Film maker Peter Wier is probable best known for movies such as Dead Poets Society and the Truman Show. However, back in the 1970’s in my native Australia I recall seeing an earlier, somewhat apocalyptic, Peter Wier film called The Last Wave. The catchphrase for that film was “hasn’t the weather been strange lately”.
The same might have been said for the weather in Western North Carolina earlier this year. Normally we have four delightful, well-defined seasons with a clear transition between each one. This time around things were little different. In February we had early spring-like sunshine and temperatures in the mid 70s while in late March our hyacinths and tulips popped up only to be beaten down by a light (but not particularly welcome) late snowfall. For a while it looked like we would have to invent a name for this new hybrid season. We came up with “Wing” and “Sprinter” and when we polled our guests the latter became the preferred choice.
I’m happy to say, however, that we don’t need the new season name anymore. A proper Spring seems to have finally arrived in the mountains. Our Honeysuckle and Dogwood are now in bloom. Our perennials are starting to poke through, and our flower beds have been newly mulched ready for the traditional Mother’s Day spring planting.
Beyond the Inn, Russ Avenue’s cherry trees profuse blossoms bring Sakura time in Kyoto to mind, and in the Smoky Mountains the wildflowers are starting to come into their own. In fact we went on a short, pleasant hike to Mouse Creek Falls just last week and were greeted by a carpet of Yellow Trilliums and Blue Violets along the trail as well as the new green growth on the forest floor and in the trees.
Spring is a truly wonderful time to stay at the Andon-Reid Inn and experience Mother Nature coming back to life. The weather is mild and generally sunny with cool evenings. The town and its restaurants are less crowded – and our nightly rates are a little lower too. We’d love to see you here to share the season with you. Call us or book directly on our website… and remember our price match guarantee… if you spot a bona-fide lower rate for our rooms elsewhere on the internet call and let us know and we’ll do our best to match or beat it.
Nobody would accuse me of being a great driver. I’m more slow and cautious than fast and thrilling. For that reason, despite loving all things automotive, I have always resisted the urge to treat myself to a fancy sports car or motorbike. My driving style just wouldn’t do it justice and I am perfectly happy with my practical and comfortable Jeep Cherokee.
But a man can still dream can’t he? So, I am always very glad when one of our guests at the Andon-Reid Inn shows up in a fancy vehicle. At least I can then vicariously live out some of my petrol-head fantasies. For instance, over the last few years I have been delighted with the fair share of fine automotive machinery visiting the Inn. I recall a parking lot full of Corvettes in all different colors, some truly amazing Harley Davidson bikes, top of the range BMW and Audi sports cars, car clubs who had a grand old time renting the entire inn, and even the largest and most tricked-out Dodge Ram truck I have ever seen that just squeezed though the driveway.
The pièce de résistance however, arrived at the Andon-Reid Inn a short time ago when one of our guests stopped overnight en-route to a Ferrari owners club charity rally. There it was – a low, sleek symphony in shining Ferrari red, idling with an impressive throaty rumble. I must admit it looked rather good parked outside the Andon-Reid Inn and (once I had stopped drooling) I had to take a few pictures to establish future bragging rights.
If you are a motoring/motor biking enthusiast, then the area around the Andon-Reid Inn has some great winding mountain roads for you to try out – you know the type they use in car advertisements that are subtitled “professional driver on closed circuit do not attempt”. Our roads range from the gentle scenic meandering of the Blue Ridge Parkway to the awesome “Tail of the Dragon” with its 318 curves in 11 miles. Even if your automotive talents are, like mine, more modest, there is so much to see, do and enjoy at the Andon-Reid Inn and surrounding areas that you should really come over and give us a try.
Not many people know that Andrea misspent a bit of her youth becoming the queen of Tetris. In fact she is still a dab hand and can score in the millions if she puts her mind to it. This may not seem too relevant for her role as innkeeper but actually it underlies a fabulous talent for spatial visualization that has come in very handy – especially when redesigning our guest rooms.
Take for example the Chestnut Room. This is the Andon-Reid Inn’s most economical guest accommodation but is a charming lodge-themed room featuring a wall fully paneled in wormy chestnut planks recovered from the original 1902 carriage house. The Chestnut Room has a comfortable queen sized bed, gas-log fireplace, sitting area, all the usual Andon-Reid Inn amenities and a nice en-suite bathroom with traditional tub-shower.
However, for quite a while we felt that we were not making the best of the Chestnut Room. Despite being reasonably spacious (around 300 square feet) it felt a little more cramped than it should have. I couldn’t pinpoint the cause and we left it alone until one late winter afternoon while we were doing a deep clean of the room. Having pulled all the furniture out for cleaning, Andrea’s Tetris skills came into play. She shuffled the furniture around, including turning the bed 90 degrees to nestle in front of the bay window.
The transformation of the Chestnut Room was nothing short of incredible. The feel of the room opened up completely and there was now much more space around the sitting area. This prompted us to replace some of the old oversized furniture, including swapping the old highboy with a table that now comfortably accommodates the mini fridge, Keurig, wine glasses and ice bucket.
The remodeling of the bedroom motivated us to refresh the bathroom as well. We have added a new granite countertop and sink, and have replaced the fading striped wall paper with a bright coat of fresh paint.
Guests staying in the revamped Chestnut Room have been very pleasantly surprised by the changes. We we hope you will too. Book on line or give us a call on (828) 452 3089 to reserve a few nights at the Andon-Reid Inn and come and see for yourselves.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.