Vol 11, Issue 3

Doug & Jodee Sellers
     We hope you were spared from any damage or harm from all the heavy May rains and storms from tropical storm Alberto.  Some of our local areas were hit really hard and made the national news.  Black Mountain, Hendersonville and Brevard were just innundated resulting in mudslides, flashfloods and falling trees.  The saddest disaster was the two newsmen from WYFF News 4 out of Greenville that were killed when their  SUV was hit by a falling tree on HWY 176.  
     Asheville escaped the worst of it for the most part.  Biltmore Village did flood and was closed for a couple of days, but the shops and businesses that rebuilt after the floods of 2004 prepared for future floods and the damage was very limited.  The French Broad River lapped the edge of HWY 191 here but never came over it.  However, it did flood the Bent Creek Picnic area.  Jodee shot this scene of that park from her car on May 30th.  It is hard to believe but just two days later there were cars parked next to that picnic table.  
Bent Creek Picnic Area
    Chimney Rock is the one attraction that did suffer, a retaining wall at the parking lot collapsed.  The Park reopened on Saturday, June 9, for regular hours. The Hickory Nut Falls trail is still closed for additional cleanup, but all other trails will be accessible to guests. The Park's elevator is still under construction and out of service. Visitors will have to park in the Meadows and take a shuttle or hike the Four Seasons trail to the top of the Park.
     Jodee and I were actually on vacation in the Virgin Islands during the worst of the rains.  We really appreciate those of you that called to see if all was ok but we feel a little guilty that we were soaking up the sun at the time.  One tree did fall over the road and our trusty man, Will, had to chainsaw it out of the way.  He also fixed a little erosion in the driveway.  But other than that everything was fine. (Except for a the Mystery Water explained in the last article)  In fact we came home to trees and gardens that were lush and green and our little creek was happily roaring like a big boy from all the rain.   That is true for sites along the Blue Ridge Parkway as well.  Graveyard Fields is so lush that it doesn't look like a graveyard.  The Flaming Azaleas, Mt. Laurel, and Rhododendron are all blooming along the way.  
Chihuly at Biltmore
   Jodee and I first experienced the breathtaking large-scale glass sculptures of world-renowned artist Dale Chihuly while visiting the art museum in Atlanta a few years ago.  We were absolutely amazed!    His work is included in more than 200 museum collections worldwide, and now until October 7th they can be seen at Biltmore.  "The vibrant colors and organic shapes that distinguish Chihuly's creations are captivatingly presented within Biltmore's artfully designed landscapes."  You can view the exhibits with a regular  ticket during daylight hours.  With special evening tickets you can experience an entirely different dimension seeing the brilliance and beauty of these awe-inspiring glass marvels expertly lit among the spectacular grounds and estate of Biltmore.  For more information and pricing click on the picture below.  
Chihuly at Biltmore
Hemingway's Cuba Restaurant and Bar
   Jodee and our young associate, Abbey, have both eaten at Hemingway's Cuba Restaurant and raved about the food, the view, and the reasonable prices.  Jodee had the Ceviche Mixto and said it was as good as Limone's, a high compliment.  She really like that is was served with fried plantains.  She also bragged on the marinated chicken wings in mojita sauce.  She said they are Frenched, so they are easy to eat and the best flavor of any she has eaten.  It is on the fourth floor of the new building north of the Grove Arcade with great views of downtown.  Below is a picture and how they describe themselves.  Click on the picture to visit their website.  
Hemingway's Outdoor Seating
"Hemingway's Cuba represents more than a restaurant. It's a culmination of a lifetime goal to share an authentic Cuban restaurant experience with the people of Asheville. Havana native and Founder of 
Hemingway's Cuba , Tony Fraga, grew up enjoying exquisite meals with his father at La Floridita in Havana, a favorite restaurant of Ernest Hemingway. He is excited to now offer patrons the perfect marriage of Cuban cuisine with Asheville flair."

Another Sight From Above !
   It is always fun when guests show up with their
Start of Drone Video
drones.  David Gaut was here in April with a new high tech drone.  It could fold up smaller than a shoe box and had some amazing specialty programs.  Click on the picture to see the You Tube video that makes you feel like an alien spinning down to earth to stop in front of Bent Creek Lodge's back deck to catch a hello wave from Jodee and me.  Trust me, this is a short one.   If you look closely you can even see David at the controls over on the right.  
     He also took some still photos from high above the lodge.  I really like this one of the French Broad River showing HWY 192 snaking beside the river and the Blue Ridge Parkway crossing over it.  In the bottom right is Zen Tubing's building near our entrance.  In the distance is Asheville.  Thanks David for the video and pictures.  

Mystery Water 
     No the picture  isn't the mystery water its a one from our vacation that I just had to sneak in.  But it is a lot prettier picture than what confronted us in the Fern Room when we came home.  The water was dripping a bulge in the ceiling and black mold was beginning to grow around the edges.     The mystery was "where was that water coming from?".  
   You may recall that we had the roof replaced, hot water heaters installed and flying squirrels expelled back in November during a snow storm.  We did have one leak in the great room afterwards and the roofers came right out and fixed the problem.  Then in February a little of this water showed up in the Fern Room.  I had no idea how it was getting from the roof all the way down to the Fern Room but I naturally thought it was another roofing problem since it happened when it rained hard.  They came out again, did a little something and the problem seemed to go away.  Until we were gone of course!  The rains came and the leak was so bad that Daloha, our interim innkeeper, had to close off the Fern Room.  
     So Daloha called and the roofers came back. They said there was nothing wrong with the roof, it must be the chimney.  Well I had re-pointed and water-proofed the chimney last summer so I dispelled that theory and then prayed and hoped I was right.  However, it would just have to wait till we got home.  
     We saw it on a Saturday evening.  It was one ugly sight and we knew we had a group coming the following Friday.  Fast action was required!  Sunday morning I poked a hole in the ceiling and a small water fall came splashing down.  As I tore out more sheetrock I discovered an open, uncapped, PVC pipe  right above the damage.  I thought to myself, " 1- It probably isn't a roofing problem. 2- I am so glad it's Sunday and I haven't had time to yell at the roofing company 3- Where in the heck does that pipe go to! ."   It finally hit me, I bet it is the hot water heater in the attic of the water room.  Three floors above!
     It turned out to be the case.  The installers had hooked the new, on demand hot water heater to the existing drain pipe.  The original heater  was installed before the downstairs was finished and didn't create any condensation.  The new on demand heater did and also let in rainwater thru the vent pipe.  Mystery solved.  The plumbers ran a pipe to a drain line.  I replaced all the damaged drywall, finished all the seams, and put on the final coat of paint Friday morning.  Guest arrived to a freshly painted room, were pleased and everyone lived happily ever after.  Ahh! the joy of coming home from vacation and doing something useful. 


Doug & Jodee Sellers           

Bent Creek Lodge
Remember Bent Creek Lodge Gift Certificates make great gifts and they are now available for purchase on our website.