Artistic inspiration at the Andon-Reid Inn

In April I wrote about Bill Kaman, a fine Texan musician who had made a return visit to the Andon-Reid Inn.  Well it appears that the muses must have been talking to one another as they have been inspiring more artists to visit us. 

We recently enjoyed the company of renowned Franklin NC painter Jon Houglum and his wife Carolyn.  Jon and Carolyn were staying here with a dual purpose.  They came both to celebrate their 50th wedding anniversary (congratulations again to Jon and Carolyn) and to participate in the Waynesville “Quick Draw” event http://wncquickdraw.com .

John Houghlin Painting a view of the Andon-Reid Inn trees

“Quick draw” is an annual lively art event where professional artists race the clock to start and complete a work of art in one fast-paced hour while you watch. The artworks are auctioned off and the proceeds are used to benefit the arts in Haywood County.  This year’s event was held at the beautiful Laurel Ridge country club http://www.laurelridgeexperience.com .

To warm up for the Quick Draw event, and also because a stand of trees at the Andon-Reid Inn inspired him, Jon set up an easel on our lawn and produced a marvelous oil painting of the scene.  The painting is now sitting on the mantelpiece of the Andon-Reid Inn’s 1902 entry hall until it is fully dry.   It will then be framed and hung at the Inn in a prime location for all our guests to enjoy.

If you want to know more about Jon and his work, look him up at http://www.houglumfineart.com .  If you would like to see the painting, view the scene that inspired it, or just enjoy a relaxing time in wonderful Waynesville, why not book a stay at the Andon-Reid Inn.  We would love to see you.

 

 

 

Mother Nature is waking up in the Smokies

We are starting to get some fabulous spring weather in Western North Carolina.  Warm sunny days and cool starry evenings are interspersed with the occasional light shower, encouraging Mother Nature to wake up and do her thing.  As a result the Andon-Reid Inn gardens are starting to burst into bloom once again.  Early snowdrops and lily of the valley have now given way to spectacular deep purple clematis flowers, a resurgence of jolly pansies, an emergence of hostas, the first rhododendrons blossoms and a plethora of roses.

Nearby, Mother Nature is also very active in the mountains.  Over the last few days Andrea and I have taken advantage of the weather and managed to get away from the Inn for a few short hikes – officially our excuse was to verify first-hand that the detailed hiking instructions we provide our guests are accurate. 

It was wonderful – and being May – not crowded at all.  The views from the Blue Ridge Parkway were spectacular, including the overlook that takes in Looking Glass Rock.  Recent rain had swelled the waterfalls into impressive cascades, wildflowers were appearing, the Cataloochee elk were happily wandering and feeding by the roadside, and we even saw our first black bear of the season.  Unfortunately she was too camera shy for us to get a decent photo of her, but we’re happy to share a few other photos of our outings.

All of this just reminds us how lucky we are to live in such a wonderful place and we would love to share it with you.  So come and stay with us at the Andon-Reid Inn.  Enjoy our elegant, comfortable en-suite rooms and suites, relax in our guest lounge, on the wrap-around porch or the sunny patio, and savor our yummy breakfasts and afternoon treats.  Then (if you can tear yourself away) get out and pay Mother Nature a visit.  She’ll be pleased to see you too.

The stars shine bright….

Buddy Holly, ZZ Top, Roy Orbison, Janis Joplin, Tanya Tucker, Willie Nelson, Waylon Jennings.…. The list of illustrious musicians from Texas is a long one.  We were fortunate, therefore, to have a return visit to the Andon-Reid Inn from Austin recording artist Bill Kaman.

Bill and his wife, Laurel were one of our first guests when we took over the Andon-Reid Inn in 2015 and it was a real treat to have them back at the Inn.  Bill is a true Americana original.  He actually began his career in guitar production and design with Ovation (a company founded by his father Charles) until he eventually turned his hand to writing, performance and recording. You can read all about Bill and his music on his website http://billkaman.com

At the time of his second visit to the Andon-Reid Inn, Bill had released two albums (we have signed copies of both at the Inn) and was just about to release his third album named “Texas”.   While Bill was here, he sat down in front of the fire in the guest lounge one afternoon and previewed a couple of the songs from “Texas”.  The songs were as catchy and full of pithy observations on life as his previous material and I had the pleasure of playing along which was great fun.  I look forward to hearing the whole album soon.

I’m afraid we can’t promise that you’ll meet prominent musicians every time you stay at the Andon-Reid Inn, but you will almost certainly meet other charming and interesting guests… it’s just that sort of place.  Come and stay and add your own personalities to the happy mix.

 

A Southern Belle Gets a Facelift

The Magnolia Suite has always been the Andon-Reid Inn’s “southern belle”.  It is one of our largest rooms and has also proved to be the most enduringly popular.  Given its light and airy full-length glassed-in porch, its large and comfortable seating area facing the gas-log fire, and the full sized en-suite bathroom with spa tub and walk-in shower, it’s not hard to see why.

Recently, however, we began to think that this southern belle was becoming more “Blanche Dubois” than “Scarlett O’Hara” and would benefit from a rejuvenating makeover to refresh its many charms.   Refurbishment work on the Magnolia Suite therefore began this past winter and we are pleased to announce that the fully refreshed Magnolia Suite is once again open for business.

In the main room, the décor has been updated to reflect a more subtle and relaxing tone.  We have also replaced the glider sofa with a two seater love seat and ottoman that converts into a comfy twin bed.   This now gives us the opportunity to accommodate a third guest in the Magnolia Suite (supplement applies).  We have also installed a new quartz counter top and stainless steel sink in the wet bar.

The bathroom has been extensively updated.  We have replaced and enlarged the walk-in shower, tiled throughout and replaced the pedestal sink with a new vanity.

The full length porch has also been reconfigured.  At one end there is now has a more restful seating and conversation area utilizing the glider sofa that was previously in the main room. 

At the other end of the porch – the end with the mountain view – we have set up a small dining area where we can now serve in-room breakfasts (supplement applies).

Our first few guests in the updated Magnolia Suite have been very pleased with the changes.  We hope you will be too.  Why not come to the Andon-Reid Inn, enjoy the beautiful spring weather, and try the Magnolia Suite for yourself.

Season of mists and mellow mushroomness

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 moumax-patch-croppedntain 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

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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, hpuffball-croppedowever, 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

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.

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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.

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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

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.

Return of the chickadees

A world of music in Waynesville

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.01 Start of parade12 Poland 14 Uganda 13 Uganda06 France   11 Peru 10 Peru 09 Texas 08 Japan 07 Dominincan republic 02 Cherokee 05 Finland 04 Finland

Unexpected guests at the Andon-Reid Inn

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 Chickadee croppedcrept 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

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).

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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.