Gatehouse Renovation

East side, paint scraped and bottom siding removed

East side, paint scraped and bottom siding removed


We are beginning a project to preserve and restore our gate house. It is a ramshackle cottage on the west side of our property, originally occupied by the grounds keeper and his wife who kept the main house.  

Northwest corner nearest alley

Northwest corner nearest alley

South side / southeast corner

South side / southeast corner

It’s a Three-Cake Birthday Week at the Parker House

Saturday- Cake for the costume party (as requested by the birthday boy) chocolate cake with caramel icing and a “cherry on top”.   I took a little bit of creative license and made a cherry sauce between the layers and gave it three cherries, for my son’s three years.  Costumes, cake and peach ice cream from the Anniston farmer’s market were upstaged by kid music led by our friend and very talented musician Katy Cairo (currently playing with the Gypsy Begonias).   But the brand new book with magnifying glass from Mariya BullockDisney’s Little Einsteins: Mission: Color Discoveries upstaged everything.

Sunday- Buttermilk pancakes dressed up as a Birthday (Pan) Cake.  This is one of the joys of the B&B– the opportunity to make people’s special occassions a little more special.  This simple little cake drew tears of surprise from the young lady for whom it was made.  Her mom’s tradition is to take each of her daughters on an overnight birthday trip to enjoy time together – without siblings- and to inspire late night, intimate conversation about all the important parts of growing up.  I love the idea, but I suppose I’ll have to wait until Eleanor is old enough to talk to try it out!.

To make a Birthday (Pan) Cake at your home, use a sharp, sharp, pointy razor blade to cut holes into the edge of the foam for toothpicks and dig a little hole in the bottom of the candle and attach it to a toothpick as well.  Pancakes need a little toothpick help to stay standing straight and tall.   Wide mouth canning rings work just fine as pancake molds if you coax the batter out a little gently and don’t fill the rings too full.

Now on to Cake number 3.  Birthday cake disguised as health food or veggies hidden in a birthday cake… Carrot cake with cream cheese icing for daddy’s last birthday this side of the “hill.”

Weekend Mountain bike trail building on Coldwater Mountain

Coldwater Mountain Trailhead

The past two weekends, I had a great time volunteering with IMBA’s Trail Solutions teams to help create some world class mountain bike trails for Anniston, AL.  The first weekend, turned out to be an all-day adventure deep in the woods on Coldwater Mountain hauling rock and armoring sections to create a rock garden trail that will be one of the centerpieces of the first phase of trails to be built on the mountain.  I had a great time learning from the master, Joey Klein how to effectively rock armor sections of trail.  This process provides a solid base for tires and feet, and a great experience for riders to travel over a slightly more advanced rock path rather than an easier line around the feature.

Jake and Jenny summarized the potential of the Coldwater Mountain trail project nicely:

The system will include professionally, purpose-built mountain bike trails for all ability levels, a gravity area, a skills park, and a pump track. The project has been twelve years in the making, and it is so exciting to see all of the hard work and planning coming to fruition. This world-class trail system is within a couple hours of Birmingham, Montgomery, Atlanta, and Chattanooga.

Learning how to rock armor a section

Here I am trying to help rock armor a section.  I will admit to no skill whatsoever.  The credit of a successful section goes entirely to Joey from IMBA.  He’s been all over the world laying trail, and learning from the in-country experts the techniques for effective trail building across any terrain.

Admire my handiwork

How many people get to work with both Subaru Trail Care teams at the same time? Morgan and Steve Lommele were in town as well to educate and lend a hand to laying some trail.

If you want to come be apart of the great things IMBA, NEABA, and local volunteers are doing on Coldwater Mountain, if you’re coming in for the Sunny King Criterium, or any time you need a place to stay while in the Anniston area please don’t hesitate to get in touch with us at the Parker House B&B.  It’s THE Bed and Breakfast in Anniston.

Parker House makes front page of the Anniston Star

Megan and baby Eleanor

The Anniston Star on Monday featured the Parker House Bed and Breakfast on the front page with a wonderful full color image and related story.

The Anniston Star no longer has the article... if we find it, we'll post it.

The Star also created an online gallery of images of our home, some of which were featured in the newspaper article as well.

Laura Camper, a staff writer at the Star came to our home and interviewed Megan and Scott for the story. Laura describes the year-and-a-half handshake agreement we had with the Lindsey’s to purchase the home, a little about the age and history of the house, and how we migrated from Atlanta to start the B&B.

A nice thing about the article is that Laura interviewed Millie English who used to run the English House B&B in Jacksonville, AL.  Millie gave us some encouraging words, and it felt like a “passing of the torch” to us, and I really appreciated the good will.

If there is one thing I’d change about the article, it would be to describe our journey to purchase the Parker House as a “calling” rather than a “dream.”  I definitely feel like God has told me to bring my family here and serve people out of this home.  How do I know I was called?  That’s a long enough story for a separate post.  Why would God call me to start a B&B?  I don’t know.  It matches our skills and experience, but basically I don’t think our place is to question a calling, but to take action to follow God’s will wherever it leads you.  And, hey, this isn’t a bad gig!