March 13, 2015 by Susan Murray
I recently asked our fans on Facebook what they would like to hear about on my blog and was told that they wanted to know what my/our usual day is like as innkeepers at our Asheville Bed and Breakfast. At the risk of boring you, here goes!
6:45 AM Our alarm goes off and James gets up to get the coffee started and bring in the newspapers. While he does that, I make a quick scan of the local newspaper and my Google Asheville Alerts looking for items which might be of interest to our guests and/or to use on our social media.
7:20 AM We are both downstairs. I am in the kitchen beginning to work on breakfast and James is at the computer answering emails and checking the phone for messages which may have come in the night before.
7:45 AM James is busy emptying the dishwasher and cleaning up the dishes I used to get your breakfast in the oven while I eat my breakfast at the desk, preparing the work-chart for our housekeeping staff, noting check-outs and check-ins and any special requests. I answer my emails and start work posting on our social media. Between Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Pinterest and now Instagram, I work on this off and throughout the day finding and posting articles, taking pictures, etc. Thank goodness Asheville is such an active city!
8:00 AM Breakfast preparation is in full swing. I am cooking bacon or sausage, and setting out the first course. James is taking out the juice, water and any extras that need to go on the table. From now until the last guest is served we will both be working on getting the food out the door. When we are full and everyone comes down at the same time, it can get a little crazy. James likes to call it our “Goat Rodeo” in the kitchen.
9:30 AM-10:30 AM Breakfast is finished and we are cleaning up the kitchen and ready to start prepping the next day’s meals. James is making sure guests who need help with their day’s plans or activities are taken care of and we both say good-bye to guests who are leaving. Sara, our Assistant Innkeeper, usually arrives around 10AM and helps get the dining room cleared.
10:30 AM Our housekeeping staff arrives and I brief them on the day’s requirements. Depending on the day, we may have one or two extra people helping. One person to do the bedrooms and another to clean the public areas of the house. By now James has finished with the guests and is ready to go shopping for me. I prepare a weekly menu on Monday, taking into account any special diets or allergies our guests might have. But it’s not set in stone and may need tweaking according to available produce at the markets. It’s a good thing we have cellphones as James may need to call me multiple times when the seasons are transitioning.
10:30 AM-2PM While the rooms are being cleaned, Sara and I prep breakfast for the following day so that in the morning all I have to do is put it together. In addition we will bake cookies, muffins, and evening treats, make jams and pickle produce from our garden and of course, there are the canapes for the evening to be prepped as well. James will be fixing the random things which need repairing, mowing the grass, and doing outside maintenance. We have a wonderful gardener who comes once a week (or we would never stay ahead of the weeds!) but there is always more to be done.
2 PM The housekeeping staff leaves and James and I have lunch and take a short break while Sara finishes cleaning the kitchen and sets the table for the next morning. She will leave around 2:30.
2:30-5PM James and I alternately take a break so that one of us is always available to answer the phones and check-in arriving guests. This is when I may be found ironing (and watching various cooking shows) or I may be at the desk writing this blog, working on specials and packages, updating our website, looking at recipes or doing other inn related chores. During my break is when I like to go for a run. It’s good to get out of the house and enjoy the beautiful area around us!
5 PM James and I prepare the hors d’oeurves and set out the wine
5:30-7 PM While our guests are enjoying the evening reception and James is helping them choose a restaurant and telling them about all the wonderful places for music and people watching in downtown Asheville, I put the finishing touches on the evening treats before we put them in the rooms. Then I will clean up the kitchen one more time (!) and get started on our dinner.
7 PM We clear away the dishes from the Evening Reception (although we are happy if our guests linger in the parlor or on the front porch). Then we turn the phone over to the answering machine and sit down for a well deserved glass of wine!
It’s a full day and it would be repetitive were it not for the people we meet and the enjoyment of living in Asheville. Minutes snatched to enjoy downtown festivals and evenings out get us through the busy season and the long winter break usually finds us more than ready to start up again in the Spring!
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