Saturday, August 30, 2008
Our bonfire pit
Thursday, August 28, 2008
Even with this rain, drought conditions still exist, so we are still agressive about conserving water.
Saturday, August 23, 2008
We also recently heard from some other guests who have moved to Belgium for 2 years. I haven't really been to Belgium--only passed through a few times on the night train when I was going to university in Paris. We would head to Amsterdam on Friday night to party for the weekend, then take the Sunday night train back to Paris, arriving just in time for classes.
We have had guests at Ash Grove from all over the world--New Zealand, Australia, Sri Lanka, India, the Philippines, Japan, South Africa, Russia, Uzbekistan, Romania, Italy, Germany, France, Great Britain, Ireland, Columbia, Mexico, British Virgin Isles, Canada, and probably some others that I have forgotten. That is one (of the many) things that I enjoy about owning Ash Grove--we get to meet so many great people from everywhere, with different ideas, different cultures and different takes on the world.
For the most part, we have a great group of guests. Another cabin resort owner and I were recently exchanging stories about our bad guests. He had banned more people this year from returning to his property than we have banned in 5 1/2 years. I firmly believe that you get back what you put out, so we strive to make Ash Grove a welcoming place for all and put a lot of positive energy out to the universe.
Sunday, August 17, 2008
It also looks as if we might get the remnants of Tropical Storm Faye later on this week. I hope that she doesn't slam the Carribean and Florida, but we could us a couple of days of soaking rain here.
Saturday, August 16, 2008
The larger waterfalls are still spectacular, although they are at a reduced flow. Some of the smaller ones are just a trickle. Normally, Transylvania County is the wettest county in NC (we are a temperate rain forest) and Asheville/Buncombe County, which is only about 20 miles from here is the driest--go figure. We are probably more than 20" below normal here at Ash Grove.
Our water supply comes from deep wells (1000' or more). We are conserving water by not pressure washing the cabin exteriors (although a couple of them could use it); not washing our vehicles; not watering any outdoor landscaping, etc. We are asking our guests to conserve by taking shorter showers (save 2 gal/minute); turning off faucet while shaving or brushing teeth (save 1+ gal/person); reusing their towels (save 60 gal/person per average stay). For some of our other energy saving policies check out our website http://ash-grove.com/policies.asp
I'm headed outside now to do my best raindance, and maybe this shower will stick around for a while longer! Steven
Wednesday, August 13, 2008
Last week's hike was off the Blue Ridge Parkway at Graveyard Fields. It was about an 8 mile hike, my upper limit at this point. I hiked down from the parking area to the Lower Waterfalls, where several people were swimming to cool off--it was 82 degrees that day. Due to the extreme drought, the falls weren't as spectacular as usual, but still beautiful none the less. Near the falls is a short connector that gets you to the Mountains-to-Sea Trail. It was my first hike on that section of trail. The forest in the Graveyard Fields area is fairly sparse, due to an extremely intense forest fire in the 1920s that not only burned the forest, but burned all the nutrients from the soil. The forest is coming back, but very slowly. Due to the sparseness of the undergrowth, you could see much further through the forest than in most other areas, and the views of the near and distant peaks--all the way to Tennessee--were incredible (of course, I forgot to take my camera).
Another perk of the Graveyard Fields area, was that I had chosen to hike during prime blackberry season. There were literally millions of ripe, lucious blackberries, growing so thickly on the bushes, that they looked like clusters of grapes from a distance. I ate my fill of them. The blueberries were almost ripe--still kind of pink, but there by the million as well. A few of them were ripe and very sweet, so they made a nice counterpoint to the tartness of the blackberries.
I then hiked to the Upper Waterfalls, my first time there. If the drought wasn't so severe, the falls would have been breathtaking. Since there is no such thing as a not-beautiful waterfall, I still thought that it was worth the trip--especially when I took off my shoes and socks and let the cool waters rush over my tired feet. Then it was back to the parking lot and the drive home to Ash Grove.
Friday, August 8, 2008
We have been here 5 1/2 years now, and still find it a perfect place to work and live. We are in Transylvania County, which is known as "The Land of Waterfalls", with over 250 of them in the County. Dupont State Forest, Pisgah National Forest and Gorges State Park (under development/construction until 2009) take up almost 50% of the County land, so it will be tough to overdevelop the area, but I am sure someone will try. Ash Grove is located on 14 wooded, mountaintop (3000' elevation) acres, about 10-12 minutes south of downtown Brevard, near Cedar Mountain. We--Mark and Steven--are the owners, maids, maintenance men and general all-round flunkies. Ernie, our 9 year old 13 lb. mini-Daschund, is the official 4-legged doorbell for the office, greeter and guard dog, assisted by Max, our 7 month old Basset Hound/Cocker Spaniel mix. Cleo, our Calico Manx, lives in our apartment on the property, and keeps the moths under control.
Visit our website http://www.ash-grove.com
Just a brief introduction, written by Steven......