Archive for the ‘The Inn’ Category

The Spreading Chestnut

Monday, June 26th, 2017

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.

A Southern Belle Gets a Facelift

Wednesday, March 22nd, 2017

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

Tuesday, December 20th, 2016

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

Sunday, October 30th, 2016

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

Wednesday, August 17th, 2016

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

Unexpected guests at the Andon-Reid Inn

Thursday, June 16th, 2016

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.

Spring has sprung at the Andon-Reid Inn

Tuesday, May 3rd, 2016

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 sSpring flower collagepring 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.

 

Gentle pastimes at the Andon-Reid Inn

Friday, April 8th, 2016

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.  JuP1150102st 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.P1150105

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

Sunday, March 13th, 2016

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 poBlog 6 Bibb 1licy 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.Blog 6 Bibb 2

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 JanuaBlog 6 Bibb 3ry 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.

Five amazing things Part 1 – The Inn of Serendipity

Friday, August 14th, 2015

We suppose we should start by introducing ourselves. I am George Jolesz, and together with my wonderful wife Andrea Tashik we have been the proud new owners of the Andon-Reid Inn since July 1, 2015.G&A Photo

From the very beginning, acquiring and running the Andon-Reid Inn has been an amazing experience. Narrowing down this blog to five highlights from our first few weeks has been very difficult, but we hope you find some of our stories interesting.

Amazing Things Part 1 – The Inn of Serendipity

Finding and buying an Inn is a notoriously complicated business…unless serendipity steps in.

Andrea and I had been daydreaming about owning a bed and breakfast for more than twelve years. However, being based in the UK, and then moving to in China for five years , we couldn’t seriously start looking until after I finished up my 30+ year career at IBM (the last five in China) and we were able to settle down permanently in the USA. As Andrea is a US citizen, returning to the USA posed no problem for her. On the other hand, as an Australian/Englishman, I had to wait over a year for my Green Card to be approved. Finally, in mid-March of this year, I became a legal alien and our search for the perfect B&B began in earnest. Based on the experience of others we were expecting the search to take months or even years, but things turned out a little differently.

We based ourselves in Northwest Florida near Andrea’s family and signed up for the next available “Aspiring Innkeepers” seminar. We wanted to make sure we were well prepared for our B&B search. The seminar, run by the excellent B&B team, was in Kennebunkport, Maine in mid-April so we decided to combine it with a lengthy road trip that would let us view as many prospective Inns for sale as we could manage. Thanks to Andrea’s amazing planning skills we ended up with a three and a half thousand mile driving itinerary and eighteen prospective inns to view.

The Andon-Reid Inn was not on the list of eighteen.   It was operating successfully under the careful management of Mark and Kari, friends of ours from China. Our search, however, did take us near Waynesville so we contacted Mark and Kari to see if we could drop in and get them to share some of their practical experience of innkeeping. We had a lovely visit at the Andon-Reid Inn, learned a lot from Mark and Kari, before continuing on our road trip and inn search.   We returned to Florida a few days later feeling a little disheartened as none of the eighteen inns for sale really fit the bill. We thought we were in for a long and disheartening search.

Then, later that week, we had our first experience of Andon-Reid Inn serendipity. We received a surprising email from Mark and Kari offered to let us buy the Andon-Reid Inn. It seems that, from a lifestyle perspective, they had gone into the B&B business a little too early and still had other things they wanted to achieve before settling into the full-time innkeepers life.   We suppose our visit may have prompted them to make a positive decision to sell.   Anyway, the price was fair and Mark and Kari are two of the most decent and trustworthy people we know. We therefore sealed the deal with a simple handshake and were well on the way to becoming innkeepers.

Before we could start living the dream, however, we had one more challenge to overcome. Mark and Kari managed to live comfortably in very compact accommodations – using one of the Inn’s smallest rooms as their owner’s quarters.   With our three cats and all of our “stuff” from our former large London home we simply needed more space. We contemplated fitting out the attic, borrowing some space in the basement, or possibly building a small owner’s house somewhere on the Inn’s grounds. None of these were ideal nor were they rapid solutions.

That’s when Andon-Reid Inn serendipity stepped up again. Andrea had the bright idea of contacting a respected Waynesville estate agent, Rob Rowland, and asking him to discretely knock on the door of all the properties surrounding the Andon-Reid just to find out if they were interested in selling to us. Clearly this unsolicited approach was a long shot but worth a try – and it paid off. The owners of the house and land behind the Andon-Reid Inn were interested in a sale and we swiftly agreed a price and moved to a rapid completion.   When we looked at the deeds, to our surprise, we discovered that the house we had just bought was originally a part of the Andon-Reid Inn property. That would explain the identical wallpaper in both kitchens. We had unwittingly reunited the original estate.

So as we look back, we are now sure that it had to be fate that led us to become the owners of the Andon-Reid Inn. Because of old friendships forged in China we were in the right place at the right time and a fabulous B&B that was not on the market was offered to us. We then found the best possible house as our owner’s quarters, also not on the market, and realized we had recreated the original property boundaries at the same time.   The Andon-Reid Inn has surely been the “Inn of Serendipity”.   We are looking forward to the next lucky break it brings our way.