1349 Gunbarrel Road, Chattanooga, Tennessee 37421

Friday, December 7, 2018

 Happy, Hope-filled Holidays!

As we slide into another year’s end, we are thankful for each and every amazing guest who entered St Francis Cottage this past year.  Our main reason for exploring innkeeping was to meet interesting people and learn about their journeys, and we could not be more fulfilled and satisfied with our new venture these past two years. 

Many thanks to everyone for taking time to share with us and broaden our world beyond the borders of the Chattanooga area.  We wish all of you an enriched Holiday Season, filled with peace, joy and hope for the future!

October With The Grands

Wallace and I spent nine glorious days in Winnipeg, Manitoba with our four grandchildren while Phil and Hannah escaped to Europe for a company-sponsored trip with Phil’s accounting firm.  

Phil and Hannah boarding a train to explore western Europe during a break in a business trip to Vienna.
With ages ranging from one to nine, we were busy, busy as we quickly re-learned ALL that parents do day-in and day-out: from food prep, diapers, and bottles to driving to school, ballet, and piano lessons.  We both commented, “Running a bed-and-breakfast isn’t so hard after all!”  Just being with Grace, Amelia, Big Guy and E-man was the ultimate gift, and we thoroughly enjoyed their wonderful, creative, intelligent and humorous personalities.  We cannot wait until we see them again in Florida and relish more Beeps and Grammy time at the beach.  Our son Michael will join us from Palo Alto, so there will be lots of laughs and lively discussion as we all gather together.

Local Eats and Events

Chattanooga has literally transformed into a new community since we moved here in 1987, and particularly within the past ten years.  In 1969, Walter Cronkite declared that Chattanooga was the “dirtiest city in America,” however, nothing could be further from the truth in 2018.  After intense environmental remediation over the years, Chattanooga is now one of the best Outdoor Cities in the U.S. and made The New York Times  “The 45 Places to Go 2012,” competing with top-rated getaway locations throughout the world.  With these accolades has come great places to eat, so we recently tried out a couple of new restaurants that we can recommend to our guests.  

Jim 'N Nick's Bar-B-Q new at Hamilton Place Mall, near SFC.  Yummy, multi-faceted menu!!!
Parkway Pourhouse, new near the River, Downtown Chattanooga.  We will be back for this Cajun inspired menu.
Since there are over 100 restaurants within a three-mile radius of St Francis Cottage, along with a host of more great eateries in the downtown area 12 miles West, you will have many dining choices when you visit the Scenic City.  One of our best meals was a community Thanksgiving dinner (pictured above) sponsored by Causeway, where Wallace and I attended with some of my co-workers from Hutton, on a gorgeous fall day in early November.

Nite-Nite Gardens

A hard freeze hit our area in mid-November, calling it quits for yet another growing season.  Before the freeze, we were able to collect our final pepper harvest and add to our backyard “pharmacy” by planting mulberry bushes, three Sunbelt grapevines and several black raspberry plants, all high in antioxidants.  As long as the Cottage squirrels stay away from the bulbs, we hope to see additional springtime blooms of crocus, anemone, lavender lilies, hyacinth, tulips, allium and iris, added to over a thousand bulbs that we previously planted.  Simply put by Shunrayu Suzuki, “A garden is never finished.” 

SFC Tweaks

We are always looking for ways to make SFC better, so we decided to upgrade the second-floor Hummingbird Room from a queen to a king-size bed.  After finding the perfect metal sleigh bed to fit the space and décor along with a new comfortable pillow-top mattress, we quickly made the switch just before a weekend that was sold out.  (I should say that Wallace made the switch as he did all the assembling and hard work!)  We now offer five kings and three queen beds at the Cottage, so we look forward to your visit in 2019!  

Another small change was adding another dining table in the Great Room, so we can now serve breakfast to 14 people at once.  One of our recent (fun!) guests, Kyndal, suggested a hot tub, so we are exploring options now.


Good friend Beth Barghini from Texas sent me this photo while she and husband Mark were vacationing in the SanFran Bay area.  So the race is ON!  Email us a photo with you and your favorite Saint Francis statue, painting, or location (the Cottage here doesn't count) and receive a 5% discount on your next stay.  We will also have a random drawing from all entrants on our 2nd Anniversary, April 14, 2019 from all who have responded up to that point, giving away a gift certificate for one-night’s stay at SFC, subject to availability. Gift certificate will expire April 13, 2020 and will not be valid on national holidays or Valentine's week, February 7 - 16, 2020. One entry per household.  The gift certificate will have no cash value. May not be combined with any other discount.

Merry Christmas to All and to All a Good Night!

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