Archive for July, 2011

Measures of Success

Saturday, July 30th, 2011

We’ve had a pretty good spring and summer so far, at least compared to the previous three “recession” years. We’ve had lots of guests from all over the state, the country and the globe stay with us. But I’m a right-brained person who needs tangible and measurable evidence that the tide has turned. So, how do we measure success around here?

  • The washers and dryers are starting to show their age, clanging in unison while cleaning and drying your sheets and towels.
  • The minimal amount of grass remaining on our property is being ground into the earth by the pitter patter of human and canine feet.
  • We’ve stepped up our monthly coffee bean order.
  • The little wooden “NO” sign that goes in front of our VACANCY sign has been hanging outside a lot more than last year.

However, the most accurate indicator of how busy our busy season has been is surely the number of half-used rolls of toilet paper we have pulled out of guest rooms for our own personal use! We have a large boxful and we are very grateful. Hope to see you soon here at the Camellia Cottage Bed and Breakfast in wonderful Wilmington NC.

You’re a Peach

Thursday, July 21st, 2011

Peach kuchen, peach cobbler, peach ice cream, peach coffee cake, peach crisp, peach jam, peach tart, peach pancakes, peach french toast, peach muffins, peaches and cream, peaches in custard, peaches in fruit salad, grilled peaches, ….

Camellia Cottage Bed & Breakfast breakfast menu continues….

The Euros Are Coming! The Euros Are Coming!

Friday, July 8th, 2011

The exchange rate between the dollar and the Euro must be very favorable to citizens of European countries because we are seeing a lot more of them lately at the Camellia Cottage Bed and Breakfast. All kinds of Europeans—Irish, Norwegian Scot, British, Swiss etc. have sat around our breakfast table over the last few weeks. They’ve learned all about southern customs and culinary traditions, and shared their own cultural values with our other guests from Raleigh, Charlotte, Atlanta and DC.

During 15 years of innkeeping we have experienced many different cultures in this way and we are the richer for having had these opportunities. What fascinates us is how similar we all are in most respects. What also fascinates us is how we differ on the little things—things that we always assumed there was only one way to do. For instance, they can’t understand why American waiters and waitresses are always trying to talk to them about things they consider very personal. They also can’t relate to figuring out a tip at the restaurant because it’s already included in the price of a meal when they go out to eat in their own countries. And, you wouldn’t believe what passes for toilet paper across the big pond!

Bottom line: one of the most special things about being an innkeeper is meeting and learning about people from all over the world without ever leaving our Wilmington NC bed and breakfast (although we certainly would like to take a trip to their parts of the world some day!)

The Best Place in Wilmington

Saturday, July 2nd, 2011

Over the years, several guests here at the Camellia Cottage Bed and Breakfast in Wilmington NC have enquired as to my absolute favorite place in all of Wilmington. Usually, I hesitate all of a second or two and then tell them about the Minnie Evans Bottle Chapel at Airlie Gardens. And now I’m going to tell you too.

 Let’s start with Airlie Gardens. This 67-acre horticultural and ecological treasure started out as an estate garden over 100 years ago and became part of the New Hanover County park system in 1999. Although numbers can’t do it justice, check out these numbers just the same:

  •  Over 100,000 azaleas!
  •  10-acres of freshwater lakes and ponds
  • A 467-year old tree that is the North Carolina Champion Live Oak

 The name Airlie Gardens is apt—there are many different gardens on the property. There is the Tranquility Garden, the Pergola Garden, the Camellia Garden (these camellias are even bigger and older than those at Camellia Cottage) and the Spring Garden. There’s also an enclosed Butterfly House, called a fritillary.

 And finally, there is the gem of Airlie Gardens, at least from my perspective, the Minnie Evans Bottle Chapel. The Bottle Chapel is constructed with over 4000 colorful glass bottles and features metal sculptures, and mosaics. All the sculptures were designed by area artists as a tribute to Minnie Evans, a locally renowned artist who also worked as a gatekeeper at Airlie Gardens for many years.

 In the spring, summer and fall Airlie is home to live jazz concerts. Over the holiday season, it becomes “Enchanted Airlie” with hundreds of thousands of Christmas lights, miniature trains and music everywhere. My favorite Airlie time is dusk in the winter when, responding to some secret cue, hundreds of egrets seem to land in the trees surrounding the ponds virtually simultaneously. It’s a sight to behold.