Thursday, February 11, 2016

Nick's Notes 2.12.2016--My Journal


My Journal


Some people call it a Journal...others may call it a Diary...I like to call it a Journal. It's full of my thoughts and ideas, and as I get older, writing them down helps me to remember them.

I typically try to journal whenever we are on a vacation, but decided to journal as often as possible when we purchased the Inn the end of September 2014.

My first entry is on 10/4/2014, and is called "Living a Dream." I wrote in it again on 10/9 and then 10/11...then nothing!!! I guess it slipped away from me, or maybe it's because I go to bed between 9 and 10 PM each night. We are up early to get the day started, walk Amber, and then into the kitchen to get Breakfast going. The staff starts coming in at 7 or 8 AM and the day is in full swing.

We recently closed the Inn for a week and went on vacation. The staff continued to work on projects such as deep cleaning rooms, painting, and a few updates I know guests will love. Traveling gave me the perfect opportunity to start to journal again...and even share some of my thoughts with you.


1/28/16
"As you can see by the date, it's been a long time since I wrote in here. It's been a long time for a lot of things...my first time off since we bought the Inn, my first flight since we bought the Inn, and my first time away from Amber since we bought the Inn." (Keep in mind I traveled almost every week in my past career and was away from Amber a lot).

I love my new career but I know myself well. I'm a workaholic and living at work can become a full time...all the time thing. There is always something to do. I'm so proud of what we accomplished in a year. There are so many more ideas I have........."

(I can't share this part because I am working on some big things for the future. Hopefully they will happen...)

"I had good intentions to write in here often this past year, but I'm usually very tired at night. Time goes by so fast....the day flies by and the year has flown by too. Guests ask me all the time is it what I thought it would be? It's more fulfilling than I thought it would be.  I've met some amazing people from all over the world. I feel that I have more friends out there. I really hate seeing some people leave.  The biggest compliment is the amount of return guests we are getting. I love when they come back and I get to see them again and welcome them home.

People also ask would I do things differently. That's an easy answer: NO.  I had planned for this for so long....I knew what I wanted. Abbington Green just fit right into the plan so well for me. I always want to make sure the guests have an amazing time here with exceptional service and hospitality. I know I will never stop doing that and that will always be the highest priority. I just need to figure out some ME time so I can relax once in awhile and have something to look forward to.

That's where this cruise comes in....time to relax and receive excellent service. I do have a higher expectation of service now from being in the hospitality industry. There are similarities in hospitality and retail, but also differences. In retail it is more instant service, and in hospitality it is more personalized to guests for a longer period of time. Each interaction with them needs to be at a high service level....at least that is my standard."

I always tell the staff "this is the guests' vacation or time away and we want to help make it the best it can be". The biggest compliment that also touched my life was from a guest who called to book a room. He mentioned to me that they were having issues in their marriage and they needed a weekend together to get back on track. I worked with him on selecting the right room, scheduling breakfast in bed one morning, arranging massages, and so on. Recently, before the Holidays, he called to thank me and let me know that they are expecting a baby and their marriage is back on track. I was so happy to hear the great news.

I feel like this is where I am supposed to be in my life now. I do feel an impact I'm making by helping make special memories in guest's lives for special events they are celebrating....Anniversaries, Babymoons, Weddings, Birthdays, and just being happy in life.

It's so easy for me to talk about work, but this journal now is supposed to be about us enjoying our vacation. Steve took special care in planning our trip to make it special for me.....that's so sweet of him.

I'm looking forward to a wonderful vacation!"




That's a little bit of what I wrote the first day we left. We did have a wonderful time as you can see from the pictures below. Great food, horseback riding, swimming with the turtles, riding in a bobsled, and walk up a waterfall. All of us need vacation time away to clear our thoughts. I love to travel, but I always like coming home too. Home to our new home......Abbington Green!

All the best, Nick




Amber waiting patiently for our return.

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Nick's Notes 1.29.2016--Great things in the works for 2016 at Abbington Green!




I am so happy and proud of our accomplishments at Abbington Green in 2015. The team has done a wonderful job focusing on offering our guests an exceptional level of customer service. We were awarded our second AAA Four Diamond Award, BedandBreakfast.com named us one of the Top 10 Inns in the U.S., and InnRoads.com named us the 2015 Independent Hotel of the Year. Huge thanks go to our team and our guests for their continued support!





In 2016, my personal focus for the Inn is to to reach out to more local partners to bring the best to our guests at Abbington Green. We will continue to offer local North Carolina cheeses during our 5pm Social Hour, and to prepare our breakfasts using locally sourced, organic ingredients whenever possible. Our second floor gallery of the Main House will continue to showcase local artists.

This year, we look to add more package deals for our guests to enjoy more of the best things that Asheville has to offer, like personal waterfall and brewery tours.

Just this week, we attended our first Asheville Industry Networking Event where I met some amazing people doing wonderful things in our city. It was held at the Catawba Brewing Company.





At the meet up, besides getting to sample some terrific local beer, I had the opportunity to meet wedding officiants, photographers, restaurant managers, event planners, videographers, and even a bride and groom having their wedding here in town. I was so excited by all of these new contacts and the new adventures that I can help to bring to our guests at Abbington Green in 2016.

Stay tuned for more...there are some great things in the works for this year.

All the best,
Nick

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Giving the Gift of Abbington Green


Looking for that perfect gift for everyone on your list? Look no further! We have great gift options from your favorite Asheville B&B. 

Let us help you with your holiday shopping! Here are a few of the gifts that can be purchased as a souvenir or for a loved one....we ship via the USPS to you or right to your loved one! Call us at Abbington Green Bed & Breakfast Inn to place your order! (828)251-2454

Would you prefer for your gift recipient be able to choose? Remember, our Abbington Green Gift Certificates can be ordered via our homepage for any amount! www.abbingtongreen.com

Abbington Green Bath Luxuries

Abbington Green Bed & Breakfast Inn Bath Luxuries, made in NC exclusively for us.
Boxed Set of 3 Lemon Verbena Soaps (3 oz each): $10
Wildflower Shampoo, Conditioner or Hand Lotion (16oz each): $10 each or 3 for $26
Boxed Set of 4 Herbal Bath Grains: $10
Abbington Green Lip Balm: $4
Gift Basket with the whole collection, one of each item: $50
All items +tax and shipping.

Abbington Green Stoneware Mug

Abbington Green Bed & Breakfast Inn Stoneware Mug, made in the US by Deneen Pottery.  $18 each or 2 for $32 + tax and shipping
The Abbington Green Glass Ornament

Abbington Green Bed & Breakfast Inn Glass Ornament.
$15 + tax and shipping
Abbington Green Gift Certificate

Available in any amount! Order online on our website
www.abbingtongreen.com
A Taste of Abbington Green, Volume 1 Cookbook

"A Taste of Abbington Green, Volume 1" Cookbook: $20 + tax and $5.75 shipping fee. Cover art by Mike Ryon.

Happy holidays from all of us at Abbington Green Bed & Breakfast Inn,
Nick, Steve, Lady Amber Abbington, and the entire team

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Holiday Baking for the Montford Holiday Tour of Homes





We've had a great time baking for the upcoming Montford Holiday Tour of Homes...the 20th Annual Tour which proceeds benefit the Montford Neighborhood Association for neighborhood improvement projects and programs for youth at the Montford Recreation Center.

We chose 3 cookie recipes to bake this year...2 from our cookbook, "A Taste of Abbington Green, Volume 1", and a new recipe that we thought looked festive and delicious.

We hope that you'll enjoy seeing the cookies that we've baked and have posted the recipes below, along with pictures of the freshly baked cookies.

Peppermint Shortbread Cookies

yield: 2 1/2 dozen cookies


INGREDIENTS

  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cups sugar
  • 1 cup butter, cubed (and cold)
  • 1 cup Andes Peppermint Crunch Chips (you can find these in the baking aisle)
  • 1 tsp. peppermint extract (or vanilla extract)
  • 4 drops red food coloring (optional)
  • more sugar to coat cookies before baking if desired


INSTRUCTIONS
  1. Combine flour and sugar in a large bowl.
  2. Use a pastry blender to cut in butter. You want very fine crumbs.
  3. Stir in extract, food coloring, and Andes Peppermint Crunch Chips.
  4. Use your hands to knead the dough until it comes together and forms a ball.
  5. Shape dough into a log, about two inched in diameter and wrap in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for two hours.
  6. Preheat oven to 325F.
  7. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  8. Cut slices of cookie dough about 1/4 inch thick and place on baking sheet. Bake for 10-12 minutes or just until cookies are set. Do not over bake.
  9. Let cool for several minutes on baking sheet before removing to a cooling rack. Let cool completely.
  10. Store in airtight container for 3 days or freeze up to 3 months.
*adapted from a recipe by momontimeout.com


Cranberry Walnut Cookies

yield: about 60 cookies



INGREDIENTS
  • 1/2 cup shortening
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup chopped cranberries
  • 1 1/2 cup chopped walnuts (can substitute pecans or hazelnuts)

INSTRUCTIONS
  1. In a large bowl, beat butter and shortening with an electric mixer on medium-to-high speed for 30 seconds.
  2. Add the brown sugar, granulated sugar, and baking soda.
  3. Beat mixture until combined, scraping sides of bowl occasionally.
  4. Beat in the eggs and vanilla until combined.
  5. Beat in as much of the flour as you can with the mixer, stir in the remaining flour by hand.
  6. Fold in cranberries and nuts.
  7. Drop dough by rounded teaspoons, 2 inches apart on an parchment lined cookie sheet. 
  8. Bake at 375F for 8-10 minutes, or until edges are slightly browned. 
  9. Transfer cookies to a wire cooling rack and let cool completely
*recipe is included in "A Taste of Abbington Green, Volume 1"



Big Soft Ginger Cookies

yield: about 24 cookies

INGREDIENTS
  • 2 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp. ground ginger
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 3/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp. ground cloves
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 3/4 cup margarine, softened
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 Tbs. water
  • 1/4 cup molasses
  • 2 Tbs. granulated sugar


INSTRUCTIONS
  1. Preheat oven to 350F.
  2. Sift together the flour, ginger, baking soda, cinnamon, cloves, and salt. Set aside.
  3. In a large bowl, cream together margarine and 1 cup of sugar until light and fluffy.
  4. Beat in the egg, then stir in the water and molasses.
  5. Gradually stir the sifted ingredients into the molasses mixture.
  6. Shape dough into walnut-sized balls, and roll them in the remaining 2 tablespoons of sugar.
  7. Place the cookies 2 inches apart, onto a parchment lined cookie sheet and flatten slightly.
  8. Bake for 8-10 minutes.
  9. Allow cookies to cool on baking sheet for 5 minutes before removing to a wire cooling rack to cool completely.
  10. Store in an airtight container
*recipe is included in "A Taste of Abbington Green, Volume 1"

For more cookie recipes, order your cookbook! Call us at (828)251-2454 to place your order...it is the perfect gift for yourself and everyone on your list!


HAPPY HOLIDAYS FROM THE TEAM AT ABBINGTON GREEN BED & BREAKFAST INN!

Friday, December 4, 2015

Nick's Notes 12.4.2015-A Taste of Abbington Green, Volume 1



I never thought I would be able to say that I have a cookbook........but I now can.

The most common question I hear every week during breakfast is "Do you have a cookbook we can purchase and take home with us?"

I was always happy to share our recipes, and now they have been compiled in our first cookbook.  So, thank you to our guests for being the inspiration.  We have so many recipes we wanted to share that we have collected over the years from magazines, friends, or created in the kitchen here ourselves.  We have modified many of these recipes to our taste and to our guests' satisfaction.  We use flavors of fresh herbs from our herb garden here at Abbington Green to add that final touch.   

We called it "A Taste of Abbington Green, Volume 1" because I know there will be additional recipes we will want to share in another cookbook.  There are 50 recipes in 7 sections including Fruit Courses, Sides, Breads and Jams, Main Breakfast Courses, Cookies, Social Hour Appetizers, and Cooking Classes we held here last winter.  The most requested recipe is our house specialty, Orange Pecan French Toast.  Yes, the recipe is in the cookbook!


A special thank you to Bradshaw, my assistant at Abbington Green, for all the hours of typing my poor hand written recipes; our friends Ivy and Ken, who helped with binding the cookbooks; and Steve for always supporting me with my dreams, and to Mike Ryon for the beautiful cover image. I hope you enjoy cooking these recipes as much as I enjoy making them for our guests at Abbington Green.

50 guest favorite recipes from Abbington Green B&B Inn, your favorite Bed & Breakfast in Asheville's Montford Historic District. 7 chapters of Nick's tried and true recipes, from Breakfast favorites to 5pm Social Hour nibbles, to recipes from our March Cooking Class Series. It is a great souvenir of your stay with us!

$20 + tax and $5.75 USPS shipping to you or your gift recipient.

To order, call (828)251-2454 or send an email to info@abbingtongreen.com.

Wishing you all a happy and delicious holiday season from Abbington Green Bed & Breakfast Inn!

All the best,
Nick

Friday, November 27, 2015

Nick's Notes 11.27.2015--It's Beginning to look like the Holidays at Abbington Green!


It's Beginning to Look Like the Holidays again at Abbington Green!


There is so much for Steve and me to be thankful for each Thanksgiving.  To name a few: it starts with our health, Steve's recent transfer to the Asheville Post Office, friends and family, each other, Amber (aka Lady Amber Abbington), and living our dream of owning Abbington Green.

Christmas still holds the most special memories in my heart.  I guess that is why I like to decorate in such a big way.  It brings back such happy memories of my childhood with decorating the house as a family and celebrating the true meaning of Christmas.  Traditions are important to me....a toy train under the tree, family ornaments, a manger scene, lights outside shining bright, a tree with an angel on top, homemade cookies, and lots of entertaining.
Over the years my collection of Christmas Decorations has grown.  Yes, the electric bill does increase in December at our home.  This year the employees of Abbington Green and a great friend, Carey, transitioned Abbington Green in two weeks to a Magical Christmas Vision.   We have over 20 lighted Christmas Trees, 140 Nutcrackers, extra large Gingerbread House, and Dickens Village with 21 houses (even a Bed and Breakfast!).  It always represented to me that one day my dream of owning a Bed and Breakfast would come true.  The decorations continue with my original Lionel Toy Train from when I was 5 years old, a lighted Mercury Glass Collection, antique Manger Scene, lighted Garlands and Stockings hung by the fireplace. 



The outside is even more beautiful this year with 5 feet tall Angels lining the driveway, 4 life-size Reindeer and Sleigh on the front porch with 4 lit trees.  A new addition this year is a 4 ft tall Menorah in the center of the porch.  There is a Glowing Christmas Tree and Huge Wreath on the third floor porch that complete the front yard display.  


The backyard this year starts with the characters from one of my favorites.......Rudolph.  Steve's back garden is filled with large lit Snowflakes and Snowmen.  (I hope it doesn't snow)  


Guest rooms each have a small amount of Holiday Decorations. Just enough to celebrate the season and not take away from the historic beauty of each room.  The rest of the home makes up for it!

One more thing.....our Thanksgiving Dinner with our guests was so successful so we will be having Christmas Day Dinner as well for guests that are interested.  



We have a few big days coming up at Abbington Green.  On Tuesday December 1st we will have a luncheon and Holiday tour of the house with the Ladies Garden Club.  Then on Saturday December 12th we will once again be a part of the Montford Historic District Tour of Homes.  Guest staying at Abbington Green will receive free tickets to see all the homes participating in the Tour of Homes.  Last year we made  over 500 cookies and had over 500 people tour our home from 1 to 5 PM.  The piano was playing holiday tunes and the beauty of Abbington Green, our Historic Home, was being shared.  

Remember the sign outside our front door......"What I love most about my home is who I share it with."  We are looking forward to sharing an Abbington Green Holiday with everyone who attends.

Friday, October 16, 2015

From the Recipe File--Warm Pear & Apple Compote


From the Recipe File--Warm Pear & Apple Compote



We haven't shared a recipe with you in a little while and thought that this one was perfect, as it really captures the essence of Autumn...apple picking, warm spices baking in the kitchen, crisp Fall air...our Warm Pear & Apple Compote has long been a Fall favorite of our guests.

At Abbington Green Bed & Breakfast Inn, we serve it with a slice of warm cinnamon bread on the side, but you could substitute a croissant or a muffin.

Get ready to have a kitchen full of the aromas that will usher in the Fall season in a most delicious way.  Enjoy!


ps: this recipe will be included in our upcoming cookbook... A Taste of Abbington Green.  Details to follow!