Friday, December 1, 2017

Nick's Notes 12.1.17--It's a Wonderful Life

 It's a Wonderful Life


A few nights ago I went to see Strother, one of our associates, in a performance of "Live from WVI Radio Theatre, It's a Wonderful Life".  Strother was amazing, and we are so proud of him!
I know many of you have seen the Jimmy Stewart film version of "It's a Wonderful Life", and it has become an annual thing for Steve and me to watch it for the holidays.  It always puts me in the Christmas mood and I still get a tear in my eyes in certain parts...and I do know many of the lines by heart.

I really started thinking about some of the important lines from the movie and the big picture.  The story is a reminder that through it all, each person impacts the lives of others in ways so simple, profound, and mysterious that sometimes it takes an angelic intervention to help us see the value of our existence.

In this adaptation, the playwright wrote "...we live in a world full of change. Friendships grow or sometimes fall apart, jobs and fortunes are won and lost.  In the midst of a time of great upheaval in the life of our nation, I think this story has a wonderful message that is perfect for this holiday season..."
I was reminded about this all again last week over our annual Thanksgiving Dinner at Abbington Green with our guests.  Perfect strangers to each other when they arrived, including four repeat guests visiting for the holiday. Over dinner, they bonded to the point that they passed a sheet around to get everyone's contact information, and four of them have already booked for Thanksgiving 2018 so that they can once again celebrate the holiday together.
I always talk about how our repeat guests become part of our Abbington Green Family...and I love how our family continues to grow.  I am so lucky to have the ability to meet so many people from all over the world.  Some of them touch my life and I would like to believe that I touch their lives in someway as well.

I want Abbington Green to be a special place for our guests, where they feel at home, their needs as a guest are exceeded, and they have a wonderful time and want to return.  It's been 3 years and I have two couples that are on their 9th visit to Abbington Green.  That's the biggest compliment for me and reminds me that I'm doing  what I should be doing and I touch their lives in some way.  I do have a wonderful life.

Friday, July 28, 2017

Nick's Notes 7.28.17--Welcome to our Holland Park Suite!



Welcome to our Holland Park Suite!

As of August 1st, guests can begin to experience staying in our newly renovated Holland Park two bedroom and two bathroom suite.  This is an exciting new addition to Abbington Green Bed & Breakfast Inn and Spa.


We now have 2 two bedroom suites on the property for our guests to enjoy:  Eaton Square and Holland Park.


Before I tell you more about the suite, let me tell you more about the name, Holland Park.  All of our rooms at Abbington Green are named after gardens and parks in Britain.  Holland Park is a lovely and relaxing London park with  formal borders and wilder areas.  Included in the park is the immaculately kept Kyoto Garden which opened in 1991  to celebrate the Japanese festival.  The gardens were created in the early 1800s by Lord Holland and cover some 50 acres.  Our Holland Park Suite is reminiscent of these gardens with both Asian and British decor, and offer guests beautiful views from a private balcony terrace off of the Living Room at the front of Abbington Green Bed & Breakfast Inn. 



In the sitting room there is an open-plan seating area with comfortable chairs and dining area for four.  There is a 50" LED cable TV with Hi-Def and Blu-Ray/DVD player over the electric fireplace.  The classic furnishings and chandeliers add ambiance to the British/Asian theme.  

There is a private, 2-person balcony in the apex of the roofline overlooking the mountain ridge.  The Green Bedroom represents the British theme and the Blue Bedroom represents the Asian theme.   Both bedrooms feature king-size beds, individual climate controls, ceiling fans, seating areas, cable TV, charging stations, safes, robes, choice of pillows, and sound machines.  



Both full bathrooms feature tubs with rain showers, heated towel bars, motion sensor lights, hair dryer, lighted make-up mirrors, pedestal sinks, and individual hot water heaters.



Just like the rest of the Inn, all the water is specially filtered for your health and enjoyment.  There is complimentary wireless, high speed internet access,  and an iron and ironing board.

The suite also features a small efficiency kitchen with refrigerator, microwave, coffee/tea center, glassware, and dinnerware.



The Holland Park Suite is perfect for two friends traveling together who both want their own bedrooms but appreciate the availability of a common area to spend time together.  It will also work well for 2 couples, giving them privacy in their own bedrooms and own bathrooms.  All the prices online are based on a 2 person occupancy, and when you book your reservation online at abbingtongreen.com, you can adjust the number of guests and the price will adjust accordingly for the additional people.



This week we've already had 2 guests find the suite online on our website and book their stay for August and November, and had a guest stay for a night to extend their time with us when we had a full Inn!  

I'm so excited by this new addition, and for being able to invite more guests to sample the 4 Diamond experience that Abbington Green is known for!

Hope to see you soon.  All the best,

Nick

Friday, July 14, 2017

Nick's Notes 7.13.17--Time to Relax...Stop and Smell the Roses



Time to Relax...Stop and Smell the Roses

Outdoor activities, food tours, brewery tours, the Biltmore Estate, Trolley Tours, waterfalls, the Blue Ridge Parkway, mountains, lakes, and so much more…there’s always something fun to do in Asheville and that’s why so many travelers come to visit our great city.  

On average 29,800 people visit Asheville each day. In 2016, Asheville attracted 10.9 million visitors and continues to be named on Top 10 lists of why to come visit Asheville.

Our guests at Abbington Green spend their days out and about doing all the fun things mentioned above that Asheville has to offer.  Many of them spend their mornings or evenings before our 5pm Social Hour relaxing on one of our many porches and walking our gardens on the property…and they provide a nice reminder to take the time to relax, slow down, enjoy nature and see the beauty that surrounds us.
Carey and I felt it was important to create a guided walking tour of the Gardens at Abbington Green, so we revised our website to reflect their beauty and now included in each guest room’s information folder we’ve included a copy of the garden walk that you can take with you to walk through the property.  

Starting at the front porch and winding your way through to the back garden, guests will see and learn about what we have growing, the style used to create the garden, and also the 4 fountains we have on the property.  The gardens at Abbington Green surround the house as a series of authentic English garden “rooms”, each with a different theme.  

The Shade Garden is an informal space located beside the front porch. Guests will notice the St. Bernard fountain at the front of the porch placed there in memory of our dog Bailey, who was an amazing Pet Therapy Dog for 6 of her 12 year life.

The Chartreuse Garden is a small formal space surrounded by trellis fences.  It is named for the variety of yellow foliage, variegated foliage, and yellow and white flowers in this garden.  Also included is a pineapple fountain planted with Water Iris and a Garden Fairy given to us by a guest to attract good fortune to our gardens and home.

The Vegetable Garden is tended to and planned out by Steve every year.  During the Winter season ahead of planting, Steve combs through the seed catalogs to find what he’ll plant in the Vegetable Garden.  Tomatoes, asparagus, radishes, a variety of lettuce, carrots, spinach, peppers, and cucumbers are commonly grown in this garden.  We love having fresh, homegrown produce to use in our breakfasts and 5pm Social Hour offerings such as Steve’s Mom’s recipe for Bread and Butter Pickles.
The White Rose Garden’s floral color scheme is pink and white throughout.  A tiered fountain at at the center adds soothing sounds to this space much of the year.
Mom’s Rose Garden is planted with pink shrub roses, pink and white peonies, many perennials, and is interplanted with annuals for constant color from Spring to Fall.  In addition, four cherub musician statues represent fictional angels of love to symbolize the love a mother has for her children and the love we have for our mothers. Here, in the beauty of this garden, they come together to honor our Moms.
The Oriental Garden has a Chinese and Japanese influence including two small statues of Foo Dogs to greet you and decorative pagodas and an Asian lion statue.  Guests can easily find the 4 Chinese stepping stones which represent the Four Seasons, as well as a small statue of Buddha.
The Lower Garden can be seen from ground level well as from the porches and decks of both the Main House and the Carriage House at Abbington Green.  Laid out as a central “wheel” pattern of radiating pea gravel paths lined with over 180 boxwoods with benches to rest at each end point.  In the center stands an antique gazebo that Nick found at a local antique store and the team here at the Inn restored. Each “pie slice” shaped bed is planted with one primary type of plant for a beautiful effect, and at the very back of this garden is a trellis adorned with a lion head fountain flanked by climbing roses.
In 2015, the gardens became a Certified Wildlife Habitat.  We use no chemicals nor pesticides in maintaining the gardens, in an effort to create a safe environment for our wildlife friends and also our guests.  
Valerie, the original owner at Abbington Green, created these award-winning gardens, and our Steve continues to bring out their beauty in the Spring, Summer, and Fall.
We hope the next time you come to visit us you take the tour, and the time to enjoy the gardens at Abbington Green. Time to relax…stop, and smell the roses.

All the best,

Nick

Friday, April 14, 2017

Nick's Notes 4.14.2017--The Spa is No Longer Just a Dream...


The Spa is No Longer Just a Dream...

 As many of you know, my original dream was to open a Spa in Greece with a small Bed and Breakfast attached on the Island of Santorini...
Over the years the dream evolved into owning a Bed and Breakfast in Asheville, North Carolina. Abbington Green Bed and Breakfast Inn filled a big part of realizing my dream.
But something was still missing for me, and I knew what it was.  I kept it in my mind, and kept thinking that one day it would happen.  Well, I am happy to tell you all that that day is here.  My partner Steve, and Handyman Dennis thought that the parlor of our home would be a perfect location for the Spa...and it is!

Welcome to Abbington Green Bed & Breakfast Inn and Spa...
a peaceful oasis in the original parlor of our home.

After Christmas this past year, the parlor furniture was removed and we began the conversion.  We found antique pantry doors with original hardware from 1908, complete with a skeleton key to close off the entry to the foyer.  The sliding pocket doors leading to the living room were closed off as well. Soundproof curtains were added over both doorways and blackout blinds went up in all windows.

A 6ft. corner water feature was added in the opposite corner from the original, working fireplace, and a sink was installed in an antique cabinet in the other corner of the room.

We furnished the room with top of the line spa equipment and linens (I love the linens so much--they will soon be in all guest rooms in the Inn too).  We have two massage tables in the spa for couples massages if requested; a facial steamer with magnifying options, hot stones, and more.  Guests have already begun booking spa appointments for massages and facials and their feedback has been amazing.

I personally handpicked each of the therapists we are utilizing. Yes, that does mean that I had to force myself to get a massage from each of them....

Ben is the head of our spa, and his expertise has been instrumental in product selection and the set up process. 
Ben, Courtney, Angeline, Tessa, Raven, and Samala were all trained on the high service standards at Abbington Green.  The Spa is an extension of the Abbington Green Experience featuring details, service, and localization.

As you know, it is our mission to help our guests experience as much of North Carolina as we can share with them during their stay with us.  From the organic and locally-sourced products we use to prepare our multi-course breakfasts and 5pm Social Hour offerings (including local cheeses from the WNC Cheese Trail and beer from local brewers), to the NC produced bath amenities in each guest room, and the local art we display in our 2nd Floor Gallery created by local artists, we like to introduce as much local and NC made products as we can!

The Abbington Green Spa is no different, and fits right in with the local NC experience.  Most of the products we are using in the Spa are made right here in Asheville by Zenjenskin, and are created using native plants which are harvested and then combined with nourishing botanicals and extracts that work synergistically together to create and amazing facial care line.
photo by David Simchock  www.DavidSimchock.com
We chose to decorate the Spa walls with the work of local photographer David Simchock--including photographs of the Blue Ridge Mountains and a collection of photos he took at the Biltmore Estate of the Biltmore Blooms.
photo by David Simchock  www.DavidSimchock.com
photo by David Simchock  www.DavidSimchock.com

photo by David Simchock  www.DavidSimchock.com

Check out our Spa Menu on our website abbingtongreen.com, there are multiple massages, facials, and added enhancements to tailor your spa treatment the way you want...including a nod to our local beer scene with our Beer City Bliss Massage that uses local beer in the treatment. You can book your spa services via our reservation system on the Abbington Green homepage when you book your stay (this is not offered on 3rd party booking agents such as Hotels.com,  Expedia, Travelocity or Bed and Breakfast.com) .  We'll reach out to find out times and dates and then match one of our Spa professionals to your request.

I am so fulfilled by everything my team and I have accomplished in the 2 1/2 years since we purchased Abbington Green.  Adding Carey as our General Manager has allowed me to focus on completing my dream.  

Now you can enhance your stay at Abbington Green with a wonderful spa treatment.  Thank you for participating in making the second part of my dream for Abbington Green come true.
photo by David Simchock  www.DavidSimchock.com

Friday, January 27, 2017

Nick's Notes 1.27.2017--What's New at Abbington Green...

 
What's New at Abbington Green...

January is usually a pretty slow month for Tourism in Asheville, in fact the Asheville Convention and Visitor's Bureau has dubbed this time of the year the "Undiscovered Season".  We though, have been keeping pretty busy as a team here at Abbington Green, working on special projects and doing a lot of planning for the future.

I thought I would take some time to fill you in on some exciting things happening at Abbington Green for 2017. Our weekends this month have been busy and the Inn has been full of guests, but during the weekdays, the Abbington Green Team has been keeping busy with other things...

   

The month started with taking down and storing our Christmas decorations. Over 20 trees, 180 Nutcrackers, and all of the outdoor lights got boxed up and put away for another year.  Let's just say that with all of the decorations put away, the house looks so much larger!


This was our 3rd year of participating in the Montford Historic District Tour of Homes.  We had over 600 people tour our B&B from 1-5 pm on December 10th. Once again, we had Santa on our front porch and a full table of holiday cookies and hot cider in the Dining Room at Abbington Green.  I'd like to take a moment to thank Greg, Dennis, Carey, Zack, Katie, Ivy and Ken for all of their hard work that day.



Next on our list for the month was our semi-annual deep cleaning project.  The Housekeeping team led by Greg cleaned and detailed each room from top to bottom.  For those of you who know me, I have high standards and cleanliness is a top priority at Abbington Green every day.


The third project we are taking on this month is publishing our next volume of our cookbook--A Taste of Abbington Green, Volume 2.  Guests continue to ask for recipes that didn't fit into Volume 1, so we decided to go ahead and create Volume 2.  It will contain the following 8 sections:  Fruit Courses, Cakes and Breads, Side Dishes, Breakfast Main Courses, Social Hour and High Tea Entertaining, Cookies, and we've updated this next volume to include two new sections that feature our Thanksgiving and Christmas Dinner Favorites and our Natural Indoor/Outdoor Home and Garden Remedies.


The biggest news that I get to share with you is the realization of the second part of my dream for Abbington Green is finally coming true.  My original dream for over 15 years was to open a Spa with a small Bed & Breakfast attached all on the island of Santorini, Greece.

With the tough economy in Greece, I had to adjust my dream to making it happen in the U.S.  So here we now are, in beautiful Asheville, NC, with a wonderful Bed and Breakfast...but no spa.  My dream just wasn't complete.

I am very excited and proud to announce that it will be completed soon, with the opening of our new spa in the original Parlor of Abbington Green Bed & Breakfast Inn.  The room is a perfect size for 2 massage tables.  We will be offering various massages and facials, using products sourced from here in Asheville.  Zenjenskin has created specific products for us to use in our treatments and to sell along with her entire line of skin care products.  Her motto is "Keep it Pure and Simple".

Our handyman, Dennis, has been hard at work with the Parlor renovation project. He's been calling it the "Sparlor".

He has refurbished and repurposed an antique cabinet into a sink and has added French Doors, circa 1908, with their original hardware.  Both were great local finds for us at the Tobacco Barn, my favorite antique store.



The Spa at Abbington Green will offer our guests (and eventually locals!) the opportunity to expand their experience and relaxation time at Abbington Green. It fits right in with my philosophies of providing our guests exceptional service and the experience of locally sourced, North Carolina products.

 



I owe a lot of my being able to achieve my dream of adding a Spa here at the Inn to 2 people:  Steve and Carey.  Steve continues to believe in me and to support my dreams.  Having Carey as our GM has allowed me to take on new things and to grow the idea of having the Spa come to reality at the Inn.

So, I'd like to take this opportunity to be the first to welcome you all to Abbington Green Bed & Breakfast Inn and Spa!

All the best,
Nick