10 February, 2020


Royal Bank of Hiawassee

Ring, Ring.  "Hello, Rexall Drug Store. May I help you?"

"Do you have Prince Albert in a can?"

"Yes we do."

"Well, you better let him out before he suffocates."

It's an old joke, but I'm an old woman. Chancey Hill Inn is located in the pleasant Hiawassee Overlook neighborhood. Although in the city limits, it seems miles away. Most of the residents here have the same lawn mowing service which makes things easier for mower and mowees. The old and the new entrance signs and surrounds have been neatly trimmed and maintained for years, befitting the pride of the families living here. Then, low and behold, a shabby, neglected pall crept into the pretty walled area beneath our sign. After a bit of sleuthing it was learned that one of our dear, generous neighbors had been footing the bill for the maintenance for well over 10 years. She had nailed an old Prince Albert tobacco can to a secret spot known only to her and Terry, the man who mows most of the lawns here. Every month she left the payment in the (upside down, so it wouldn't get wet) tobacco can in a hidden spot so it could be retrieved without Terry even having to dismount his riding lawn mower. She is also considerate. For years and years their secret was kept and the faded, obsolete Prince Albert can served as a bank between the two. 

When this great act of kindness, and its unfairness, was uncovered  we oblivious neighbors, who thought that grass had been self cutting and weeds non-existent because we wanted them to be, finally stepped up to our responsibility. When Nancy, our benefactor, offered to pay what she called "her share," I was again humbled by her generosity and thoughtfulness. We are indebted to her, not just monetarily, but for the example she set for being a good neighbor. And for the record, it was not Nancy who disclosed the need for The Royal Bank of Hiawassee.
 

09 January, 2020


Traditions

A burning issue this time of year may well be Traditions - should they ever be tweaked or are they as set as Parliamentary Law? Like everything else, traditions had to begin. Be it religious practices, social or familial customs, traditions were, for the most part, handed down by word of mouth and reinforced by example.

Hank Williams Jr sang "Hank, why do you drink? Why do you roll smokes? Why must you live out the songs that you wrote? If I'm down in a honky-tonk and some ole slick's trying to give me friction I'll say leave me alone I'm singing all night long It's a family tradition." Listen to the entire Family Traditions song and you'll learn more traditions handed down by example. Some punishable by law.

Being a Southern girl, my family ate black-eyed peas, which represent coins and collards (dollars), along with some sort of porcine on New Year's Day. Still do. Traditions demand it.

Something old. Something new. Something borrowed and something blue. Wedding traditions, once sweet, simple and personal are now taking longer to pay for than some marriages endure.

It was not a destination wedding. It was to be held at the bride Sydney's church. The engaged couple had met in college. The duty of the Maid of Honor, an unmarried woman who attended the bride, began when England was both jolly and olde and class distinction reigned. After World War I, the Maid of Honor or Matron of Honor (married) became a designation of love and respect for a woman close to the bride. Sydney's best friend had been so since childhood and just had to be in the wedding party. The fly in the ointment was her BFF was a man. Sydney's betrothed offered Groomsman status to her dear friend, which would have eliminated one of his cousins. It was appreciated but didn't seem right. And idea formed and Sydney first consulted her future husband. They gathered their parents and the minister who was to perform the ceremony. They wanted no one to be offended or feel disrespected.

On a beautiful sunny day a group of people entered the church to share the joy of a wedding. Though some guests did not know one another, all knew the bride or groom. Happy tears escaped but not
one eyebrow was raised when Sydney turned and handed her bouquet, to receive her ring, to her Bride's Man of Honor.

A brave, loyal woman and two brave, loyal men, tweaked tradition with love and respect.

Bravo.

Happy 2020



06 November, 2019

Finally Fall


Finally Fall

Fall has finally arrived, and it is breathtaking this year. Leaves are turning colorful - yellow, brown, red, and still some green. Cooler air after the brutal heat of this past summer. And the turkeys are strutting their stuff at Chancey Hill Inn.

We've had a little more rain than over the summer months, and now a wider variety of temperatures. It's about time.

Fall is our busiest time of year as folks want to get away for a few days and relax in the mountains and enjoy the lake views. There are also a lot of fall activities taking place in the area. And we're seeing both friends that have been visiting often with us for several years, as well as many people that haven't seen much of the area. We really enjoy meeting new people and catching up with those we have enjoyed time together with.

Come see us in the mountains. 

John


15 September, 2019

Haint Misbehaving

Haint Misbehaving


"You'd better stay close to us or Soap Sally will get you. Mama, don't tell her that." The memory of the exchange between my mother and grandmother isn't exactly vivid but it has stuck with me for over 60 years.

"Who is Soap Sally?" I asked. My Appalachian grannie was only too happy to introduce me to the hag that roamed the mountains in search of wandering children. "If little children don't stay close to their parents, Soap Sally steals them and makes..." My mother quickly diverted the conversation so that her mother could not give me the full, gory scoop on old Sal. My mother knew that if I heard the entire account of that long-told Appalachian lore, she'd have me sleeping with her and my dad until I was 30. If you've any interest in just how evil Soap Sally was, you'll have to Google her. The havoc she spread is just too gruesome for our website.

Did you know that a spider webbing down is an omen of unexpected company? Well now you do. Of course everybody who is anybody knows if a black cat crosses one's path, bad luck will befall. If the ebony feline darts across the road while one is in an automobile, a lick on the finger to make a quick X on the windshield will circumvent the ensuing siege of mishaps. In my youth I heard that if you sweep under someone's feet it will make that person lazy. Even at a tender age it seemed if a person sitting on their fanny had to lift their feet feet so the floor could be swept, that person is already a bit lazy. I did not point that musing out to my grandmother. Placing a hat on a bed, well let's just say do it at your own risk.

Not all tales from my heritage are cautionary. As a kid, my parents moved several times. Each time we left a house, my mother cleaned that sucker from stem to stern. It was her gift to the new occupants. She also left a penny (heads up) over the front door to bring them good luck.

Appalachia is not the only culture to rely on oral histories to explain and control. It has been occurring for centuries. The forerunner to Soap Sally was the fairy tale Hansel and Gretel, teaching children to stay close to home for safety. Walt Disney's movie, Bambi, was lauded and loathed for its cruel reality. Appalachian parents could not park the kids in front of the TV for Mr. Rogers to raise while they planted, cooked, hoed, reaped and sewed. They loved their babies and did what had to be done.

I don't believe everything my grandmother told me but who knows, maybe I'm here to opine because I stayed close. Soap Sally wouldn't go near a child under the watchful eyes of an adult who loved her.

Come up and see us and we'll keep the Haints at bay.

17 August, 2019

M-E-O-W




M-E-O-W

She had never laid eyes on me before. To fondly recall an old saying used by my mother, she didn't know me from Adam's house cat.

I wasn't there to browse. I was on a mission. I'd stopped to buy stencils for a project at our newly purchased bed and breakfast inn in Hiawassee, the county seat of Towns County, GA.

She greeted me warmly and when asked, told me exactly where to find the object of my desire. After selecting, I placed the stencils on the counter to begin our transaction.

Obeying the edict from the never leave home without it crerdit card company, I proceeded. "We don't take credit cards" she politely said. I had, however, left home without money. I had not a penny to my name. "I'll dash home for the money and be right back" I said. "Just take them with you and pay me when you're back this way."

Did I hear that correctly? Yes, I had. I drove home in a state of shock with the stencils. I promptly took the money for the items to Noblets 5 & 10. Now, those stencils didn't cost much, but the kindness and trust extended to me, a total stranger, made me feel like a million bucks.

I don't know a thing about Adam's cat but I was the cat with the cream. What a great place John and I had chosen to live. Purr, purr.

Fun abounds in Towns.

 

29 June, 2019

Ten Years - WOW!


Ten Years - WOW!


At times it is hard to believe Dale and I have been here ten years. Sometimes it seems like we've only just begun.

We have met so many wonderful people over the years (and a few not so wonderfuls as well), and have developed friendships with many of our guests. We see some here when they come back to stay with us, some just stop by for a visit if they're passing through the area, and several that we've stopped by to see when we're near where they live.

Being innkeepers has been a learning experience for us in so many ways. And about so many things.

My idea of cooking when we opened the inn was to stick my head in the kitchen door and yell "is it ready yet?" Dale thought I should learn to cook some breakfast menus. With her patient instruction I've learned to cook quite a few breakfast items that appeal to our guests. Either that or they clean their plates rather than tell me that it is dreadful.

I still have a way to go when it comes to cleaning bathrooms. My business partner is meticulous about the bathrooms and they are always spotless.

We received some sage advise when we were getting ready to be innkeepers. It's called a bed and breakfast for a reason, so have comfortable bedding and satisfying breakfasts.

And that's what it's all about! Hope to see you soon here in the beautiful North Georgia mountains.

John

 

13 May, 2019

Get Ready 'Cause Here It Comes


Get Ready 'Cause  Here It Comes

 

Happy Spring. When did my semi-obsession begin? Oh, I remember now. Before attending Culinary School in 1992, I knew about boat ramps, handicap ramps and runway ramps. I've had and seen my share of rampages that caused running amok and going berserk. I knew that greedily spread gossip and some diseases run rampant and the ramparts cited in the Star Spangled Banner, our national anthem, were gallantly streaming. I was totally ignorant of what was causing some of my fellow students from the Appalachian area to be so howling-at-the-moon giddy.

It was, of course, the upcoming ramp season. Ramps, so called mainly in the Appalachian Region, and wild leeks elsewhere, would soon be ready for harvesting. "What are they and what's grand about them?" I asked. The exuberance and euphoria from those "in the know" made me feel like a heathen who had inquired about their religion. Conversion time was nigh. No more questions were needed. Once the bits were champed, the horses ran rampant.

Being a liker of leeks, onions, shallots, and other allium species, my interest was peaked. Trying to listen with attention to six voices at once, I gleaned that the eagerly awaited ramps were available for a short time. Aside from being used in zillions of recipes from pickles to pizzas, they were foraged. Foraged! I knew what that meant but had never done it. I guess my tribe had been hunters, not gatherers. Finding good food still in the earth where it grew with the Blue Ridge Mountains as the grocery store sounded a pleasurable romp. Arrangements were made. My classmates and I met and motored to ramp land. We foraged.

Some people taught and some people learned. Hunting wild game requires stealth and silence. Ramps don't run no matter how much chatter is chatted. Warm sun, blue sky and interest-stimulating companions made my first foraging foray far-out fun.

Now is the time to plan your own Ramp Romp. If you've never foraged or eaten ramps ask around for guidance. Proper method in harvesting will help ensure a great crop next season. If you're a veteran "ramp tramp" please share your knowledge and company.

Ramps aren't the only delicacies to be foraged in these here parts. A beautiful Chanterelle Tart, shared with my selected sisters, Anne, Grace and Maggie and served with a fine white wine, made me a true believer. Hallelujah. Dr. Phil is right about two sides to everything so if you don't know without a doubt what it is DON'T EAT IT! Next, don't plan a first date for a day or two after enjoying ramps. Trust me on these.

Thanks to Joan Crothers for sharing her ramps with me. They froze beautifully.