We began 2011 by giving the inn a ‘birthday party’ in January complete with a ribbon cutting by the Mayor, the local Chamber of Commerce, and many friends to commemorate the James Harden and Pearl Howell House as a local landmark as well as to toast a century of tourism that started here when Pearl opened the doors of Windover to guests in the spring of 1911. We were thrilled that Carey Howell-Duss, the granddaughter of James and Pearl, was able to visit us from Florida and participate in the ‘party’ and most importantly, act as a historian by recounting stories of her growing up next door in the 1940’s and 1950’s and actually helping out at Windover when it got busy, not to mention giving up her bedroom to ‘overflow’ guests from Windover during the ‘high season’! Also, Reimer and Judy Steffen, the second owners of this house from 1981 to 2004, were among the guests. They were the folks who ‘saved’ Windover from the wrecking ball by purchasing it from the son of James and Pearl literally days before it would have been demolished. Last but not least, Fay Clark, one of the employees who worked here for Pearl in the 1950’s was in attendance. She had been one of Carey’s babysitters, too. She is now in her 70’s and lives nearby. It was fun to see Carey and Fay reconnect (check out the picture!) as they hadn’t seen each other in many, many years!
The winter and early spring is typically a slower time here at the inn. But 2011 proved to be a lot busier than in the past. One reason was that the economy started to pick up a bit which was, hopefully, a good sign for all of us! We will continue to offer our 20% discounted pricing from January through March this coming year, too! And this will remain a tradition to welcome in future years as well.
It is still a well kept secret that some of the very best times to hike and sightsee in our area are during the winter and early spring. Without the heavy flora covering them, the vistas from local trails and roads are spectacular whereas these views are often hidden by thick growths of leaves and underbrush in the summer and early autumn. In early 2011 we had the opportunity to hike many nearby trails and were greeted by these stunning views found nowhere else in the country. There’s also skiing, snowboarding and snow tubing at Cataloochee Resort only 25 minutes away. And it’s nice just to kick back and relax here in the quiet (with perhaps the sight of a little snow dusting the mountains that ring our town) and then head into town for some shopping and a scrumptious meal at one of our fine restaurants. For a small town (less than 10,000) we think we have some of the best restaurants anywhere! In the past year alone, we have seen the addition of five excellent eateries in and around downtown Waynesville. It doesn’t get any better than that!
This spring saw some changes both outside and inside at the inn. We removed the old white lattice fence from around our private pool area, and had it replaced with a Victorian-style black metal fence. It looks much more attractive, and it’s easier to maintain! Also, inside we made changes to some of our rooms and suites to make them even more comfortable and inviting. We hope you agree!
During the summer months a project team from the NC Dept. of Transportation completed a pedestrian walkway on the portion of Old Hickory St. above us up to Brown Ave. This closed that portion of Old Hickory St. to vehicular traffic which had the effect of making us a cul de sac with the access road now being from Killian St. below the inn. This also caused us to get a new mailing address! So, we are now at 40 Old Hickory St. but we haven’t moved an inch! So, when you visit us, make sure you follow the directions on our website because many GPS systems have not yet been updated with this road closure.
Finally, in the interest of ‘continuous quality improvements’ we just recently made some changes to our dining room by introducing new tables and chairs. They are more comfortable for guests and easier to maneuver around for Jen to serve everyone at breakfast. With the new table and chair configuration, we were able to open the door between the dining room and hallway (most of you probably didn’t even know it was there!) to give this area a more spacious feel and to provide a better flow of guest ‘traffic’.
Most importantly, in 2011 we had the great pleasure of welcoming many folks for the first time (and many of you for the second, third and fourth times… and beyond!) through our doors. One of the great perks of our jobs is meeting and getting to know so many wonderful people and welcoming them into our ‘extended family’! We hope that you can visit us again (or for the first time!) in 2012. Until we meet again, Happy New Year!!