Thursday, March 26, 2015

Nick's Notes 3.27.2015--I Love My Job!

Love My Job!

Do you love your job? I can honestly say "I Do!" I thought this week I would share with you the whys behind my love for being an Innkeeper.

I had a wonderful 35 year retail career, but always knew one day I would own a Bed and Breakfast. As I mentioned a few weeks ago in Nick's Notes, this was my dream..........We had a 15 year plan which has now allowed me to live my dream. The sign that hangs outside the front door, "What I love most about my Home is Who I Share it With," talks about the beauty of Abbington Green and the amazing history of our home. But that is not what I love about my job.....those things are different.

I want to share my top 3 things with you..............Why I love my Job! It's hard because there are so many things I love. I take my job as Innkeeper very serious. I actually get choked up when I read the amazing reviews guests have wrote about me and Abbington Green on Trip Advisor. (If you have not read the reviews, please take a look) I value and appreciate what each guest writes. Thank you for taking the time to write them.

The first thing I love most about my job are the amazing people I have met. I love spending time with guests and hearing about their stories, their families, their travel, and so on. I always believe people come into each others lives for a reason. As an Innkeeper it has allowed me to meet so many people. I love the connections I am making. One guest has actually been back 3 times and planning her 4th trip here. That means the world to me............that guests have a wonderful time at Abbington Green and want to return.

The second thing I love about my job is the team I work with. It starts with Steve my partner in life and in the business. 
Nick and Steve
As for the rest of the team we've not been together long, but I know how much they care about the success of Abbington Green. I can see the pride they have in the work they do. We still have a lot to learn, but I feel that Bradshaw, Michelle, Greg, Dennis and now Tina all have the commitment level necessary to grow our business. 
Michelle, Bradshaw and Tina
Greg and Dennis
They all understand our guests are the most important thing and we want them to feel special while they're here. Even Lady Amber Abbington, our dog, loves to spend time with guests when she is allowed.
Lady Amber Abbington
The third thing I love about my job is entertaining guests and preparing breakfast. From setting up for Social Hour at 5 PM everyday to breakfast at 9 AM each morning.....preparing delicious foods is important to me. I love making sure the garnish is perfect and the table is set beautifully with crystal and china differently each day. What can I say.....I like to entertain guests in our home. Before moving to Asheville we were always having friends over for dinners and parties. I just like doing it and get happy knowing that others are happy and
enjoying themselves in our home. 
Abbington Green Bed & Breakfast Inn
I also have to mention one more thing.............I love the fact that each day is different and you never know what tomorrow may bring. I would love for more of you to come check out Abbington Green and become part of something that is very special to me.
All the Best, Nick

Monday, March 9, 2015

Nick's Notes 3.9.2015--The Little Engine that Could

The Little Engine that Could

Nick’s Notes began years ago in my retail career as a way to connect with my employees in all the stores I supervised.  Every Monday, the stores received a copy of Nick’s Notes in an email to print and hang in their backrooms for all employees to read. It was an opportunity for me to share personal learning’s, and reiterate focuses we needed to have to drive results.  As an Innkeeper Nick’s Notes has taken on a new form of a way to reach out to guests. 

Today I wanted to share a little more about me and what I am about.  I am a big over achiever and it started at a very young age.  One of my favorite books as a child was, “The Little Engine that Could.” 

You might find it interesting to know I still have my original book from when I was little.  I use to have my mom read it over and over to me before I could read, and then read it over and over myself when I started reading.  I still probably read it once a year as a reminder that I can do what I set my mind to do, as long as I have a positive mindset, and the will/skill to make it happen.   I’m not sure what drew me to the book when I was young.  Was it the fascination of the little blue engine, the idea that the boys and girls on the other side of the hill needed toys to play with, or the simple fact that even back then I was starting to understand you have to work hard and have the right mindset to get great  results.  Either way it taught me a lot of important lessons in life. 

My dad was a great example of a strong work ethic, my mom pushed us to study and learn to be the best we can be, and I will continue reading the Little Engine that Could each year as a reminder…………My favorite part of the book is when the little blue engine makes it over the hill and proudly says….”I thought I could, I thought I could.”  I know how great it feels when you accomplish something you set out to do.

That’s the feeling I get from being an Innkeeper at Abbington Green Bed and Breakfast Inn.  We work hard here and have so much pride in what we do.  Our team is small, and we are still learning and growing in our roles.  We know the most important thing is our customer’s satisfaction and we make sure their vacation time is as perfect as it can be.  --Nick

Friday, February 27, 2015

Nick's Notes 2.27.2015 - Growing Up Greek

Growing Up Greek

With our upcoming Cooking Class Series each Saturday in March at Abbington Green, I thought I would write today about where my passion for cooking began. (check out details on our cooking class series -

If you've seen the movie "My Big Fat Greek Wedding," then you can visualize how I grew up. Yes, I do have 5 other 1st cousins named Nick Poulos.......the beauty of it is, we were all named after a wonderful grandfather. My grandparents all came through Ellis Island and eventually settled in the Cleveland, Ohio area. I'm second generation Greek, but went to Greek school to learn the language and upheld all the Greek traditions.
As far back as I could remember, my mom was all about entertaining and preparing delicious appetizers (mezethes as they are called in Greek), and food for friends and family that came to visit. No one ever left our house hungry, and the minute you walked in, the feast began. It's tradition and Greek hospitality to treat your guest this way. I use to watch my two sisters and mom prepare foods in the kitchen and being the youngest, I wanted to join in and help. Little by little, I did.......and I really enjoyed it.

Eventually I started making Saturday morning breakfast for my family. I would get up early on Saturday and watch Scooby Doo and then start making breakfast. We would all sit together at the kitchen table having breakfast and then start our day. I never really prepared anything fancy like I do now. Breakfast usually consisted of Sausage or Bacon, Eggs or Pancakes and Toast. It felt good to make breakfast for my family.
As I moved out on my own, and had a wonderful retail career, I would cook to relax. My Partner Steve always said, one of his favorite things in Florida was our Sunday morning breakfasts I would make us. Just like I did with my family 40 years ago, we sat at our kitchen table and ate breakfast together. Our home in Florida was a perfect house for entertaining and we always had different gatherings, dinners and parties at our home. We were known for Christmas and New Years Eve Dinners.
For me it was all about setting the perfect table and cooking a wonderful dinner.
Working for Williams-Sonoma taught me how the right Cook's Tools and Cookware can really make a difference. It's amazing when the knife is sharp and the pan heats evenly, how easy cooking can be. Mom didn't have those luxuries. She did everything the hard way, by hand with out all the fancy electrics to help. Yes, I do have a well equipped kitchen...........thanks to Williams-Sonoma.

Purchasing Abbington Green Bed and Breakfast Inn has allowed me to combine my passion for cooking and entertaining with my background in exceptional customer service. I am not a chef, as many of the Trip Advisor reviews are calling me. I am a home cook that loves to prepare wonderful breakfasts down to the detail of the perfect garnish.

At Abbington Green I prepare a two course breakfast starting with a fruit and bread course, followed by the main course. I use as much local NC and Organic ingredients as possible. We offer 6 juices and choices of various hot and cold beverages. Our specialties are the Orange Pecan
French Toast with NC Maple Sausage (which just got entered in a cooking contest), and our Organic Corn and Dill Souffle with Ham.........but
every day breakfast is different.
I love listening from the kitchen to the guests in the dining room talking and having a good time at breakfast. It brings back memories of how my family sat around our old kitchen table every Saturday morning having breakfast together.

Saturday, February 21, 2015

March Cooking Class Series

We are very excited to announce our upcoming Cooking Class Series here at Abbington Green Bed & Breakfast Inn. Read on for more information about the classes and our participating chefs. We hope to see you soon!

Abbington Green March Cooking Class Series
 There is nothing better than cooking dinner with a group of friends and sitting down together to share a meal. In March at Abbington Green Bed & Breakfast Inn, we are creating our first cooking class series.  Our classes provide a one-on-one, hands on cooking experience with a local chef, and the experience of sharing that meal in our beautiful dining room with the Chef and the other class participants. All classes take place in the kitchen at Abbington Green Bed & Breakfast Inn, and include the preparation and the sharing of a 3-course dinner with the Chef in our dining room. The classes begin at 6pm, costs $150 per couple or $75 per single. Class size is limited. For more information and to reserve your place, please email us at or call (828)251-2454

Saturday, March 7, 2015—Chef Janie Hicks, Chiesa

Italian Food for the Soul
Figs and Pancetta with Goat Cheese on fresh Rosemary Skewers
Spinach and Ricotta Cheese Ravioli with fire roasted Marinara Sauce
Lemon Panna Cotta with Berry Compote

Janie Hicks grew up in a small community near Boone, NC.  She started helping her mother cook at a very early age.  Her first job was in an outdoor kitchen with a wood cook stove and cooking over an open fire. She spent 2 years working for a small company hand making ravioli.  Her main passion is food.   She loves cooking and creating new dishes.  She is currently working at Chiesa a neighborhood Italian Restaurant on Montford Ave.  "I look forward to spending an evening cooking and creating a meal together with you!"  Janie is currently the Chef at Chiesa, located at 152 Montford Ave in Asheville, NC.



Saturday, March 14, 2015—Chef Steven Goff, King James Public House                            

North Carolina Heritage Cooking
Buttermilk Biscuits w/ hunk of Hoop Cheese, Butter, Jams, Country Ham and Pickles 
Roast Chicken with Dirty Rice and roasted Root Vegetables 
Chocolate Beignets with macerated Berries or Dulce de Leche
Steven Goff is a 20 year veteran of the hospitality industry who has worked in kitchens ranging from fast food to fine dining, as well as multiple front of the house positions. Steven writes, teaches, and consults about all things kitchen and hospitality! He currently owns and operates the King James Public House, a modern Appalachian public house, located at 94 Charlotte Street in Asheville, NC.


Saturday, March 21, 2015—Nick Poulos, Abbington Green Bed & Breakfast Inn

Growing Up Greek
Spanakopita (Spinach Triangles)
Pastitsio-Baked Pasta with Meat and Béchamel topping
Nick Poulos, Owner of Abbington Green Bed and Breakfast Inn, grew up in Ohio and learned to cook from his mother and father at an early age.  “I remember anxiously waking up on Saturday mornings knowing that I was going to be cooking breakfast for my family.”  That’s where his love of cooking began, and after taking several cooking classes and working for Williams-Sonoma, as a Regional Vice President in the Southeast, his passion for cooking grew.  Nick is not a trained chef, but is an accomplished home cook.  He cooks a two course breakfast every morning for their guest at Abbington Green.  Check out the Trip Advisor Reviews on Abbington Green about Nick’s outstanding breakfasts.


Saturday, March 28, 2015—Chef Evan Garr, Executive Chef Ruth’s Chris Steak House

Low Country Cuisine

Herb cornmeal dusted Fried Green Tomatoes with Succotash
Low Country Crab and Shrimp with Grits
Classic Raisin and Cinnamon Bread Pudding dressed with a Sweet Cream

 Chef Evan Garr actually began his restaurant experience as a server before moving into the kitchen at the age of 20. He discovered that he enjoyed it so much that he wanted to make it a career. Then he applied to an apprenticeship program at The Homestead in Hot Springs, VA – the oldest resort in the nation.  After gaining his formal culinary training at The Homestead, Evan worked in a variety of jobs in Charleston and Charlotte - all with a diverse culinary theme. He has managed kitchens that cook dishes ranging from All-American, Lebanese, and classic French. He currently is the Chef at Ruth Chris, located at 26 All Souls Crescent, Asheville, NC.

The classes begin at 6pm, costs $150 per couple or $75 per single. Class size is limited. For more information and to reserve your place, please email us at or call (828)251-2454

Friday, February 13, 2015

Nick's Notes 2.13.2015 - The House's Story

The House's Story

The past few weeks I've shared with you Amber's Story, and Our Story
about purchasing the this week I would like to share
with you the Story of Abbington Green.........a beautiful, historic home
in the Montford Historic District of Asheville, North Carolina. 
Montford is part of Downtown Asheville where all the unique shops and
excellent restaurants are located.

I love sharing the story of this home with guests when they walk into
Abbington Green for the first time.  There is so much history here and
it needs to be shared.............that's part of living in a century old
home.  The house was built in 1907 and designed by architect Richard
Sharp Smith.  He was one of the architects that worked on the Biltmore
Estate home.  The original blueprints have recently been discovered at
the Historic Archives and are now kept at the Asheville City Hall.  Once
Biltmore was finished, he was commissioned to build this home for Mr.
Jackson and his family.  At that time the Jacksons were known for their
Bakery and Cheese shop in the city.  They lived here about 15 years and
then sold the house to Mr. Wythe Peyton in 1921.

Mr. Peyton was the Post Master of Asheville and the Peytons raised
their four sons in this home. He later went on to begin the North
Carolina Highway system as a highway engineer.  He was a prominent
member of the Men's Garden Club of Asheville.    He was known for his
prize fruits and vegetables from the extensive gardens that were on the
property at the time.  I can only imagine how proud he is looking at how
the Gardens of Abbington Green are still abundant and beautiful.


Mr. Peyton passed away in 1956 and the family held the house until the
1960's.  The house is known as the Jackson-Peyton Home on the National
Historic Registry.  The home was then purchased by an architect and
eventually was divided up and became a boarding house.  Back in the 60's you would not want to live in Montford.  It was not safe, and both the house and neighborhood got run down.  Luckily, the neighborhood bounced back and now Montford is a safe and very desirable neighborhood to live in. All the beautiful historic homes have been renovated and it is fun to take a local walking tour of the area.

Valerie Larrea purchased this home in February of 1993 with the
intention to turn it into a bed and breakfast.  Work began in May of
1993 and the first guests checked in on October 1st, 1993.  The property
was completely renovated in only 4 1/2 months with all new plumbing,
electrical, and beautiful Guest Rooms and Suites....................complete with Jacuzzi Tubs and showers in each bathroom.  So, Steve and I are only the second owners of Abbington Green since it has become a bed and breakfast. 
 We continue to make it our own home with personal touches and antiques.  We have big plans for the gardens this spring with fountains, flowers and even bringing back some of the fruit trees and vegetable garden Mr. Peyton once had on the property.   Guests will get to enjoy the fresh herbs and produce from the property along with other local North Carolina products.

So that's the story of how this amazing home became a Bed and Breakfast.

 We love our new home and look forward to new memories in our lives.
All the Best,  Nick

Friday, February 6, 2015

Nick's Notes 2.6.2015 - Our Story

Our Story
People always ask us how and why we chose Asheville to own a Bed and
Breakfast.  Let me start by sharing with you that owning a Bed and
Breakfast has been a long time dream of mine for at least the past 15
years. When Steve and I met, I talked to him about my dream. One day
he came across a folder with all the articles and clippings about B&Bs
and Spas that I have been saving.  That's the day he knew I was serious
about this venture.

The original plan was to open a Bed and Breakfast Spa on the Island of
Santorini, Greece.  As the deadline for my 10 Year Plan got closer, we
realized the difficulties and complexities of running a business in
Greece was more than we wanted to take on.
We were on vacation staying at a B & B in Sonoma, California and started
discussing places in the US we would want to live and operate a Bed and
Breakfast.  Asheville quickly went to the top of our list based on our
Top 10 List:

1.  Steve and I had both been to Asheville and loved it.
2.  The Biltmore Estate attracts tons of tourists year round and is a
huge draw to the area........even during the Holidays.
3.  The Blue Ridge Mountains and Parkway offer so many activities from
hiking, canoeing, kayaking, White Water rafting, zip lining, and amazing
views of the mountains and waterfalls.
4.  There are so many unique shops, antique stores and restaurants in
Downtown Asheville and Biltmore Village.  The Downtown area has no chain restaurants....all are unique with amazing culinary flavors from great Chefs.
5.  Historic City with amazing architecture.
6.  Culture, Art and Theater is abundant in Asheville.
7.  An abundance of local attractions including the River Arts District, the Carl Sandburg Home and Thomas Wolfe Memorial State Historic Site
8.  Great climate......short enough winter with the beauty of the Four
9.  Steve wanted to work somewhere with summers that are not too hot
since his job keeps him outside most of the time.
10. People in Asheville are very friendly.

We knew Asheville would be the place for us to live my dream.  So then
the hunt began for the perfect property.  Last June we took a two week
vacation car trip where we looked at 8 properties and also took a
seminar in operating a Bed and Breakfast.  When we walked into Abbington Green we knew it was the right place to move forward with our dream.
It has everything we wanted in a property....8 bedrooms (5 in the Main
House and 3 dog friendly suites in the Carriage House), all with large
private baths, Jacuzzi tubs with showers, heated towel bars, fireplaces,
custom décor, king beds, luxury linens and robes, and several flat
screen TV's with Blue Ray players in each room. 

Our Business Cards have 3 words on the back of them.............History,
Style, Romance.  That's what you will find at Abbington Green Bed and
Breakfast Inn.  Abbington Green is a AAA 4 Diamond property and is on
the National Registry of Historic places.  The home was built in 1907
and designed by Richard Sharp Smith, supervising architect at Biltmore
Estates.  Every room in the home has been fully renovated to a high
luxury standard.  The structure and charm of the home are outstanding
with 4 beautiful porches.  As we have mentioned in the last post, we
have a sign outside near the front door that says, "What I love most about my home is who I share it with."

 We want to share the beauty of our beautiful historic home with others
as they experience the great city of Asheville, NC.  A sign that reads "Enter as Strangers....Leave as Friends" hangs inside the Inn just over the front door. 
We love being Innkeepers and making sure our Guests have a wonderful
vacation here at Abbington Green Bed & Breakfast Inn.

All the best--Nick

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

"What I love most about my home is who I share it with"

Since we told you Amber's story in our last post, we thought that you'd like to meet the family behind Abbington Green Bed & Breakfast Inn. From the top...Steve, Nick and Lady Amber Abbington, at your service!
We have been settling into our life as Innkeepers and are loving it so far. Asheville is a beautiful place to live and visit and we are really loving the community here. We feel very lucky to get to share our stories and our home with our guests, and hope that we get to see you soon!
Check in on Friday to this week's edition of Nick's Notes to read more about our story.
For now, we'll leave you with the sign that hangs outside our front door and will greet you when you come to stay or visit...and it states a truth for us in owning this wonderful Inn...
All the best--Nick