Last night, our friend, Ashley Hackshaw, announced on her blog, lil blue boo, that she and her family will be moving to Hemlock Inn this summer. I encourage all of you to read not only this particular blog, but the others she has written over the past several months that led to this decision. Here is a link:
All this transpired over a relatively short period of time. Last summer, Lainey got an email from our daughter-in-law telling us we needed check out a blog that someone had written about our Hemlock Inn. We read with fascination about as Ashley recounted her childhood memories of visiting the inn. Chad told us that Ashley had sent the blog to the inn as well. Lainey entered a comment introducing herself and Ashley quickly replied. A connection was born. A short time later, we were delighted when Ashley called and made reservations to visit the inn with her family in August.
Ashley tells about some apprehension she was having as she approached the inn. We were downright nervous because we didn’t want to disappoint her. I had visited my childhood home several years earlier and found everything so different and small. But we treated her family as we would any other. We are who we are. We want all our guests to enjoy our simple pleasures, genuine southern hospitality, and our homecooked meals. But this was special. Ashley was special. She was a magnet. Everyone she met was drawn immediately to her. Conversations around the table lasted well after dinner was over, she organized games for the kids at night, she would take pictures of everything, and she would write…and write…and write.
When we discovered she was writing a book, we did joke about her coming back to finish it here. It had happened before. A friend of ours finished his doctorial dissertation here, and Walt Larimore visited here several times as he wrote his trilogy on Bryson City. But when she left, we never dreamed it would become reality. At best, we hoped she would write another blog about her visit to the inn…hopefully complimentary.
Over the next few months, we kept in touch and the possibility that she might actually come to the inn became more of a reality. She told us in late December they had made the decision to move. It has been a hard secret to keep since then.
So how will this work? I joked that she will be our “writer in residence”, but that is not far off the truth. We want her to finish her book, about which she can share with you later. But, she will also continue to write her highly successful blog..lil blue boo. Again, please link to this site and read not only about her announcement and other blogs about Hemlock Inn, but also more about Ashley, her father’s death, and her battle with cancer. It is fascinating story. Her new blogs will tell a different story. One about living at Hemlock Inn and in Bryson City. She will definitely immerse herself our operation and share her experiences with her 1 million plus readers
Now, let’s not forget about two other very important people. Ashley’s husband is Brett and he is a remarkable person as well. Like his wife, he is a graduate from Wake Forest and a former investment banker. He is also successful businessman with his own company. He is an avid outdoorsman and mountain biker, but he will also be of so much help as we deal with the challenges of a 60 year old facility.
Then there is the indomitable Boo, age 7 and aspiring blogger. I suggested to Ashley that we make her the manager of “play” at Hemlock Inn. Boo always has something special to share with her booisms and unique perspective on life in general. She will keep us all on our toes, laughing all the way.
We are so excited to welcome Ashley, Brett, and Boo. We can’t wait for them to get here. And we look forward to sharing them with you. It is going to be a special year at Hemlock Inn.