May 2014

Vol 7, Issue 2

Roan Mountain Rhododendron
Doug & Jodee Sellers
   We hope this letter finds you well and nearly ready for summer.  As usual during the winter months we have been updating, repairing, maintaining and fixing up.  We've replaced worn rugs in several rooms, completely re-tiled the Bike Room shower and replaced the furniture in the Bird and Bike Rooms.   The shower job in the Bike Room was bumped up on the "To Do List" when a guest referred to the tiles as "discolored" on a Trip Advisor review.  The shower had what was once considered typical 4x4 inch bathroom tile that usually comes in bright white. Unfortunately, we originally chose a tan instead, about the color of a rust stain I guess.  I would like to think it was to go with the other colors in the bathroom but it might have been because the tiles were on sale at the time.  In any case, the tiles weren't discolored just a bad choice.  After all, who uses 4x4 tiles for anything anymore! So they are history in the Bike Room now and evidence that we listen to your comments.
   The furniture upgrades got classified as URGENT after we stayed at a B&B in Durango with all western theme furnishings. When we returned home Jodee said those black Secretery/Dressers in the Bike and Bird rooms have to go. They were a space saving way to provide a desk and drawers for your clothes, which is hard to find, but they weren't the best quality and the theme was more "Target" than Lodge.  We think you will really like the new desk, mirrors, chairs, and side tables.  They are top quality and certainly give you the rugged, hand made lodge atmosphere. In fact, they look so good that we may need to change the bed frames to match.   
Long Awaited Asheville Openings   

     The Blue Ridge Parkway finally opened to motor vehicles May 1st between Asheville and Mount Mitchell State Park and Navitat opened their much anticipated "Blue Ridge Experience" May 10th.           You may recall the Blue Ridge Parkway was closed for several months while the "crack" was repaired at Milepost 374 north of Asheville blocking access to Craggy Gardens and Mount Mitchell State Park from the scenic highway.  With the summer heat coming will be a welcomed relief for visitors to climb out of the valley.  Mount Mitchell, the highest peak east of the Mississippi at 6,684 feet, averages temperatures 15-20 degrees cooler than Asheville.  Park rangers and naturalists are now offering their weekly nature programs and guided hikes.  In addition, there is a hands-on museum, gift shop, restaurant, campground and picnic area.  There are also some great hiking trails at Craggy Gardens. All programs and park entrance is free.   

     Navitat was already a popular zipline attraction, with their 3-1/2 hour  Moody Cove Experience when they received a $500,000 grant in 2012 from the Buncombe County Tourism Development Authority to add another course.  In other words, the extra 4% Occupancy Tax you pay for your overnight stays in Buncoumbe County helped to pay for Navitat's addition.  But it turns out Navitat spent a total of $1.7 million on the new feature.  On the Blue Ridge Experience you soar side-by-side on three enormous racing style ziplines. The lines are up to 350' high, 2/3-of a mile long and feature automatic braking.  That will keep you from sliding into a tree at 60 miles an hour.  The Blue Ridge Experience tours begin May 10 and run daily through November. Cost is $69 per person Sunday-Friday and $79 on Saturday and holidays. The Moody Cove Adventure tour returns for another season March 22. Cost is $89 per person on weekdays and $99 on weekends. Reservations are required. There are several other zip line companies in the area as well.  


KEF Media Films Newscast at Bent Creek Lodge
Andrew Skurka being interviewed
We recently received a call from Melissa of KEF Media wanting to know if we could host a film crew and allow them to shoot an interview for the PETCO company on our grounds.  There was just one catch, they needed to get started at 4:00 in the morning and needed breakfast at 6:00. Though it sounded interesting, we already had guests booked for the date they were requesting so we tried to suggest another time.  They couldn't change their travel plans so they offered to rent the entire lodge
  AND for the privilege of disturbing the guests at 4 in the morning they would pay the guests for their entire stays. Needless to say, the guests agreed to their offer.  One from Scotland said they could bang pots and pans right out his window as long as they were paying the bills.  So they showed up on May 11th with a 38 foot long trailer carrying a giant satellite dish on its back and spent all evening trying to maneuver it into right position on our little gravel driveway to be able to pick up the satellite signal.  The next morning, as promised, they were up at 4:00 setting up lights and cables etc. The plan was to shoot people continuously walking dogs on our backyard trails while another camera filmed Andrew Skurka (referred to as the "talent" by the KEF Media folks) as he was being interviewed about taking pets on hikes.  He repeated basically the same interview 34 different times for as local news stations around the country called in to ask the questions.  If you are like me you may not  recognize the name and face of the "talent". Andrew was named by National Geographic as Adventurer of the Year.  He is noted for completing long, strenuous hikes all over the world in incredibly short times and he is also very pet friendly.  Thank goodness for Google.  The crew started filming about 6:30 and didn't finish till about 12:30.  Loe-d and Leona took a few early trips around the back 
for the cameras but soon returned to their air-conditioned beds to recover from the hard work with a 3 hour morning nap.  We recorded the broadcast from the local NBC affiliate, WYFF out of Greenville. That is when we heard Andrew informed them he was at Bent Creek Lodge, a bed and breakfast near the Blue Ridge Parkway run by Jodee and DAVE Sellers.  I guess that is what I get for not knowing who he was. It really was interesting and I think even the early roused guests enjoyed seeing the process.    
A Cairn and a Stork
    Jodee has always been fascinated with rocks.  Nearly every vacation she manages to sneak one or two or six! in a suitcase as a memento.  Recently she has gotten into Cairns and decided she wanted one in her yard after seeing a couple at the Santa Fe Art Museum.  Another educational moment  from Wikipedia - ( a CAIRN is a man-made pile (or stack) of stones. They are found all over the world. They vary in size from small stone markers to entire artificial hills, and in complexity from loose, conical rock piles to delicately balanced sculptures and elaborate feats of engineering)  
    Jodee has a way of making things happen so we soon gathered a pile of rocks.  I got my shovel, level and measuring tape and spent half an hour carefully placing 3 rocks to use as a base.  I then told Jodee that I needed to take a nature break, and to be patient, take her time and that we might not finish today.  I got side tracked into a conversation with a guest for just a little while and when I returned she was putting the last rock in place. As usual, her "delicately balanced sculpturing" vastly out paces my "elaborate engineering" feats every time.   
     Jodee also brought home this cute little creature from the Garden Shop at the Biltmore Estate the other day.  He stoically  stands guard over our little water trough in the back yard.  
The Southwestern Tour - Durango, Moab, Santa Fe and Taos

     I won't bore you with the details of our recent Southwestern Tour but to say it was beautiful, we had a good time and that we took cooking class together at the Santa Fe School of Cooking. No it was not so we could write off our vacation, Kathy won't let us do that.  We just wanted  to get into the groove for teaching a class to a corporate group in June.   You may enjoy a short video of Jodee riding the edge of Porcupine Rim Trail near Moab by clicking on the picture of her biking.  If you are the rare breed that enjoys other peoples vacation pics you can see our flickr pics by clicking on the picture of her in front of what looks like an enchanted city. 


click for Porcupine Rim Video
Click for Vacation pics
Remember the Mugs Shots Contest to Win a Free Night!

    We have had to order a second run of our custom Sunset Mugs so I know there are plenty out there.  Please send us pictures of your mugs for a chance to win a free night's stay and other prizes.  Marvin Fear's Mug Shot on the right was taken in Israel and has the record for farthest away so far.  We look forward to seeing more!  


Doug & Jodee Sellers           

Bent Creek Lodge