A Fall Evening at The Windover Inn Bed & Breakfast

Sunday, February 8, 2015

DuPont State Forest

Yesterday we enjoyed a rare weekend 'day off' due to some work being done at the inn, so we headed down to DuPont State Recreational Forest. For some reason this is one place we hadn't visited in our nine years here. It was a beautiful 60+ degree spring-like day in February; the kind of mild winter day we have grown to look forward to - and love - here in western North Carolina. The 60 mile trip took us a little over an hour. With the weather and the views cooperating, the time went by quickly.

We arrived about 1PM and found the parking lot at the Visitor's Center already full. After turning around and heading back out to find a space in another lot we spotted what was literally the last (or first!) space at the entrance. Then we remembered this was a Saturday - a rare time for us to be out and about - but clearly a day when most everybody else was!

DuPont Forest was one of the film locations for the first Hunger Games. As we left the Visitor Center along the wide white sandy path that cut through the thick forest, it became clear why this area was chosen for many of the movie's forest scenes. The dense forest growth was as impressive as anything you'd find in the deep Appalachian wilderness, but the path was very wide and well manicured; tailor made for a film crew, cameras and booms. In our 2.5 mile hike, we passed two majestic waterfalls: High Falls and Triple Falls. A third waterfall, Hooker Falls, is also nearby.

DuPont is a relatively compact park, yet for all the vehicles in the parking areas, we didn't feel like we were part of a tourist herd even though we were in the most popular area of the park between Hooker Falls and the Visitor Center. In fact as we hiked back along Triple Falls Trail, we were often the only hikers in sight. The park layout obviously does a good job in spreading out the visitors so that it doesn't feel crowded. In all there are 84 trails for all abilities. Most are fairly short - less than a mile. But there are some of between 2 and 4 miles. Many of these are multi-use trails for equestrian and bicycling as well as hiking.

DuPont Forest is a nice day trip - or part of a day trip - for anyone looking for an easy (or at least short) hike with lovely scenery. It was really more like a walk in the woods in the area we chose. Wide trails with no tricky footing issues; gently sloping inclines and declines, but nothing steep except for the steps down to the base of Triple Falls. All told, we enjoyed a leisurely day out- and-about in another beautiful location not too far away!



Monday, March 17, 2014

Gorges State Park, Gorgeous Way to Reconnect With Nature

http://www.ncparks.gov/Visit/parks/gorg/main.phpGorges State Park is about an hour and 20 min from us (about 60 miles) and is part of the Southern Loop Day Trip we made up for our guests. The day trip to the park from Waynesville is a great way to see a little bit of everything, and gives you  a lot of options to see a number of our Western North Carolina attractions.  It starts with with a stop in the town of Franklin, continues along the beautiful Rt. 64 Mountain Waters Scenic Highway for some of the best Western North Carolina waterfall viewing and before you get to the park there is a stop off in the towns of Highlands and Cashiers if you want to do some shopping, or just get a bite to eat. We asked Melissa to check out the hiking, because we ran out of time the day we mapped out the day trip.  (Someone has to earn a living around here!) 

A fairly new North Carolina state park, Gorges has a very nice visitors center with a paved parking lot, and something I really appreciate restrooms!

Melissa found the trails to be beautifully maintained and according to the park information, along those trails is an abundance of rare wildlife and plant species.  It never ceases to amaze all of us how many rich, natural resources our area has!  With a number of trails for hiking, biking and horseback riding, fishing and the beautiful waterfalls, this North Carolina park is a must do when visiting the mountains of Western North Carolina. 


The trail Melissa took was Rainbow Falls Trail, which is 3 miles out and back, well marked, and an easy to moderate trail.

There are conflicting reports online, but Rainbow Falls itself is anywhere from 125'-150' high and is obviously breathtaking (Niagara Falls is 167')!

According to Melissa, the trail takes you right on top of the falls. ( I want to experience that Lion King moment!)  After you make it to the top, there is a skinny trail between 2 rocks, and if you continue on the trail you can get to another waterfall, Turtleback Falls.

No doubt we'll all be going back several more times to Gorges until we get to see everything.  But this week, as Glenn and I tackle the trail (look for Glenn's photos on Facebook), while Melissa will be tackling the mountains of laundry!

Oh well, it's a dirty job, but somebody has to do it! 

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Waynesville Bait & Tackle Gets You Connected


When Melissa was giving us advice about where to fish, she also told us about a shop we didn't know about in Waynesville.  And although it's not one of our downtown Waynesville Art Galleries, from what Melissa told us, the owner is definitely familiar with his art - the art of fishing!


Waynesville Bait & Tackle is less then 2 miles from us on Old Balsam Rd. and takes about 5 minutes to get there.   

Plan to spend some time there, because they have everything from clothing to bait, rods, licenses and even more importantly, Jim, the owner! 


A great resource for all you need to know about fishing in this area, and just a nice guy, Jim's never too busy to share stories and pictures about local catches, and offer some good advice on the subject.

Beginning in April the store is open 7 days a week, 6-6 Mon thru Sat and 6-5 on Sun.


Current hours for the slower season are Mon, Wed, Thurs and Fri 8-5:30, Sat 8-5 and Sun 8-3, closed on Tuesday. The phone number is (828)452-1624.  For more info:
http://waynesvillebaittackle.com/





Friday, March 7, 2014

Fishing along Big Creek Trail and Reconnecting with Nature


Since Western North Carolina fishing is something we haven't tried yet, we asked Melissa to share some information on fishing with us, and to keep us updated with any good spots she finds.  (She's getting quite good at it!)

To start, she told us about Big Creek, just about 40 miles and just under an hour from us.  This beautiful trail follows the creek and is an easy one, so no strenuous hiking involved! There are many good fishing holes along this 5.2 mile trail, but if its a hot summer day, it's important to remember you may have to compete with swimmers. But no worries, fishing in the Great Smoky Mountain National Park is permitted year round with a Tennessee or North Carolina fishing license, and has over 2000 miles of streams with wild trout and many are within an hour of us, so need to wait until summer!

A beautiful waterfall, Mouse Creek Falls is also accessed by Big Creek Trail, so why not put out that "Gone Fishin'" sign and come enjoy the beautiful scenery of the Western North Carolina mountains, the sounds of nature and feel rejuvenated by the sunshine and fresh air after being cooped up all winter long!

Don't know where to get a license?  Need supplies?  Melissa found a great one stop shop where you can get a license and any other fishing gear you need called Waynesville Bait & Tackle not far from here.  She's going to get the details and we'll share them soon!



 
 



Monday, February 10, 2014

Juggling Motherhood and Work: A Reconnection

I often wonder when I meet innkeepers with children still at home - how do they do it?  Owning and operating a bed and breakfast requires you to do it all.  You have to be flexible and spontaneous, while very organized, so that when the unexpected happens, you're as prepared as you possibly can be.  When talking to aspiring innkeepers, I always liken innkeeping to being a parent, because you have to be available 24/7, your home environment and your behavior sets the tone for the guests' experiences, and no matter how you feel, you need to carry on!  So, back to my original point - how do they do it?

When I was a working mother years ago it was a lot of hard work, and yes, there were sacrifices, no question, so why would this job be any different for a parent?  Schedules were crazy, meals together were almost impossible, and yes, there was more stress than if I would have stayed at home.  But, what we didn't have, was our business in our home.  So again I must say, how do these innkeepers do it?  I need to know!  

I'm now faced with a different, yet similar dynamic to juggle.  My mother, who lives in Pennsylvania is starting to show signs of needing more help from us.  Enough so, that I had to have "that conversation" with her.  The one where the adult child begins to  parent while maintaining the balancing act of respecting some one's wishes and making sure they are safe, being a loving daughter and a person that gets the job done without breaking any laws

I've been down this road before.  I, along with my brother and sister helped my mother care for my father before he died.  We, have been down this road before when Glenn and I and his sister cared for both his Mom and Dad before they died.  But at that time, we had jobs that we could take leave from, lived in the same area, and didn't have a bed and breakfast.  Unfortunately, my mother doesn't love the idea of living in Western North Carolina like we do - at least not now.

Enter my reconnection with juggling parenting and work, and now I ask myself the question - how will I do it?  I feel very fortunate.  My sister and brother and I work very well together, and at this point in my life I feel better prepared through life experiences to meet the challenge.  I feel stronger than I ever have because I take better care of myself than I did when I was younger, have a supportive spouse and a job I love!  And even though Mom is 10 hours away, I have technology that makes it easy to access resources anywhere in the world!  So how will I do it?  Somehow!  And if you have any suggestions, please let me know!


Friday, January 3, 2014

Connecting to Waynesville Shopping at Robin Blu



           This week our Western North Carolina connection is Robin Blu, a unique home decor and gift shop located in the Hazelwood area of Waynesville. It's only about 5 minutes from the Inn and is a few shops down from Hazelwood Soaps (another great shop), Bourbon Barrel, Beef and Ale, a great restaurant, and Smoky Mountain Roasters, Windover's wonderful coffee supplier.

They carry an eclectic mix of vintage, industrial, rustic and some modern accessories that will fit any home. They also have gifts, jewelry, baby clothes, books, light fixtures and much more. The staff is one of the nicest I've come across in Waynesville, and the layout of the store makes it enjoyable to browse. The prices are very reasonable and they have things you won't find anywhere else. Their hours are
  • Tuesday - Friday: 10:00 am - 5:30 pm
  • Saturday: 10:00 am - 4:00 pm
  • Sunday and Monday: Closed
http://robinblu.com/index.htm











Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Connecting to Nature at Lake Junaluska

 
Lake Junaluska, Waynesville, North Carolina

Lake Junaluska, Waynesville, NC
You don't have to go far from the bed and breakfast to connect with the beauty of our Western North Carolina Mountains!  Lake Junaluska is just five miles from the Inn and it takes about ten minutes to get there. It is a great place if you don't have much travel time to enjoy some scenery, get fresh air and stretch your legs. The walking  or running trail is about two and a half miles long, paved and relatively flat. There are benches and areas to sit and enjoy the lake. It is always beautiful, day or night  and any season.

Lake Junaluska, Waynesville, NC