Is a B&B Right for You?

B&B Sign

If you have never stayed at a Bed & Breakfast, you might wonder if a B&B is right for you. If so, you may find this independently produced video helpful in making your decision.

The two most valuable tips in this video are to:
1) Book your room once your travel plans are stable, and
2) Contact the B&B with any questions you may have prior to booking.

Before phoning the innkeeper, check the inn’s website. Good websites have an abundance of information including photos of the guest rooms and clearly stated policies. You can usually determine if an inn accepts children and/or pets in a matter of minutes by checking their website. If the website doesn’t answer all your questions, pick up the phone. Innkeepers are happy to provide details about their guest rooms, describe the inn in general, and clarify any policy concerns.  They also can give you advice about nearby restaurants and attractions.

One observation I would add about this video: The dining room shots are taken at extremely large inns. Many B&Bs throughout the United States have five or fewer guest rooms.  At the Troy-Bumpas Inn, we have three guest rooms, so the largest number of guests you’ll ever see in our dining room is eight! The video remarks that the prospect of meeting fellow travelers is a benefit of staying at a B&B. It’s a great way to meet other people and find out what sights they have seen. But don’t let the prospect of a communal breakfast table stop you from booking! Most B&Bs, including the Troy-Bumpas Inn, can easily seat guests at separate tables if they wish to dine on their own.  Guests need only ask!

I’ll discuss other considerations of staying at a B&B in future blog posts. Please stay tuned!

When is a Toboggan Not a Toboggan?

tobogganWhen is a toboggan not a toboggan? When it’s on your head. If that sounds confusing, let me explain.

To me, the word “toboggan” has always meant “sled.” If you search Google Images for “toboggan,” you’ll see what I mean. Pictures of long, narrow wooden sleds used for coasting downhill over the snow will appear. Toboggans typically curve upward and backward at the front.

So you can imagine my confusion as a transplant to North Carolina when I started hearing the word “toboggan” used to refer to a knit pull-on hat. I’m not alone. One of our recent guests at the Troy-Bumpas Inn Bed & Breakfast (who had also recently moved to the region) described her utter bewilderment when teachers at her child’s school said that all students going on an upcoming field trip should be sure to pack a toboggan. How, she wondered, were dozens of wooden toboggans going to fit onto the bus?

I’m told you’re most likely to hear “toboggan” used to describe a knit cap in North Carolina, Kentucky, and Tennessee. The origin of this usage is uncertain, but it seems likely that knit hats worn while tobogganing were “toboggan caps.” At some point the word cap was dropped… and the rest is history.

So, the next time you head out into the cold, think of us here in North Carolina and grab your toboggan – it will keep you warm.

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A New Home for Community Theatre of Greensboro

Theater Seats

This year is an especially exciting year for the Community Theatre of Greensboro (CTG). The organization, founded in 1949, accomplished a goal it has dreamed of for more than 60 years – having its own theater building. This fall CTG performances will take place at the Starr Theater, 520 S. Elm St., Greensboro.

The CTG purchased the 160-seat facility, formerly known as the Broach Theatre, for $1.24 million. The organization had raised nearly $2 million to purchase the building and create a permanent endowment and fund to enhance operations and programming.

The Starr Theatre is less than 2 miles from the Troy-Bumpas Inn Bed & Breakfast. We’re looking forward to seeing the renovated facility and will be happy to assist guests who wish to attend plays with obtaining tickets. The 2013-2014 season features three musicals, a classic drama, and an CTG tradition.

Smokey Joe’s Café, a musical revue featuring the songs of Jerry Lieber and Mike Stoller, runs Oct. 4 to 13.

Nov. 16 to 24 marks the return of The Wizard of Oz, the musical adaptation of the motion picture screenplay that was based on the book by L. Frank Baum. This is the 19th year CTG will present this much loved story. More than 200 talented children and adults work on stage and behind the scenes to bring the story to life. (The Wizard of Oz is presented at the Carolina Theatre.)

To Kill a Mockingbird, based on the novel by Harper Lee and adapted for the stage by Christopher Sergel, will be performed Feb. 14 to 23, 2014.

Legally Blonde is a musical adaptation of the novel by Amanda Brown and the MGM motion picture of the same name. Shows run from March 28 to April 13, 2014.

The season concludes with 9 to 5, The Musical. With music by Dolly Parton, the show is based upon the screenplay by Patricia Resnick and Colin Higgins. The show runs April 25 to May 11, 2014.

For more information about the Community Theatre of Greensboro, including descriptions of the plays; specific performance dates and times; and ticket information, visit the CTG website or phone 336-333-7470.

Holbrook in Mark Twain Tonight! at Carolina Theatre in September

Hal Holbrook as Mark Twain

I don’t know if famed author Mark Twain ever visited Greensboro, NC, during his lifetime, but next month Mark Twain, as embodied by actor Hal Holbrook, will appear at the beautiful and historic Carolina Theatre. Holbrook has been presenting his one-man show Mark Twain Tonight! for more than 50 years. The performance has won Holbrook, acclaimed as the best Twain impersonator, a Tony award and an Emmy award nomination. It’s said that Holbrook knows Twain as well as he knows himself. The show goes beyond simply quoting Twain’s most memorable lines. Holbrook updates the show regularly to reflect the way Twain would likely have viewed contemporary events.

Mark Twain Tonight!, part of the United Arts Council of Greater Greensboro’s 17 Days Arts and Culture Festival, will be presented on Saturday, Sept. 28, 2013 at 8 p.m. Tickets are available at $47.50, $37.50 or $22.50. A $2.50 theatre restoration fee will be added to each ticket.

The Carolina Theatre, located at 310 S. Greene St., in downtown Greensboro, is about a mile from the Troy-Bumpas Inn Bed & Breakfast. It’s one of Greensboro’s gems. The theater originally opened in October 1927 as a vaudeville theater. It was considered to be the finest theater between Washington, D.C. and Atlanta. It was the first commercial building in North Carolina to be air conditioned. Today, 86 years later, the beautiful Carolina continues as an exceptional place to see classic movies, live touring acts, and local talent. (Be sure to ask innkeeper Larry about his experience performing on stage at the Carolina!)

To learn more about Mark Twain Tonight! and the Carolina Theatre, visit their website or phone 336-333-2605.

The Greensboro Coliseum

Coliseum Complex

Greensboro’s largest entertainment complex is the Coliseum, a multi-building complex that offers a range of activities including athletic events, cultural arts, concerts, theater, educational activities, fairs, exhibits, conventions, and trade and consumer shows.

The Coliseum is just two miles from the Troy-Bumpas Inn Bed & Breakfast, so we frequently have guests who are in Greensboro for a Coliseum event. In recent months, guests have attended a major convention, participated in a regional diving competition, checked out RVs at a large exhibition, and attended concerts staring Rascal Flats and George Strait. Upcoming guests will be attending the Taylor Swift, Rod Stewart and Bonnie Raitt concerts and plays presented as part of the 2013-2014 Triad Best of Broadway series.

I was surprised to learn that this modern complex is 54 years old. Greensboro voters approved a bond for the project in 1956. Ground was broken in 1958 and the original complex opened in 1959 with a capacity of 7,100 seats, making it then one of the largest arenas in the East Coast.

Numerous expansions and updates later, today’s Coliseum complex includes a 23,500-seat arena, the 2,400-seat War Memorial Auditorium, the Greensboro Aquatic Center, the White Oak Amphitheater, the 300-seat Odeon Theatre, a 167,000-square foot special events center with three exhibition halls, a 4,500-seat mini arena and the 30,000-square-foot Pavilion.

The list of celebrities and performers who have appeared at the Coliseum during the past 56 years is too long for a single blog! The Coliseum has played host to Barack Obama, Mikhail Gorbachev and Archbishop Desmond Tutu. The Jackson Five played the Coliseum in 1970, and Elvis performed there in 1972. The Rolling Stones were there in 1975 and the Grateful Dead in 1991. American Idol came in 2005.

For many of our “Coliseum guests,” staying at the Troy-Bumpas Inn B&B helps make the event especially memorable and convenient. After the event is over, it takes just a few minutes to drive back to the inn to relax and reflect. To learn more about the Coliseum and upcoming scheduled events, visit their official website.

Triad Farmers Market — Food, Plants and Fun

Tons of Tomatoes

If you love farmers markets, a visit to the triad area of North Carolina is not complete without a stop at the Piedmont Triad Farmers Market. Located near Greensboro off Highway I-40 at the Sandy Ridge Road exit, the market draws thousands of shoppers each week. They come to buy produce, plants, meat and cheese from North Carolina farmers. As their website says, “here you can talk to the individuals who grew it and you can buy any quantity you wish.” The market is a great place to buy interesting plants; choose your own fresh and locally grown produce; and enjoy loads of people watching.

The Triad Market is one of four Farmers Markets owned by the State of North Carolina and operated by the North Carolina Department of Agriculture and Consumer Service. The market has two enormous permanent farmers buildings plus a retail building open year-round that offers locally grown foods including baked goods, candies, jams, jellies, honey, eggs, cheese, meats, nuts, ice cream and wine.  A separate garden center is complete with a greenhouse.

If all this shopping makes you hungry, you don’t need to go far. The Moose Café Restaurant on the market grounds is open daily and serves delicious meals family style. Farm-fresh vegetables right from the market make the food fresh and delicious.

The market has plenty of free parking and is free and open to the public daily from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. (The Moose Café Restaurant is open until 8 p.m.) To learn more, visit the Piedmont Triad Farmers Market website. Located at 2914 Sandy Ridge Road in Colfax, NC, the market is a short 20 minute drive from the Troy-Bumpas Inn Bed & Breakfast. It’s the Inn’s go-to place for locally grown and produced foods and wonderful garden plants.

Great Fun — The Greensboro Grasshoppers

Greensboro Grasshoppers TM

Baseball has a long history in North Carolina. In 1862, captured Union soldiers played baseball while in a prisoner of war camp in Salisbury, NC. Trivia buffs may recall that Babe Ruth hit his first homerun at an exhibition game in Fayetteville, NC, in 1914. And present day North Carolina is home to eight minor league baseball teams.

Thanks to the movie Bull Durham, possibly the best known of North Carolina’s farm teams is the Durham Bulls, a Triple A affiliate of the Tampa Bay Rays. The names of the other NC minor league teams may not be as familiar, but they certainly are colorful: the Ashville Tourists, the Burlington Royals, the Carolina Mudcats, the Hickory Crawdads, the Kannapolis Intimidators, and the Winston-Salem Dash. Here in Greensboro, the home team is the Greensboro Grasshoppers, a class A affiliate of the Miami Marlins and part of the South Atlantic League.

The Grasshoppers play their games at NewBridge Bank Park, 408 Bellemeade St. Greensboro, a beautiful, modern stadium within walking distance of the Troy-Bumpas Inn Bed & Breakfast. The ballpark opened in 2005 and cost $21.5 million to build. The red brick stadium seats up to 7,499 including 5,300 chair-back seats. Parking is available immediately around the stadium.

Greensboro Grasshopper games are among the best attended in the minors. Minor league baseball games have all the excitement of major league games, but with added fun and at a much lower ticket cost than the majors. Tickets, available online and at the stadium, typically are $6 to $9 each. Pre-game autographs are encouraged. There’s a kid-safe play area for children, private grandstand box seating, plenty of concessions, lawn seating and picnic areas, and special promotions like Thirsty Thursdays (when beer is bargain priced), Family Fundays, Money Off Mondays, and Bingo nights. Every Friday and Saturday when the team is in town, a spectacular fireworks show signals the end of the game.  (A common question at the Troy-Bumpas Inn’s breakfast table on weekends during the baseball season is about what all the booms were about!)

If you’ve never been to a minor league baseball game, add this as another reason to visit Greensboro. We’ll be sure to provide great accommodations at the Troy-Bumpas Inn B&B. To learn more about the Greensboro Grasshoppers, visit their official website.

2013 Bryan Series Subscription Tickets on Sale

 

BRYANSERIES2013Since 2002, Guilford College in Greensboro, NC, has presented the Bryan Series, an amazing speaker program featuring well known figures in the arts, humanities and public affairs. Past speakers have included Nobel Prize laureates, former U.S. Secretaries and State, winners of MacArthur Fellowships and Academy, Tony, Grammy and Emmy Awards.

Speakers in the 2013 Series will be Robert Gates on Oct. 29, 2013; Robert Ballard on Nov. 19, 2013; Itzhak Perlman on Feb. 13, 2014; Elizabeth Alexander on March 4, 2014; and Lara Logan and Steve Kroft on April 8, 2014. Events start at 7:30 p.m. and last approximately 80 minutes.

 

The Bryan Series events are presented in the 2,400-seat War Memorial Auditorium, 1921 West Lee Street, which is part of the Greensboro Coliseum Complex.

 

The War Memorial is a short 2.2 mile drive from the Troy-Bumpas Inn Bed and Breakfast, making the inn a great location for out-of-town guests to stay when attending the series. We have been honored to have several subscription holders stay at the inn during past seasons. Conversations at the breakfast table the morning after each event are always interesting as guests share and discuss what they heard!

 

The Bryan Series has frequently sold out quickly during the subscription ticket sale, which is currently underway. Subscriptions can be purchased online at www.bryanseries.guilford.edu or by calling 336-316-2852 to request a ticket order form. Cost of the 2013-14 subscription series is $195 each.

Free Things to Do in Greensboro

Greene StatueVisitors to Greensboro have a wide variety of FREE attractions to visit. Three of my favorite free history-related sites are listed below. A visit to these historical sites transports you to the time of the Revolutionary War, the Civil War, and the 1960s Civil Rights movement. Both the Historical Museum and Walkway of History are within walking distance (or a very short car ride) of the Troy-Bumpas Inn Bed & Breakfast. The Guilford Courthouse National Military Park is a 15-minute drive from the inn.

Greensboro Historical Museum  Located in a former church that once served as a Confederate hospital, the Greensboro Historical Museum lets you discover Greensboro history through a wide variety of diverse exhibits. You can follow a timeline of Greensboro history in the Welcome to the Gate City exhibit; learn all about pottery produced in North Carolina at the Jugtown Pottery exhibit, and see one of largest collections of Civil War firearms at the Murphy Confederate firearms collection. The new 8,000 sq. ft. Voices of a City exhibit tells the story of Greensboro from the voices of its residents. The museum shop has a variety of items including children’s items, cookbooks, history books, tee shirts and much more.
Museum Hours: Tuesday to Saturday. 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.;  Sunday,  2-5 p.m.
130 Summit Ave.
336-373-2043
www.GreensboroHistory.org

Guilford Courthouse National Military Park  Explore more than 220 acres of historic ground and 28 monuments honoring one of the most pivotal battles of the Revolutionary War where British General Cornwalis fought against Colonial forces led by Natanial Greene, for whom the city of Greensboro is named. Be sure to watch the movie at the visitors center to get a good understanding of the importance of the battle as well as how it was fought. The museum shop has, among other things, a large collection of history books.
Open daily, from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.
2332 New Garden Road.
336-288-1776
www.nps.gov/guco

 Walkway of History  Located in the area of downtown that was home to the start of the civil rights sit-in movement in the 1960s, you can view sidewalk markers that chronicle six chapters in local African-American history. (The nearby International Civil Rights Museum is not free, but does an excellent job of explaining the history of the sit-ins and progress in civil rights both in the U.S. and internationally.) The sidewalk markers are located in downtown Greensboro at South Elm Street at February One Place.

A Dress that has Fueled Imaginations

Dolley Madison's red velvet dress

Dolley Madison’s red velvet dress

This week a scarlet velvet gown that once belonged to former First Lady and Greensboro native Dolley Madison returned to the Greensboro Historical Museum. The gown previously had been exhibited at the Smithsonian Institution’s National Portrait Gallery in Washington, D.C.

Starting on March 23, 2013, visitors to the Greensboro Historical Museum can view the dress in an exhibit titled “Draped in Legend: a Velvet Dress, a Carriage Trunk and a First Lady.”

So what might make this dress unique among first ladies dresses? Legend has it that the dress might have been made from White House drapes. Here’s the story:

In August 1814 (during the War of 1812) the British invasion of Washington, D.C. and occupation of the White House was imminent.  Determined to save items critical to our young nation, First Lady Dolley Madison helped gather important government documents, George Washington’s portrait and, maybe to cover these items, velvet scarlet curtains that hung in the White House. Fast forward many years later to when a conservator was examining the dress that had come to Greensboro along with other Madison artifacts. He noted the dress seemed to be made from drapery weight fabric. Was Madison’s dress made from the very drapes that were saved as she fled the White House? We may never know, but scientific examinations are continuing, and someday we may have a definite answer. You can read more in the June edition of the online Smithsonian Magazine.

I’m looking forward to seeing the dress so I can decide for myself. The exhibit runs through June 16 when the fragile dress goes back into protective care. The Greensboro Historical Museum, just a mile from the Troy-Bumpas Inn Bed and Breakfast, is located at 130 Summit Ave., Greensboro, NC 27401. Admission is free and the museum is open Tuesday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and on Sundays from 2 to 5 p.m.