Monday, January 18, 2016

Things we love about Charlottesville Part 8

This list needs no are reasons 11-29:

Friday, January 15, 2016

'Things We Love about Charlottesville' Part 7

It's getting tricky now...but here we go! This part is all about why we love being in business in this area - and since many of you are dreaming of this, a bit of why it's so good here is in order.

39. Ok, not specifically to do with Charlottesville but...having a B&B isn't a stagnant occupation. There are new trends in the travel industry, in tourism, in how potential guests want to spend their time, and their money. We are grateful for our state bed and breakfast association, the Bed and Breakfast Association of Virginia. You only get out of an organization as much as you put our advice is to participate! There are yearly conferences, regional meetings, and plenty of time for socializing with other innkeepers who are doing things in other ways. Always an opportunity to learn something from this group.

38. Next is our local organization, Inns of Charlottesville. There is a lovely network of 'local' B&B's who have gotten together to form a group, mostly to market what we do so well. And the socializing...some of my favorite people are fellow innkeepers I truly admire and who inspire me to do better every day. The winner will be lucky to have such amazing support already in place!

37. Scottsville in particular is an adorable town, with all the associated small town charms and quirks. If you get involved, you will see a lot of support from the Town - they want to see businesses succeed, and there is always advice to be had if you know who to ask...and we will point the winner in the right direction.

36. Speaking of Scottsville...we are incredibly fortunate to have the foremost, most sought after B&B consultant living LITERALLY a few miles away. Peter Scherman, of The B&B Team, lives here and has his office right downtown on Valley Street. Seasoned and Aspiring innkeepers from all over the U.S. pay to have his advice...and if you are lucky, you can catch him out for lunch, or stop in and ask whatever is on your mind. He is the best there is for sage innkeeping advice - and he's in our backyard.

35. Virginia in general is a great place for business. The state tourism arm has the MOST successful advertising campaign in the history of tourism ads...Virginia is for Lovers is talked about worldwide for it's marketing success. The website is one of the most visited tourism websites in the US, and participating is FREE. Some of the work of getting visitors in your door is already done for you!

34. Tagging right along with is the local Charlottesville-Albemarle Visitor & Convention Bureau, or CACVB. Their marketing packages are pretty darn good, and again, participation is FREE. We have a gorgeous Visitor's Center, and the volunteers there are happy to recommend a sweet B&B...we will point the winner in the direction of those who are there to help!

33. This may come up again as a lifestyle reason to love Charlottesville, but as a BUSINESS owner, specifically one in which food is half your name...the food supply chain is unbeatable. From bakeries, to butchers, to Relay Foods for scheduled pickups when you are just too busy to shop (yes, it happens!), the support system for home cooks and chefs alike runs like clockwork.

32. Business services are also pretty darn good. The benefit of the rural atmosphere of Scottsville as a lifestyle isn't at all compromised by less than stellar professional services for your business...there are so many people who work from home, that finding just the right fit for an accountant, bookkeeper, or any other service you might want is pretty easy. Ask around, and you'll be amazed at the talent pool living and working right beside you here!

31. Local networking isn't limited to the Chamber of Commerce...many groups - especially in the wedding, restaurant, winery or tourism industry - host social events several times a year. We celebrate each others accomplishments, help spread the word about a new event location, and generally support each other! The saying goes, "A rising tide lifts all boats" and that is pretty much embodied in the hospitality business owners who are all working towards success in Charlottesville.

30. ...which leads to how wonderful it is to be a part of highly qualified, distintive, inspiring and innovative business owners, as you find in Charlottesville! Every issue of The Scout Guide Charlottesville is testament to the incredible quality and care that local business owners espouse in their everyday lives. The winner of High Meadows will be lucky to be a part of such community.

Monday, January 4, 2016

Happy New Year!

Welcome 2016 - and welcome to the upcoming changes at High Meadows!

Our family had a lovely holiday season, celebrating and reminiscing about the Christmases we have been lucky enough to have spent here. None have been as sweet as this one that just passed - and though certainly there is some melancholy when we think about not being here for Christmas 2016 - mostly, there is excitement looking forward to the changes ahead, and joy when we think about the new family that will be calling High Meadows home this year.

We are steaming full speed ahead with essays...if you haven't written yet, and are planning to, just do it! If you have a friend or loved one who you think should enter, tell them. There is no prettier time up here on this hill than Spring - and it's fast approaching. With 72 degrees on Christmas day, we sort of wondered if it wasn't already here, but there is a rumor of snow finally next week, so those daffodils that are poking up will need to go back to sleep for a little while at least.

Our January will be full of packing, planning our move, and organizing business details for a smooth transition. The deadline will be January 29th at midnight - this is the actual date that a 60 day extension will arrive on, and we anticipate all entries having arrived by the 10th or so of February. With reading and judging ahead of us, we want to announce a winner by late February, if all goes well! They will still have 10 days to decide to accept in writing, and then we will work to make the transition as smooth as possible, and as quickly as possible.

At least one other recent contest has closed without a winner, and entry fees returned. Rock Spring Farm, a lovely private home, didn't receive enough entries - and so they have decided to simply put the property on the market. While not nearly as exciting as being able to announce a winner - I know that the experience for the essayists, and for the property owners, was still well worth doing - and we feel EXACTLY the same way. Regardless of how this turns out (and we remain very optimistic!!), we have no regrets for this process. How wonderful to sit and write and dream, and how nice to meet and hear from so many lovely people! It's been lovely so far - and we know this month will pass quickly.

So, Happy New Year to all of our friends, new and old! Set your goals for 2016, and then take those first scary steps to meeting them...we have, and it feels just wonderful.

Saturday, December 12, 2015

What a month!

First of all, WHAT A MONTH this has been!

Clearly, we were too busy to get everything done we needed to do...and blogging was (sadly) not on the top of the to-do list!  You can see by the COUNTDOWN clock - we have decided to go ahead with the full 60 day extension...yes, it's kind of disappointing we won't be announcing a winner on Christmas - but from the feedback we received, it seemed better to just take the full time we needed, so we don't get hopes up again - and then need to extend another month. So, this is it! :)

We are well on the way to receiving enough entries to award the inn, and that may well be below the 5,800 we originally had hoped for - but the point is for us to be able to move on to a new project, and leave the inn in the hands of someone who will love her as much as we have.

We opened up reservations for New Year's Eve, and through Valentine's Day, and we will take a month during late February/March for transitioning to new owners. With reading well underway, we anticipate announcing a winner February 15th!

With contests like this one, the single deciding factor for success, is spreading the word! Please share our Facebook page, follow us on Twitter, and I am sure we will be welcoming new owners in 2016.

Enjoy these holidays - So far, December in Virginia has been warm and lovely! We are finally finishing our tree here at High Meadows this week, and will be enjoying Christmas one last time in this great old house!

Saturday, November 7, 2015

101 Things We Love...Part 6

November! We are counting down...and hoping to get Ellen's attention, so if you have a cousin that works for her, please tell her we need her help to get the word out about our contest! We have a long way to go, but the pace of entries has picked up in the past week. I realized I had better finish my list, and I was reminded on Halloween of my next great 10 things...

49. Halloween in Scottsville. This year, our little town had well over 1000 trick or treaters - because, thanks to our own Baine's Coffee & Books - Scottsville businesses on Valley Street transformed into the Harry Potter village of Hogsmeade! In the past, we have hosted a pumpkin carving contest too - there are house parties, and an amazing Trunk or Treat downtown set up by one of the local churches. A M A Z I N G.

48. Halloween in Charlottesville at UVA Grounds. IF you decide to venture out the day before the big neighborhood celebration, the Grounds at UVA are host to lots and LOTS of little ghosts and goblins. And they go home with lots of treats!

47. First Night Charlottesville. The Downtown Mall in Charlottesville hosts an incredible family-friendly New Year's Eve party that includes music, magic, food, and tons of fun!

46. 4th of July Naturalization Ceremony at Monticello. Every year, Monticello hosts over 100 people who are sworn in as new citizens of the USA on the morning of the 4th of July, in Thomas Jefferson's front yard. Go for the emotion, the celebration, and the always inspirational speaker.
Dave was there.

45. 4th of July Fireworks in Scottsville over the James River. Fantastic celebration for a small town. Picnic with your family on the banks of the James River, an amazing morning Main Street Parade including every firetruck from every station within 20 miles! Best of all, you can walk down the High Meadows driveway for front row seats.

44. Scottsville Festival of Lights. It can't be overstated, for a small town, there is a lot of community! Each year, for the past 8 years, local school, businesses and clubs decorate a Christmas tree - and for several nights in early December, this magical place is open to the public - for free. Miniature train village, sometimes Santa...gingerbread, and good company - it's beautiful! This photo is by Thomas Greene...just a perfect winter shot...imagine it all lit up at night, soooo pretty!

43. While maybe not specifically a Valentine's Day celebration, Charlottesville hosts an annual Chocolate Festival downtown every fall...decadent and delicious, you can get your chocolate fix in one stop.

42. Gingerbread House display at the Omni. Ok, it's not the Grove Park Inn - but there are some really talented locals and always some professional entries that will blow you away! Early December, downtown Charlottesville.

41. Easter. Charlottesville Parks & Rec holds and annual Easter Egg Hunt in Charlottesville, if of course the natural spring beauty of Albemarle County in April isn't enough of a treat for you!

40. Holly Trolley in Charlottesville. There are some incredible light displays in Charlottesville! If you want a guided tour, hop on the Holly Trolley and travel in style. Every evening for several weeks in December, it's one of our favorite memories of Christmas in Charlottesville!

so...have I convinced you yet to enter!?! You've only got a few weeks left...get writing!
How do I enter?
First,read the Official Rules. Most questions can be answered there.

Second, use the online entry form for the quickest and most secure way to tell us about your dream! Or, if you will be sending your entry through the mail, read the rules again for WHAT information we need and WHERE to send it.

What does it mean when you say 'don't include identifying information in your essay"? I want to tell you about myself!
Of course you do, and we want to hear it! We mean that - since we are doing everything possible to keep things anonymous - you should absolutely not use your real names in your essay, or phrases like, "I was Cynthia's roommate in 1985" because that is a specific person that we will be able to identify without lifting our eyes from the page. Saying 'I am a 5th grade teacher in Baltimore' is fine...there are a lot of you, and we do not read minds...just lots of essays.
Can I visit High Meadows?
Sure! We are open year 'round, though we have closed reservations for a time in 2016 anticipating time to get the new owners acclimated to their new digs. If you're asking about just stopping in, well, use your best judgement...we are busy welcoming and caring for our guests, so rooms are often occupied and off limits to visitors anyway. The photos on the website are very good, and I'll be posting more on the blog as the contest continues. 

Monday, October 26, 2015

Owner's Quarters...

We have had a ton of questions regarding Owner's I'll try to do them justice here by putting everything in one place! I have tried to explain in other places that we have utilized MANY different parts of the inn for our own space over the years, as the needs of my family changed. I assume that the new owner will also use the spaces as they see fit. There is no 'one size fits all' owner's quarters here!! Options, however are everywhere. :) Since many people also are interested in the Cottage, I will start there:

This is a photo of the Cottage (today...leaves are falling fast!),

and the professional photo from late spring
which, as you can see from the floor plans below, is currently divided into two guest rooms, each with a private bath. This cottage was built in 1996ish for the previous owners' parents, and when they passed away, it was divided as you see it is now.  We removed the kitchen appliances - but there is still 220 elec and plumbing run to the little sitting area (the room with the windows and yellow walls below) that has the door onto the deck, just capped off, that could easily convert this space back into a kitchen. This cottage also has drop-down attic stairs, accessed from the bathroom for the Cottage Room, for a storage space where we currently keep all the boxes for holiday decorations.
This is a photo of the entry hall, looking in as you open the front door. To the left is the door to the Cottage Room, to the right is the door to the Cottage Suite (with the deck)

Photos of the interior of the Cottage Suite:

Here are a few photos of the Cottage Room:

These bottom two are obviously NOT the professional shots...but you can see the bathroom, and the new flooring, bed and table/chairs.

That pretty much sums up the cottage...definitely potential and space for owners quarters, if the winner is so inclined.

 These next pictures are of the basement hallway, in between the kitchen and the rooms my children use:

These stairs are the ones that go to the main level, and you can see into the kitchen from this photo. The doorknob is just pretty, it goes into the full bathroom on this level. The wooden closet doors on the left cover a whole wall of shelving we use for towel and linen storage.
I like the floors...white stones in the bathroom with painted brick wall, and brick floor in the hall.

The next photos are of the rooms down on the lower level that we turned into our personal space for living room/dining room. You can get a feel for the spaciousness, and the window placement. That's a great gas stove insert! Directly across from it (not pictured) is the door that connects the kitchen.

The photo below shows the small room adjacent to the room above, and which also has a door out to the brick patio. This 'window' you see is covered with a board divider, and is seen from the other side above my son's bed (with the red/white coverlet below).

I got brave and took pics of my teens' rooms...don't judge's their mess. 
Top photo as a guest room many, many years ago - nice and neat. Bottom is my 13 year old daughter's vision of pink.We painted the paneling - it's not fancy woodwork, just literally beadboard panelling, added in the 80's to cover rough plaster walls. There is an in-the-room handsink. The floor is painted concrete - we like that, but basically you could put down anything you want over this surface. This is at the front of the house, with a door connecting to the full bath (that also has the door from the hall with the pretty knob...two doors into one bathroom), as you are reading the floorplan...the room on the bottom right of the picture below.

Below is my son's room (the bottom left room in the photo above) - it's a painted concrete floor as well. Nothing fancy, the windows let in nice light. It is at the front of the house, directly below the Peony room.

The last photo of where we 'live'...
This is called the 'Office' on the floor plan, it's on the main level, and we have a tv in an alcove here (not pictured, on the right), there is a full bathroom to the right also. 

Behind the curtain, there is a doorway we boarded up (but could easily be taken down) that leads to the massage room - which has a separate entrance from the back porch. Before we closed it off, that part of this room held the bed for this room, which has been a guest room, and was also where my mother lived when we first came. 

SO...these are some of the spaces you HAVEN'T seen on the website, as they are generally off limits to guests. I hope it's obvious there are SO MANY configurations for pretty much whatever the new owners needs are! Lastly, the laundry room, kitchen....

And the large chicken coop/tool shed. 

Now go, write your essay, and ENTER!!!  Good luck!