BBOnline Member SINCE 2003

Wildberry Lodge

135 Potato Branch Road, Leicester, North Carolina 28748
Innkeeper(s): Glenda and Ken Cahill

How to get the most out of your B&B experience 21 Feb 2017, 5:59 am

 

I realize that some people have never even entertained the idea of staying at a bed and breakfast while others are simply unsure of what to expect and are hesitant to give it a try. We want you to get the most out of your bed and breakfast experience and thoroughly enjoy it! Outlined here are the ways in which to best enjoy all that our bed and breakfast has to offer and to answer questions you may have about the over-all experience.

Breakfast

Obviously, one of the main highlights of staying at a B&B is the homemade breakfasts!  We encourage you to share with us your preferences and dislikes. If you have any dietary restrictions or food allergies please do let us know ahead of time so we can accommodate you. Breakfast is an integral part of the B&B experience and we want you to be 100% satisfied. You can either make a note for us to read upon booking on-line or give us a call and tell us first hand. Never be afraid or coy about communicating your needs with us. We are happy to do it!

 

Travel Plans

Take advantage of the staff’s knowledge about the locale and the connections we have made! We are quasi travel planners and have great insight on how to make the best out of your plans for the duration of your stay. We have the lay of the land and can provide you short cuts that your GPS is not cool enough to know. Capitalize on our personalized travel advice for the best picnic spots, restaurants, swimming holes or hiking adventures! You can also utilize our blog and surf through many of the hikes and things-to-do in the Asheville area.

 

Accommodations

We love a good celebration at the Wildberry. If there is anything we can do to help you in your plans for a special anniversary, birthday or even planning a wedding please do let us know! We offer a variety of packages all of which we want to tailor to you. Get creative with us! Whatever we can do to help you create lasting and beautiful memories is worth the time and effort! We love what we do. Just make sure to let us know well in advance so we can make sure everything is just perfect for your arrival.

 

Flexibility and Freedom

There are some people who like the idea of a bed and breakfast but not necessarily the socializing aspect of it all. I am here to tell you that you are NEVER required to socialize. We are flexible and understand that not everyone wants the same thing. If you come to us in need of solitude and quietude that is perfectly fine with us if that is what you want. You do not need to mingle. You do not need to eat breakfast if you do not want to. If you want breakfast but do not want to eat with others we have no qualms setting that up for you. Remember, this is YOUR vacation. No breakfast? Great! Want to stay in your room the entire time and read a good book? Great! Want to sleep until noon? Great! And wow, I’m seriously jealous!

We thrive on communication here at the Wildberry. We want to meet your expectations and create a tailored-to-you vacation in every way we can.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

How hooch helped shape our history 15 Feb 2017, 6:28 am

It’s incredible to think about how much our history has been shaped and tweaked by our fixation on drink. I find myself mulling over various crossroads in American history where alcohol has impacted changes in policy and even prevented battles. For instance, in 1862 a Union supply train was in route in Virginia when it was stopped by confederate soldiers. With a massive amount of whiskey on board the train the soldiers opted to plunder the precious cargo and become plastered drunk. This enabled the union troops to escape unscathed.

America’s history with alcohol can be viewed as a dark slippery slope but no one can refute the enormity of how much it has influenced the founding of our country. The Mayflower was originally heading south when they ran out of beer. The captain feared mutiny and stopped in at Plymouth instead to try and remedy the situation.

Would Abe Lincoln have been murdered without the aid of brandy? John Wilkes Booth was said to have been drunk on brandy, undoubtedly slurping up liquid courage, before he pulled the trigger to assassinate Lincoln. Perhaps if Lincolns body guard, John Frederick Parker, was not imbibing that night he would have had the wherewithal to prevent the attack from happening in the first place.

Did you know that Thomas Jefferson wrote out the first draft of the Declaration of Independence while drinking in a Philadelphian tavern? Or that whiskey paid for the building of the Erie Canal? Irish immigrants were paid 5 cents and 32 ounces of whiskey a day, including a 2 ounce shot upon waking every morning.

It’s as though alcohol has served as this hushed third party that has weaved itself into every aspect of our social and economic fabric. Alcohol consumption was such a normal and essential part of our life for a very long time. It was used as money in the form of bartering for many townspeople right up until George Washington created a tipple tariff and the Whiskey Rebellion raised hell over it. For the longest time water was considered dirty and unhealthy to consume so people drank only rum and whiskey in order to hydrate themselves.

Luckily, times have changed although alcohol does still play a powerful role in our culture. Is it used as means of de-stressing and for celebrating with friends and family.

Loretta’s Cafe in downtown Asheville 7 Feb 2017, 8:54 am

Loretta’s Café

grilled cheese

Looking for the ultimate comfort food? Look no further than Loretta’s Café. They have been an Asheville staple since 1998 and have perfected the art of sammich making. Their art has less to do with reinventing the classics and more about perfecting them.

Sample selections of their classic choices are grilled cheese or grilled pimento cheese, tuna melt, smoked pulled pork, chicken salad, philly cheese steak and the reuben. Specialty sandwiches are also available such as the Big Bad Wolf with smoked pulled pork, ham, bacon, pimento cheese, coleslaw, Cajun mayo and creole mustard. Yeah, it’s just as amazing as it sounds.

 

Lorettas has two entrances, one off of Lexington Ave and the other off of Merrimon. The first floor is an espresso and beer bar that you can access off of Lexington. When you enter you climb up a long flight of stairs to reach the second floor where the sammich making magic happens (If you want to skip the stairs then enter on Merrimon). They have a giant black chalkboard that highlight their hot and cold sandwich options as well as soup special of the day. I appreciate the soup and half sandwich combo they offer as they go hand in hand with a cold mountain day.
lorettas dining hallAll the sandwiches are loaded. And I mean LOADED! The fillings are wonderfully generous and you get gobs and gobs of delicious cheese. I think it’s the homemade fresh baked bread that really pulls it all together though. It is made with whole grains and is thick and soft and just brings the whole sammich worship together. I think as many times as I’ve typed “sammich” in this we could probably make a rather effective drinking game out of it…..

Sammich. Sammich. Sammich.

 

Inside Loretta’s Café is really nice with lots of windows and plenty of sunshine to brighten up the place. They sport a sort of mardi gras theme with interesting and peculiar artwork on the walls painted by local artists. I think the bestpictures of jesus part of their décor is the totally random displays of trolls, jesus, boats and kids toys. It simultaneously makes no sense at all and all the sense in the world. It just works. The dining area is spacious and has a very relaxed feeling to it; so much so that when I am finished with my food I never once have felt the need to rush out. It’s really nice.

 

Loretta’s Café is open from 10am to 5pm and closed on Sundays. Their sammiches (drink!) are spectacularly priced from $4.50 to $7.75. They are located at 114 N Lexington.

 

 

 

Valentine deal at the Copper Crown in Asheville! 1 Feb 2017, 9:15 am

 

February marks the month of romance. If you have not made plans for your special someone then you better get on it! Drawing a blank? Fear not, because we are here to help.

Staying at the Wildberry is truly a romantic endeavor in and of itself. A secluded mountain getaway with your honey during the winter months can work to bring you much closer together. Imagine cozying up on our big leather couches in the great room while sipping complementary wine in front of a roaring fire. Yes indeed, love is in the air.

We offer romance packages that can be fine-tuned to your liking, so please do let us know how we can best accommodate you to make your stay with us extra special and memorable for you.

One of the perks of being married to a chef is that sometimes I get the pleasure of offering our guests special deals at some of Asheville’s best restaurants. Last year I wrote about the esteemed ‘Zambras’ which is one of the best known places to dine at for that perfect romantic ambiance in Asheville.

I am excited to share with you a new kid in town called the Copper Crown located in east Asheville and owned by the same folks that run Zambra. They were recently rated as the number one best new restaurant to try in our area. What I really like about this place is that they seem to have something that will please everyone. No matter what mood I am in or what I am craving they have a dish that will hit the spot.

The types of dishes they offer vary greatly from comfort food such as good ole fashion burgers, steak and schnitzel to more eclectic choices like cheerwine glazed pork cheeks, crispy deviled duck heart and slow roasted pork belly. They have a great bar too with signature house cocktails and a dizzying selection of primo liquors.

The wonderful owners have extended to Wildberry guests an exclusive deal that will last throughout the whole month of February. Please enjoy 15% off of your total bill!!! (this does not include the purchase of alcohol). Make sure to let us know if you are interesting in taking advantage of this exclusive deal and we will set it up for you. Enjoy! And Happy Valentines month!

The Copper Crown is located at 1011 Tunnel Rd #100 and you can visit their website to view their menu at coppercrownavl.com.

The uniqueness of a woodland cabin experience 24 Jan 2017, 6:21 am

 

Lately I have been asking some of our guests what made them choose the Wildberry Lodge over the bed and breakfasts in Asheville? After all, Asheville is the destination of interest so why not stay at a bed and breakfast in the middle of town?

Many people explain that they are more outdoorsy people and enjoy being hugged by nature the way they are here at the Wildberry. The trailheads on the property and cozy fire pit area in the woods are thoroughly enjoyed and you just can’t beat the sweeping mountain views from the back deck. Of course the highland cows and goats roaming the pasture adds an adorable down-to-earth touch as well.

The answer that caught my attention, however, was that we are the only one of our kind. To hear from happy guests that there is no other B&B quite like us in the area just made us over-the-moon happy to hear. Giving our guests a unique and memorable experience is important to us. It is never about whether our establishment is better than others, because we are not better; per se. Asheville is ripe with amazing bed and breakfasts. What we do is stand out, and we are very proud of that.

The Wildberry Lodge is a place where you can enjoy your morning cup of coffee on the back deck, breathing in the mountain views as families of humming birds play around you and birds sing to you. We are a place where you can relax to a glass of nice wine with a loved one underneath the starlight, and soak away your troubles in an outdoor hot tub. You can even meet our goats (the babies too!!!) and hand feed them delicious scraps from that mornings breakfast.

We strive to keep it relaxed, fun and always interesting!

Inspiration from working at the Wildberry 17 Jan 2017, 6:17 am

Working at the Wildberry has changed my life. It has changed the way I view the world and the way in which I view myself. The tasks of the job itself held no transformational power. The people I have had the privilege to meet and get to know, however, have had a deep impact.

I consider it to be a great honor to be able to listen to and learn from people from all walks of life that hang their hats in different corners of our world. I’ve met artists, surgeons, astronauts and story-tellers; cancer survivors and vets. People with brilliant minds and hearts filled with so much kindness in them that they seem superhuman. People that have gone through hell and back and are brave enough to share their story with us with grace and humility. When I say honor, I truly mean it.

One woman that stands out to me, above all others, happens to be my boss, Glenda. She is beyond inspiring, filled with grit and passion and a healthy dose of sarcasm. She has worked painstakingly hard to get to where she is today and she never gave up. Glenda went back to college a little later in life and obtained her degree as a chemical engineer. A chemical engineer! How cool is that? Of course being a super brainy woman climbing the ladder within a man’s world wasn’t good enough, she also wanted to start her own business and be her own boss.

Glenda and Ken’s dream of opening a bed and breakfast was a long time in the making. The persistence of the dream alone is impressive enough, let alone the fact that when they finally made their dream come true they had the backbone and stamina to keep their day jobs while running a brand new home business, which is a 24/7 job. It never ends. And they are still doing it. They are freaks of nature! F R E A K S.

Watching people rise in spite of all the horrendous curve balls that life throws their way and still manage to smile and thrive and love is truly amazing. Thank you for all the inspiration, Glenda! My hat is off to you.

For the love of whiskey 10 Jan 2017, 9:23 am

 

 

Alcohol seems to serve as the ultimate axiom for our worlds literary greats. William Faulkner, Earnest Hemingway, Mark Twain, James Joyce and Edgar Allan Poe all reveled, quite publicly, about their sheer delight and immense appreciation for the various whiskeys (or whiskys depending on the poison and geographic locale).

When one considers that it is not what we think but how we think that springs forth ingenuity, progress and creativity it is no wonder that alcohol is the life blood of writers. Spirits slither into the chambers of our mind with the potential for tremendous imaginative expansion. They also dampen our tendency to be highly critical of ourselves, freeing our minds to roam however they please.

So here’s to whiskey; for the magnificent, insightful and witty influence it has had on our novelists, poets, playwrights and great thinkers of our time!

Often people are confused as to the difference between bourbon, scotch and rye. Many people think that whiskey holds its own as a specific drink when in reality whiskey serves at a category for more distinct spirits with slight variations. Bourbon, scotch, rye and Irish whisky all fall under the whiskey branch. Allow me to shed some light on these liquid sunshines.

All whiskeys are made from fermented grain mash and that mash determines what kind of whiskey you enjoy. Other than that the only major differentiation that can be made is based on geography. For instance, scotch can only be called a scotch if it was made and bottled in Scotland. Bourbon is strictly American. Irish whisky is from Ireland. You get the idea.

Bourbon- can only be called such with a grain mash that is at least 51% corn. You have two main types of bourbon; blended and straight. If you are interested in the purity of the distillation process then always opt for “straight” bourbon as they have laws banning additives. Straight bourbons are also required to age for no less than 2 years in new charred oak barrels. Blended bourbon can have added synthetic or natural colouring and flavoring to the final product. They also have no minimum aging period.

 

Scotch- is a whisky made from a fermented grain mash that consists of malted barley. Scotch must be aged for no less than 3 years regardless of whether or not the scotch is single malt or blended. Caramel colouring is allowed but no fermentation additives are. Single malt scotch is considered to be the prime choice since it uses only three ingredients; barley, water and yeast. Scotch, unlike bourbon, is more commonly consumed as is, or “neat”. There is a noticeable smokiness to the taste and aroma of scotch that makes it a little tricky to use in mixed drinks.

 

Rye- is a grass in the wheat tribe and closely related to barley. Rye is usually synonymous with Canadian Rye but there is also an American Rye and the differences are actually pretty great. Canadian rye has an aging minimum of 3 years but has no regulation as to how much rye is required in the mash to be called a rye whiskey. In fact, in the majority of Canadian rye batches you find have little to none rye as Canadians have some of the most relaxed laws on quality control for whiskey. There are a few brands that produce 100% rye whiskey though, one of the most popular being Alberta Premium. American rye consists of a grain mash of at least 51% rye with a two year minimum aging process.

 

Irish whisky- is made and aged in the Republic of Ireland with a minimum 3 year aging process. Pretty much any grain mash variants are green-lighted which makes for a rather large adaption in the flavor profiles. Irish whiskey, like Canadian rye, has the most relaxed laws in whiskey production.

Tennessee whiskey- has to be made and bottled in Tennessee and with only one exception is identical to bourbon. Legally, it can be labeled as straight bourbon but the Tennessee distillers use a process called the Lincoln County Process that sets them apart from all the other whiskeys around. The Lincoln County Process is a filtration process that is performed before the distillation process begins. It utilizes thick maple charcoal to filter the water claiming that it not only enhances the end result flavor but also improves the quality of the water being used.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Winter Lights Show at the Arboretum 1 Jan 2017, 6:18 am

 

 

lighted gazebo

I can’t tell you the joy it brought to my heart to bring my family to the Winter Lights show this year. We wanted to give ourselves and our son a special treat on Christmas Eve. It was rather warm this year for the holidays, so no snowy white Christmas morning for us. What better way to bring in more yuletide spirit than to spend an evening walking through a wonderland of beautiful lights with the ones you love?

 

The Winblue lights on a tree at winter lights showter Lights show is held at the Asheville Arboretum and has had immense success in the three years since it began. They brought in the best of the best to bring us the perfect holiday aesthetics. Walt Disney World worked with Jerry Stripling who was their designer and event coordinator for many years and the NC Arboretu
m had the outstanding idea to gobble up his expertise for the design and execution of the Winter Lights show. You can definitely expect that “wow” factor with someone who has his hands in creating the look of Disney World!

 

 

 

View of parking lot

 

I was already floored before I entered the front door. Just the drive through the property and into the parking lot made my jaw drop and my belly get all giddy with excitement, with all the Kentucky Coffee trees perched up on little hills dividing the lots, beaming with purples, greens, blues and oranges.

The event is held as a nightly walk throughout three acres of beautifully illuminated gardens. When you enter the gardens you walk up to the “Cocoa Shack” where you can get delicious hot cocoas topped with whipped cream or artisanal marshmallows. The marshmallows were pretty big and they had two flavors; original and peppermint. You can also choose from hot cider or beer as well as assorted cookies, local chocolates and gingerbread men for snacking.

 

Lights at winter light show

Although I thought walking around with hot cocoa in hand was an exquisite topping to the Winter Lights experience, I have to say that it was the roasting of the smores over an open fire that put me head over heels in love with this event.  Placed throughout the property were little brick enclosed fire pits where you could have a seat, warm up and roast marshmallows. It was beyond adorable.

 

Need to know:

The event is held from November 18th to January 1st

Hours of operation are from 6pm to 10pm

Most people opt for the self-guided tours but personal tours are available upon request such as the 3-D light tour that takes you through the gardens with 3-D glasses.

Tickets are sold on-line and are date specific, so you must reserve your spot in advance. Usually a day in advance is plenty of time.

Tickets prices are as follows:

12 years and older- $18

Ages 5 to 11 – $16

Ages 4 and under are FREE

 

tall tree light

 

Vortex Donuts 26 Dec 2016, 11:35 am

homer donut

Thank the heavens for the time and love that went into perfecting the conception of the doughnut. That pillowy marriage of yeast and flour, kissed with sugar, leaves a dazed and glazed expression on my face.

Admittedly, I am not a huge donut fan. I rarely eat them, and when I do I head down to Krispy Kreme to pig out. The subsequent tummy ache prevents another binge for a good 6 months to a year; however, recently those pesky confectionary cravings came creeping up again. This cold and rainy weather that we are having practically begs for donuts and hot wholesome coffee.

Instead of trotting down to the usual Krispy I decided to try something different so I headed to Vortex Donuts in downtown Asheville for some gourmet gorging. The inside of the building is open and spacious and has that quintessential hipster look to it but their mission statement and approach to making donuts in a healthful and low impact manner are a serious win.

They have a large focus on local and bio-regional ingredients for their recipes. North Carolina flour and milk are used as well as Asheville-made eggs, chocolate, sodas and kombucha. The donuts have no tans-fat and are free of fillers, preservatives and sketchy hard to pronounce ingredients. So you can rest assured that your donuts are of the highest and most healthful quality at Vortex.

vortex menu

I picked the apple fritter, salted caramel, chocolate covered Danish cream filled and one with bacon. I don’t remember what the donut was called. I only remember bacon. Because, you know, bacon.

Donuts

 

They were great donuts. The ones I chose were labeled as “yeast” while others were labeled as “cake”. I prefer yeasty soft donuts. Donuts that smoosh between your fingers with the slightest bit of pressure. These seemed to be a 50/50 of yeast and cake but labeled as yeast. So if you are set on that delightfully airy and light texture like I am then perhaps you might not be as enthusiastic. No matter what your preference though, these donuts are beyond a doubt worth a try.

Vortex is located at 32 Banks Avenue #106, Asheville, NC 28801 and are open every day from 7AM to 5PM.

Our hearts go out to Gatlinbug 20 Dec 2016, 7:24 am

I want to take a moment here to express how deeply saddened we are for those affected by the Gatlinburg area fires. This tragedy struck with little to no warning and lives were lost. Our hearts go out to all those who were impacted by this catastrophe.

The fires were pushed over from Chimney Top Trail in the Great Smokey Mountains at a frightening pace. The fires were fueled by 90 mph winds where within 15 minutes the entire area was engulfed in flames. Quite frankly, the pictures are so devastating and numbing to see that I am choosing not to post them on this blog.

People are still missing and as of today the death count reached 14. Nearly 200 people have been hospitalized with fire related injuries but all are in stable condition. Over 2,400 homes and businesses have been destroyed or damaged. These people have lost everything but the clothes on their backs.

How can we help?

  • Tennessee’s Helping Hearts are taking donations for first responders. They are excepting towls, dog food, dishes, baby supplies, clothes and monetary donations. You can visit their website at www.tnhelpinghearts.us for more information.
  • If you are interested in assisting those in the recovery efforts you can contact www.volunteerETN.org for more information.
  • Tennessee Emergency Management Agency (TEMA) has a call center for information about donating goods and helping to volunteer to aid the victims. The call center is staffed from 8 AM to 8 PM and you can reach them at 866-586-4483
  • Publix Supermarkets throughout Tennessee have added a program where you can donate any dollar amount, adding it to your total bill at the time of your check out.

Goods needed include:

Personal hygiene products, diapers, baby foods and formula, flash lights, clothes, blankets, jackets, bottled water, canned and package foodstuffs and over-the-counter medications and basic first aid supplies.

Dolly Parton of the Dollywood Foundation has also announced that her foundation will be donating $1,000 a month to every family that lost a permanent residence until they can get back up on their feet again.

My family has personally made a donation and will be sending boxes of winter clothes and baby clothes for those who need it. Anything you can spare will go a long way to helping these families. Our thoughts and prayers are with them all.

 

Update: This was posted a couple of weeks ago but due to technical difficulties there was a delay. Although this news is no longer making headlines quite as much as it was the people still need our help.

 

Written by Kate Randall