>The house at 177 Cumberland Avenue, Asheville NC was built in 1901. It has a long history and has passed from being the home of a leading local businessman through a stint as a boarding house and then back to a private home before becoming a bed and breakfast in 1983. As you probably know if you are reading this blog, James and I are the fourth set of innkeepers of the Carolina Bed & Breakfast . While we have restored and refinished much of the house, we have also brightened and modernized some of the furnishings and artwork. The latest of these changes for us was the removal of the original bed and breakfast sign which has sat in front of the inn for 27 years. At least as far as we know this is the original sign. I have certainly never seen any pictures of a different one in the archives we possess. The old sign is pictured here. It is made of wood and the paint has faded significantly. The sign tended to disappear into the house and garden and was hard to see from the road. Earlier this year I retouched the wording which was peeling off
To help us design and build the new sign we turned to David Earl Tomlinson of Dynamic Metal Works. David has designed a number of signs in and around Asheville and we liked the sculptural aspects which he had incorporated into many of them.
The rooms at the Carolina are named after various songbirds, most of which can be seen in our garden. They are one of the unexpected pleasures we discovered after we bought the inn. As a child growing up in Connecticut my mother taught me about many of these birds but black crows gradually moved into our neighborhood and the songbirds disappeared. I was delighted to watch an early robin out of my window this spring and to see cardinals flitting from branch to branch in the trees when I moved here to Asheville. I am telling you this not so much by way of a digression as an explanation of why we chose the hummingbird for our sign. Birds, and in particular the hummingbird, have always been part of the Carolina Bed & Breakfast. Original wallpaper in one of the rooms, (the eponymously named “Hummingbird Room”!) depicts small hummingbirds in flight. The logo on the letterhead we inherited with the inn also incorporates a hummingbird so we have chosen to continue this association, first on our new website and now in our new sign.
David made our new sign out of iron and created a small three dimensional sculpture of a hummingbird to “fly” in the center.
This picture of the sign lying in his truck shows the detail of his work.
It was a hot, hot summer day when he arrived to remove the old sign and put the new one in place so the following pictures are somewhat washed out but the occasion needed to be documented!
James helped David remove the old sign which we have placed in our garden near the path from the parking lot to the back entrance of the inn. It is an important part of the heritage of the bed and breakfast and we knew we would keep it and use it somewhere.
And here is the new sign in place! As I mentioned, it was a brilliantly sunny day and I am by no means a professional photographer so the color does not run true in this photo. It is more of a true fuschia and less pink than this one shows. I will try and get a better shot in the autumn (or you will just have to come by and see for yourself!)