Summer Attractions Package Special

Blake House is excited to offer our own special package during the spring season, inspired by packages we’ve offered through Living Social Escapes.  There are 2 Packages to choose from; mid-week and weekend options:

1. Two Night Mid-Week (Monday-Thursday nights) Stay for Two in the Holly, Azalea, Magnolia, or Dogwood Rooms (Package Price: $321 + tax), including:

  • Full breakfast for 2 guests in the main house each morning of your stay,
  • Two daytime general admission tickets to the Biltmore Estate,
  • Your choice of a $35 credit toward an Economy Plus Level In-Room Spa Treatment (normal cost is $150) OR a $45 credit toward a Premium Level In-Room Spa Treatment Package (normal cost is $245),
  • $50 Gift Certificate toward a future stay at 1847 Blake House Inn B&B, and
  • $8 credit to visit the North Carolina Arboretum – just 10 minutes from the Inn with over 10 miles of hiking and walking trails.

 

2. Two Night Weekend (Friday-Sunday nights) Stay for Two in the Holly, Azalea, Magnolia or Dogwood Rooms (Package Price: $344 + tax), including:

  • Full breakfast for 2 guests in the main house each morning of your stay,
  • Two daytime general admission ticket to the Biltmore Estate,,
  • Your choice of a $35 credit toward an  Economy Plus Level In-Room Spa Treatment (normal cost is $150) OR a $45 credit toward a Premium Level In-Room Spa Treatment Package (normal cost is $245),
  • $50 Gift Certificate toward a future stay at 1847 Blake House Inn B&B, and
  • $8 credit to visit the North Carolina Arboretum – just 10 minutes from the Inn with over 10 miles of hiking and walking trails.

 

The Rules:

  • You can make your reservation using this special package rate for stays between 7/6 – 9/25/14.
  • Reservations at least 7 days before arrival are required in order to qualify for this package deal.
  • There is no voucher or coupon for this package (one night’s non-refundable deposit is required at the time you make a reservation so your reservation number and confirmation email are your receipts and the special price will be applied to your reservation before a Confirmation is sent).
  • Last date of stay must be on or before 9/25/14; no package deals accepted after that date.
  • Blake House has a 7-day cancellation/transfer policy and deposits for packages are subject to forfeiture if the reservation is cancelled or transferred within 7 days of arrival. If cancellation is made outside our 7-day cancellation window, non-refundable deposit will be credited toward a future stay.
  • Taxes, gratuity, and incidentals (if any) are not included and will be due at check out.
  • Blake House is pet-friendly; Pet Fees apply.
  • Some rooms sleep more than 2; additional person charges apply.
  • Only 1 package per room/reservation; packages may not be combined to extend the stay, however, guests may add nights to their reservation at the regular room rate.
  • No substitutions of package items will be allowed. Room upgrades permitted for a $50 fee.
  • The $8 NC Arboretum parking credit will be applied to your bill upon check out with a receipt. Guests must submit a paid receipt in order to receive the credit at time of check out. Credits will not be issued after guests have checked out.

Please call us at 828.681.5227 between the hours of 10 am – 5 pm if you have questions or when you are ready to book your package. This special may not be combined with other discounts or offers.

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

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

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

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.

 

Singles Package

Need time away alone? Stay in our Holly, Magnolia or Rose Room by yourself and receive a one-hour in-room massage or facial + 1 ticket to either the Gray Line Trolley Tour of Asheville OR an Asheville Food Tour (reservations required for food tours and tours do not run in the winter months of January & February).

Add a 3rd night to your stay and receive 1 general admission Biltmore Estate ticket (not available for specialty tours or Candlelight tickets).

Two-Night Package Rate: $339 + tax
Three-Night Package Rate: $499 + tax

5% Discount

We offer a 5% discount off the nightly room rate on stays of 2 or more nights to:

  • Active military or veterans
  • Nurses
  • Teachers (K-12)
  • Fire and Rescue Personnel
  • Police
  • Seniors
  • AAA Members

This discount may not be combined with other offers and must be mentioned at the time of booking.

Biltmore Tickets

Biltmore ticket prices vary throughout the year, but we offer them at a discounted price when you purchase them at least 7 days in advance.

We are able to sell General Admission tickets which include free wine tasting.  Specialty tour tickets like Behind the Scenes Tours, Rooftop Tours, etc. are by reservation only and must be purchased through the Biltmore Estate.

Individual Ticket Prices (7 Days Advance Purchase Required)

  • January – March: $39 each
  • April – October: $44 each
  • November – January 4, 2015 – $49 (Sun-Fri); $59 (Sat.)

 

3-Night Biltmore Tickets & Room Package for Two
We offer a 3-Night Biltmore Tickets & Room Package for two guests which includes 3 nights at Blake House, 3 full breakfasts each morning of your stay, and 2 adult General Admission tickets to Biltmore.  Seven days notice required when booking this package.  Weekends include Fridays, Saturdays & Sundays. Mid-week includes Monday-Thursday nights. If two of the three nights fall on a weekend, the weekend rate will apply. If two of the three nights are mid-week, the mid-week rate will apply. All three nights must be consecutive and in the same room. Package Rates:

  • Holly Room: $430 + tax mid-week/$470 + tax weekend
  • Azalea or Magnolia Rooms: $440 + tax mid-week/$480 + tax weekend
  • Dogwood or Rose Rooms: $460 + tax mid-week/$500 + tax weekend
  • Lilac Room: $500 + tax mid-week/$540 + tax weekend
  • Sycamore Suite: $550 + tax mid-week/$600 + tax weekend

Girlfriends Getaway Package

Get away with your best girlfriends for a couple of nights. Stay in our Carriage House Sycamore Suite which sleeps 4 adults.  The large bedroom has a king bed, the living room has a pull-out full-size sleeper sofa.  The bathroom is large and spacious and there’s a kitchenette in case you feel like cooking. Please note: Breakfast in the main house is not included for guests staying in the Sycamore Suite. It is available as an option for an additional $10 per person. Guests should notify the Innkeeper the day before (or at check-in) if they will be opting into the breakfast in the main house.

Your two-night package includes in-room massages or facials and a big box of chocolates from Asheville’s The Chocolate Fetish.  This option requires at least 48 hours advance purchase. Two night package rates:

  • $625 + tax (3 guests)
  • $725 + tax (4 guests)

Your three-night packages adds a general admission Biltmore Estate ticket for each guest.  Please note: This option requires at least 7 days advance purchase. Three-night package rates:

  • $915 + tax (3 guests)
  • $1,060 + tax (4 guests)

We also offer add-ons for those who really want to experience it all.  Add-ons include:

  • Gray Line Historic Trolley Tour Tickets ($21 each)
  • Asheville Food Tour Tickets ($47 each)

Outdoor Wedding Ceremony Facility Rental

Outdoor Wedding Ceremony Facility Rental: $600 ($650 for June & October Weddings)

  • You may rent our Patio and Wedding grass area for your wedding ceremony.  The outdoor space can set up to 150.
  • We will provide your seating (for up to 150) for the ceremony.  All other equipment and vendors such as music, photographer, minister, decorations, tent rental, etc. is the responsibility of the client. In case of inclement weather, we recommend that you rent a tent. We can add the tent rental to the chair rental, however, this must be ordered at least 30 days in advance.
  • The area surrounding the Patio and Wedding grass area has electrical outlets for your equipment.
  • Ceremonies can be performed between 12:00 pm – 7:00 pm.

Dining Room/Patio Hourly Rental Rates

All rates are based on a per-hour timeframe for the event, including a ceremony and/or reception.  Dining Room rental includes tables and chairs only; patio is open.  There is a 3-hour minimum requirement for hourly rentals.

  • 1 Dining Room (table/chair seating for 25 or ceremony seating for 25): $80/hr
  • 2 Dining Rooms (table/chair seating for 50 or table/chair seating for 25 in one dining room and ceremony seating for 25 in the second dining room): $150/hr
  • Large Patio (open): $75/hr
  • Large & Small Patios, and Wedding Grass area: $100/hr
  • $9 per person for use of china, glassware, flatware, and cloth napkins (inside use only)
  • The fee allows for an additional 2-hour set up and 2-hour clean up
  • There is no charge for the wedding rehearsal the day before is applicable
  • Sales tax of 7% will be added to all rates
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