Prospect Hill B&B News http://www.prospect-hill.com Fri, 20 Jul 2018 10:38:05 +0100 FeedCreator 1.7.2 June 2017 Haunted Inn http://www.prospect-hill.com Spring is glorious http://www.prospect-hill.com May 1, 2016 - Settling in at the Inn http://www.prospect-hill.com <p>I&rsquo;ve always told my children, &ldquo;Life is an Adventure!&rdquo;&nbsp; To start a new adventure or career&nbsp;can be exciting and&nbsp;scary at the same time.&nbsp; Even though you know you're making the right move, it&rsquo;s that stepping-off-the-ledge kind of feeling.&nbsp;&nbsp; I think most of us have been through it several times in our lives.</p> <p>Moving to Mountain City, TN from Canon City, CO, &nbsp;has been such a blessing.&nbsp;&nbsp; From the&nbsp;beginning of this crazy concept to&nbsp;leave the world of mining behind to become an Innkeeper, I received much&nbsp;encouragement, moral support, and the occasional gentle nudge when needed, from my children,&nbsp;siblings, friends and even co-workers.<br /><br />Since arriving I have received the warmest of welcomes from the good people of Mountain City and sometimes a lesson in the &ldquo;proper pronunciation&rdquo; of words.&nbsp; I think it&rsquo;s a geographical thing.&nbsp;&nbsp; It&rsquo;s&nbsp;been fun to explore my new surrounding, from the uniqueness of this large house with all it&rsquo;s nooks and crannies, the history of the families that have lived here to the town with it&rsquo;s restaurants, shops, attractions, &nbsp;mountains, and&nbsp;nearby Watauga Lake and spreading out further to N. Carolina and Virginia&nbsp;with all their wonderful towns, scenery and attractions.&nbsp; Seems there&rsquo;s always something new to see and do.</p> <p>My&nbsp;side-kick at the Inn, is my dog Tomas, he adjusted&nbsp;rather quickly into his role of official &ldquo;Inn-dog&rdquo;, always greeting guest at the door and sometimes he seems to want to be the one to show them around. Although he&rsquo;s considered a &ldquo;large&rdquo; dog, don&rsquo;t let his size&nbsp;worry you, he&rsquo;s very friendly and loves people. I&rsquo;ve had several guest want to take him home and&nbsp;one couple&nbsp;offered to trade me their teenagers for him&hellip; No, not a good trade!</p> <p>We stay pretty busy, Tomas chases the squirrels and takes lots of naps while I chase after everything that needs attended to and wish I could take a nap.</p> <p>Here&rsquo;s to life&rsquo;s new adventures!</p> <div></div> May 8, 2015 - Overnight French Toast Recipe | McCormick http://www.prospect-hill.com <p>Sweet and fruity, Overnight French Toast makes a delicious addition to your brunch or breakfast table.&nbsp; We usually do the alternate version&ndash;with apples.</p> <p>Source:&nbsp;<em><a href="">Overnight French Toast Recipe | McCormick</a></em></p> Apr 12, 2015 - Sunny days at the lake http://www.prospect-hill.com <div class="entry-content clearfix"> <p><img class="img-responsive" style="margin: 10px;" src="" alt="" width="400" height="300" align="right" />GOOD NEWS Getaway Guests:</p> <p>Our gift-yourself (gift certificate)&nbsp; program is now back for a limited time. Click&nbsp;<a title="Gift certificates online" href=";tab=GC"><span>LINK</span>&nbsp;</a>here to prepay for your next stay and receive Gotta Getaway Savings.<br /><br />We hope to see you at the inn soon. Oh, and watch for that TV commercial where the little kids says &ldquo;4 million vacation days aren&rsquo;t used every year&ndash;what a waste.&rdquo;&nbsp; Don&rsquo;t be one of the folks wasting your allocated days off. Come see us!</p> </div> Jan 24, 2015 - Wedding Trends: Greenery, Feathery, Small Cakes and Bright Lights http://www.prospect-hill.com <div class="entry-content clearfix"> <h3>Greenery</h3> <p>Says&nbsp;<a title="Wedding Wire Trends" href="" target="_blank"></a>:&nbsp; From table runners to decorative wreaths, garlands, and more, we&rsquo;re seeing greenery emerge from the sidelines and into the spotlight. It&rsquo;s versatile, and provides an Old World look that&rsquo;s so chic right now. In this same vein, we&rsquo;re betting on animal topiaries becoming a hot decor item in the New Year.</p> <p>Prospect Hill version: Use boxwood and yew to fill in your bouquets and bring greenery to your party decor. Available locally. Shady Grove Gardens has other forms of greenery available (from miniature to branch sizes) to give you that &ldquo;Old World romance&rdquo; look.</p> <h3>Astilbe (feathery plant)</h3> <p>From WeddingWire.Com:&nbsp; We&rsquo;ve already started to see this feather-like flower everywhere this year, and expect to see even more of it in 2015. We&rsquo;ve seen it solo or as an accent in bouquets, and love the variety of hues &ndash; deep red, light purple, pink, and white.&nbsp; Also available from local grower Shady Grove Gardens&ndash;very feathery and romantic.</p> <h3>Marquee Lights</h3> <p>What a bright idea! Whether they&rsquo;re spelling out words like &ldquo;Love&rdquo; or the couple&rsquo;s names, these vintage-style marquee lights are popping up all over reception d&eacute;cor.</p> <p>Prospect Hill version: we&rsquo;ll make a very large board with the word &ldquo;love&rdquo; spelled out in bright lights and a background of black (or other color) chalkboard paint so your friends can write well wishes. $100 (4&times;8-feet) and you can take it home. $90 for a 4&times;4-foot size.</p> <h3><img class="img-responsive" style="margin: 10px;" src="" alt="" width="199" height="300" align="left" />Miniature Wedding Cakes, Sweets</h3> <p>Here&rsquo;s the trend:&nbsp; Instead of or in addition to featuring a multi-tiered wedding cake, couples are also serving several smaller cakes to offer a wide variety of flavors. We&rsquo;ve even seen a cake displayed on each reception table for an extra-sweet touch.</p> <p>Innkeeper Judy can make most flavors in an 8-inch cake. Buy as many as you like. $35/cake (serves 10-12 each)<br />Frugal Gourmet Catering makes numerous bite-size dessert treats. They arrive in cake papers and require no cutting. Order one smaller cake just for cutting and another for freezing for &ldquo;next year.&rdquo;</p> </div> Sept 3, 2014 - Breakfast at the Inn http://www.prospect-hill.com <p>Are you ready to start your great day in the mountains? How about breakfast? It&rsquo;s included with your stay.</p> <p>We serve a full breakfast which begins with fresh fruit, juice and coffee/tea followed by hearty main courses, such as Elegant Scrambled Eggs, Stuffed French Toast, Brown Sugar Oatmeal Pancakes, Baked Scrambled Eggs or Herbed Eggs with a side of bacon or sausage. Lately, Robert has been making some tasty &ldquo;quick bread&rdquo; such as Pumpkin Bread and Almond Poppy Seed Bread. (We all know they are really&nbsp;<strong>Cake for Breakfast!</strong>)</p> <div id="attachment_443" class="wp-caption alignleft"> <p class="wp-caption-text"><strong><img class="img-responsive" style="margin: 10px;" src="" alt="" width="400" height="321" align="left" />There are a lot of people out there who want to be chefs.&nbsp;</strong>We don&rsquo;t. We focus on a breakfast which is nice to look at and even better to eat. Judy enjoys making your meal look wonderful. Guests often linger, sharing a last cup of coffee. The entr&eacute;e is different daily, alternating between an egg and a sweet dish.</p> </div> <p>Fried eggs, grits, and gravy are not on our regular menu (our mothers were from&nbsp;<em>southern</em>&nbsp;Connecticut and&nbsp;<em>southern</em>&nbsp;Pennsylvania, NOT the<em>&nbsp;Deep South</em>). Our moms generally just fried an egg. Seems pretty ordinary to us!! We want to prepare something a bit more special&ndash;a dish you don&rsquo;t eat at home regularly (but not odd, either).</p> <p><strong>Questions,</strong>&nbsp;concerns, special diets, health issues or allergies? Talk to us. (See above; we are not chefs and the show &ldquo;Chopped&rdquo; with last minute ingredients included or omitted is NOT our idea of a good time.) If you have special dietary needs, please let us know when you make your reservation so your meal is equal to every other from our kitchen, prepared with equal thought and love.</p> <p>We serve our breakfast meat on the side and have a vegetarian breakfast &ldquo;meat&rdquo; selection available. If you are dieting we can provide smaller portions or substitutes such as cereal or oatmeal. Dishes for diabetics, gluten-free, no lactose all aren&rsquo;t a problem.&nbsp; Our goal is to provide a great dish which is as similar to the one others are eating as we can get it.&nbsp; Of course, with Paleo diets this is not possible; in that case, it is the most lovely dish!<br /><strong><br />Breakfast time is generally 8:30-10 a.m. or by arrangement with the innkeeper.</strong>&nbsp;Self-serve continental breakfasts are available for those needing an early start to their day. (This is popular with our business guests.) Breakfast in the room is at added cost. Please ask the innkeeper. We can also provide a &ldquo;table for two&rdquo; if you really don&rsquo;t like talking to others are breakfast.</p> http://www.prospect-hill.com <div class="entry-content clearfix"> <p>When we opened our first B&amp;B on April 1, 1992, there were a lot of pseudo-Victorian style B&amp;Bs, lots of lace, floral bedspreads, and teddy bears&ndash;and doilies!&nbsp; We were never much about that over-stuffed rooms.&nbsp; Today&rsquo;s preferred B&amp;Bs aren&rsquo;t either.</p> <p>Twenty-two years later, there are nearly as many types of bed and breakfast properties and businesses as there are innkeeper/owners. You have to find which is perfect for you.</p> <p>One fact remains: someone has to have taken an aging house (or a suitable newer one or built a new one) &ndash;and molded it into a workable B&amp;B property.&nbsp; Just buying new sheets and hanging out a sign does not cut it. From regulatory issues (yes, you need a business license, must collect sales tax and often must make nice with health inspector), to technology needs of guests (yes, you DO need both wifi and TVs in your rooms), there&rsquo;s more to innkeeping than chatting with guests and making breakfast.</p> <p>According to the Wall Street Journal last year, the bed-and-breakfast industry is attracting a new breed of innkeepers who, instead of being hobbyists, are looking for sustainable businesses.</p> <p>At the same time, younger people are getting into innkeeping as a serious for profit business, more and more baby boomers and post-baby boomers are looking for a home-based business but NOT looking to be corporate tycoons&ndash;they&rsquo;ve been there and already done that!</p> <p>The article emphasized that the most growth in B&amp;B is in the upper 10% of the market (high-end properties) where it is no longer all about&nbsp; &ldquo;nice sheets&rdquo; and terrific muffins.&nbsp; It has to be about the &ldquo;experience.&rdquo;<br />In our opinion, lovely linens and great breakfasts do count.&nbsp;&nbsp; A comfortable bed and a great breakfast are all part of that experience!&nbsp; So, too, may be being drawn into the owner&rsquo;s passion for gardening, parrots, history and legends, motorcycle rides or 1940s campers.</p> <p>Our own passion&ndash;which ties into our niche market&ndash; is the enjoyment of the antique/historic home.</p> <p>In our opinion, behind-the-scenes updating to support our 21st Century lifestyles (and need for technology) is an absolute necessity so people can enjoy all the history an antique house affords.&nbsp; Our 1999 renovations included phone lines for dial-up internet service; today free wifi is a given. This website will soon be responsive; a mobile version is already online. We are always asking &ldquo;what&rsquo;s next?&rdquo;</p> <p>Those new to going to B&amp;B need to understand that bed and breakfast lodging is NOT synonymous with a youth hostel or motel lodging.&nbsp; American B&amp;Bs are very different from those in England and Europe where the lodging is functional but not &ldquo;upgraded.&rdquo;</p> <p>Rooms in American bed and breakfasts and inn, in some cases, are double or triple motels in the same town.&nbsp; That&rsquo;s because the amenities, the furnishings, the personal service, free items such as snacks or afternoon tea,&nbsp; excellent cleanliness, and size of the rooms far exceeds a standard motel room.&nbsp; Innkeepers work with people&rsquo;s budgets but we are not the &ldquo;cheap alternative.&rdquo;&nbsp; And we prove over and over again, you get what you pay for&ndash; &ldquo;a quality experience while you travel.&rdquo;</p> <p>While many bed-and-breakfasts [remain] budget-priced, wrote the Wall Street Journal, more newer B&amp;Bs are focused on upscale travelers, with rates easily running upward of $1,000 a night. Around 10% of B&amp;Bs have rates that top $300 per night,[ according to Professional Association of Innkeepers International who counts many full-time innkeepers and professionally-run properties among their members.]</p> <p>The newest twist in innkeeping is offering up the owner&rsquo;s passion along with the well-appointed room.</p> <p>Here at Prospect Hill, our passion has been old-house renovation. We took an ailing property and turned it into a beautiful property, now ripe for an innkeeper whose passion may be cuisine, parties or any one of a dozen other pursuits.</p> <p>While the market may have slowed during the recent recession, inn brokers are saying interest in buying inns is increasing. People with a passion are shopping for properties where their dreams can come true.&nbsp; Our broker has certainly found it so. The Inn Partners classes are always sold out. Inquiries are strong and inns seem to sell almost weekly.</p> <p>As a future guest at an inn, we urge you to look for a match between the property and your own sensibilities. If in doubt, use the PHONE and call us for a further discussion (or email). We are happy to tell you what we offer, how much it costs and what we don&rsquo;t have.&nbsp; We&rsquo;ll help you with the details which can turn an average stay into an awesome experience&ndash;that&rsquo;s what WE do!!&nbsp; Whether you are renting a room or buying an inn, there&rsquo;s a match for you at a B&amp;B somewhere; unlike hotels, it is NOT one size fits all.</p> </div> April 9, 2014 - How to Get the Most Out of Your B&B Stay http://www.prospect-hill.com <div class="entry-content clearfix"> <p><img class="img-responsive" style="margin: 10px;" src="" alt="" width="300" height="200" align="right" />Much of the charm&ndash;and the allure&ndash;of a stay at a bed and breakfast has to do with the &ldquo;things&rdquo; hotels and motels don&rsquo;t have.&nbsp; Rockers. Porch swings. Views. Special treats.&nbsp; Interaction with hosts and guests.&nbsp; It saddens me when couples miss out, simply because they arrive late or sleep through breakfast or are not comfortable letting the innkeepers &ldquo;tell them things.</p> <p>A couple this week arrived about 10 pm after a long, active day. They were tired and the day was almost over so they received the abbreviated &ldquo;tour&rdquo; so they could enjoy the rest of their evening.&nbsp; We were sure we could fill them in at breakfast.</p> <p>Alas, in the morning&ndash;<span id="more-8262"></span>when we innkeepers are most likely to give them an updated or enhanced tour of our facilities or what is available locally (such as hiking, biking, shopping or even our stunning patio, fountain and mountain-view garden)&ndash;the couple didn&rsquo;t emerge until noon. They left immediately for lunch. So, once again, they didn&rsquo;t get &ldquo;the tour.&rdquo;</p> <p>Our in-room booklet attempts to tell them 99% of what they might should know. But, nothing beats SEEING it. (At least I think so.)</p> <p>I&rsquo;m sure for many couples (and judging from the in-room journal entries) a great time is had by all. But, us innkeepers are left wondering IF we could have done more and IF the couple could have gotten more out of their stay if only they had spent a few minutes speaking to us.&nbsp; Sometimes folks are so quiet we don&rsquo;t know UNTIL we read the in-room journal or the review online that they did have a great time.</p> <p>Anyway, if you are visiting a B&amp;B and&nbsp; would like to avail yourself of all the facilities and nuances of the property, try to find a few minutes to allow the innkeepers to fill you in. It will be time well spent.</p> </div> April 9, 2014 - How we welcome business travelers http://www.prospect-hill.com <div class="entry-content clearfix"> <p><img class="img-responsive" style="margin: 10px;" src="" alt="" width="450" height="271" align="right" />A guest can be interesting, self-sufficient, well-traveled&ndash;Often they are a business traveler. He or she could be YOUR guest.&nbsp; They are often mine.</p> <p>An inn&rsquo;s location drives its potential for hosting business travelers.&nbsp; At our first inn&ndash;near downtown Atlanta&ndash;we could stand in the street and see the state capitol. The nearby subway traveled under three miles to the World Congress Center (conventions) and CNN Center.<span id="more-8253"></span></p> <p>While we went blindly into opening our first B&amp;B, we shortly learned that it attracted business travelers because of its price and convenient location. Opening our second inn just down the street from the county courthouse, in a town with not-so-great motels, also brought us business travelers. But they would not have flocked to us without some work.</p> <h2>Our First Guest</h2> <p>Thinking back, our very first guest was a college friend&rsquo;s brother from Seattle. HE was in town for a job-related meeting at the Centers for Disease Control in Atlanta. After opening, we very shortly got into the AAA book. This may well have been the best 1990s source of business travelers. At that time (1992) there was no internet. Even when we rented housing for the Atlanta Olympics in 1996 there was still not a strong online presence, although we did try a few ads and directories.</p> <p>We didn&rsquo;t have a plan.&nbsp;&nbsp; At first, it was who was calling. In Atlanta, I also worked 20 hours/week as a reporter for the daily newspaper and belonged to the local merchant associations. Through that work and those contacts, I knew the local live theater managers, the administrative assistants at several newspapers, the key real estate developers and so on. I also happened to have a small ad agency and was familiar with the local neighborhood newsletters so I was able to quickly inform nearby residents of our property.</p> <p>Here at Prospect Hill Bed &amp; Breakfast Inn, in Mountain City, TN,&nbsp; we sought them out by working our way into the first-ever Leadership Johnson County program sponsored by the Chamber of Commerce. Through that eight-week intro to the key economic and political and social entities in the county, I met the school superintendent, the head of the hospital, the judge, the current and future town mayors, the county executive, the prison warden, the police chief, the golf pro (course manager) and several managers of industrial complexes in the area. The key person in our welcome center was married to the key purchasing manager at the prison.<br />The chamber participation also lead to my joining an economic development committee where I met the key players at the electric coop, headquartered in town. I volunteered for then served as a representative for the county on the regional tourism committee where I met our state representative who is now lieutenant governor and a key player in developing a very important state park which happens to be right out my back door.&nbsp;<a href="">DOE MOUNTAIN DESTINATION&nbsp;</a>My husband serves on the renovation committee for the local theater building. HERITAGE HALL&nbsp; http://heritagehalltheatreorg</p> <p>I also did some leg work and invited ALL the business owners up and down the highway in town to an open house. No one came. In the end, word of mouth works.&nbsp; These days, business guests also find us online on their own.</p> <h2>Not the Same as &lsquo;Tourists&rsquo;</h2> <p>Innkeepers accustomed to hosting leisure and getaway travelers have to learn to switch gears. Business travelers are in town to work in one form or another, not to socialize or enjoy time with their partners. They have schedules and they have tools which need to work (such as laptops and cell phones).&nbsp; You need to understand them, embrace their needs and offer them hospitality in the form they require.</p> <p>In our first inn, Oakwood House (now a private home), the guest rooms were nearly identical. We got away with not having a whirlpool tub or fireplaces at the Atlanta inn (85% business travelers). At Prospect Hill, female business travelers more often enjoy a tub; a whirlpool IS a nice perk to offer as an unexpected upgrade. On a whole, we place our business travelers in our &ldquo;standard&rdquo; rooms which have queen beds, private bath with either a large shower or a large shower plus a claw footed tub. We reserve the right to select a room for them.&nbsp; When we have a larger group, such as the planners for Doe Mountain Park,&nbsp; someone does get a whirlpool tub room (we have three).</p> <p>This week&rsquo;s gentleman is typical. He travels 45+ weeks per year. He has lots of frequent flyer points, flies first class, knows how to use a GPS well and has the sense to rent a 4&times;4 vehicle if a snow storm is predicted. He plans in advance and has a schedule. Since he is doing a week long training session he has to be at work shortly after his client opens each morning and he is gone until well past 5 pm.&nbsp; He is by himself, he is not focused on a leisurely breakfast or the needs of a partner (he&rsquo;s working solo). He often does homework or classwork in the evening.</p> <h2>Pricing is Different</h2> <p>A leisure guest has a price point he or she would like to meet but rarely a carved-in-stone budget.&nbsp; A business traveler often has his company paying his way or an expense account or per diem or some sort of set budget. Once the basic criteria&ndash;clean room, privacy, and budget&ndash;are met, he likes you!<br />Business travelers rarely spend hours agonizing over &ldquo;which room&rdquo; or &ldquo;did I find the best place??&rdquo;&nbsp; They also understand checking in means paying up&ndash;regulars &ldquo;belly up to the bar&rdquo;&ndash;to the counter&ndash; next to my office, credit card in hand. No pulling it out of them. We offer a flexible cancellation policy for business travelers and rarely see abuse (they are supposed to tell us as soon as their plans change, whether early on or last minute).</p> <h2>Contrast with Leisure Guests</h2> <p>A leisure guest, especially these days, is looking for good value in an exceptional experience which they are personally paying for. They are interested in a large, leisurely breakfast. They have activities they plan to participate in but might not have specifics or a schedule (wedding guests excluded here).&nbsp; They have a number of choices in our region with many kinds of architecture, many price points and many different sorts of amenities&ndash;log cabins, whirlpool tubs, views,&nbsp; proximity to shopping, hiking or skiing. They care about the bathtub, a fireplace and how big the bed is.&nbsp; They may want to check in early and stay late.&nbsp; They may not be experienced travelers so they need help with directions, suggestions for places to go and what to see&ndash;they rely on the innkeeper for some of this or their research. They have many choices to make and lots of free time to fill.</p> <p>Meanwhile, the business traveler is work-oriented, generally well-traveled, and busy with his own concerns.</p> <h2>Easier or More Difficult as Guests?</h2> <p>Business travelers, I think, are far easier for the hosts. For one, there are rarely couples. They generally show up when they say they will or at least rarely get sidetracked on their way to check in.<br />They like a friendly face and a brief chat but mostly they have their &ldquo;stuff to do.&rdquo;&nbsp; They appreciate the assistance but they don&rsquo;t need to be lead by the hand.&nbsp; On a whole, they are self-sufficient. They really do like it when lodging is very nice, their needs are met in a superior way and they don&rsquo;t have to &ldquo;make do&rdquo; or &ldquo;improvise.&rdquo;<br />To that end, we have WiFi throughout the inn, televisions in the rooms with CNN, Weather Channel and ESPN essential, always a shower (and perhaps a tub), coffee and tea kettle 24/7, guest refrigerator, a desk if need (folding table at ready), flexible check in times and cancellation policies, take American Express, including third party payment (which is not cheap). &nbsp; We issue folio/confirmation numbers and can electronically submit receipts. We print zeroed out receipts and carefully staple the credit card slip to them.<br />We know where all the local restaurants are, their open times along with the locations and driving times for all local corporations, medical and educational facilities.&nbsp; We print boarding passes and provide an iron and ironing board as needed.<br />We accept state per diem rates (sans breakfast) which is sometimes 50% of leisure rates&ndash;for Sunday through Thursdays. We negotiate long-term rates, being careful to front load the payments in the event they leave early. We rarely charge cancellation fees and we always provide receipts.&nbsp; We do charge an up-fee for tag-along spouses and bill that separately.<br />We love our business guests. If you want to locate your inn in an urban area or one so far from your&nbsp; state government state workers MUST stay overnight, be prepared to welcome business guests</p> </div> http://www.prospect-hill.com <p>Attempting to check into a B&amp;B in the morning, or lunchtime in order to &ldquo;get your money&rsquo;s worth&rdquo; is not a good plan.<br />Hint:&nbsp; Check out for the previous night is usually 11 a.m.<br />Hint #2:&nbsp; Rooms must be cleaned and public spaces maintained, generally between 11 a.m. and check in time (usually 3 or 4 pm). That&rsquo;s a mere 4-5 hours.&nbsp; It&rsquo;s a scientific fact two objects can&rsquo;t occupy the same space at the same time.</p> <h2>Innkeepers Hate to Say &ldquo;No.&rdquo;</h2> <p>We hate to say &lsquo;no&rsquo; to early check in requests. However,&nbsp; when it comes to letting guests check into rooms many hours early, or staying many hours later (before and after the standard times which are 3 pm and 11 a.m. at my inn), we may have to decline.&nbsp; It&rsquo;s not that we don&rsquo;t want guests to make full use the facility. And it&rsquo;s not that we want to &ldquo;take as much and give as little&rdquo; as we can.<span id="more-8240"></span></p> <p>There&rsquo;s a practical reason why super early check in and foot-dragging check out simply isn&rsquo;t practical.&nbsp; You are intruding into the time when we make our magic with a tiny staff and a limited time frame.&nbsp; Please understand, this explanation is the same as pulling the curtain off of the Wizard of Oz in his Emerald City. We don&rsquo;t really want to do it and we never would if it weren&rsquo;t for your own good. Just ask Dorothy!</p> <div id="attachment_8491" class="wp-caption alignright"><img class="img-responsive" style="margin: 10px auto; display: block;" src="" alt="" width="239" height="300" align="middle" /><br /> <p class="wp-caption-text" style="text-align: center;">This isn&rsquo;t a blog about Oz cakes. But, this blog topic is illustrated with a photo of &ldquo;Oz,&rdquo; I couldn&rsquo;t resist the cake photo, too!</p> </div> <p><strong>Guest viewpoint:</strong>&nbsp; Well, it was not used last night so why can&rsquo;t I use it early?<br />Assumption:&nbsp; You are assuming you KNOW it wasn&rsquo;t used. Some rooms go to walk-ins and never make it to the online listing until after the fact. Other rooms sit dirty until the cleaner can get to them. (Smaller inns often use part-time cleaners who don&rsquo;t work every day.)</p> <p>And then there&rsquo;s the WORK which goes on in the inn between the end of breakfast and the start of check in. Innkeepers like to make you think their houses are self-healing and the work is self-doing. It isn&rsquo;t. Work must get done, often in a very small window of late morning and early afternoon.<br />Maybe that room still needs cleaning, scheduled during the exact time you want to get in early.&nbsp; Or maybe the heat/air guy is scheduled to replace the thermostat or the plumber to tighten the faucets.&nbsp;&nbsp; Or the window washers are going to be doing that side of the house in the morning.</p> <p>Maintenance is necessary to keep the delightful, seamless, restful atmosphere guests enjoy as &ldquo;the perfect experience&rdquo; at a BB.&nbsp; Truth be told, some tasks make loud noises, bad smells or disrupt the halls with workers or piles of &ldquo;stuff.&rdquo;&nbsp; If you show up early any and everything I planned to do in the vicinity of your room has to stop. It can also mean work throughout about 75% of the inn has to come to a halt.&nbsp; (Noise travels in old houses).&nbsp; We innkeepers feel that IF you are present your enjoyment is tantamount. So, we put away all the tools, banish or silence the staff and turn the place back into the peaceful, clean and perfect place the inn becomes at 3 pm check in time.&nbsp; It&rsquo;s good for the guest experience; it is bad for my schedule because tradesmen have to be rescheduled and maintenance deferred.</p> <h2>What is Your Anticipated Arrival Time?</h2> <p>This leads to WHY I ask your arrival time when hotels don&rsquo;t.&nbsp;&nbsp; IF I know you couldn&rsquo;t possibly get here before 6 pm it may mean I have 1-2 hours longer to work on that &ldquo;guests can&rsquo;t see it&rdquo; project.&nbsp; I also might get in a shower, a nap or a trip to the grocery store without rushing.&nbsp; I&rsquo;m not being nosy. I&rsquo;m just planning my day.&nbsp; You don&rsquo;t need to tell me although I wish you would. And you don&rsquo;t need to stick to the what you estimate is arrival time. On my reservation program, it is a real pity I cannot offer a range of time periods for check in. It makes more sense. (I hope my booking service will change that item in the future!)</p> <p>You also don&rsquo;t need to tell me if you are running late although I&rsquo;d really like to know it if you are running 4, 6 or 8 hours later than the initial estimate.&nbsp; Maybe my husband and I can sneak in dinner downtown or watch a movie&hellip;..</p> <p>Because we have individual thermostats in our guest rooms having an estimated arrival time means we don&rsquo;t crank up the heat or down the a/c unnecessarily. We believe in energy conservation as well as having the room at the perfect temperature for your arrival.<br />As to late check out&ndash;we will accommodate you when we can. IF the room must be &ldquo;turned&rdquo; (readied for the next guest) when the regular check out time comes, guests must go. If there is no urgency (no rental or we know there is a late check-in coming), we can accommodate you. This is not known until the very last minute, sorry to say.</p> <p><strong>Long ago I started doing one thing many inns don&rsquo;t.</strong>&nbsp;We will accept luggage early.&nbsp; When we had our business-oriented inn near downtown Atlanta this was a must. People who arrive via plane and without a car really do need to &ldquo;check&rdquo; their luggage. That&rsquo;s OK with me.&nbsp; If you want to &ldquo;just see where you are going to stay&rdquo; (find our location) or put lunch leftovers in the guest refrigerator, we can do that. But keep in mind, I will NOT instruct the cleaners to vanish and the central vacuum to quit humming.&nbsp; IF the key is available, I&rsquo;ll check you in but please do not expect silence and no activity in the halls or on the property.&nbsp; This service begins at 12 noon.</p> <p>So, now you&rsquo;ve seen behind the curtain. We do OUR work when YOU aren&rsquo;t present so you can enjoy a perfectly wonderful house with no sign of work or worry. Isn&rsquo;t that what a great vacation is all about?</p> <p><strong>One more thing:&nbsp;&nbsp;</strong>If you really want to get into the room at 8 or 9 a.m. offer to pay for another night. You&rsquo;ll have all the time you want&ndash;and more.</p> April 7, 2014 - How the Best Fans Had the Most Fun http://www.prospect-hill.com <div class="entry-content clearfix"> <p>Last Saturday, Amy and Rob got married in Seattle. By Tuesday they were on a cross-country flight to Charlotte and Bristol, TN and a honeymoon at Prospect Hill B&amp;B Inn.</p> <p><img class="img-responsive" style="margin: 10px;" src="" alt="" width="250" height="200" align="right" />Amy and Rob are NASCAR fans. In fact, they adore &ldquo;their man&rdquo; Dale Earnhardt Jr.&nbsp; By the time they arrived at Prospect Hill B&amp;B Inn in Mountain City, TN, they had visited the NASCAR Hall of Fame in Charlotte and stayed late visiting the home locations of several racing teams. They even blew off a free night in a relative&rsquo;s mountain cabin so they could stay in a motel closer to the NASCAR sites.</p> <p>By Thursday they arrived at my inn where their family bought them a honeymoon stay in our Mountain Sunrise/ Romance Room while they attended the March Bristol Motor Speedway Food City 500.</p> <p>Every day they were out the door first (7 a.m.)&nbsp;<span id="more-7994"></span>They came home last (nearly midnight). They spend every minute they could at the track &ndash; in the moment enjoying the vendors, the fans&rsquo; night, getting driver autographs, seeing the entertainment, using pit passes and scanners (to HEAR what is going on).</p> <p>And finally, the race&ndash; a grueling 9 hours with rain delays and temperatures which dropped to the low 40s.&nbsp; It was as brutal for the fans as any March race ever. However, beer. autographed jackets kept them warm.</p> <p>A lot of folks went home to watch the outcome on the TV. They didn&rsquo;t. They hung in. Their guy didn&rsquo;t win or place (24th) but every minute was awesome for them.</p> <p>Amy and Rob embraced their moments and had the &ldquo;best time ever.&rdquo;&nbsp; They were the ones who filled their honeymoon with life-long memories. Each of them good.&nbsp; Aside from the photos (showing lots of wet jackets) they won&rsquo;t even remember they experienced what one not-into-it person called &ldquo;something I survived!&rdquo;</p> <p>This couple reminds me that, as an innkeeper, I can only set the stage for guests&rsquo; fantastic vacations and getaways. It takes the guest having a positive mindset and a clear intention to &ldquo;get out there and enjoy it&rdquo; which makes the difference between a miserable and a great time.</p> <p>I checked Facebook and found this very appropriate posting by the&nbsp;<a title="Link to NASCAR Technical Institute inspirational saying" href="">NASCAR Technical Institute:</a></p> <h2><em>A bad attitude about life is like a flat tire.&nbsp;&nbsp; If you don&rsquo;t change it, you&rsquo;ll never go anywhere.</em></h2> <p>So, bring a positive attitude and check out our remaining guest room or cottage (sleeps 6-7) in preparation for the August Bristol Race.</p> </div> March 28, 2014 - Aspiring: So You Want to be an Innkeeper http://www.prospect-hill.com <p>Innkeeping is an interesting lifestyle, like almost nothing else you can experience on the job.</p> <div id="attachment_8120" class="wp-caption alignright"> <p class="wp-caption-text">Wallpaper removal &ndash; Room 3 bath</p> </div> <p>Just today I was commenting that no matter how much &ldquo;the business&rdquo; changes (advent of internet, wireless, steam showers and memory foam beds) the more it stays the same.&nbsp; Hospitality is still hospitality after all. And the essentials are still&nbsp;<strong>(1) the property (2) the hosts (3) the guests (4) the stay.</strong></p> <p>If you think you&rsquo;d like to be on the other side of the orange juice pitcher, read on.<span id="more-8116"></span></p> <h2><a title="aspiring innkeepers advice" href="" target="_blank">So You&rsquo;d Like To Own A B&amp;B?</a></h2> <h3><a title="aspiring innkeepers advice" href="" target="_blank">Straighten Out Your Learning Curve With These Practical Tips</a></h3> <p>I especially like the subheads on this article. I&rsquo;d like to add my comments and expand on the advice:</p> <ul> <li><strong>Patience</strong>&nbsp;&mdash;Prepare for a learning curve.&nbsp; Don&rsquo;t buy a property so far out of your skill set or financial comfort zone you drive yourself crazy making it work to fit your dream. &nbsp; Once you buy it you own both the physical property and the direction your dream will take.</li> <li><strong>Inn-tern (try it first)</strong>&nbsp;&ndash; pay an up and running inn to let you &ldquo;watch them work.&rdquo;&nbsp; I did it as a journalist. The experience is equally valuable to future and aspiring innkeepers. OR, volunteer.&nbsp; Don&rsquo;t forget, asking innkeepers to &ldquo;teach you what they know&rdquo; has value.&nbsp; With pride I can say that the innkeeper who asked for &ndash;and paid for&ndash; my mentoring is still up and running.</li> <li><strong>Get real</strong>&mdash;Couples working together, former executives having no one to delegate or dictate to-&mdash;the buck stops with the innkeeper/owners.&nbsp; If you want a vacation you close down the business or hire a professional innsitter.&nbsp; Some people do operate their inns on an occasional basis (when they are not enjoying their grand kid&rsquo;s vacations and activities).&nbsp; If that is you, be sure the schedule you plan is sustainable with the price you are paying.</li> <li><strong>Research</strong>&mdash;What location, what building, what type market is best for you? &nbsp; There is are more diversity to the B&amp;B industry than cute guest rooms in a gingerbread house in &ldquo;George Bailey&rdquo; town with a bandstand on the square and picket fences in every yard.&nbsp; Match your dream, the house, the community, the type guests, the local activities and attractions (<em>why&nbsp;</em>people visit the area) with who you are. Where is your passion?</li> </ul> <p>Robert&rsquo;s and MY passion is renovating old houses, developing B&amp;Bs (the physical plant), adding gardens and getting the place ready for innkeepers whose primary focus is guest enjoyment.&nbsp; We are quite the minority in this industry but very much needed. We also embrace guests who are house remodelers, renovators and builders.&nbsp; If you want to talk houses, Prospect Hill Bed and Breakfast Inn is the place to visit for a great conversation on this topic.&nbsp;&nbsp; We always share our secret weapon for making walls smooth and beautiful.&nbsp; PS I have NEVER blogged about this secret so you really do have to visit to hear what it is!</p> http://www.prospect-hill.com <div class="entry-content clearfix"> <p><img class="img-responsive" style="margin: 10px;" src="" alt="" width="450" height="300" align="right" />The Red Chair was &ldquo;found&rdquo; in New England and is spending 2013 being handed from innkeeper to innkeeper down the East Coast&nbsp;<span id="more-6711"></span>and then west to Santa Barbara. Along the way &ldquo;Red&rdquo; is shown the local sites, photographed and &ldquo;interviewed.&rdquo; Along the way, it has an amazing ability to cause the &ldquo;host&rdquo; to see his/her own area through new eyes.</p> <p>One of the reasons I volunteered to host the Red Chair is because of my love of photography.&nbsp; I capture sunrises and sunsets, spring flowers and brides marrying at the inn.&nbsp; I also make the photos of the rooms and the inn building which help inform and sell overnight rooms at our B&amp;B. But the real attraction was the &ldquo;something different&rdquo; aspect of this visit.</p> <p>On Saturday, before turning it over to Mast Farm Inn, I read most of the entries from the past summer as the chair visited innkeepers I know in New York and Pennsylvania and a multitude of inns I don&rsquo;t know in Virginia. It was reading those Virginia entries where the chair made its difference. Each innkeeper took the chair places they think are most interesting in their town, county, and surrounding area. They mention pole-powered ferries, a hanging pedestrian bridge of the Hudson&nbsp; River, views of mountains and quaint country stores and sing-ins&ndash;all places I had never heard about but, because, of reading how &ldquo;Red&rdquo; enjoyed them, I am motivated to visit.<br />As it turns out, the Red Chair accomplishes what it set out to do&ndash;making innkeeper and visitor alike aware of the many many wonderful places which make us the American landscape.</p> <p><img class="img-responsive" style="margin: 10px;" src="" alt="" width="250" height="313" align="right" />So, in addition to meeting&nbsp;<em>&nbsp;Elizabethton Star</em>&nbsp;reporter Bryan Stevens at the bridge, I had the fun of photographically turning the Watauga Lake boat ramp near Hampton into an infinity edge overlooking the lake and the dam. I carted it out into a Christmas tree farm with some freshly-created stumps as holiday tree cutting is now going on. There was snow on the mountain, too!&nbsp; And I made a nod to Doc Watson and the indigenous music of this area by photographing Red by the Doc Watson statue in downtown Boone near the Mast General Store. Yes, these are places I often point out to my B&amp;B guests. They are places we can proudly say &lsquo;are like no other.&rsquo;</p> <p>While this could have been just another PR project, it really did turn out to be much much more.</p> <p><strong>Update &ndash; Traveling Ducks</strong></p> <p>I&rsquo;ve added the &ldquo;rubber duckies&rdquo; to this post. I bought the big, plain one in Florida a couple of years ago. He&rsquo;s ridden on te dashboard of the Prius ever since. Ashley at&nbsp;<a title="Hamanassett B&amp;B near Philadelphia provided the duck" href="">Hamanassett B&amp;B in Media PA&nbsp;</a>sent me the girl duck with curlers and a coffee cup. It would be fun to take photos of them as they travel the world with us. Ah, shucks, I miss an opportunity in Quebec City AND at the border crossing back into the US last summer. Oh well! As you can see, this photo was made outside my inn; that&rsquo;s my pantry/kitchen window.</p> <p>See&nbsp;<a title="Link to the official Red Chair website" href=""></a>&nbsp; for the overall project ( or click the photo)<br />See Judy&rsquo;s Facebook page for an album with many of my Red Chair photos.<br /><a title="Facebook album of Red Chair Travels in and near Prospect Hill" href=""></a></p> </div> <div class="entry-footer clearfix"></div> http://www.prospect-hill.com <div class="entry-content clearfix"> <p><img class="img-responsive" style="margin: 10px;" src="" alt="" width="700" height="415" align="right" />I was talking to a friend who has organized and &ldquo;put on&rdquo; about as many smaller weddings as I have. The topic was &ldquo;Brides Don&rsquo;t Know What They Don&rsquo;t Know.&rdquo;<br /><br />So, what do wedding planners know that brides do not? Let me mention just a few my friend and I put at the top of our list:</p> <h2><strong>Time management Part I</strong></h2> <p>The fact is, a large party couple with a large and important event (a wedding ceremony) requires more structure and understanding of how things work and how people behave than most brides&ndash;and most people&ndash;understand. We were horrified to hear of a wedding where the bride said &ldquo;show up when you can get here. We&rsquo;ll start when all are here.&rdquo;&nbsp; They waited unnecessarily for the catering to arrive and layout the food because they were also unable to tell the caterer exactly when to serve dinner. This one was NOT a potluck in a tent in the woods; it was at a fine, upscale property where things should have run elegantly and seamlessly so everyone was relaxed and enjoying themselves, not wondering when/if dinner would arrive.&nbsp; The bride may have felt that no time was &ldquo;relaxing&rdquo; when, in fact, no schedule is VERY stressful.</p> <h2><strong>Time management Part II<br /></strong></h2> <p>I can do all these things, I can make all these DIY projects. I can do most of it the Friday before the wedding OR I can count on my friends and family to help get it all done.&nbsp; Wrong. Wrong. Wrong. The week of the wedding is no time to&hellip;<span id="more-6154"></span>&nbsp;be reinventing then reforging the wheel!&nbsp; Do your projects early and enlist your friends&rsquo; help at that time. Aside from &ldquo;the dearest of dear friends&rdquo;&nbsp; do not rely on friends to step up on your wedding weekend. A mature groom at one of my events set up a bar with a beer keg and mixed drinks. The beer keg was messy and located a bit out of the center of things. He then tried to tell his 22-year-old daughter she&rsquo;d be tending bar for the afternoon and night. The girl flatly refused. Lucky my 22-year-old employee was also onsite and stepped in&ndash;for a price!&nbsp; Just what would have been done IF left to their own devices. Granted, some friends and family are very capable&ndash;and willing&ndash; to help out. But ask yourself:&nbsp; How much fun is that person going to have at your wedding if they are stuck dishing out beer from a messy keg?&nbsp; Our writing place cards? Or making chicken salad sandwiches in the kitchen?&nbsp; Or decorating the gazebo 45 min. before the ceremony.&nbsp; I had a &ldquo;friend&rdquo; of the bride&rsquo;s mother show up with the supposed decorations. In her go-to-wedding suit and heels. I told her to put the stuff up on the gazebo. She asked me WHY?&nbsp; Well, maybe, just maybe because you made the stuff, brought it to the wedding and now it belongs installed on the altar for the wedding.&nbsp; I grabbed a ladder and did it myself since it was clear nothing would otherwise get done.<br /><br />THIS is why you hire a wedding planner. Then THEY do it or their own (paid) flunkies do it and it gets done without anyone asking. The bride never sees the workers. No anxiety, no disappointments. And THAT is how the magic fairies behind the scenes do it.<br /><br /><strong>Pinterest is us &ndash;</strong>&nbsp;Brides often see dozens, no, thousands of things online they want for their wedding. Please, pick a theme, pick a few choice items and don&rsquo;t turn your wedding into a pin board. It detracts from the reason you are getting married.&nbsp; IF you can&rsquo;t decide, have no experience in bringing a design together, get some help. This is a great place to bring in your talented girlfriend for help early on to keep you on topic and on budget. Let her help be her wedding gift to you. Please, do it well in advance; nail down all the details and delegate the Friday-Saturday work to professionals.</p> <p><strong>Use a planner&nbsp;</strong>&ndash; My #1 recommendation to brides is this:&nbsp; Let the onsite planner help you. This is not their first (or last) wedding or big party. They know how their venue works best and they generally have some creative ideas to make your day special and unlike any other. Please don&rsquo;t look at the planner as trying to take over and &ldquo;change&rdquo; your event. What they will do is make YOUR vision come alive perfectly and without a hassle. They are your extra right hand.&nbsp; And don&rsquo;t judge a book by its cover:&nbsp; a grey-haired planner is NOT your nosy grandmother or your overbearing mother!&nbsp; She&rsquo;s your mature friend with lots of great advice and help. Lean on her.</p> </div> http://www.prospect-hill.com <p>Just the other day we had the opportunity to check out Asheville&rsquo;s many riverside parks. The weather was great and people were everywhere, enjoying the lawns, trees, water and views.<br /><br />When we returned home to Prospect Hill B&amp;B Inn, to Johnson County, TN, and to Mountain City I was struck by how much we have here of what people around Asheville want&ndash;scenery, fresh air, places to be outdoors to walk, run, bike or just sit and relax.&nbsp; What also struck me was how much people there have to&nbsp;<em>share</em>&nbsp;these wonderful things. In contract, around here the area is so rural and the crowds so few and far between that you can have it all&ndash;and have it all to yourself.<br /><br />This summer we are directing our guests to the soon-to-open Laurel Creek Trail which will one day connect with the Virginia Creeper Trail. It is a shaded, rolling path beside a rushing creek. Laurels and rhododendrons have recently been in bloom. With a Tennessee fishing license, you can throw your lures in this creek, pulling out only &ldquo;natural&rdquo; trout. The Virginia side is stocked but we are sure the Tennessee fish sneak on down there, too. This trail is about 8 miles from the inn and under 4 miles from A Cottage in the Woods, our self-catered vacation rental house.</p> <p>Also new this summer is the Doe Mountain all-terrain vehicle park whose &ldquo;soft opening&rdquo; is days away as&nbsp; I write. We at the inn are the closest lodging to the park entrance&ndash;just 2 miles away. We have great parking for any trailer you might tow with your ORV or ATVs. We serve a hearty breakfast to get you started, too!</p> <div></div> <div id="wp-showcase-5571" class="wp-showcase"> <div class="flexslider cf"><img class="img-responsive" src="" alt="" width="800" height="300" align="" /><br /><br /><img class="img-responsive" src="" alt="" width="800" height="300" align="" /><br /><br /><img class="img-responsive" src="" alt="" width="649" height="300" align="" /><br /><br /><img class="img-responsive" src="" alt="" width="800" height="300" align="" /></div> </div> May 1, 2013 - Pansies and Weddings Go Together http://www.prospect-hill.com <p><img class="img-responsive" style="margin: 10px;" src="" alt="" width="350" height="233" align="right" />Pansies are such a&nbsp;simple flower. They speak to me of the simplicity of love (and marriage). Pansies and weddings go together well. Here&rsquo;s how I&rsquo;d use them.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>This is a new version of this post.<span id="more-4975"></span></p> <p>Buy pre-planted larger pots, wrap in plastic wrap then in gift wrap, florist paper, burlap, brown paper wrap or cloth. Tie with an appropriate ribbon or piece of raffia. You can do this with the small pots, too.<br />IF you have a favorite bowl, jar, small basket or other container, drop the pot into a waterproof bag (or even a Ziplock) and then into the container. Push the edges of this waterproofing material down to hide it. Dress with sheet moss, Spanish moss or common mulch.</p> <p><a href=";utm_medium=eletter&amp;utm_content=20130401-pansies&amp;utm_campaign=fine-gardening-eletter" target="_blank">;utm_medium=eletter&amp;utm_content=20130401-pansies&amp;utm_campaign=fine-gardening-eletter</a></p> http://www.prospect-hill.com <div> <div> <div> <div id="id_515dd886569107751481042">Blue things in the landscape are rare. Blue wine bottles are fairly rare. Blue glass, blue wine bottles&mdash;in the shape of a bush or small tree&mdash;also rare. Still, I want one.&nbsp;<span id="more-4992"></span>Today is a gray, dreary day with rain, sleet and now SNOW!!! (at 3:45 pm). Clearly, we need something to cheer us up here in Mountain City while Prospect Hill B&amp;B Inn awaits new guests.</div> <div></div> <div>While online I&rsquo;ve been looking at a big page about BOTTLE TREES posted by my gardening friend Felder Rushing.&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; He has a book out on all manner of bottle trees and glass yard art.&nbsp; It occurred to me the other day, when&nbsp; I tripped over my blue bottle collection, that the time is ripe for a bottle tree!&nbsp; I have about a dozen blue wine bottles in hand (various shades and wish I had more aqua ones).&nbsp; So, yes, it is time for ME to start one, too. I&rsquo;m going to post choice photos from his site and the link. His books are fun and wonderful&ndash;just like Felder himself. Enjoy the images and the book!<br /><br />Link:&nbsp;<a href="" rel="nofollow nofollow"></a></div> </div> </div> </div> http://www.prospect-hill.com <p>Small jars can be filled with large flowers &mdash; such as these lilies &ndash;for a very large impact on a party or reception table.</p> <p>Little flower arrangements are something I&rsquo;ve been using something like this for awhile when setting up wedding-related events at Prospect Hill Bed and Breakfast Inn in Mountain City, TN.</p> <p>We own floater bowls which allow us to turn 4-7 blooms and a few leaves into a high-impact table arrangement. Or, as you see here, a narrow &ldquo;ribbon&rdquo; of frayed burlap and a piece of raffia quickly transform something as simple as a Starbucks&rsquo; frappuccino bottle into a rustic vase.&nbsp; For a bit dressier setup, use color-coordinated ribbon or narrow pieces of colored fabric or bridal satin plus a contrasting ribbon. I can see using the scrap fabric from shortening your wedding gown or those of the bridesmaids. That will make for a perfect color match, especially if you don&rsquo;t have zillions of them to make.</p> <p>Your best and quickest way to make sure your creations stay together during transport and set up is to use a dab of hot glue on the outside of the vase to affix the burlap or initially secure the ribbon. It&rsquo;s important to get this sort of set up done well in advance and in a way &ldquo;almost anyone&rdquo; can set them up without much fuss or training.</p> <p>We had one situation prior to a wedding where the bride's&nbsp; grandmother&mdash;who was doing the flower&mdash;ended up in the hospital instead of in her garden plucking flowers and filling vases. Plan ahead. These vases are pretty and&nbsp;<span>very easy to duplicate</span>, just in case someone has to step in and help.</p> <p>With the ribbon secure they can also be easily transported.&nbsp; Susan Wright at <a href="" target="_blank">Shady Grove Gardens &amp; Nursery</a>&nbsp;reminded me to tell everyone to &ldquo;please fill the vases up to nearly the rim. Many flowers drink a lot and you don&rsquo;t want them to run dry and then wilt before your special day ends.&rdquo;</p> <p>This idea comes from&nbsp;<a title="Small jars filled with large flowers for weddings." href="" target="_blank"></a>&nbsp;and blogger JoAnna from Canada.</p> http://www.prospect-hill.com There&rsquo;s a funny thing about spring&ndash;it gets here whether you want it or not. This year I think we all want it to get here&ndash;quickly, beautifully and as fast as we can get rid of the snow coming down as I write.<br /><br /><img class="img-responsive" style="margin: 10px;" src="" alt="" width="350" height="233" align="right" />There&rsquo;s also a funny thing about spring in the mountains. Just as the non-native crocus, daffodils and then the tulips have their sequence of blooms, so do the roadside wildRoadside flowers in the mountains compete with pansies planted at Prospect Hill Tn flowers. I never cease to enjoy the changing &ldquo;garden&rdquo; where the woods comes close to the highway, especially Hwy. 421 between Boone NC and Mountain City, TN. This road is the lead up to the Striped Snake, a glorious motorcycling road. It&rsquo;s a fairly straight (for the mountains) utility road which gets me quickly to Boone or elsewhere. It&rsquo;s home to many and a location for a few businesses. However, it is in between those structures that the forest remains. The wildflowers pop out on the edges and compete with the munching ground hogs for sunshine and sustenance.<br /><br />Don&rsquo;t get me started on how wrong that groundhog was at predicting the start of spring this year. The ones who live in the natural area at Prospect Hill have not been out of their holes yet!<br /><br />People also ask &ldquo;When is the best time, or date, to see great scenery?&rdquo; &ldquo;All spring&rdquo; is my answer&ndash;now through May.&rdquo; Every day, every week is different. Purple flowers, little yellow ones. Wild dogwoods, native cherry trees, a few planted azaleas and then more wildflowers, most nameless and all glorious.<br /><br />Now my confession: to rush spring I bought some pansies the other day. They have spent a week cooling their heels inside the back door. A pansy photo is what I can post for you I wish I had a great one of those roadside posies. They aren&rsquo;t very flashy and are very hard to catch in a pose. I guess you&rsquo;ll have to see them for yourself.<br /><br />There&rsquo;s a little good news on the horizon: Starting Thursday we&rsquo;re in for 55-60 degree weather, sunshine and that means spring flowers!!! Easter is going to be a lovely day this year. Oct 26, 2010 - Feel at Home at Prospect Hill Bed & Breakfast http://www.prospect-hill.com There are motels in my town and there are B&amp;Bs in my region. Most don&rsquo;t equal our inn&rsquo;s feel of a wonderful weekend home where you are visiting friends and enjoying your stay. If you are traveling for business, why not have your work-week needs met while you enjoy a truly lovely, comfortable home away?<br /><br />Celebrate your special moments and enjoy your vacation time with refreshing mountain air, large, luxurious yet affordable guest rooms and tasty breakfasts. Scenic country roads lead to your next mountain getaway&mdash; conveniently between Boone &ndash; Blowing Rock, NC, and Damascus &ndash; Abingdon VA. Northeast Tennessee is where you will find us, in aptly-named Mountain City.<br /><br />Our five all-private rooms have fireplaces, king/queen beds, many with whirlpool tubs, Take in delightful mountain views. Wake up to birds, fresh air and tasty breakfast. Go to bed with fireflies, star-studded skies.<br /><br /><strong>Guest rooms with private baths: $99-$179.</strong> (More during special event weekends.)<br /><br /><br /><img class="img-responsive" src="" alt="" width="399" height="41" align="" /><br /><br /> <ul> <li> <div>Inside, every room was designed for enjoyment, function, and privacy&ndash;many with whirlpool tubs. All have a fireplace (use in season). Three have whirlpool tubs.</div> </li> <li> <div>Comfortable mattresses and decor artfully combine the eclectic and contemporary, leaning toward traditional styles. Second-floor rooms have a queen bed.; Room 1 (first floor)&nbsp; has a king.</div> </li> <li> <div>Free bubbles ( bubble bath), candles and quiet time. Choice of rooms with whirlpool tubs, antique tub/modern shower or shower with pulsing shower head.</div> </li> <li> <div>Enjoy a meal&ndash;or two or three&ndash;you didn&rsquo;t have to cook or plan. We make &ldquo;killer&rdquo; breakfasts and we&rsquo;ll suggest great places to dine out for dinner.</div> </li> <li> <div>How about uninterrupted movies, TV shows; time to read a book or snuggle. (TVs, many with VCR/DVD players, in every room.)</div> </li> <li> <div>Sleep in for a change or take early coffee on the porch.</div> </li> <li> <div>Nearby: neighboring businesses provide massages, horseback riding. and golf (regular and frisbee).</div> </li> <li> <div> <div>Breathe in lots of fresh mountain air and views. Hike in the woods, bike, horseback ride nearby. Enjoy creeks and mountain tops where it is cool and restful. We are near the Appalachian Trail and the Virginia Creeper (biking) Trail.</div> </div> </li> </ul> <div><br /><img class="img-responsive" src="" alt="" width="225" height="75" align="" /><br /><br /> <div class="entry-content clearfix"> <ul> <li> <div>We designed every room for your enjoyment, easy of use and privacy</div> </li> <li>&ldquo;Romance Rooms&rdquo; with whirlpool tubs; others have modern showers. Antique claw-footed tub (Room 5 only)</li> <li> <div>Comfortable beds</div> </li> <li>Hearty breakfast (no extra charge); breakfast in the room (fee)</li> <li><em>It&rsquo;s on us&mdash;</em>Bubble bath, candles and snuggly robes for your use while visiting</li> <li>In-room snacks (free) and bedside chocolates</li> <li>Coffee, teas and hot chocolate available at all times in the dining room. Guest refrigerator available.</li> <li>Thoughtful concierge service provided by the innkeepers (from hiking trails to restaurant suggestions.)</li> <li>Large, architecturally interesting, quiet rooms with TVs,&nbsp;CD/clock radios, some with DVD/VCR players</li> <li>Central heat, fireplaces, ceiling fans, air conditioning in all guest rooms.</li> <li>Memorable mountain views and scenic drives nearby&mdash;from Grandfather Mountain to the Blue Ridge Parkway</li> <li>Romantic vacation packages and all-inclusive elopements</li> <li><strong>Free wireless internet</strong></li> </ul> </div> </div>