Wednesday, September 28, 2011

When Is The Best Time To Hike Chimney Rock Park?

If I could post just two words about Chimney Rock this fall they would be “Hikers Needed!”  When was the last time you hiked to a 400 foot waterfall and stood there all by yourself?  How about hiking a “skyline trail” that enabled you to actually look out at Hickory Nut Gorge, take some pictures of it, and then turn the other direction and have a gorgeous view of colored splendor? When was the last time you had a picnic lunch feeling like you were the only person on the planet at that particular moment?

Well, if any of those images resonate with you, then now is the perfect time for you to go visit Chimney Rock Park.  Why is a visit to the park any better now than any other time you ask?  Well, here’s why….under normal, everyday circumstances, Chimney Rock Park is like every other attraction out there…it’s BUSY.  But, this Autumn (and this Autumn only), the elevator that is normally in service to lift all those folks that cannot or do not want to hike up to the rock, is being refurbished and will not be in service throughout the autumn color season. 
What does that mean for those of you who are able to hike moderate or more strenuous trails?  A gorgeous landscape, a nearly perfect experience and because of the improvements being done at this time the rates to get into the park have been reduced also.

If you want to add to your experience the park has some classes also.  Survival skills workshops, guided nature hikes, crafts demonstrations and music programs are among some of the events.  You can even register for some of their classes such as photography and birding.  They even have rock climbing classes.  Could you have guessed that one?  All events are listed on the website at this page http://www.chimneyrockpark.com/events/month_view.php?monthYear=2011&month=10&category=8&catYear=2011
For those of you that are not familiar with Chimney Rock Park, a little bit of information might be in order.  The monolith, or chimney, is 535 million years old!   Guests have a 75-mile panoramic view of Hickory Nut Gorge and Lake Lure and it has been known to make hikers sit down and revel in the beauty. Hickory Nut Gorge, one of the state’s most significant centers of biodiversity, is home to 36 rare plant species and 14 rare animal species, as well as the second highest waterfall of its kind in the eastern United States.   This park has been entertaining guests for over one hundred years with all of the sights and wonders that nature can provide.  There are five different hiking trails and if you are really observant you will have the opportunity to see rare and indigenous plants, unusual geological formations and lots of native wildlife.
So…put on your hiking boots, grab your water bottle and bring lunch to Chimney Rock Park.  And as they say in their brochure:  Get ready to explore!
Reduced Admission: $12 for adults, $5 for youth (ages 6-15); other discounts still apply
Seasonal hours: Open daily from 8:30am to 7pm with the Ticket Plaza and front entrance gate closing at 5:30pm; hours change in November
We hope we've given you yet another reason to visit the 1898 Waverly Inn in Hendersonville, NC very soon!

John, Diane, Darla & Debbie
1898 Waverly Inn
Bed and Breakfast Hendersonville NC

Monday, September 19, 2011

1898 Waverly Inn: Where all of our guests are our friends, even the furry ones.

We have lots of squirrels on Main Street in Hendersonville.  I am talking about the standard garden variety of small animal that visits our trees, bird feeders and sometimes our porch at the inn.  We cross paths a lot with these furry creatures and usually find them to be smarter and more tenacious than we are.  This time of year I am reminded of just how much they affect our lives.  They have created hundreds of little holes all over the property where they are burying “things” with the efficiency of a computer. 

A few weeks ago a lovely lady, who has been a more than frequent guest because of her work, heard one of our squirrel stories and decided that “everyone was welcome at the inn”.  And she created a picture to prove it!

This one was told by Innkeeper Debbie Jones about her dining room adventure…

“One day we had some guests arrive a little early and their room was not quite ready.  I was attempting to give the housekeeper a few minutes to finish their room by giving the guests a grand tour of the first floor.  I showed them the dining room and moved into the library.  As we entered the library I heard a noise in the corner and wondered what it was but went on talking to the guests.  Suddenly a squirrel jumped up on the top of the chair in the corner of the room!  I quickly backed the guests back into the dining room and shut the door. I sent the guests on to their room and then went and opened the front door and attempted to shoo the squirrel towards the front door.  The squirrel ran towards the door but I could not see for sure that it went out.  I looked around didn’t see the squirrel anywhere so I shut the front door, reopened the library door and went back to work.

About 45 minutes later Darla walks into the office with Casey (the dog) with her.  Darla made the comment that Casey acted strangely in the front hall and even walked into a guest room like she was following a scent.  I told Darla about the squirrel and we went to investigate.  Sure enough, there was the squirrel hiding in the guest room!  Casey scared it out and it ran across the hall into the dining room where it jumped up on the back of a chair and then jumped from table to table around the room in a mad dash to get away from us!  Eventually the squirrel fell down between a radiator and the wall.  He appeared to be stuck.  Darla and I are thinking “now what?”

I went to the office and called animal control to see if they could help.  They informed me that they only handle domestic animals and I would have to call a specialist.  The closest one is half an hour away.  I went back to the dining room to check on our furry friend.  On my way I stopped to close the doors to guest rooms and reopen the front door.  The squirrel was just working himself out of his tight spot.  He got free and then jumped around a few more tables before heading back into the library where the story began.  Together Darla and I, using my winter coat as a shield, worked to get him back towards the front door and eventually outside again.  This all took about 45 minutes.  Our little guest had been with us for at least an hour and a half.  It was by far the most unusual day at work I have ever had at any job!”

Autumn has arrived here in Western North Carolina.  From leaves changing to animals foraging, it is a beautiful time of year to be surrounded by nature.  Here at the 1898 Waverly Inn, our guests leave as our friends; while fear will likely keep our furry visitor from ever coming back, we will always consider him our friend, Squirrel the Explorer!


We hope we've given you yet another reason to visit the 1898 Waverly Inn in Hendersonville, NC very soon!

John, Diane, Darla & Debbie
1898 Waverly Inn
Bed and Breakfast Hendersonville NC
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