Archive for the ‘1847 Blake House Inn Bed and Breakfast News’ Category

What I Love About Asheville….Let Me Count the Ways (Part 1)

October 25th, 2013 by blakehouse

I may not have lived in a ton of places, but I have lived up and down the eastern coast of the United States (and have visited a handful of domestic and International places over the years). Out of all the places I have lived, as a city, Asheville is my favorite. .

Why do I love Asheville so? Well, let me enumerate the many reasons that Asheville is a great place to visit AND to live. I’m going to write this post in multiple parts because it is just too long to cover in one.

1) The PEOPLE – I grew up around the melting pot of Washington, DC so was exposed to many different cultures from a young age. But DC is just HUGE and congested, not to mention expensive, and it’s not just DC, it’s the entire DC Metro areas in Virginia and Maryland as well. I just returned from a very enjoyable trip to northern VA for my 25th high school reunion and was disappointed with the amount of time I spent inching along in traffic, whether it was in the mid-afternoon on the weekend or at night. Just a waste of time getting from point A to point B. Asheville is a small version of DC from a cultural perspective (but without the raging politics and hours long congestion). The people here are so unique, and I don’t just mean friendly as in southern hospitality. I mean, the people are interesting. Many come from educated, well-traveled backgrounds and bring a wealth of experience to the city. I find most to be laid back and friendly and they care about their community on so many levels.The city is growing, but there is still a sense of the small town in many ways from the support we give to our local charities and non-profits (Asheville Humane Society, MANNA Food Bank, Appalachian Sustainable Agricultural Project, RIVERLink) to a way of life that includes a large contingent of farm-to-table foods, tailgate markets (WNC Farmers Market, French Broad Food Co-op) and restaurants (Chestnut Restaurant, Tupelo Honey Cafe, Frankie Bones Restaurant & Lounge), as well as a desire for repurposing and recycling instead of throwing stuff away in the landfills (The Regeneration Station, Habitat Home Store, Screen Door Antiques).

    Screen Door Asheville

Asheville is home to a large number of entertainers, be they musicians, comedians, storytellers, or actors. We have a varied and interesting artist community from the River Arts District to the Southern Highland Craft Guild. Instead of panhandlers, we have street musicians, mimes, magicians, and other colorful entertainment acts. Friday night drum circle in Pritchard Park is a mainstay in the summer and something that people of all ages come from all over to experience. The LGBT community is a welcome and supported (and supportive) part of the city. They bring a rainbow of colorful personalities along with educational opportunities for our citizens that has strengthened this area. Lastly, the 70s are alive and thriving in certain respects within Asheville with all of the free-spirits and live and let live personalities here.

 

 

 

 

 

 

I don’t want to forget the 4-legged people in this city either. I have become passionate about animal rescue (dogs in particular) and hope to have my own dog rescue some day or have some involvement in the rescue community (at least more than I have thus far). Asheville loves its dog people and we have passed legislation to become Chain Free. Don’t confuse this with leash-free because our puppies still need to be on leashes, but there is a strong movement for people to refrain from chaining their dogs to trees and other chain-restraining systems for long periods of time. As our guests know, Blake House offers 6 of our 7 rooms to people and their pets. We have no breed or size restrictions and welcome all well behaved pooches. We offer dog walking services while mom and dad are out and provide dog amenities in our rooms including blankets, pet beds, bowls, and toys.  Our tag line is Asheville’s Dog Friendliest B&B and we try to exemplify this to the fullest. There are several dog parks in the area and quite a few restaurants with outdoor seating areas for dogs and people. Like me, Asheville has a strong contingent of animal lovers and we truly feel our dogs are our family members.

Battery Park Book Exchange & Champagne Bar

In closing Part 1 of this blog, I especially appreciate that anyone and everyone is made to feel welcome in Asheville, at least that has been my experience and what I have witnessed. The feel of this breathtaking city is uplifting. I enjoy telling people why I love Asheville and hope that visitors feel the positive energy as much as I do and that it comes out when they meet me. In Part 2 of this blog, I will address the BEAUTY of Asheville and the surrounding area, including the plethora of things to do while living or visiting the city.

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What to Expect When You’re a First Time B&Ber

September 30th, 2013 by blakehouse

2013 has seen a wonderful influx of first time B&B guests and I often find myself easing them into their first bed and breakfast experience. Most are pleasantly surprised, even those who are Baby Boomers and may have traveled the world, but (and who likes to admit this) not all care for the experience for one reason or another, or for multiple reasons or simply because they had no idea what to expect.  I get it, not everyone is going to love your inn, especially not as much as you do.  However, I’d like to spend a little time educating anyone new to the B&B experience and why I think we are better than your average hotel/motel.

1) HISTORY – The majority of B&Bs are in historic buildings. Blake House was completed circa 1847 so guests should expect an old house. Some call it quaint. Others have called the house incredible with it’s tall ceilings, original (and well used) hardwood floors, and thick stone walls. These are all elements not found in your average hotel. No B&B is like another and no room within the B&B is like the other rooms. Uniqueness is one of the attributes of each B&B and guests should know that they are getting a different experience each time they stay at a B&B, even if they stay multiple times at the same B&B (and we love return guests!). On the other side, with an historic house, don’t expect perfection. It takes a lot of work and constant attention to maintain a lodging accommodation, let alone one in a very old house. Most inns will have some sort of “project” or renovation going on during your stay. It could be as small as replacing door hardware or as complex as replastering horsehair plaster walls. I like to think that anything that is renovated or replaced on the house adds to its charm and ambiance. Not everyone agrees and many want all the modern conveniences (like private bathrooms with whirlpool tubs, fireplaces, wi-fi, cable TV, central heat & a/c, etc.) in an historic property. At Blake House, we can offer most if not all modern conveniences, but guests should keep in mind that not all rooms can offer everything on their list of desires. In some cases, the original room does not allow for certain modernizations without destroying the historical integrity of the room or property. I say, rough it a little and if your room doesn’t have a fireplace or whirlpool tub, you’ll still have a wonderful time.

2) INTIMACY – Bed and breakfasts are much smaller than hotels (4-12 rooms versus hundreds). By nature, guests are in closer quarters to other guests, but privacy and safety should be a given at any B&B. At Blake House, we abide by safety, fire and health regulations as well as requirements set by any Association we belong to (like the Asheville B&B Association). The second part of the equation, the breakfast, is made fresh daily with local foods wherever possible, and with guest restrictions in mind. Each B&B serves breakfast their own way, whether as a same time sit down affair, a block of time sit down, or a hot continental/buffet.  This allows guests to chat and mingle with other guests, sharing their Asheville recommendations and information about their lives and experiences. This is not a requirement at all, but it’s traditional within the B&B for guests to talk to other guests.  You can’t imagine how much of a resource the guests are to each other about things like great restaurants, places to hike, things to do, goings on during their stay, etc. It’s difficult for me to understand sometimes when guests choose to stay at a B&B, but make no effort to be friendly or even talk to any of the other guests. That is part of the experience and something that many look forward to. So if you are new to the B&B experience, expect that other guests are more friendly and likely to talk to you. If you don’t like people, well maybe you want to stay at a hotel where you won’t have to talk or see anyone. At the B&B your room may be off by itself tucked away in the house, in a separate cottage or cabin or it could be in close proximity to other rooms. Have a care. You don’t need to whisper by any means, but stamping up the stairs at 1:00 in the morning and slamming your guestroom door are not good ideas.

3) KNOWLEDGEABLE, PLEASANT, HELPFUL STAFF – At a B&B, you will meet staff who have more intimate knowledge of the area, good places to eat, places to avoid, directions to where you need to go, and an overall pleasant and helpful attitude. By nature, innkeepers are happy people; that’s why we got into this business. But we are human. If you come in with an attitude (and not a pleasant one), we will still do our best to help you, but let’s not get carried away with the negativity. If you are a glass half empty personalty, a B&B may not be the right place for you. It is the Innkeeper’s (and their staff’s) goal that you enjoy yourself. If there is something not right, bring it to the innkeeper’s attention immediately. If it can be fixed, rest assured the B&B staff will go out of our way to assist you. Waiting until after you leave to complain never accomplishes anything. As a first time B&B guest, ask questions. Innkeepers tend to be verbose (maybe we all like to hear ourselves talk) and enjoy talking about our property and its history. And we love guests who are interested and curious about where they are staying. There’s nothing worse for an innkeeper than guests who never say a word. Not speaking makes us think you aren’t having a good time. So let us help you have a positively memorable time!

Finally, I’d like to insert some personal expectations for anyone who comes to stay at Blake House. Every innkeeper’s expectations are different so I can only speak for myself. The exchange between guest and innkeeper/staff goes two ways and we take that seriously. I have gone above and beyond for some guests (like dropping one off at the airport because her cab didn’t show up, taking one guest to the car repair shop 25 minutes away while his car was being worked on, buying special tea for a guest who really wanted a certain kind and asked nicely, and stayed up until midnight washing a guest’s clothes the night before checkout when her son had a little too much fun and threw up all over his clothing). We may see hundreds of guests throughout the year, but there are always standouts, whether positive or negative. Our best guests are those who interact with us and other guests, those who come in with a positive attitude and expectations that they are going to have an exciting time in Asheville, and those who bring their pooches with them (when possible). We are Asheville’s Dog Friendliest B&B and we truly mean it when we say that we love all dogs, no matter their size or breed. On the opposite side, guests who arrive who are upset because it’s raining (sorry we can’t do anything about that), who expect the cold, boring, every room is the same ambiance of a hotel, who are picky eaters, or who expect us to go out and buy them special accessories or room amenities just for their stay should really consider staying elsewhere. We can recommend a place more suited to your needs. We expect and want guests who are looking for an adventure and something off the beaten path. That’s what Blake House and many B&Bs can offer. Uniqueness, personal hospitality, and going the extra mile versus bland and impersonal service. Seems like an easy choice to me.

If you’re still not sure, call the B&B you are interested in and speak to the people who will be taking care of you. Get a feel for the staff and the property before you ever show up. We promise to ease you into your first B&B with joy and hope to convert you into a repeat guest, whether at our B&B or at the plethora of others to choose from.  Here’s a great article comparing the average B&B with an average hotel if you need more reasons to give a B&B a try.

Hope to hear from you soon!

Leslie, Jennifer & Daniel

Tracking the Fall Foliage Change Along the Blue Ridge Parkway

September 16th, 2013 by blakehouse

As we near the end of summer and the month of September, the calls start rolling in from guests wanting to know if the leaves are changing yet and when will the colors be at their peak.

From year to year, this changes slightly and I always hesitate to tell guests when they should come in case I’m off. In general, the best period for seeing the leaves at their peak is between the 2nd and 4th weeks in October. Because of all the rain in the first half of the year, predictions are wildly all over the place about when the leaves will change and if we’ll get any color at all.

So, to try to help out our guests in planning their trip to Asheville, I found a great fall foliage tracker on Blue Ridge Parkway Daily.

http://www.blueridgeparkwaydaily.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/09/BlueRidgeParkwayFallColorsTracker912.jpg

Not only are they tracking the fall colors around Asheville, but in Virginia as well. And there’s information on where the Parkway may have closings that people want to avoid. Travelers can send in information themselves when and where they are seeing color and the tracker gets updated on Thursdays each week.

Right now, it looks like everything is still green all along the 469 miles of the Blue Ridge Parkway, but keep checking back each week to see the color changes.

 

A Slew of New Packages, Discounts & Specials

August 18th, 2009 by Skyla Grimes

This year, I have seen an increase in travelers looking for the best rate or deal. Since a bed and breakfast is vastly different from the average hotel, it would be difficult to beat the prices offered by these chains.  The average B&B guest is seeking the experience of staying in a B&B; the uniqueness and history of an old house, the opportunity to meet and talk to other guests, and the freshly cooked and prepared breakfasts each morning, plus all the other niceties that come with the B&B.

Still, B&B guests want more for less this year and in an attempt to entice guests without simply giving the cheapest room, I have been busy putting together several packages and specials that I hope everyone can benefit from. Some are listed here, and some are listed on our Specials/Packages Pages on the website. Make sure you look at everything before making your decision and mention the special you’d like when you make your reservation (one special/package per reservation):

  • Lavish Luxury Savings - During the month of September, purchase a Romance/Anniversary/Spa Package and I will pay the sales taxes.  The sales tax rate is 7.75% so that could be enough of a savings to pay for your lunch that day.
  • Halloween Happenings- Stay 3 nights, including Halloween night and receive a Halloween goodie bag, plus a fresh pie of your choice from our local bakery.
  • Thanksgiving Thank You Special – Stay 4 nights including Thanksgiving and get the 4th night for HALF price/stay 5 nights including Thanksgiving and your 5th night is FREE.
  • Traveling With Your Pet Special - Between 11/29 – 12/20, stay 4 or more nights and we will waive your pet fee each night.  That’s a savings of at least $40! All other pet policies apply.
  • Tanks for Traveling Special - During the months of January and February, stay 3 or more nights and receive a free tank of gas ($30 gas card).

Hope to see you soon!

Super Duper Recession Rates Hit Bottom

March 19th, 2009 by Skyla Grimes

Surviving during trying times, whatever those trying times are, is what makes a person stronger. At least, that’s what I keep telling myself. It’ll get better, it’ll get better, it’ll get better.

I really do believe that, I just hope these trying times turn to good times soon. This is the first time in my life where I’ve really been affected by the economy, in many ways. But I’ve also realized that I am a glass half full person. I really do believe that adversity is good for you and being able to pull through, while painful, will be good for me.

Having said all that, being a business owner during tough times means doing what has to be done to survive. And this recession is hurting the majority of us.

Therefore, for a short period of time, I am going to be offering some super discounts so that people can still travel affordably. This first discount, I am calling the Super Duper Recession Rate Cut.

I am making it available through my blog, so only certain people will be able to take advantage. Refer to this blog and you can enjoy one of the following two discounts between March 20 – April 8:

  • Stay mid-week (Mondays – Thursdays) and for each regular priced night you stay, receive a second night FREE of charge, or
  • For weekends (Friday – Sundays), receive 25% off the nightly room rate (two night minimum stay required).

If these dates don’t work for you, check back frequently to see what Super Duper Recession Rate Cuts I am offering. These discounts cannot be combined with other discounts or existing reservations. Taxes will be added and extra people in a room and pets incur additional fees.

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