Abbington Green B&B Inn and Spa literally is a dream come true on so many different levels. As a guest, it’s a dream to stay there and trust me, you’ll never want to leave. For owners Nick Poulos and Steven Donahue, it was a dream to own an Inn. Nick’s parents inspired him to travel and see the world. They also taught him that you have one life and if you have a dream, figure out a way to make it happen. For 15 years, Nick kept a file folder of ideas, articles, and clippings of things he wanted in their Inn one day. He also kept meticulous notes on what he didn’t like in hotels and Inns that he stayed in. Nick’s 30-year retail career in Senior Management continued to develop his skills and would eventually financially support his dream.
Nick lived in Raleigh and Charlotte, NC early in his career and frequently visited Asheville. “I think that’s when I fell in love with the beauty of Asheville, the Blue Ridge Mountains, and all there is to do in the area. I knew once I started looking for an Inn, Asheville was the place I wanted to be. The moment I walked into Abbington Green, it felt like home. The historic charm, the modern conveniences, and the close proximity to downtown encompassed what I wanted in an Inn,” says Nick.
As his retail career progressed, he became Regional Vice President for Williams-Sonoma in the Southeast. This is where his passion for cooking grew. “I enjoy entertaining guests and friends. There is nothing better than conversation and sharing stories while enjoying a delicious breakfast in the morning. How your day begins is important to me,” Nick said.
Just to give you an idea of the kind of person Nick is, many of his past bosses and coworkers have come to experience the Inn. That’s pretty impressive. Was it scary to give up his corporate job, salary and stock options; of course, but he had to do it. Since then, he’s never regretted a day and has met the most amazing people from all over world. Many continue to return year after year and become part of the Abbington Green family. I can honestly say that’s exactly how I feel.
This was our second stay at Abbington Green B&B Inn and I was so excited to return and see what new sustainable initiatives they had introduced. I was happy to hear that Nick had formulated his own line of cleaning products. What I didn’t expect to learn was that the reason was because he had developed an extreme allergy to what he had been using. His face and eyes began to swell up each time he used products with a certain type of preservative in them (specifically Polydimethylsiloxane which is found in most commercial cleaning products and many personal care products). He now uses his own personal mixture of castile soap, vinegar and essential oils. No pesticides in the gardens. If you want to learn more about Nick’s recipes – A Taste of Abbington Green Cookbook – Volume 2 contains chemical free cleaning products.
The other exciting news is the addition of a spa treatment room with 2 treatment tables. Nick converted the parlor into a spa exclusive to guests of the Inn. Guests can have individual or couples massage or choose from a wide selection of facials and skincare treatments with ZenJen products. ZenJen is made locally right in Asheville and is a formulation of organic, natural and plant based ingredients (www.zenjenskin.com).
I had to ask Nick about all of the notes he kept and how he incorporated that into the Inn. He wanted to keep the main part of the house historic, while offering modern amenities in the rooms. What I was really interested in were the things about hotel rooms that bothered him and that he wanted to do differently – some of which I’d never even thought of until he mentioned it. Like providing 2 luggage racks, a charging station next to the bed (not halfway across the room), a sound machine, a quiet air conditioner where you can control your own temperature, extra blankets, 2 kinds of pillows both firm and soft, a heated towel bar, soft towels, a big bath sheet and regular bath towels. Probably the most unique amenity he’s thought of is a sensor light under the sink that goes on in the bathroom so you don’t have to turn on that annoying bright light in the middle of night! Clearly – he’s thought of everything.
One of the best things about the Inn is Nick’s amazing cooking. At the nightly happy hour, you’ll enjoy a selection of local cheeses and homemade appetizers with local beer and Italian wine. But the breakfast – to die for!! As always, his menu depends on what is fresh, local, and in season. While we were there the 2-course menu consisted of fresh watermelon and mint with fresh mint syrup made from their garden. The second course of deliciousness was blueberry banana pancakes with maple syrup sourced from Vermont but made in Asheville, and local sausage.
On a personal note, it was an absolute pleasure to be able to stay at Abbington Green B&B Inn again with Nick, Steve, Carey and the staff. Out of all of the wonderful places we’ve stayed, this is at the top of my list. Nick’s attention to detail is world class. His passion, hospitality and genuine care for everyone that walks through his door is unmatched. I can’t think of a better place to dream away the day and night.
Submitted by Dr. Diane Hayden. For more information, visit: www.abbingtongreen.com. Cumberland Circle | Asheville, NC 28801. (828) 251-2454. Call for information on how to order Nick’s cookbook.