Medium Group (60 guests) Outdoor Ceremony & Dining Facility Rental

Medium Group (60 guests) Outdoor Ceremony & Dining Facility Rental Package: $2500 ($2800 for June & October events)

This package includes outdoor seating and dining (one 20×40 tent), three 8′ banquet tables, ten 60″ round tables, up to 120 chairs for dining and wedding ceremony, linens, glassware, flatware, and dishes) for up to 60 people for one event.

Facilities include use of Parlor, front porch, large and small stone patios, and wedding grass area.  Use of Dining Rooms now included in this package.

Food, music, photographer, minister, decorations, etc. are the responsibility of the client.

Outdoor facilities are available for set-up and events from 11:00 am – 10:00 pm.

Small Group (40 guests) Indoor/Outdoor Ceremony Facility Rental

Small Group (40 guests) Indoor/Outdoor Ceremony Facility Rental Package: $1700 ($1800 for June & October events)

This is our most popular Package

  • This package includes seating for indoor dining (table, chairs, linens, flatware, glassware, and dishes) for up to 40 people for one event.
  • Facilities include use of 2 dining rooms (one with a bar), Parlor, front porch, wedding grass area, and large and small stone patios for dancing.
  • One 20×40 tent on the large stone patio. In the event of rain, wedding chairs can be moved under the tent.
  • Up to 40 white folding chairs for the Wedding Grass area or under the tent on the patio.
  • Food, music, photographer, minister, decorations, etc. are the responsibility of the client.

Indoor facilities are available for set-up and event from 11:00 am – 10:00 pm.

The Whole House Facility Rental

Rent the Inn for an entire weekend (indoor and outdoor facilities plus all 7 guestrooms with sleeping capacity up to 18).  You may use the facilities from 3:00  pm Friday to 11:00 am Sunday, including a Friday night rehearsal dinner and/or Saturday wedding & reception.

We provide your indoor seating and dining items (dishes, glassware, flatware, linens) in our 2 dining rooms (up to 40 people); you bring in or rent anything else you need, including any equipment, tables, chairs, tents, etc. for the outside.

We provide an indoor bar in one of our dining rooms.

Overnight guests receive a full breakfast each morning of their stay plus access to our guest-only Breakfast Room stocked with drinks and snacks.

Rates: $4,000 (January – March); $4,300 (April – December)

Intimate Group (20 Guests) Indoor/Outdoor Facility Rental

Intimate Group (20 Guests) Indoor/Outdoor Facility Rental Package: $900 ($950 for June & October Events)

  • This package includes indoor seating for dining (tables, chairs, linens, and dishes) for up to 20 people for one event.
  • Also included are 20 white folding chairs for the wedding ceremony (either indoors or outdoors).
  • Food, music, photographer, minister, decorations, tent rental, etc. are the responsibility of the client.
  • Indoor and outdoor facilities are available for set-up and events from 11:00 am – 10:00 pm.

Facility options are:

  •           1. Two dining rooms (one for dining and one for dancing/ceremony), Parlor, and front porch, OR
  •           2.  One dining room for dining, Parlor, front porch, Wedding grass area for ceremony and large stone Patio for dancing.  All outdoor equipment must be rented or brought by the client(s) when purchasing this option.
  •      If selecting option 2, it is recommended that you rent a tent in case of inclement weather.

Cutest Dog Photo Contest – Win a $150 Gift Certificate

I’ve run a few contests here and there over the years, including a military essay contest, trivia contests, and a recipe contest.  But I must say that this contest probably has me the most excited.

I love dogs, all dogs!  And Blake House welcomes dogs of all shapes, sizes, and breeds. We’ve had a lot and appreciate every dog that chooses to stay here. Asheville is a pet-friendly city, but it is still difficult to find B&Bs that allow dogs. Of the ones that do, most have size restrictions or room restrictions. But not Blake House. In fact, we only have one room that is NOT pet-friendly.

As you can see, I love dogs!  And want to see more come to the Inn. To accomplish this, I’ve made some changes to the website and our offerings to be even more enticing to our four-legged guests.  The website now has a Doggie Scoop page, solely dedicated to our canine guests. And this page will evolve and grow over time. Check it out, there’s a hilarious video of a dog’s leg that is trying to steal the bone from its owner.  I crack up every time I watch it!

We also offer, dog walking services, for a very nominal fee, for our doggie guests. Jake Rusher Park is next to the Inn and while mom and dad are out enjoying Asheville, Amber or I will walk your dog(s) around the park so he/she can exercise and take care of business.  We also provide pet sitters and doggie daycare information on the Doggie Scoop Page for those looking for even more for their dog.

Lastly, we offer all kinds of romance packages and spa services for mom and dad and we’ve just added a romance basket for your dog. Fido’s Doggie-Style Romance Basket treats your canine companion to a little pampering.

But, onto the purpose of this post – our newest contest – the Cutest Dog Photo Contest

All the details and rules are on our Facebook Page, but this is a straight photo contest. Each month, send in one photo of your cutie patootie, and your dog could win a $150 Blake House Inn Gift Certificate.  Winners will be selected by votes on the site, but you must be a Fan to enter.

How cool is that? Maybe Fido can use that gift certificate for all the things discussed above.  The only catch is that mom or dad, or both have to tag along on the trip. :-)

Check it out and in the meantime, here are a few shots of some of my cuties. Sophie is our Jack Russell foster dog from Animal Compassion Network.


Squirt, Jack Russell/Chihuahua mix


Jenny, Jack Russell/Chihuahua mix




QR Codes – Why You Should Get to Know Them

I signed up for a QR code about 10 months ago, but never used it. Until now! That’s because I didn’t recognize its value at first. I just got one for the Inn because I was learning as much as possible about all the new social media options and QR codes were among the growing list of things to use to promote your business.  Now that I understand how to use it better, I see what a cool tool it can be.

What is a QR Code?

According to Wikipedia, the technical definition of a QR Code is a two-dimensional barcode, sort of like the barcodes you see on store items that identify what they are and how much they cost when you scan the code into the register. The QR code is shaped like a square and can be encoded with text, data, or in my case, the URL the the Blake House website.  It’s my business’ fingerprint. This is the QR Code for Blake House:

How is a QR Code used?

It is used by the camera function on your smart phone.  First you have to download a FREE QR Code Reader app onto your phone. I have an iPhone so I downloaded the QR Code Reader app from i-nigma. You can use other versions or readers. From your iphone, click the App Store icon and do a search for i-nigma. There is an app for the new iPhone4 and one for the rest of us who still have the iPhone 3GS or lower. Once you download the app, you can start reading QR Codes for any business that has one. It is literally that simple.

You’ll see QR Codes in store windows, on printed material, Facebook Pages, emails, etc.  You may have already seen them, but like me, didn’t know what they were and haven’t paid much attention to them. Now you do.

When you see a business with a QR Code (like the Blake House one shown above), you click the QR Reader app on your phone and it opens your camera.  Hold your camera up so that it sees the QR Code and as soon as it registers the code, it will take you to whatever online information has been programmed into the code.

The Blake House Inn QR Code takes you to the Blake House Inn website. Other QR Codes may be set up to take you to the business’ website or a coupon page or their Facebook Page.

What is the value of the app?

Here are 2 examples:

  1. Let’s say you pick up one of Blake House Inn’s rack cards in the Chamber of Commerce Visitors Center, but you haven’t been to our website.  The rack card only has so much information and you think you’ll remember to check out the website when you get home later. Maybe you will, but maybe you’ll forget.  If the rack card has a QR Code on it (mine don’t right now), you can use your phone to very quickly get to my website, just by opening your camera.  And instead of having to wait to look at my business, you can access it immediately.
  2. You’re at a restaurant and you notice they have a QR Code displayed on their menu or in the window. By clicking on it, you find out that they are offering a discount, but only for patrons who reference the promotion on the QR Code.

Of course, there are many other uses for the QR Code, but its greatest purpose is to allow people on-the-spot access to information about the business they are interested in. It can be used for informational purposes only or it can be used to promote specials or promotions for those who access it.

If you own a business, you should consider getting a QR Code (or multiple codes) to help promote your business.

For everyone else, you should start reading QR Codes for the businesses you patronize that have them because you never know what kind of deal you just might score.

Spring INN Asheville Tour of B&Bs – April 16 & 17

If you’re trying to figure out what to do this spring, come to Asheville and take a tour of some of the area’s finest inns, while sampling food from local, independent restaurants.

On the weekend of April 16th & 17th, the member inns of the Asheville Bed & Breakfast Association will be opening their doors for tours from 12-4 pm.  Fourteen inns total will be on tour over the weekend with 8 inns open on Saturday and 6 inns open on Sunday.Asheville Bed and Breakfast Association

Blake House will be open on Saturday and we have partnered with Frankie Bones in South Asheville to offer a sampling of their extensive menu for tour goers.  Each B&B on the tour is partnering with a restaurant so tour goers will have the opportunity to taste food from 14 different restaurants as part of their ticket price.

I advise purchasing your ticket online. Tickets can be purchased online through the Asheville B&B Association website for $25 for a single ticket or $40 for a couples ticket (credit card required) and your ticket is good for both days of the tour. The food alone is worth the cost of the ticket!  Tickets can only be purchased online through April 8th. After the 8th, you will have to purchase your ticket at the Asheville Shop in the Asheville Area Chamber of Commerce Visitors Center. Walk-in ticket prices are $30 for a single ticket or $50 for a couples ticket (cash or check only).  Each B&B on the tour will have a very limited number of tickets for purchase the day of the tour so purchase early and save!

This is a fundraiser, with proceeds from ticket sales benefitting MANNA FoodBank. We’re also going to raffle off a $250 Asheville B&B Association Gift Certificate. Only select B&Bs will carry raffle tickets so you should visit all the inns on the tour since you won’t know which ones will be selling the raffle tickets.

Some of the inns will also feature donations or products for sale from local businesses and artists.  This tour is not just a tour of historic homes; it’s a chance to enjoy the local culture of Asheville through its neighborhoods, houses, gardens, restaurants, and artist community.

We hope to see you on the tour!

4 Reasons to Stay at a B&B Instead of a Hotel When Visiting Asheville, NC

2011 is shaping up to be a year of ups and downs.  Many things are going up in price, including gas and groceries. Airfare rates and fees are also looking to increase.  On the bright side, the economy appears to be inching slowly into a recovery and people can afford to take vacations this year. As a small B&B owner and local resident of Asheville, I am doing my part to help our guests maintain a reasonable vacation budget.

Room rates at Blake House are not going up this year and all rooms in the main house are $150/night or less (double occupancy).  PLUS, a full gourmet breakfast is included in the nightly rate.

While you can find cheaper places to stay like an area motel or hotel, if you are looking for a complete experience, why not stay at an Asheville B&B?  Blake House is pet- and child-friendly. The perception that B&Bs are exclusive and too expensive is just not true.  Let me list just a few of the things about a B&B that recommend it as an accommodation people need to consider:

  1. Uniqueness – Every B&B is different from every other B&B. In other words, no two B&Bs are alike and no 2 rooms within a B&B are alike.  That’s because the majority of B&Bs are in historic homes where the craftsmanship and quality of construction tend to be better (thus, the reason they are still standing after hundreds of years), making each room a study in history. I have nothing against hotels, but if the walls could talk in a hotel, what do you think they’d say? In a historic B&B, you may very well find out what the walls have said because many are on National and/or Local Historical Registers and much of the historical information has been researched and provided for guests’ entertainment. Also part of the character of an historic house are the quirks and creaks that make it unique. Some houses may even be haunted by past occupants (if you’re into that kind of thing).
  2. Personal Service & Area Knowledge – Some of the best tour guides and keepers of knowledge about all things Asheville are your local innkeepers. Innkeepers are fantastic resources of information on where to go to eat and experience this wonderful city.  They have intimate knowledge of the good, the great, and the avoidable places and they are more than willing to share their opinions and experiences with their guests.  This is an often overlooked benefit for guests, but its priceless when you consider your overall experience.  The average hotel concierge may or may not even live around the hotel where they work and, therefore, may or may not have intimate knowledge of the area.  Hotels tend to refer guests to the big attractions and places where the hotel has a financial interest.  If you really want to have a great time in Asheville, trust your innkeeper to provide personal service with a strong desire for you to enjoy your entire trip.
  3. Home-made Gourmet Breakfasts – While breakfast is also offered at hotels, most are offering breakfast buffets for hundreds of guests. The average B&B is serving breakfast to a much, much smaller group of guests and you know it was made fresh and brought to you straight from the oven and had not been sitting under heat lamps for extended periods of time. Innkeepers are quite adept at working around dietary restrictions (with advance notice) and in a city like Asheville, it is not uncommon to have guests with food restrictions. When you look at breakfast in the context of the overall B&B experience, it becomes a more personal experience as well. Guests get to meet and chat with other guests, sharing their experiences in the city thus far and trading information about where they live, what brought them to Asheville, etc., etc.  Do you ever speak to anyone at a hotel breakfast other than your server?  I have seen so many guests make new acquaintances/friends during breakfast and exchange contact information afterwards. How cool is that? Yeah, MacDonald’s and Denny’s are cheaper, but can they really compare to the B&B breakfast experience?
  4. The Best in Amenities – While historical houses suggest that everything inside is antiquated, that couldn’t be further from the truth.  The majority of B&Bs have been retrofitted and renovated with modern conveniences, including individual bathrooms for each guestroom, central heat and air conditioning, wi-fi, TVs and DVD players, ipod/cd docking stations, and so on.  Yeah, some do it better than others, but in some cases, it’s not possible to totally modernize a centuries-old house without defiling the integrity of the original structure. So, we work around those inconveniences as best as possible. B&Bs also include many freebies that the average hotel/motel does not, including snacks and homemade goodies for the guests, free movies for guests to watch and games for guests to amuse themselves with. Think any of these things are free or even offered at hotels?

So when you consider your next trip, be it for business or pleasure, consider the B&B. They may not be out of your price range. Call and speak to the innkeeper before making your reservation so you can “meet” first and you can get a feel for that particular B&B and whether or not it fits with what you are looking for. Remember that every B&B is different so if one is not to your liking, there are many more to choose from.  Figure out what is most important to you in your stay and find out from the innkeeper if they can fill your needs.

Blake House is located in the city limits of Asheville, but we are not in downtown and while a 15-minute drive to downtown from the Inn doesn’t seem like a lot of time, for some it is and I understand that.  What’s great about South Asheville is that it is building up quickly, having added the Biltmore Square Town Center with a modern movie theater, a handful of restaurants, and boutiques. South Asheville also has several fabulous independent restaurants and some of the downtown restaurants are opening South Asheville locations (Tupelo Honey Cafe and Fiore’s Ristorante Toscana is coming soon).  Before long, South Asheville will be as big as downtown and guests will have to think of reasons to leave our south location. This South Asheville B&B plans to keep its room rates affordable and our guests as happy and comfortable as possible.

Mention this blog post when making your reservation and receive $10 off your total, in addition to any other special/discount you may qualify for.

1847 Blake House Inn B&B Announces December Veterans Recognition Free Night Stay Date

Announcing our December Monthly Veterans Recognition Free Night Stay Date:

  • Friday, December 17th in the Dogwood Room.

Veterans can read all about the program from our earlier blog post (link is provided below).  Not only did our Asheville Bed & Breakfast participate in the B&Bs for Vets program in November, but we have extended the benefit for the entire year!

Why not come to Asheville during the holiday season and stay with us for FREE?  Asheville has much to offer and we are thankful to our Veterans and active duty military year-round.  If you know a Veteran who would love a trip to Asheville, NC, send them our way.

Things To Do in Asheville For the Holidays That Are Inexpensive or FREE

Want to come to Asheville during the holiday season, but don’t have a lot of money to spend? Well, here are a handful of cheap or free thrills!

  1. Lake Julian Festival of LightsLake Julian Festival of Lights – Starting December 3rd, the annual Festival of Lights runs from 6-9 pm nightly until December 19th.  This cheap thrill is a drive-thru light show located in a neighborhood around Lake Julian Park (about a mile from Blake House). The cost per car is just $5 ($10 for vans) with a portion of the proceeds going to the Buncombe County Special Olympics. A must-see for the holidays!
  2. National Gingerbread House Display – I wrote about this in an earlier post. The competition is over, but the display goes on until January 2nd.  Walking through and seeing the displays is free Mondays – Thursdays. New for 2010 will be gingerbread cookie workshops called “Baking Memories.” Participants will be able to create their own gingerbread cookie masterpieces with the help of The Grove Park Inn’s chefs and staff. The “Baking Memories” workshops will be available Wednesdays through Saturdays at 10:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. The cost is just $10 per participant and includes a sweet take-home treat. “Stories of Gingerbread” guided tours will allow guests to go behind the scenes and get details about the construction of unusual entries as well as the workings of the judging, competition and display itself. The hour-long tours will be available Wednesdays through Saturdays at 9 a.m. and 3 p.m.  The cost is $10 for adults and $5 for children ages 12 & under.
  3. Dickens Festival in AshevilleBiltmore Village Dickens Festival – The first weekend in December (12/3 – 12/5), Biltmore Village transforms into a quaint Victorian village with horse-drawn carriages, carolers, storytellers, and instrumentalists. Everyone will be in period clothing and the Montford Park Players will perform excerpts from Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol.  Cost is FREE! Hours: Friday, 5:00 to 7:00 pm; Saturday, 11:00 am to 7:00 pm; Sunday, 1:00 to 5:00 pm.
  4. Santa on Chimney RockSanta on the Chimney at Chimney Rock Park – Watch Santa practice his climbing skills on 315-ft Chimney Rock. Santa sightings are between 11 am – 2 pm on December 4th & December 11th. Check out the website for more details. Park admission is required and we carry $1 off coupons at Blake House!Cost per person is $14; $6 for children age 6-15; children under 6 are free.
  5. Downtown Asheville Jingle Fest – Sunday, December 5th from 3 pm – 6 pm. Cost is FREE! The first ever Downtown JingleFest will start off at 3 pm at Reuter Terrace in Pack Square Park with traditional Christmas caroling by Asheville Chorale Society, a few dance numbers from Asheville Ballet’s Nutcracker, a 6th grade African Drum group and girls choir from Delta House, the Montford Park Players portraying Dicken’s characters from A Christmas Carol,” the North Pole mailbox and a visit from Santa (the real one!), elves, reindeer and hot cider and snowman building competitions, snowball throwing contests.  At dark, we’ll go inside Pack’s Tavern to the Century Room (second floor) for some hot toddies and a special performance by Mark Keller and friends previewing their upcoming Holiday Jam benefit for Mission Hospital. More games and prizes… “Did someone say “Pin the tail on the reindeer?”  In keeping with the season of giving, people are asked to bring a blanket, gloves, scarf, etc. for ABCCM and/or cans of non-perishable food for MANNA Food Bank.  This will become an annual family-friendly (not beer-friendly until after dark), festive celebration of the season!
  6. Last, but not least, I am running a couple of VERY Festive Specials at the Inn. One special per reservation. They are:
    • BILTMORE ESTATE TICKET SPECIAL – Book a 3-night stay between 11/26 – 12/23 and receive a general admission ticket to the Biltmore Estate for half price!  Add a 4th night and receive a second general admission ticket for half price. All reservations are based on room availability and must be made with at least 48 hours notice before arrival.
    • HALF OFF SPECIAL! – Through January 5, 2011, stay 2 nights, get the third night 50% Off! – Offer valid on stays between Sundays – Wednesdays (not applicable Thursdays – Saturdays).

      • Offer valid on any room, based on availability.
      • All other Inn policies apply.
      • Days must be consecutive and in the same room.
      • 50% Discount is on the nightly room rate only.
    • SECOND PET STAYS FREE – Now through 12/23, pay the nominal $10 per day pet fee for the first pet and the second pet fee is WAIVED! This special applies for stays of two or more nights, any pet-friendly room, any days of the week.


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