1349 Gunbarrel Road, Chattanooga, Tennessee 37421

Thursday, June 28, 2018

Summer Vacay Road Trip, Berries, & Whales

Nicole and Caroline, two moms from Chicago, and their children Nicholas, Josephine and Jacob, spent two nights with us on their way to Disney World and took some time to explore Lookout Mountain and the Scenic City.  Our grand-dog Mini loved playing with Josephine (a true animal whisperer), and we were elated that they chose to stay with us again during their long trip home to Chicago.  We enjoyed hearing about their exciting week conquering the Disney megaplex and learning about the new Orlando attractions.  Since we’re pretty much glued to home these days, it’s always a treat to hear about others’ travels.

Just a friendly reminder that St Francis Cottage is conveniently located less than 1.5 miles from Interstate 75 (Northern Michigan to South Florida) and 3.5 miles from Interstate 24 (Pulleys Mill, IL to Chattanooga).  

Great North Carolina Getaway

SFC Guests Todd and Lisa told us about their spectacular mountain retreat listed on Airbnb near Asheville, NC.  If you’re interested in a quality, yet economical vacation in the North Carolina mountains, check out their rental on Airbnb.  Their airstream is adjacent to a meandering, rambling brook that will serenade you to sleep.  Todd and Lisa are fantastic people and hosts, and you won’t regret booking with them.  Click on their link, and take a look at all the photos!

 You can go Airstream Glamping in North Carolina! Click HERE to visit the website!

Garden Therapy and Wendell Berry

Wallace learned many years ago that his wife requires regular gardening time.  Upon arriving home from work, I do a beeline to the gardens for my daily therapy sessions where I can unwind amidst nature.  Whether it’s planting, watering, weeding, composting, mulching, picking fruit, vegetables and berries, or just roaming about the gardens, enjoying my passion brings peace to my soul and enables me to commune with God.  

While working his work-study job at University of California Press at Berkeley, our son Michael bought The Art of the Commonplace by Wendell Berry (Organic Farmer, Poet, Philospher, Author) for my Mother’s Day gift, which is now in the St Francis Cottage library.  Then we found out that SFC guests Jean Ann Martin and husband, Gary, from Kentucky (Wallace met them while filming the Great Race for several years), are life-long family friends of Mr. and Mrs. Berry!  Now, how cool is that?!

Wendell Berry & JeanAnn Martin (A few years ago)
"The miraculous is not extraordinary but the common mode of existence. It is our daily bread. Whoever really has considered the lilies of the field or the birds of the air and pondered the improbability of their existence in this warm world within the cold and empty stellar distances will hardly balk at the turning of water into wine which was, after all, a very small miracle. We forget the greater and still continuing miracle by which water (with soil and sunlight) is turned into grapes."
- Wendell Berry

Berry Pickin’ Time

The year-round TLC involved to keep blackberries, raspberries, 40 blueberry bushes, gogi berries and grape vines producing is well worth the harvest that begins in June and lasts until September.  Since we use no chemical fertilizers, pesticides or other inorganic products, we often enjoy lunch or dinner right there in the gardens feasting on berries, which are full of antioxidants and other nutritional vitamins and minerals.  Having nature’s medicines in our backyard (along with Divine assistance), keep us healthy and moving.  We’ll be serving plenty of fruit salads and cobblers this summer at St Francis Cottage since the bushes are loaded with berries this year.


When we received the invitation to our nephew's June wedding, we already had a reservation at the Cottage for that weekend.  Although it was a difficult decision, we decided that  Nancy would stay and hold down the fort while I flew out to attend the wedding in Woodside, California, south of San Francisco.  Our son Michael lives about 20 minutes from the event space where the wedding would take place.  Our daughter Hannah decided to fly in from Winnipeg, Manitoba since she hadn't seen Ryan or his brother and sister-in-law, Stephen and Jen, for quite a while.  Ryan is the son of my brother, Bruce, and his wife, Barbara, who live in Maryland.  Friday was spent getting to the west coast; picking up Hannah at the airport in San Francisco; finding our accommodations; picking up Michael at his office in Palo Alto; then scurrying off to the wedding venue.

What a venue it was!  The huge lawn where the wedding took place was lined with huge Redwood trees, past which you could see the bay and the mountains in the distance.  After the wedding, we spent some time talking with our family and some of the guests inside the elegantly rustic facility where there was dancing, cake, and more conversation.  

The next day Hannah, Michael, and I attended a post-wedding picnic at Mountain Lake Park, near the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco.  There we had some of the best picnic food ever . . . a feast of Chinese food!

We then had an opportunity for some sightseeing on Saturday, including a hike through some of the Muir Woods.  The redwoods were enormous, and we were surrounded by trees, dense foliage, fennel, and beautiful vistas.  It was still quite chilly until we got down inside the trees.  Breath-taking!

Muir Woods Overlook

Son, Michael Braud & Daughter, Hannah Cavey
On Sunday, we took a train ride from Forest to Beach beginning at Roaring Camp and ending on the Boardwalk in Santa Cruz and then back again.  LOTS more Redwoods, cliff-side views along the tracks, a wonderful conductor host, and riding down the middle of busy streets in Santa Cruz to get to the beach!  It was wonderful.  After making the return trip to Roaring Camp, we drove about 45 minutes south and went Whale Watching!

If you haven't ever done this, it is well worth the expense and the time.  We were blessed to see many humpback whales, bottle-nosed dolphin, sea lions, and a multitude of sea birds.  Even got to see one good "breach" as a humpback propelled itself into the air!  Magnificent!

The BEST part of the whole weekend was getting the opportunity to spend some quality and fun time with our two children!  This would not have been possible if Nancy had not stayed to keep the doors open at St Francis Cottage, which was a blessing to me and our children . . . and to our guests! Also, SPECIAL thanks to Phil, Hannah's wonderful husband (and our son-in-law) for having stayed in Winnipeg and taken care of their four children!  THANK YOU, DEAR WIFE & PHIL!!  Best Father's Day gift ever! 

Friday, May 4, 2018


& Upcoming EVENTS

We completed our first year of innkeeping at St Francis Cottage on Saturday, April 14, 2018 – Hooray!!   A million thanks to all of our incredible guests who have made Year One a HUGE success.  We feel like we have been able to take a year-long tour, getting to know many parts of the United States and world through conversations with very amazing people who have graciously shared their lives with us.  How cool is THAT, to have explored the world without leaving Chattanooga!  Thanks to all the people who have entered our doors, we have grown, learned, and expanded our frontiers.  We appreciate each and every suggestion that we’ve received this past year to make St Francis Cottage a better place to visit, and we hope and pray that Year Two will cause us to become better people and stewards of this little corner of Chattanooga, Tennessee. 

Our first guests, Chuck and Linda Hanus from Orlando, Florida, have returned three times with their incredibly fun “babies.”  Unfortunately, their beloved Chihuahua, Taco, passed away this last year, so upon their arrival in March, we were able to meet Domino, and visit again with Bella and Lilly.  We were overwhelmed upon receiving this gorgeous flower arrangement from Chuck and Linda helping us celebrate our first anniversary:


Our anniversary celebration extended into the next week with the arrival of Teresa Moore, from Saint Louis, and Joan Alsworth Bacon, from Los Angeles.  Wallace and I have known Teresa and Joan for almost 45 years, since the mid-70’s in Houston when we all lived in Christian Community at Church of the Redeemer (Episcopal) through the Diocese of Texas.  Teresa moved from Houston to Saint Louis in 2014, and Joan moved to Los Angeles with husband, John, in 1982 after they were married in Colorado.  Unfortunately, Joan lost John two years ago after a tragic accident, so this has been a difficult season for her.  Teresa serenaded us on her dulcimer as we sat around the fireplace catching up with one another. 

Joan spent some of her time sharing her skills as a painter after being inspired by the garden area at SFC.  A print of this painting will hang at the Cottage. 


Teresa had graced us, early on, with her fabulous needlepoint skills creating the cottage using thousands of artful stitches.



In mid-April we were blessed with a writer spending time with us and producing our second travel review.  Tabi Upton graced us with her ever present smile and encouraging energy during a short exploratory stay.  Tabi is a lady of many talents!  She spends time as an on-air personality for 88.9, Moody Radio in Chattanooga. She also continues her career of many years as a counselor, speaker, and  writer. Before returning to Chattanooga, she spent three and a half years working abroad as a mental health contractor.  For 12 years, her column, “Mind Matters,” ran in The Chattanooga Times-Free Press newspaper.  Adding to her amazing repertoire, Morning Candle is a published collection of some of her favorite essays.

Tabi spent a couple of nights with us in March.  During that stay, she and a group of women spent an evening with us, using SFC as a place of mentoring, rest, and inspiration for aspiring writers. We found the diversity of talent among the writers quite remarkable.  Later, after reading Tabi's blog, we were humbled and amazed at what she had to say about her visit with us at the Cottage.  Click HERE to read the blog.  Thank you, Tabi!

We were pleasantly surprised to have Rob and Jennifer Junk visit us on their way back from Florida to Cincinnati.  Jennifer happened to mention dōTERRA essential oils, which immediately grabbed my attention since Wallace had been suffering from prolonged sinus headaches with the arrival of spring pollen.  Thankfully, Jennifer is a total expert on all essential oils and is also a superb teacher to an essential oil novice like me.  Jennifer patiently walked me through the dōTERRA products, and we readily signed up for our first order at the end of March.  Within two weeks we had offered the use of our dōTERRA diffuser and Breathe oils to guests who were experiencing the pain of high pollen counts in our area.  Thank you, Jennifer!  If anyone is interested, please contact me for Jennifer’s information, and she will hook you up with dōTERRA's top-quality products!  This is not a commercial and we are not selling them, but we have been quite impressed with these products.


We were elated to have six days with our daughter Hannah, son-in-law Phil from Winnipeg, Manitoba, grandgirls Grace and Amelia, and our foster grandsons, Jayvin and Jersey, who we met for the first time.  We enjoyed every minute as the girls ran back-and-forth from our home to the B&B, and we helped out as much as we could with little Jayvin and Jersey.  Our only complaint is that the time passed way too quickly.







May 12, 13 and May 19, 20

Uncorked -$75/person
Saturday, May 12, 2018 – 6:30 – 9:30 pm
Renaissance Park

Saturday, May 12, 2018 – Noon to 5pm – First Tennessee Pavilion

May 13, 2018, 11am – 4:00 pm

Monday, December 4, 2017


(Holidays, Holidays, Holidays!)

We have welcomed visitors from all of these places since we opened last April!  We love our guests!

December 14th marks eight months since we opened St Francis Cottage, and the time has flown by.  We are amazed as we look at the framed map (as suggested by one of our guests) full of pins marking the home towns of our amazing guests, and we are thankful for each and every person who has entered our doors.  From New Zealand, to Germany; from Canada to Florida, New York to Oregon, California to Massachusetts and, of course, Tennessee, Georgia, Alabama, and many other states, we have enjoyed meeting so many interesting and kind people.  

North meets South:  Kevin & Karen from Long Island, Sue & Larry from Hendersonville, TN
Wanda & Len all the way from Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada
Carsten & Stephanie came from Germany for five days prepping for and entering the Ironman 70.3 International Finals.
Bigson joined us for two days while in the States from New Zealand to attend an anti-bullying conference in Nashville.
By Sunday evenings we are physically tired but emotionally and spiritually uplifted after having the opportunity to host the fine guests who have stayed at the Cottage.  As we decorated for Christmas, we realized that we are quickly approaching the end of our first year of innkeeping, and what a GOOD year it has been!  Many, many thanks to all our fine guests who have made our dream possible.

Saturday, July 15, 2017

THE ECLIPSE, 3-Month-iversary 

& Nancy Gets Her Goat!


Path of Solar Eclipse through Tennessee,  Click HERE for more details about eclipse.

Spend the weekend at St Francis Cottage during the 2017 Total Solar Eclipse, and receive a 25% discount for a three-night booking or a 20% discount for a two-night booking beginning August 18 - 21. You can get a 15% discount for a Sunday or Monday night only booking on August 20 or 21! We understand that most hotels along the path are filling up very quickly, if not already full. Come make a weekend of this historic event.  There is PLENTY to do in the Chattanooga area.

Keep reading for schedule of the eclipse and more about SFC.

Tuesday, June 20, 2017


Great Race makes overnight stop in Chattanooga, Sunday, June 25. Event will include huge Cruise-In for a wonderful variety of vintage and specialty cars that will be on display!  Come join us!

In 2011, locally owned Coker Tire company in association with Hemmings Motor News and Hagerty Insurance revived an almost 30 year event called The Great Race.  This cross country timed endurance rally for vintage automobiles had lain dormant for a few years and since Coker bought the franchise, it has literally taken on new life.  

Monday, April 17, 2017


The CARDINAL ROOM all dressed up and ready to go!

As we gazed upon box after box after box of stored items along with all the furniture, we didn’t see how we could pull it all together to open in time for our first guest’s arrival.  Then, the Clemens Rescue Team arrived from the Greater Indianapolis area and immediately started working.  My sister Connie; brother, Joe; and sister-in-law, Jenny were a dynamic hurricane of HELP as they tackled one project after another.

Monday, April 3, 2017


Getting ever closer!!

Our first guests arrive April 14th, so we’re working non-stop to be ready to roll out the red carpet!  We’re making progress on bringing the rooms together although we’re also taking extra time to focus on each guest room’s detail.  We hope you will choose a room that best suits your style and personality during your stay at St Francis Cottage.