Saturday, January 31, 2015

Date Night By Rex: Pix for February

Meet Rex
Rex is a well-known and respected figure at The Harvester Performance Center here in Rocky Mount Virginia. When you purchase your concert tickets or need information Rex is sure to provide you with the most up to minute details to ensure your visit is a success 540-GUITARS. 

When you arrive at The Harvester Performance Center, you may overhear Rex bidding young lovers or seasoned old:

"Enjoy your date night"

Introducing Rex Pix
This is where Rex shares his choice date night shows at The Harvester with you. Rex is also a musician, so when I asked Rex what shows he would recommend for the month of January, his response was here.

And so, that's verification that from our first Date Night By Rex, heed his advice:

He is at the heart of The Harvester
Rex's Pix for February are: 
Leon Russell on the 7th..."superstar", "This Masquerade", "Delta Lady", Tightrope", "A Song For You" and so many more...

And since laughter brings us all closer together, James Gregory "The Funniest Man in America" on the 21st..."it might be a law, I don't know".

But wait, let's take this a step further
Once you decide on your date night of choice, consider staying at our fabulous bed and breakfast inn here in Rocky Mount, within walking distance of The Harvester Performance Center:

Claiborne House B&B
Don't forget our BOGO Special the Month of Love!

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Footlights of the Blue Ridge at The Harvester!

The Harvester Performance Center is proud to announce the 2015 "Footlights of The Blue Ridge" series. 
Footlights of The Blue Ridge is celebrating it's 10th year of presenting some of the best local bluegrass music and is an affiliate of the Crooked Road Music Trail of Southwest Virginia. Footlights premiered in 2005 and continues to bring great entertainment to music fans as part of the Harvester Experience.  

2.7    The Locust Mountain Boys
2.21  Common Ground
3.6    The Bluegrass Brothers
3.20  Jr Sisk & Ramblers Choice
For more about the Footlights of The Blue Ridge shows click here.

The Claiborne House is really excited to hear about this! Bill Fuller has been presenting Footlights of the Blue Ridge and introducing old time mountain and bluegrass music here in Rocky Mount for years! We are thrilled the tradition will be carried on through our new venue The Harvester.

Many times we have sent guests over to one of the Footlights programs and they were astonished to find out the band or performer is the top in their field, multi-award winners.  Example:

2015 SPBGMA Award nominees announced

Junior and the band have been nominated in 4 categories for the 2015 SPBGMA Awards! Junior was nominated for Songwriter of the Year and Male Vocalist of the Year (Contemporary), and the band was nominated for Instrumental Group of the Year and Gospel Group of the Year (Traditional). Link here.
  1. IBMA Award Winners Junior Sisk and Joe Mullins to Release Tribute Album
  2. PR Junior Wins IBMA Male Vocalist of the Year 2013
  3. PR Junior-IBMA Nominations 2013
  4. Junior Sisk Ramblers Choice to Perform at Ryman
  5. Junior CD Release March 2013
  6. PR – Junior at Bluegrass on the Beach
  7. Junior CMT March 7 2013
  8. Junior Sisk & Ramblers Choice and Lorraine Jordan and Carolina Road to Play at Bluegrass Underground 2 2013
  9. PR – Junior Ripley Bluegrass
  10. Junior Sisk & Ramblers Choice to Perform at Penny Royal Opera House 2 2013
  11. PR – Junior Sisk Album
  12. SPBGMA 2013     
Walk to these shows from The Claiborne House Bed and Breakfast

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Random Ramblings from an Innkeeper: Things to give up for 2015

We often turn our New Year's resolutions into things we want or plan to do in the New Year, but perhaps in this day and age we should consider things we want to give up instead? 

We are inundated with technology and time stealers...we used to call a spade a spade, they were called spam, now we have to be polite and beat around the bush as they waste our time, energy and gumption. Yes I said gumption. I was all fired up working on a project and after my third "marketing call" insert tele-marketer, and deleting and denying junk mail, I am beat.

Things to give up for 2015 (not in any particular order, but just 5 things): 
1. Stop waking up overwhelmed with too many things on my plate. I wake up busy. I need to have a list by priority and get things done that matter. At the end of the day when I have accomplished an item on the list, if not more than one I will sleep well and be satisfied. I need to start my day on an even keel, whether we have guests here to cook for, or not.
2. Stop giving more time to others than I do my spouse and my family. This is a top priority in 2015. This means my online time if not a personal satisfaction or benefit to others I will abstain. Blogging other sites, linkedin forums that devour my time and are not of any special use to me are 86'd.
3. Stop staying inside as long as I do. Get outside more. Feel the sunshine on my skin. Close my eyelids and feel the sun for a spa treatment from God's good earth. This is a hard one as it is currently cold outside, but I will do it, and I will walk the track at the Y and climb McAfee's Knob this spring.
4. Stop letting my emotions take over reality. This is a hard one as we see things through our own eyes. I won't let the enemy trap me and take me down when I have so much to be thankful for. Can I get an AMEN? 
5. Stop withholding words of inspiration, encouragement and good news. I will, I repeat I will share the good news that has changed my life. I will stop trying to be mediocre and non offensive. I will stop withholding important information, and I will tell people they count, that God doesn't make junk. I will stop waiting until I am old and grey (grey-er) to be a bright light in a sad dark world.
“Sometimes the questions are complicated and the answers are simple.” ― Dr. Seuss

Here is an excerpt from a very good list I found online titled "15 Things You Should Give Up To Be Happy":

1. Give up your need to always be right
There are so many of us who can’t stand the idea of being wrong – wanting to always be right – even at the risk of ending great relationships or causing a great deal of stress and pain, for us and for others. It’s just not worth it. Whenever you feel the ‘urgent’ need to jump into a fight over who is right and who is wrong, ask yourself this question: “Would I rather be right, or would I rather be kind?” Wayne Dyer. What difference will that make? Is your ego really that big?

2. Give up your need for control
Be willing to give up your need to always control everything that happens to you and around you – situations, events, people, etc. Whether they are loved ones, coworkers, or just strangers you meet on the street – just allow them to be. Allow everything and everyone to be just as they are and you will see how much better will that make you feel.

“By letting it go it all gets done. The world is won by those who let it go. But when you try and try. The world is beyond winning.” Lao Tzu

Read the entire list here.

McAfee's Knob - photos sent to us from our guests

Back to the innkeeper's waiting list of things to accomplish for today. In order, not reactive as things are thrown at me like a knife throwing show at a circus!
“Today you are You, that is truer than true. There is no one alive who is Youer than You.” ― Dr. Seuss

Friday, January 23, 2015

Top Ten Things You Always Wondered About Staying in a B&B (but were too embarrassed to ask!)

If you are hesitant to stay at a B&B because of the way the media portrays them, then please read on... 
May 1st last year. I love to take photos in every season and Spring is spectacular in Virginia
We are not your grandma's house. The Claiborne House B&B innkeepers promise to give you privacy and space and not follow you around and check up on you!

Top Ten Things You Always Wondered About Staying in a B&B (but were too embarrassed to ask!)

1) Do we have to eat with strangers?
Yes and no. We have an open breakfast time from 8am to 9am (and can actually change that for you if you ask). So you may or may not encounter other guests. 

We also offer breakfast delivered to two of our guest rooms - you can even eat outside weather permitting! So we recommend you choose those if you want to never see another soul. We know this getaway is not about us, not about others, but about you! You are here to reconnect, or reignite the flames. We are here to serve you.

2) Are the bathrooms shared?
None. Nope, not one, in the least. Every guest room has its own appointed private bathroom. If you want the largest bathroom choose The Blue Ridge Room

3) Are there TV's? Is there Cable? Is there highspeed internet via WIFI?
Yes. Yes and Yes. Flat screen tellies in every room with cable and we have three WIFI routers so even The Love Shack and front porch have access to WIFI. 

4) Do we have a curfew?
No. Never. We want you to check in and then do your thang. If you walk to a show at The Harvester Performance Center downtown a few blocks form us, stay as long as you like, heck go for dessert across the street afterward at Bootleggers Cafe. You will have the keys to the mansion, so to speak. At check in you will have a front door access code and your room keys and bobsyeruncle. Have fun!
I took this photo on Mill Mountain near the Star and thought it would make a perfect pic-a-nic spot for our guests! We offer a picnic package with a personalized list of unique scenic places.
5) Do we have to interact with the innkeepers?
Only if you want to. This is a trick question as some guests want the song, dance and magic tricks from the innkeepers. They feel that they rent us when they reserve a room here. O contrare' it doesn't work that way. While I am in cooking breakfast I can't be out performing the magic tricks. I say this tongue in cheek as we have had guests demand the magic tricks, and even a pony! We will give you as much attention as you enjoy without being overbearing. Howz that for an answer?

6) I have a special diet, how will this work out if someone else cooks breakfast and I can't order off a menu?
We are absolutely 100% on-board for special diets. We even ask you about this when you make the reservation. You tell us, we are on it! Gluten Free, Vegetarian, No Dairy, just let us know in advance. We want you to enjoy a home-cooked delicious breakfast!
A mother-daughter getaway at The Claiborne House B&B
7) Is everything old and rickety?
Sometimes, even the innkeepers knees are old and rickety! 

Let's be honest here, as we are a circa 1895 Queen Anne Victorian, so we try not to populate the inn with modern pieces. While we do have some older antiquey items, we promise not to sit you in a chair that will fall to pieces beneath you. Part of the "charm" of an older home is all the wood work and the antiques. "Well built!" as Tony likes to say.

We absolutely will not fill every room with dust collectors, however. So we steer clear of the tchotchkes and bric-a-brac that we have seen at some B&B's - no dried flowers and potpourris. 
Shhh don't tell Tony I collaged him! (This was when we finally had the chance to rip out the carpet runner on the stairs, which in turn meant refinishing the wood, and then repainting the multi-colored banister and all the bead-board and then the whole foyer...and we have to do this when there are no guests here for a week or so.)
8) Why should we choose The Claiborne House over another B&B?
A couple reasons come to mind... 

Firstly: We are a family-owned and operated B&B. When you see green lawns out front, Tony mowed them in the heat of the day so you can sit on the porch with your glass of wine or iced tea and take in the scenery. 

When you see flowers in your room, Shellie chose them and placed them there just for you. We do these things personally to ensure you have an awesome stay! We don't want to be run-of-the-mill.

Secondly: We try to keep our rooms affordable as we know you work hard for your money, so hard for it honey...well you know what I am trying to say. Just as we work dang hard for ours, we want you to enjoy value for money.  We offer as many extras as possible to enhance your stay. Sodas, snacks, coffees and teas. We can't always guarantee check-in homebaked goodies, but we make them often!

Thirdly: And please don't miss this one. If you are reading this then you have seen how the innkeepers blog things to see and do in the area. There are literally pages and pages of Sites of Interest built just for you on our website and blog. 

Examples: hikes, suggested itinerarybest places to get kissed (this is a list compiled by your innkeeper Shellie - not copied from an online source or book) where she shared romantic covered bridges, scenic overlooks and more! 

In other words, we put a heap of effort into our guest experiences.
Everyone is welcome, even guys and gals who wear Carhartt and skeet shoot like this couple enjoying the porch together! If you could zoom in you would see that behind those french manicured nails is a built in shoulder pad on her right shoulder to help catch the recoil
9) Discrimination
A colleague of mine told me a horror story of the time she and a good friend went to a B&B in our state. She is happily married - to a man. When she pulled up in front of this B&B, laughing and excited for their "girlfriends getaway" as they are called now, the innkeeper walked up to her truck (which her husband made her drive for safety sake as it was in the mountains) and told her flat out "Sorry but we don't accept your type here." 

Shocked by this, what type? She was wondering, "Blonds?" They left. 

We cannot answer for those innkeepers other than to say shame on them. You are always welcome at The Claiborne House B&B. While we don't fly the rainbow flag, we certainly do not discriminate. Please feel welcomed here with open arms and genuine hospitality. You are a V.I.P. when you stay with us.

10) Upcharges
Recently planning a trip I found that these great deals on and other "ocity" travel sites were fake! They may have offered a base rate of $120 per night, they then charged a resort fee of $29 per night, a parking fee of $29 per night, a WIFI fee of $29 per night, a hospitality charge just in case you want to borrow their bikes or canoe of $29 per night, plus tax! The room rate that looked like a screaming deal was a nightmare at $231 a night total and we got a stale pop-tart or day old bagel for to so-called 'free' breakfast.
Allow us the privilege of serving you here at The Claiborne House
We will not nickle and dime you. We guarantee you pay the lowest rate on our website, saving $10 to book online is our incentive for you to enter the information yourself, as I can't tupe werth beeans. If the rate is $120+tax (10.3%) then the total will be less the $10 discount = $121.33 Nothing more.

We invite you to experience the difference at The Claiborne House B&B. If you need a late check-in, no worries, we won't be standing at the door tapping our fingernails on the jam.