Friday, December 15, 2006

Er, um, yeah. Best laid plans and all that...

Well, the good folks at Asheville Cabins worked really hard to make my *fabulous* plan work, but apparently no amount of wanting, looking, hoping, and looking some more will make a property materialize within their jurisdiction to meet our rather specific needs! A HUGE thanks to Rachel and her boss and the owner of the company for all the work they did yesterday trying to work this out. EVERYONE needing a vacation rental property in the Asheville, NC area should check with them first! The properties that they have are beautiful and their customer service rocks. We will definitely be renting from them in the future.

That being said, there isn't a single property that will fit all 20 of us and allow us to bring along the pooches. There are several beautiful, pet friendly properties and several "large group" properties. Unfortunately, the large group properties aren't quite large enough and understandably, the property owners don't want more than the maximum occupancy hanging out. The one property (go look at Mountain Sky! It's GORGEOUS!!!) that was graciously "opened up" for us all to meet at to hang out and eat meals together isn't equipped for pets. So we continued to work and I continued to look.

I've come up with two potential solutions.
Option 1:
The folks at Mountain Breeze Resort (located about 10 miles northeast of Weaverville) have three adjoining properties, all pet friendly. We can, as a group, rent all three properties or one/some of us can rent one of the properties. They are fine with all of us congregating on the property, regardless of how many of us are actually staying there.

Option 2:
We could rent Oakland Cottage, a bed and breakfast in Asheville. The are also pet friendly and (obviously) if we rent the entire property as a group, we could all congregate there.

Please take some time to check out these two properties and give me some feedback. The property owners/managers both said that while we have a little time to make our reservations (and both are totally open for the time that we're planning to be there), they expect to book quickly as soon as the holidays are over. So we need to get on it. I would like to make reservations by the end of the month. If I haven't heard from anyone by the 28th, I will go ahead and reserve one of the Mountain Breeze Resort properties. That way we will be sure to have a common property on which we can all meet, eat, and hang out.


Jacqueline said...

Here are my thoughts on the subject: We all have to stay somewhere, and I think that we won't find many places cheaper (unless we're going to a motel, which means we couldn't get together very easily. So, my thoughts are for the Oakland Cottage. We can hang out togther, eat and it's not too, it's Beautiful!!

That's me.

susan said...

One vote registered... :)

I know everyone is busy and that it didn't help that I went and changed to the new Beta so you all have to go and switch as well now, but it really is important that everyone weigh in on this decision. In writing. So that we're all accounted for and accountable when it comes time for the final decision.

Please log in and comment here. Email strings get confusing and can be lost... posting your preference here gives us all the ability to refer back and see all of our responses in the same place, in the same words, and at the same time. No hunting for that email from last month. You know, the one that you also talked about needing to get a pedicure (Joe)? :)

I apologize again for the mix up in switching to Beta. Please let me know if you're still having trouble posting/commenting because of the switch and I'll do all that I can to get you up and running.

Only 7 more voting days, so do your part:

Vote! Vote early! Vote often!
(Oh, wait, that's just a Philly thing...)

SheBear said...

Well, I agree with Jacq that the Oakland place looks nice and seems like a good solution as far as having enough room--and enough privacy--for everyone.

But we can't commit ourselves yet, because there are just so many unanswered questions. Such as, how many days/nights are we talking? Do children (under a certain age) stay free, or reduced? Maid service and breakfast, or on our own? If on our own, what will we do about meals? How will we divide the cost? What, exactly, will the bottom line be?

The 4th is on a Wednesday....are we talking Monday through Thursday? All week? It might make a significant difference in our decision, because the earliest we will be able to leave here would be Sunday afternoon, after church. So, we might not be staying as many nights as the rest of you.

For us, at least, it's just not possible to commit to a decision on such short notice without getting more details ironed out. So, if we could discuss some of what I mentioned above, that would be great. Maybe get our plans firmed up a bit...written in ink at least, if not yet in stone, LOL!?

Otherwise, we certainly don't want to be the hitch in anyone's giddyup, so if you need to make a decision now, then please go ahead and do what you need to for everyone else, and we'll just do our own thang once we figure out what it is! :)

Now, how's that for muddying the waters, huh? verification word is "bgjwpaan". And of course, we all know the amount of pain that can be caused by a big jaw, LOL!

susan said...

Great questions. Let me see how many of them I can answer!

How many days/nights are we talking?
~Although that is totally up for negotiation, I would lean towards 4 nights, starting with Tuesday night. That gives everyone a full weekend before the gathering to prepare, plus Monday with Tuesday as a travel day. By making Saturday our check out day, we can each choose to either hang around the Asheville/Weaverville area, or head home, so here should be no interruption to church plans on the Sunday before or after.

Do children (under a certain age) stay free, or reduced?
~Not exactly. The maximum capacity at Oakland Cottage is 20 people. The children count towards that capacity. If we choose to rent the entire Cottage, we pay the flat rate of renting the entire place, regardless of how many guests we have staying there.

Maid service and breakfast, or on our own?
~Again, totally up for negotiation. I would prefer to go without maid service and breakfast. I feel comfortable with using the same sheets/towels, and with making up my own room as I feel necessary. There is a full service guest kitchen at our disposal and I’m sure there are grocery stores near enough for us to gather the groceries we would need for breakfasts on our own.

If on our own, what will we do about meals?
~Once more, up for negotiation. Since we have the full service kitchen at our disposal, we can all go grocery shopping and make meals as a group, or we can choose to go out, either as a group or on our own. Mom said something on the phone to me about wanting to help with the grocery/meal part of the trip, but I’ll let her post and tell us what she had in mind so that I don’t put words into her mouth.

How will we divide the cost?
~The nightly rate for renting the cottage as a group is $445 from Sunday to Thursday. Friday night’s rate would be $495. We will need to figure out how to fairly split the cost, although I think a 5 way "family" split(C's, T's, G's, Mom and Dad, and Jacq & Joe -- sorry guys, to lump you as a family!)would be fair. Recognizing that J & J are somewhat fund deficient, I would like to take care of a portion of their split. Using the Tuesday – Friday night plan that I suggested above, the approximate cost (before taxes, etc., which we obviously won’t know until we make our final plans) would be
3 nights at $445 + 1 night at $495 =$1830
$1830 / 5 families = $366 (about $92 per night) per family for lodging

What, exactly, will the bottom line be?
~Well, that’s kind of hard to say until we have committed to a specific plan.

The 4th is on a Wednesday....are we talking Monday through Thursday? All week?
~Everyone is, of course, welcome to make their own plans for the length of their stay. We each have time constraints, and I’m sure that everyone will be understanding of the choices that we individually make. The days that will work best for my family are Tuesday through Friday nights as that will give us all day Monday and Tuesday to make the drive and all day Saturday and Sunday to drive back and still be home in time for the work week to begin.

I apologize if anyone feels that they are being rushed to a decision. That is not my intention at all. I am concerned that if we do not make this decision in a timely manner, the properties that I found that are able to accommodate us (and believe me, it took a LOT of doing to find the two that I found!!!) will no longer be available. I suppose that the time limit only really extends to renting Oakland Cottage as a group. If we don’t all feel comfortable with that plan and would prefer that each family find their lodging, (or if the rest of you need more time!) then I will rent one of the Mountain Breeze properties. As I said in the post, that will ensure us all a place to gather during the day and then we can all head to our individual hotels/motels/cabins at night.

I hope that helps. Thanks for taking my plea for a response to heart and for bringing up these concerns!

SheBear said...

Thanks! That info helps a lot! It's especially good to know that there is a full guest kitchen; that makes the whole deal a lot more doable! And I totally agree that maid service isn't necessary for such a short stay.

We've talked about it, and it sounds like this is a good way to go. If everyone else is in, we are too! I know you need to hear from everyone else, but assuming this is the way we go, how soon do you need the $$ for the downpayment (I'm assuming you're going to take care of that part of it also, and we reimburse you?)?

Unless my math is off (and I realize these figures are pre-tax estimates), it looks to me like $1830 divided 5 ways is $366 ($91.50 per night). Divided 4 ways it is $457.50 ($114 per night). So, which split do we want to use? What seems fair to everyone?

The only other issue I'm wondering about is the floor plan. It looks like there are only 4 suites, so someone is probably going to have to share space. Do they have any restrictions about putting down sleeping bags, etc? Could someone sleep on a couch in one of the common areas if they chose?

Just trying to figure out how it will work. I know we can work out those details later on, but just wanted to bring it up now so that there aren't surprises later. We (Greens) will need a private space for our doesn't have to be big (in fact, we'd be happy to take the small one on the first floor and leave the larger ones to everyone else if that helps any), we just need a place to put our kids for naps, etc., KWIM?

Thanks again for all the info, and for doing all the leg work! I know it's a lot to put together, especially at such a busy time of year! And I know that it's certainly not your fault that the timing is tight. That's just the way things are!

I'm glad that we are starting to talk about the details. It is very helpful--at least for me--to have an actual plan and a schedule, even if we have to make changes to it down the road! Changes are inevitable....but they can only be made if there is something there to change, right? LOL!

So, thanks again for all the effort! Can't wait to hear what everyone else thinks!


PS...Word verification is "xrqwst" which is the name of an amazing new home fitness gadget. Not available in stores! For a limited time only! Call in the next 20 minutes and get one payment free, and pay no shipping! :D

susan said...

Mom? Lenka? Joe? Only 2 more days to cast your vote!

susan said...

Posted for Mom & Dad from their email...
Ok you guys!! Paul and I have looked over all your answers and the rest of this stuff. First of all Susan, I thank you for doing all the leg work or ear work as it may be. You have really put in a lot of time and work on this. Thanks Now then Paul and I feel that Tuesday through Friday is good too. So we are in unless we forget that we made thses plans and forget to show up. We would also like to provide the biggeset bulk of the food. That means we will buy the food ( within reason) If you want a lot of junk food and stuff you can bring it yourself and share with all. Otherwise we will buy. I will want to get some suggestions later on, but I'm not in a hurry. Looking forward to being with you all in July. Love Momma and Daddy.

susan said...

Posted for Joe from his email message...
Hey all, since i'm not clear what my summer plans are like yet (with ROTC stuff) i'm leaving this decision nin everyone else's capable hands. If i actually get to go the i'll enjoy whatever you decide. Good luck!