Bed & Breakfasts Are Better
No Adulting Here.
Cleaning, cooking, working, and playing with the kids (adulting in general) takes it toll. I guess I didn’t realize how much I needed this weekend away until I opened the door to our room at the Carolina Bed & Breakfast in Asheville, NC. The Hummingbird Room as it is aptly named for the framed original wallpaper that hangs historically over the mantle. I gazed longingly at the tall four poster, mahogany rice bed with it’s white crisp covering and the numerous pillows that beckoned me to kick off my shoes and relax my tired feet. The house was quiet as I stretched out on the soft bed. I was overwhelmed by the peace of knowing that I wasn’t going to be disturbed to break up a sibling squabble or clean up spilled juice. It had been too long, and I was ready to take off my adulting hat.
We came to the right place: Carolina Bed & Breakfast.
Owners, James & Susan are in the business of putting their guests interest first. Married for 37 years, parents to 3 grown daughters and former expats to Paris, Hong Kong, England and Singapore, they could sympathize with the weary traveler (parent). The couple works together using their strengths to provide guests with a customized stay. James, a retired financial executive uses his outgoing, intuitive personality to talk with guests and direct them to a restaurant, bar, music or activity that fits their interests. While Susan combines her large family cooking expertise with her growing knowledge of international culinary practices. Prior to our arrival, Susan called me on the phone to discuss any dietary restrictions and how she could accommodate our needs. The couple’s impressive knowledge of Asheville is due to their active involvement in the community, the Asheville Bed & Breakfast Association and their once a week date night to visit a new or updated restaurant.
Each morning James greeted us in the dining room beside the coffee and tea station. After the pleasantries of asking how we slept (Which was incredible, I might add. No tiny people crawled into my bed and the mattress felt brand new), our first course of fruit was served. The presentation was impeccable as a simple yogurt parfait was creatively transformed into a masterpiece. It tasted as delicious as it looked. The main course consisted of a quiche with asparagus and on Sunday the classic Belgian waffles topped with strawberries and whipped cream. Susan prides herself on using fresh, seasonal produce & locally sourced food when possible.
Hors d’oeuvres & Wine
The evening began at 5:30 p.m. in the parlor when Susan began serving her beautifully crafted snacks on the wooden coffee table. Coconut shrimp, stuffed mushrooms, bruschetta, and old-fashioned cheese crackers delighted your taste buds and paired nicely with the Biltmore wine. It was easy to fill-up on the appetizers and wine, but between chatting with the other guests (We met a couple who understood the weary parent syndrome. Their 3 children were staying with grandparents), it was time to discuss your evening plans with James. Tell James your favorite food, music or drink, and James would recommend the perfect restaurant that matched your preferences complete with reservations, detailed walking (the house was a 3/4 mile walk to the center of downtown) or driving directions. We walked to dinner both evenings, and after indulging in mouthwatering meals and wine, we stumbled safely home each night.
Turn Down Treats & Cookies
If the daily gourmet breakfast, hors d’oeuvres, and Biltmore wine weren’t enough, we were pleasantly surprised to find a sweet treat in our rooms each night. The fudge brownies were my favorite and were quickly devoured after our evening walk. A cookie jar with the most delectable cookies was available throughout the day as well as coffee, tea and cold beverages.
Activity abounds in Asheville, NC, and the tricky part is deciding exactly what-to-do. There’s the Biltmore Estate, shopping, the art district, downtown, outdoor activities and hiking. We decided on hiking, but once again there was a variety of options- DuPont Forest, Pisgah National Forest, Chimney Rock, and Grandfather Mountain just to name a few. James and Susan are both avid hikers, and helped us narrow our choices. James was willing to lend us his day packs for a longer hike, but we stuck with a moderate hike with a beautiful view and waterfall at Chimney Rock. There was even an on-site deli/gift shop near the top of our climb which made for an excellent spot to catch our breath and have lunch.
Packages & Inns
The Carolina Bed & Breakfast is one of 16 inns of the Asheville Bed & Breakfast Association. The Carolina Bed & Breakfast is currently offering a Cooking package that includes a 2-night stay, all the amenities listed above, a 3-hour cooking class with Susan, a copy of Susan’s cookbook-Our Family Table: Recipes & Lessons from a Life Abroad ,and 10% off dinner at Chiesa Italian Restaurant.
It was nice having someone else pamper us this weekend. Grandparents watched our kids. Susan and James treated and directed our getaway while us weary parents were refreshed, refueled and ready to conquer the challenges of parenthood. Until next time…