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Nightmare Vacation

Updated on January 24, 2016
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Efficient Admin (aka Michelle) loves hiking in the mountains and good food. She works as a Project Assistant for an engineering firm.

The dark dreary living room

Please update the decrepit grinding ceiling fans already!  Why do none of the lamps work?
Please update the decrepit grinding ceiling fans already! Why do none of the lamps work? | Source

The Vacation in the Nightmare Mountain Cabin That Just Didn’t Work Out

I was so excited for the past three months about my three day mountain cabin vacation in Western North Carolina. My plan was to arrive on a Saturday morning, get supplies for the weekend, unpack, settle in and do some shopping. Maybe some reading and writing too on the back porch which overlooked a peaceful gurgling river. Sunday I was going to hike a local mountain, and Monday I was going to do a 2-hour horseback riding tour in the mountains, and Tuesday morning I would return home.

Let me make a note that this is not a "green" hub. It is a vent (which by the way I have gotten over and recovered as I write this hub) and want to share this adventure with you. The major lesson I learned through this is to ask questions about the place you want to stay at. If the Owner doesn't like questions then move on. I am hearing from other travelers that mountain properties are a hit or miss.

Two days before the trip I contacted the Owner of the cabin via e-mail, at his request, to find out if I could check-in earlier at 11 a.m. instead of the standard 2 p.m. He e-mailed me back and told me if nobody else was renting the place I could arrive early but I would have to check with the caretaker of the property first to see if her schedule would allow it. The caretakers live a few blocks from the property and the Owner lives in another state.

The caretaker Jill did not respond to that email. So I called and left her a voicemail. Still no response, so I was not sure what time to leave Saturday morning. But I don’t sweat it – I leave at 10 a.m. It is only a 2-hour drive. At 10:30 a.m. I get a phone call from the Owner telling me that caretaker Bill will meet me at the cabin to give me the keys, because caretaker Jill left her cell phone in Charlotte and that's why she never returned my phone call. Okay dokey. I guess she left her computer in Charlotte as well because she didn't show any courtesy to respond to the email either.

On a positive note, here is a quick video that I filmed -- At least there was a beautiful flowing stream in the backyard. Click to see and hear this lovely moun

At least there was a nice view in the backyard. Click on the quick video above to see and hear this stream in action. It is very soothing.

This is the view from the balcony porch, outside the bedsheet curtains.  The gurgling river in the back yard was the best thing about the cabin. The internet photos of this backyard river is what made me decide to choose this place.
This is the view from the balcony porch, outside the bedsheet curtains. The gurgling river in the back yard was the best thing about the cabin. The internet photos of this backyard river is what made me decide to choose this place. | Source

Doomed From the Start

I arrive at the cabin and Bill is waiting there to let me in and gave me the key. As soon as I walked into the place the strong musty smell of mildew hits me. I took off my shoes and walked around barefooted and noticed the floor felt gritty and sandy. I took a broom and swept the entire living room, kitchen, and foyer floors and came up with a small pile of dirt. At least now I can walk barefoot on a smooth clean floor. I paid a $35 cleaning fee in advance and I am the one cleaning the place.

I settled in on the hard and lumpy Futon, which was located in the dark paneled living room where none of the lamps worked, watching Pollyanna on the Hallmark channel. The old decrepit ceiling fan is grinding away. Both ceiling fans in the place must be about 40 years old. There is a window-unit air conditioner in the bedroom, which is doing a good job of cooling the place and the “Change Filter” light is on.

All of a sudden out of nowhere a big giant hornet came flying towards the balcony sliding glass doors and was bouncing around. I am thinking, how the heck did a hornet get inside? All the windows are closed, the door is closed, there are no vents in the ceiling, no vents in the floors, no chimney or fireplace. I do not want to tangle with a hornet. They are mean. This hornet was all black with a red tint to it, so I know it was one of the mean ones.

I got up and opened the sliding glass door and fortunately the creature flew out. I didn’t actually see the creature fly out, but it did seem to disappear. When any stinging insect is in your house – you will know it. They are not quiet nor do they stay still. And they like hanging around windows where the light is. So I kept wondering, how did that little bugger get in? Will another hornet come buzzing around?

Kitchen Surprise

I proceed into the kitchen and noticed the cooking utensils next to the stove had a film of dust on them. I couldn’t stand it, so with warm soapy water I began washing the utensils, utensil holder, the teapot, the coffee pot, and a canister on the counter. Shined them right up, I sure did. I grabbed the second canister and it felt heavy, so I opened it up and noticed it was half filled with sugar. All the ants in there stopped cold when the lid was opened. I was mortified and closed the lid quickly. I know they are just ants but my goodness you don’t expect to find bugs in your sugar container. But at this cabin I guess it’s a part of the experience.

At the sliding glass doors there hung some bedsheet-like white curtains. They were so see-through that at night, even if the lamps did work, everyone passing by would be able to see me in my nightgown in the living room. That’s just not enough privacy for me. The bathroom was located next to the sliding glass balcony doors, and if anyone sits on the toilet and looks to their left, the neighbor’s balcony is in plain view, so the neighbors have a plain view of anyone sitting on the toilet unless the bathroom door is shut. Now that would make some fine vacation story-telling, wouldn't it?

Chimney Rock State Park

Another positive thing is that at least I did get to hike one of the trails at the great Chimney Rock State Park.
Another positive thing is that at least I did get to hike one of the trails at the great Chimney Rock State Park. | Source

On the First Night

Saturday evening. It’s my first night there and I went to sleep around 9 p.m. At 10 p.m. the smoke alarm in the bedroom started chirping. All night it chirped and I didn’t get enough sleep because of it. I don’t know how to fix those things. I know I should learn how to handle a smoke alarm and change the battery but I keep delaying it. So I woke up with a headache Sunday morning because I didn’t get enough sleep from the chirping. I got ready to go hike Chimney Rock mountain and left the cabin. The smoke alarm was still chirping.

So I park my car at the mountain and called the Owner to let him know the smoke alarm was chirping. He carefully explained to me (like I was a real dunce) that it means the battery needs to be replaced, not that there is a fire or anything. I had to bite my tongue because I wanted to say No Sh*t Sherlock, I know a chirping smoke alarm means replace the battery, I’m a homeowner myself, and if there was a fire I would definitely have known that as well.

Being the polite Southern girl that I am, I then proceeded to mention the hornet coming out of nowhere. He again talked like I was a stupid person and said maybe there was a door open, and any house anywhere a hornet can get inside. He said he knows there is no nest anywhere. Well that is for sure because if there was a hornet’s nest around the cabin, it would be very apparent (when I got back home I checked out this place on TripAdvisor and one person gave a 1-star rating and said there was a wasp nest and people got stung - this rating was in 2009).

He informs me he will let Bill know about the chirping smoke alarm but he didn’t know if Bill could fix it right away or not. I tell the Owner I am hiking Chimney Rock and will be gone for a few hours and it would be okay if Bill goes in there to change the battery to stop the chirping.

On the bright side, I did hike the Hickory Nut Forge trail and took these photos of the waterfall. This magnificant place was the highlight of the trip.

Click thumbnail to view full-size

What About Your Vacations?

Have you ever left town on vacation and you couldn't wait to get home?

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The Beginning of the End of Vacation

So I go on my hike and a few hours later I stop to get some takeout lunch from a local diner, then went back to the cabin. Parking is real tight among the cabins but I always manage to get parked. I pull up and notice a big giant black spider with yellow streaks out on its web. Now I understand what that golf-ball sized sack is which is sticking on the neighbor’s cabin. These 3-inch black spiders are common in North Carolina but I don’t want them near my car or vacation property.

In the silence of the cabin (I guess Bill changed the battery while I was away), I was eating lunch and thought I really don’t want to stay in this dirty run down dump another night. The bathroom shower is real gross. It looks like they haven’t used any Scrubbing Bubbles on it in a long time. The shower curtain has mildrew growing on it. It is around 3 p.m. and I am cleaning up the lunch dishes. Then I heard it. The Chirping started again. I still have a headache from the previous night when I couldn’t get any sleep. That was the straw that broke the camel’s back. I had my stuff packed up and the car loaded in 20 minutes. I just couldn’t take it anymore. I took out the trash, left the key on the table, made sure I had all my stuff, straightened up the place, and locked the door behind me.

I called Bill when I was ready to pull out of there. He answered his cell phone but didn’t say anything and hung up on me. I knew these people were getting tired of hearing from me and I think he did it on purpose, because a) my questioning my arrival time, and b) the smoke alarm chirping. Plus I told the Owner about the hornet. I called him again and this time he answered Hello. I said Bill I have to leave. I have some personal issues beyond my control and I have to return home tonight. I’m sorry.”

He said, oh, it’s personal? Okay as long as it’s personal and doesn’t have to do with the cabin. He said talk to the Owner about getting a refund. At this point, I didn’t go into all the things wrong with this dirty, dumpy, dark, crappy cabin. I was at that point where I just don't want to talk about it. I just want to get out of there and not talk about it.

I said thank you and hung up and happily drove all the way home. On the bright positive side of things, once at home I got a nice good night’s sleep and my headache went away. At least the mountain hike was fun, and I got to buy some local honey and bath soap, and got some great pictures of the gurgling river outside the dumpy cabin.

Oh, one more thing -- I did tell the Owner that he should fire whoever he is paying to clean the place. I know Jill was supposed to be cleaning the place. I just had to throw that in there.

Click thumbnail to view full-size
A view from the dark and dank living room, looking outside on the balcony.
A view from the dark and dank living room, looking outside on the balcony.

More Photos of the Lovely Gurgling River. The outside area of the cabin was actually really nice. See video above for sights and sounds of this flowing mountain


© 2012 Michelle Dee


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