Andon-Reid Inn Bed and Breakfast
Season of mists and mellow mushroomness 20 Dec 2016, 3:44 pm
The weather has finally started to turn in the North Carolina mountains. Temperatures in the evenings are getting decidedly chilly. The leaves are gone, which makes the hills less colorful. However this does mean we now enjoy more open mountain vistas and I’m happy to illustrate this with a picture from our hike at Max Patch a few days ago. Some desperately needed rain has also finally fallen, breaking the drought and alleviating the risk of wildfires (though mercifully Waynesville was spared any ill effects from these in any case).
As the season changes, I thought I would reflect briefly on one of the more unusual aspects of this year’s autumn
at the Andon-Reid Inn –namely our “display” of wild mushrooms.
I suspect this all originated with the new load of mulch that our landscaping service delivered in the spring and spread over the Inn’s flower beds. I’m not sure where the mulch came from but it must have been from somewhere exotic, because as summer passed and the autumn colors began to appear, so did the most astounding crop of unusual fungi. Dotted around our flowerbeds were delicate mushrooms that look like rock roses, bright yellow “scrambled egg fungus” patches, and in the rose bed at the back of the Carriage House Suite a mushroom so storybook perfect in appearance that I fully expected to see a gnome sitting underneath it.
The most astounding find, however, was a giant puffball mushroom (Calvatia Gigantea) which was over 12 inches in diameter and is pictured with me for scale. This actually grew at a nearby property but I have been sworn to secrecy regarding the location by the owners to discourage poachers. The owners were, however, kind enough to let me keep the puffball which I proceeded to slice, cook and eat – a rare treat (it tasted great fried in butter, garlic and parsley).
So all in all – with apologies to John Keats – this autumn really was a season of mists and mellow mushroomness. Winter and the Holiday season at the Andon-Reid Inn and wonderful Waynesville may turn out to be just as lovely. Come and join us and find out for yourself.
Falling leaves… to the max 30 Oct 2016, 11:52 am
By all measures this has been an unusual fall leaf-peeping season. The warm dry summer has affected the usually predictable progression of fall colors which normally starts in the high peaks and descends to the valleys. Instead this year we have an equally spectacular, but more arbitrary patchwork. Stretches of vivid fall color are interspersed with sections of green leaves and bare trees all along the local Blue Ridge Parkway and throughout the Waynesville area at all altitudes. I am pleased to say that the fall colors viewed from the Andon-Reid Inn patio are as gorgeous as ever, and am happy to share a snapshot of the scene that I took this morning.
Of course with fall color comes falling leaves – lots and lots of them in this part of the world. I have been out daily with my new leaf blower clearing the driveway and paths, and our lawn guy has a Herculean de-leafing task on his weekly visit. That said, I think our next door neighbor took the concept of “fall” to an extreme.
One evening a few weeks ago, Andrea and I were startled by a crackling noise and then a loud boom. It sounded to us like a short display of fireworks. As no further noises ensued we knew this wasn’t a pyrotechnic celebration so we grabbed our flashlights and walked around the grounds to investigate. We discovered that very large branch – from an even larger oak tree – had fallen in the neighbor’s yard, fortunately narrowly missing his porch and car.
Apparently this was the second major branch to come down in recent weeks so our neighbor made the decision to take down the whole tree which duly happened a couple of mornings later. Other than trimming off the main branches the tree service decided to fell the whole massive trunk in one piece. They didn’t even yell “timber” so the tranquil Andon-Reid Inn breakfast service that morning was interrupted by a mighty thump – much to everyone’s surprise (and subsequent amusement). Although more light now gets into our kitchen we do miss the lovely old oak. Its remnants are being removed bit-by-bit but we posed Andrea for a photo by the trunk to give some idea of scale.
Hopefully next year the falling leaves will not involve falling trees. If you would like to experience the wonderful Waynesville leaf color at the Andon-Reid Inn, we suggest you call us (828) 452 3089 or go to our website www.andonreidinn.com to make your reservation quite early as we already have a considerable number of bookings for October 2017. We hope we’ll see you then.
Chickadee Update 17 Aug 2016, 12:55 pm
Back in June I wrote about our unexpected visitors, a pair of Carolina chickadees who had made their nest and were raising a brood of noisy chicks in what we thought was an ornamental bird box. We had named them Chuck and Chiquita and the offspring were called the Chiclets. The daily routine at the bird box continued with mom and dad chickadee flitting in and out with tasty morsels for the chirping chicks.
One morning a few weeks later we peered into the bird box and found everything silent and empty. We were hopeful that the chicks had finally fledged and the happy family had taken off to a life of freedom in the trees. There was no sign of an altercation, no feathers lying around, no disturbance to the nest, so we were fairly confident the chickadee family hadn’t become a midnight snack for a possum or a cat.
Our confidence was rewarded last week when we hung out our small bird feeders. A band of chickadees was happily pecking away at the tasty seed mix and we are certain it was Chuck, Chiquita and the Chiclets. Andrea managed to take a nice picture of them.
It’s always marvelous to see return visitors at the Andon-Reid Inn…..and not just the avian kind. If you’ve stayed with us before we would love to see you again. If you haven’t been to the Inn, come and give us a try. Maybe you’ll find out why so many people keep coming back to our lovely mountain retreat.
A world of music in Waynesville 27 Jul 2016, 4:15 pm
I have to admit to a guilty pleasure. I am a huge fan of “world music” i.e. the folk and popular music from other countries and cultures. My vinyl, CD and MP3 collections are crammed with compelling Burundi rhythms, Brazilian bossa nova, Cuban salsas, French café music, Madagascan reggae, Polynesian ukulele tunes, haunting Japanese bamboo flute improvisations, Indian ragas, Indonesian Gamelan, and Celtic folk sessions from Ireland and Scotland. Closer to (my new) home, I am now discovering the wide variety of Americana on offer, from Appalachian fiddle music to Zydeco.
It was, therefore, surprised and delighted to discover that wonderful Waynesville is one of the international centers of world music curation and performance. Every year Waynesville is the home of Folkmoot USA, an annual festival held during the last two weeks of July that brings international folk dancers and musicians from around the world to perform throughout Western North Carolina.
Folkmoot kicks off each year with a Parade of Nations down Waynesville’s Main Street and this year Andrea and I were lucky to have an inn full of wonderful guests going to the parade – so we were also able to attend ourselves. It was a colorful and entertaining event on a fine sunny Waynesville day and I am happy to share a few pictures of the parade with you. The various Folkmoot shows and events taking place over the week or so also promise to be fun and engaging and we are looking forward to seeing a few.
If you want to join us at the Andon-Reid Inn for Folkmoot 2017 next July 20-30 be sure to book early as the Inn fills up fast. We hope you will be able to make it.
Unexpected guests at the Andon-Reid Inn 16 Jun 2016, 9:54 am
After almost a year at the Andon-Reid Inn, Andrea and I are pretty well organized (well at least Andrea is) so we almost never have unexpected guests. However, some months ago we remember seeing a couple driving up to the Inn, taking their bags out of their car and heading to our entrance – even through all our planned guests had already arrived. We don’t ever get walk-ins so Andrea and I looked at each other and went “gulp”. Was this somehow going to be our first nightmare double booking?
With a smile plastered on our faces Andrea and I greeted the guests in the parking lot and helped them into the Inn where we tried to get to the bottom of the situation. Once we reviewed the relevant email traffic with the guests it all became clear. As it happened, the guests had been anticipating a possible family emergency (that thankfully hadn’t transpired). In the meantime, just in case, they had drafted a cancellation email to us. Unwittingly, while doing this they had pressed the “send” button not “save draft”. We had therefore received the email, dutifully cancelled their reservation and had resold the room.
Fortunately we were able to accommodate this charming couple for the first night and then Andrea found them a room at another Waynesville B&B for the remainder of their visit. Their one night at the Andon-Reid Inn must have impressed them as they recommended us to their brother – and we had the pleasure of hosting the brother and his wife a few months later.
More recently springtime in wonderful Waynesville has brought us another group of unexpected visitors. We have a small bird box on the northwestern corner of our wraparound porch that we had always thought was an ornamental part of a plant stand. We were therefore surprised a week or so ago to hear some furious cheeping from that corner of the porch and so we crept around to investigate.
To our delight we saw a pair of Carolina Chickadees darting in and out the bird box with tasty tidbits of bugs and worms to feed to a hungry brood of twittering offspring. We have named the parent birds Chuck and Chiquita and the offspring are now called the Chiclets. They proudly join Bibb the Cat, Gretel and Hansel (the groundhogs that live near our owners’ quarters) and our large tribe of cheeky squirrels, as outdoor residents of the Andon-Reid Inn extended family.
Come and visit us soon at the Andon-Reid Inn and you may get to meet Chuck, Chiquita and the Chiclets before they fledge. A tiny warning – if you get too close to the nest Chuck and Chiquita can get quite protective and irate so you may find yourself being dive-bombed. Carolina Chickadees may be small – but they are mighty.
Andon-Reid Inn features in the Tea House Times 11 May 2016, 1:54 pm
Perhaps it was my English preference for a “nice cup of tea”. Perhaps it was the excellent tea service introduced by former Andon-Reid innkeepers. Or perhaps it was just because Select Registry had an existing relationship. Whatever the reason, the Andon-Reid Inn is proud and honored to be the featured property in the latest issue of the prestigious “Tea House Times” magazine.
The article describes the Inn and talks about how we turn tea-time into a special occasion by pairing our range of complementary coffees and teas with the delicious fresh-baked treat we serve each afternoon (today it’s Andrea’s legendary moist butter pound cake – yum).
Tea House Times also makes particular mention of the Andon-Reid Inn’s tempting array of unusual blends of loose-leaf black and green teas and herbal infusions, all sourced from the Old Brick House on Waynesville’s Main Street.
To access the article you will need to subscribe to Tea House Times on their website http://www.theteahousetimes.com. Better still, you should join us at the Andon-Reid Inn and experience a great cup of tea and a yummy baked goodie for yourself.
Spring has sprung at the Andon-Reid Inn 3 May 2016, 6:58 am
This is Andrea’s and my first spring at the Andon-Reid Inn, and what a lovely surprise. It is extraordinary how beautiful and energizing the change has been from the muted and soft tints of the Smoky Mountains winter to the exuberance and vibrancy of our spring colors.
The Inn’s gardens are bursting with life. Shrubs and bushes, vines and roses that have lain dormant for months are now clothed in gorgeous flowers. Cool hostas we didn’t know were there now blanket the garden’s shady areas. The lilac tree has become ‘butterfly central’ while our own new planting – hanging baskets, azaleas, and bedding plants – are establishing themselves very well. Even the plucky little pansies we planted last fall have stepped up for a final spectacular display.
Andon-Reid Inn spring fever is not just confined to the garden. Andrea has been combining colorful new table linens to dress the breakfast table in exuberant vernal shades, and Ashley has been working her magic in the kitchen to pep up the menu with the best fresh produce the season has to offer.
Spring has certainly sprung at the Andon-Reid Inn folks. Bounce on over to wonderful Waynesville and experience it for yourselves.
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.