Fourth of July Week was our time for the Air Force, past and present. We had one couple here for five days, a third grade teacher, Lois, and her husband John who is a dentist and retired Air Force. They spent their days running the roads, seeing all they could, got in a few hikes, and were back at the B&B every evening in time for sunset. John is an avid photographer and set up his tripod and snapped away each night. For two of those same nights we had another couple; she also taught, and he was a retired pilot from the Air Force who went on to fly for the airlines.
Fast-forward, they all check out and the same day Frank and Janice check in to celebrate their first anniversary. She worked for the State Department and he is an F-16 pilot and instructor. Where am I going with all this? Don’t know. Wish they could have all been here at the same time, along with another F-16 pilot that stayed here last month. None of them know each other but it would have made for interesting conversation!
The evening of the same day Lois, John, and his camera checked out, and Frank and Janice were holed up in Gatlinburg waiting out a monsoon that dropped a couple of inches of rain in an hour, I had the most incredible sunset I’ve had in while. I was sitting in the living room when I realized the lighting was really eerie and the room was glowing. I managed to snap these photos between cloudbursts, spaced about 10 minutes apart. Too bad it was just me.
The next morning Frank and Janice are telling me about this frog that re-visited the same rock on the waterfall outside their room. After breakfast they went on a frog hunt in the back yard by the other waterfall. I have never really paid attention to what plops around in the pond as long as it is not slithering. Maybe I should start. There was a tiny little thing, about an inch long on the flagstone. I looked it up in my reptile and amphibian book and I’m dipped if I can tell if it was a baby green frog, or a baby common toad. The body looked a little like a toad and the head like the frog.
I had repeat guests here about a year ago and the first thing out of their mouth was, “Is the frog still here?” I said sure, we have a variety of noisemakers in the back yard. They said, “NO, THE FROG!” I said, “What frog?” They said, “The one whose picture has been on our fridge the past two years. He was sitting on a lotus pad.” I said, “Jeepers, I am a complete and utter failure as an innkeeper cause I don’t have a clue if it is the same one or not, and furthermore I don’t know where he/she might be at this very moment!” At least as far as I know, Janice didn’t take any photographs of the little leapers so I don’t have to go through this again. Hopefully. (Although, she did name the baby Lil’ Kermit….) Mizkathleen @GracehillRead More
Weekdays in June have been surprisingly busy with guests while weekends relatively slow, which is a little odd. Have had a few drop-in one-nighters, but most of the reservations have been three to five-nighers. Almost all of our guests these last 16 days have been hikers, rather than the shop until you drop variety! Cades Cove has been busy with numerous bear sightings. Weather continues to be beautiful. Gardens doing well and the dog fur has kept the rabbits away. Ta Da!!! (See my previous post.)
We put up a bat house. Bats (five or six) had started roosting under the eave on the front of the house in an area that wasn’t ideal. They showed up last year in the same spot and we ran them off. This year I decided I wanted them as permanent tenants, just not in that spot. They appear to have found the bat house. We rubbed a little bat guano on the house hoping that might help them find it. It can take up to a year or longer for them to find a house, could I be so lucky to have the bats find it that soon?
On a personal note, I woke up one morning ten days ago and decided I needed to start painting again. I mean right then, like, serve breakfast, clear the table, and pick up a paint brush. Don’t know where the urge came from. I haven’t done much in the way of art these ten years I have been inn-keeping. A dear guest who has become a good friend shamed me into a little painting last summer but it is always easier for me to find work to do around the B&B. I finished one painting, worked on another, and started two others in the last ten days. Today is my first day without guests in a while and I thought I would paint all day. Thank the Lord common sense prevailed and I have been a good girl working through the piles on my desk today.
I have been trying to submit/claim my blog on www.Technorati.com for the last three weeks and today it took me one step further than before. I need to post the following number- ynvcjgiqrd, for it to find me. We’ll see if it works. mizkathleen @GracehillRead More
Have been busy these last ten days doing catch up on lots of small jobs, mostly in the office, but outside also. On Thursday Brandy, Hans, and I got in 3.5 hours each, outside, before the heavens opened back up with one heck of a storm. For as small as the rose garden is (80 bushes?) I don’t know where the time went between dead heading, spraying, & tying a few of them up.
Hans has continued to put in some time on Friday and today. For some reason, this year has been a constant battle against the forces of nature in the form of small critters. We always have the occasional bear, boar, turkey, and deer, but have never really had many squirrels and such. This year the rabbits, squirrels, and chipmunks have made a tossed salad out of everything we’ve planted. The birds tore up the moss garden for nest building so we put netting over what was left of the moss to anchor it down. You don’t really see it unless it is raining and the water beads up on it.
I tried sprinkling this rabbit/deer away stuff around. It has worked some. It is supposed to irritate their noses so they stay away. I could deal with the tops being eaten off the zinnias, but Mom went out one morning and all the parsley was eaten down to the ground. I’m surprised that the shriek that came out of her mouth didn’t scare them off permanently. We tried using a small trap to relocate them but they didn’t like Kroger brand carrots, I guess. I’ve tried a liquid that you spray on the foliage and it killed the May Night Salvia. So option four- I went to Pet Smart and asked them for all their dog fur out of their vacuum. Hans spread that around in and out of the plants and we’ll see if that works. Anybody have any suggestions other than expediting their trip to heaven I’m open to suggestions! mizkathleen @GracehillRead More
The Great Smoky Mountain Heritage Center Guild presented the 6th annual Heritage Happening: Landmarks of our Heritage, on Saturday May 30th, 2009, at the Heritage Center in Townsend, Tennessee. This annual event is the biggest fund raiser the museum has each year. 1,770 invitations were sent out with a near capacity crowd of 325 people. There is both a silent auction with 9 different categories, and a live auction which is, yes, always lively! The event grossed around $90,000 with the auction bringing in $54,040 of that. The live auction items that brought the most attention this year all had to do with food, no surprise: an evening boat ride for 12 complete with a gourmet dinner, a progressive dinner in Laural Valley, and the like. Besides paid help, it takes roughly 30 volunteers to pull this off each year. Of course you have the one night a year volunteers like me, and then there are the “a hundred++ hours a year” volunteers like some of my friends. It’s a lot of fun, particularly when it is over. Thanks to Cam King, Doris Gorman, and Betty Jones for letting me pick their brains, and the photo’s taken and provided by Louise Presley. mizkathleen @GracehillRead More
This article was linked to our Gracehill website for awhile and I decided to repost it in a blog format. There were eight photos that appeared in the original format, seven of which are already on our website so we are leaving them off the blog. Since this article was written, Gracehill won the award for a third year in a row, and added an additional bedroom.
Gracehill- Townsend, Tennessee
by Sharon Sweetser Pound
in Arrington’s Inn Traveler
One glance into the guest book at Gracehill in Townsend, Tennessee hints at this bed and breakfast’s distinct character. Comments include “a magical place,” “a wonderful refuge,” “couldn’t resist one more night,” “a little piece of heaven,” and “where we renew our spirits and restore our souls.”Read More
Tony Barbarette, the owner/operator, of Smoky Mountain Kayaking and I met today. He is a retired Army Intelligence Officer. He recently took a hobby he was passionate about, and turned it into what is becoming a full-time business. There are a handful of white water kayaking/tubing businesses within a two-hour drive of Gracehill Bed and Breakfast; Tony’s, is for the most part, the only lake kayaking and tours on flat water. He is based out of Maryville, Tennessee. Tony does tours on Douglas, Tellico, Chilhowee, Norris, and Calderwood Lakes, in the Fontana Dam and Abrams Creek area, and the Tennessee and Little Tennessee Rivers. One of the trips, if the water level is correct, you can kayak through an old train tunnel, or take a history tour of Fort Loudon State Historical Area. See the Sequoyah Birth Place Museum where Sequoyah invented the Cherokee Alphabet, and the Chota Memorial and Oconostota Burial Site.
His comments from a kayaking trip a couple of days ago– “What a beautiful Smoky Mountain day on Abrams Creek it was! Clear blue skies, cool breezes, and not another boater in sight! Ann and Roland Long from Texas were my companions. The mountain laurels were in full bloom along the water’s edge, and we all took advantage of the great photo backgrounds. I’m gearing up for the Memorial Day weekend with paddle tours scheduled for Fort Loudon Historical Area on Tellico Lake, tours to Chilhowee Lake, and Abrams Creek. Folks need to book early to get their first choice of the trip and time they would like.” The photo’s about sum it up! mizkathleen @Gracehill.