plants did better than others and I kept that in mind when choosing what to plant again this year.

It is a large property, and having a full time job doesn't give me a lot of free time for the gardens. I took off another 2 weeks to work in the garden this May. I was feeling much more confident this year in what I wanted and needed to do. 

I like to kid with Nick and our guests that gardening could almost be a full time position here. 

Having just finished the majority of things to do this year, I can honestly say, I enjoy working in the gardens while on vacation and on my days off.  I love that we support the local wildlife in the area with our gardens, and am proud that we are a designated Certified Wildlife Habitat. We have many varieties of birds, butterflies, rabbits and hummingbirds that live in and visit our gardens. 

We are a TripAdvisor GreenLeader, and we don't use pesticides and make it a point to garden our property organically.

It's really not work when you enjoy what you are doing.  I wish I could spend more time in the gardens of Abbington Green. Retirement is approaching, though, and then you can be sure to catch me outside most of the time.

Nick's Notes 4.29.2016--Mom's Rose Garden 29 Apr 2016, 8:30 am

Mom's Rose Garden

One of my sweetest memories of my Mom is her love for roses. When I was 4, we moved into our new house and Mom had a bigger yard to grow her roses. The rose gardens started as a side garden along our property line, but when the new patio went in, this provided her another great location to add a large rose garden. Each year they were well tended and properly trimmed, with new white stones put down to cover the ground around them. We even got creative and lined the edges of the garden and around the base of each rose with clam shells. (Yes, we ate a lot of clams as a family)
So, Steve and I decided to dedicate to one of our rose gardens here at Abbington Green to my Mom.  
We recently purchased 4 Cherub Statues playing musical instruments that are now a part of this special garden. 
New roses have been added and they are just starting to bloom.
The garden lines the driveway as guests drive to the lower parking lot. My Mom loved both music and roses, so I know the partnership of the roses with the cherubs and their musical instruments would have made her very happy.

This is perfect timing to dedicate this garden to her with Mother's Day on May 9th and her Birthday would have been on May 12th. I miss you,  Mom, and want you to know I will think of you every time I see our new Rose Garden.

Love, Nick

Nick's Notes 4.8.2016 - All Are Welcome at Abbington Green 8 Apr 2016, 12:53 pm

All Are Welcome at Abbington Green

I've always been proud of the values I was raised with. Two of the most important being: a strong work ethic and to treat others with kindness and respect.

After University, I moved to Raleigh, NC and I learned a lot about diversity from my first Store Manager at Jeans West in CrabtreeValley Mall, Pat Banks. Years later, in my career at Gap, Inc., I was a part of the Diversity Council.

When it comes to my personal values and opinions, my parents, Pat, and my career in retail helped to shape me into the person that I am today.

I never thought that I would be writing a blog on this topic, but I have to state my opinion on some of the legislature decisions currently going on in the State of North Carolina.

As I walked in Downtown Asheville yesterday, I saw this sign posted in many shop windows...

I know that I recently posted on Facebook that all are welcome at Abbington Green: "...In light of the recent legislation that has been passed in the State of North Carolina, we'd like to reiterate that everyone is welcome at Abbington Green".

Every day since this decision was passed, major corporations and sponsors have begun to boycott North Carolina. For example, some furniture buyers are boycotting the NC Furniture Expo at the Furniture Mart this year. The Expo is like the "Fashion Week" in New York City for the furniture world. It attracts over 70,000 visitors and buyers, and brings in over $5 billion to the region. Dozens have cancelled their buying trips this year to the Furniture Mart in High Point, NC.

Two weeks ago, PayPal announced plans to build a global facility in North Carolina. PayPal has now withdrawn these plans after NC enacted the anti-LGBT Law, HB2. Braeburn Pharmaceuticals has also decided not to build their research facility here. Lionsgate Films and A&E Television have announced that they will no longer film anything in North Carolina, and Fox Television is now stating the same. New York Governor Andrew M. Cuomo has signed an executive order banning all non-essential state travel to North Carolina, and just today Bruce Springsteen cancelled his concert in Greensboro that was to have taken place on Sunday. The list goes on and will undoubtedly get longer.

As a result, this law has the potential to be the force that loses North Carolina billions of dollars of Federal funding for roads and schools in the state.

The heads of more than 100 companies, including Charlotte-based Bank of America and Raleigh-based software maker Red Hat, are asking the Governor to repeal the law.

Asheville is known for being a liberal, welcoming, and inclusive place for everyone. That's one of the wonderful things about Asheville, and an important reason that made Steve and I want to move here and purchase Abbington Green.

It must be said that HB2 does not represent all of the people of North Carolina. In a press release from this week's Asheville Chamber of Commerce Legislative Luncheon, Chamber President Kit Cramer is quoted as saying:

"...Discrimination, in any form, is not acceptable, and it’s bad for business. It’s not acceptable in Asheville. It’s not acceptable in Western North Carolina and it’s not acceptable in our state. Any hint of discrimination should be scrubbed from the law. The very fabric of who we are as a community is tolerant..."

I'm disappointed in this decision made by the Governor, and personally find the discriminatory nature of it unacceptable. 

As the sign says, Y'all Means All! We want you to know that all are welcome in Asheville, and ALL are always welcome at Abbington Green! 

All the best,

Nick's Notes 2.19.2016--A Renewed Commitment to an Abbington Green Clean 18 Feb 2016, 12:08 pm

New Allergies can start at any time!

I would never have believed that at the age of 54 you can start having a new allergy. My new one started this past November when I started getting a rash around my eyes and on my face and neck. It got to the point my eye lids would swell at times and I had to stop wearing my contacts and instead had to wear my glasses. At least the glasses hid the redness around my eyes. 

I finally went to the Minute Clinic, and when I removed my glasses, the Nurse Practitioner made a gasping sound.....I guess I scared her (it really wasn't that bad!).  She determined that I had had an allergic reaction to something and must have touched that something and then rubbed my face and eyes. She said that five days of steroids should take care of it. It did go away after day one, but when the steroids were gone the rash came back.

Next, I go to a Dermatologist. She says the same's an allergic reaction to something, and I just needed a longer period of steroids. So I get a steroid shot (...I hate that!) and an additional 20 days of steroid medication. It went away immediately, but the minute I was off the steroids, it came back...but just only on my face. The Dermatologist ended up giving me another shot of steroids, to help get me through the Holidays.

In January, I made an appointment with an Allergist to have the "patch test" completed to determine what exactly it is that I am allergic to. Have any of you ever had this done? 

I guess the modern version of the needle testing is to tape 10 swatches of sticky potential allergy substances to your back and then cover all of that with tape...then they tell you that you can't shower or get wet for 3 days. Now, I'm one of those people that can't stand being constrained in any way. Putting tape all over my back, felt so constraining...comfort was not going to happen for a few days...especially as a few of the substances start to cause my back to itch. 

Meanwhile, work at the Inn continues.......

Well, it was determined that I am allergic to Methylchloroisothiazinoline. 

Methylchloroisothiazinoline is a preservative used in hygiene products such as shampoos, lotions, sun screens and so on. It is also used in common household cleaners, soaps, paints, pet care, and yard care products. So basically, almost everything...

When I got home, I looked at the list of products that contain Methylchloroisothiszinoline, and it was overwhelming. So many of the things we were using at the Inn listed it as an was truly all around me and  I guess my body finally reacted to the amount of contact I had had with it. I thought by using green based products, like we do at Abbington Green, I would not have had an issue with our cleaning regiment...but we have now found out that many of these products do contain this ingredient. So, changes had to happen immediately. 

We have always been committed to green practices at the Inn. Cooking with organic, locally sourced products is important to us for our guests, and we are excited to now make changes to our cleaning procedures. Abbington Green Bed & Breakfast Inn is proud to be recognized as a TripAdvisor Bronze Level GreenLeader..."the TripAdvisor GreenLeaders Program showcases a variety of eco-friendly hotels and B&Bs, from budget to luxury – and they’re all committed to green practices like recycling, local and organic food, and electric car charging stations."

Leave it to my great staff to do some research and come up with some great natural cleaners based mostly on vinegar that we can use in the kitchen around me as well as throughout the Inn. 

While we were away, the team deep cleaned the Inn, and paid special attention to the kitchen, which is where I spend the most time during the day. I thought I would share some of them with you since they work so well and do not contain Methylchloroisothiazinoline. I've posted some recipes at the bottom of this post.

So, some good things came from the discovery of my allergy issues. I hope our
guests will notice the extra efforts we put into cleaning each and every detail in our rooms, common areas, and kitchen to be as Green Friendly as possible but also minimize use of products that contain Methylchloroisothiazinoline. Even Lady Amber Abbington is being bathed in a new shampoo so she can still keep giving me the hugs and kisses I love.

All the best, Nick

Here are some of the recipes for the cleaners that we've begun to use at Abbington Green. We did some research online, found some great recipes and adapted them to make them our own. We are now feeling the Green and you can too!

Abbington Green Clean--All-Purpose Cleaner
3 cups distilled or filtered water (we are lucky to have filtered water at the Inn) 
1 cup white vinegar 
1-2 tsp lemon juice 
5-7 drops essential oil (lemon or mint or a clean scented one you prefer)
Pour into a spray bottle and fill the remaining space in the bottle with hot water.

Abbington Green Clean--Disinfecting Kitchen Floor Cleaner
In a bucket combine:
1 gallon of warm water 
2 Tbsp white vinegar 
1 tsp fresh lemon juice 
4 drops of tea tree oil
one tiny squeeze of liquid Castile Soap (we used Dr. Bronner's)

Nick's Notes 2.12.2016--My Journal 11 Feb 2016, 2:33 pm

My Journal

Some people call it a Journal...others may call it a Diary...I like to call it a Journal. It's full of my thoughts and ideas, and as I get older, writing them down helps me to remember them.

I typically try to journal whenever we are on a vacation, but decided to journal as often as possible when we purchased the Inn the end of September 2014.

My first entry is on 10/4/2014, and is called "Living a Dream." I wrote in it again on 10/9 and then 10/11...then nothing!!! I guess it slipped away from me, or maybe it's because I go to bed between 9 and 10 PM each night. We are up early to get the day started, walk Amber, and then into the kitchen to get Breakfast going. The staff starts coming in at 7 or 8 AM and the day is in full swing.

We recently closed the Inn for a week and went on vacation. The staff continued to work on projects such as deep cleaning rooms, painting, and a few updates I know guests will love. Traveling gave me the perfect opportunity to start to journal again...and even share some of my thoughts with you.

"As you can see by the date, it's been a long time since I wrote in here. It's been a long time for a lot of first time off since we bought the Inn, my first flight since we bought the Inn, and my first time away from Amber since we bought the Inn." (Keep in mind I traveled almost every week in my past career and was away from Amber a lot).

I love my new career but I know myself well. I'm a workaholic and living at work can become a full time...all the time thing. There is always something to do. I'm so proud of what we accomplished in a year. There are so many more ideas I have........."

(I can't share this part because I am working on some big things for the future. Hopefully they will happen...)

"I had good intentions to write in here often this past year, but I'm usually very tired at night. Time goes by so fast....the day flies by and the year has flown by too. Guests ask me all the time is it what I thought it would be? It's more fulfilling than I thought it would be.  I've met some amazing people from all over the world. I feel that I have more friends out there. I really hate seeing some people leave.  The biggest compliment is the amount of return guests we are getting. I love when they come back and I get to see them again and welcome them home.

People also ask would I do things differently. That's an easy answer: NO.  I had planned for this for so long....I knew what I wanted. Abbington Green just fit right into the plan so well for me. I always want to make sure the guests have an amazing time here with exceptional service and hospitality. I know I will never stop doing that and that will always be the highest priority. I just need to figure out some ME time so I can relax once in awhile and have something to look forward to.

That's where this cruise comes in....time to relax and receive excellent service. I do have a higher expectation of service now from being in the hospitality industry. There are similarities in hospitality and retail, but also differences. In retail it is more instant service, and in hospitality it is more personalized to guests for a longer period of time. Each interaction with them needs to be at a high service least that is my standard."

I always tell the staff "this is the guests' vacation or time away and we want to help make it the best it can be". The biggest compliment that also touched my life was from a guest who called to book a room. He mentioned to me that they were having issues in their marriage and they needed a weekend together to get back on track. I worked with him on selecting the right room, scheduling breakfast in bed one morning, arranging massages, and so on. Recently, before the Holidays, he called to thank me and let me know that they are expecting a baby and their marriage is back on track. I was so happy to hear the great news.

I feel like this is where I am supposed to be in my life now. I do feel an impact I'm making by helping make special memories in guest's lives for special events they are celebrating....Anniversaries, Babymoons, Weddings, Birthdays, and just being happy in life.

It's so easy for me to talk about work, but this journal now is supposed to be about us enjoying our vacation. Steve took special care in planning our trip to make it special for me.....that's so sweet of him.

I'm looking forward to a wonderful vacation!"

That's a little bit of what I wrote the first day we left. We did have a wonderful time as you can see from the pictures below. Great food, horseback riding, swimming with the turtles, riding in a bobsled, and walk up a waterfall. All of us need vacation time away to clear our thoughts. I love to travel, but I always like coming home too. Home to our new home......Abbington Green!

All the best, Nick

Amber waiting patiently for our return.