5 Things: Hosting Out-of-Town Guests

One of the things I love to do more than anything on this earth is host visitors in our house. I was always so concerned in the months before we made this move that we'd be largely alone in Asheville, but it turns out we get to see our friends and families more here than we did in Alabama, in some cases! 

Particularly in the fall, Asheville is covered up top-to-bottom with tourists who we call "leafers," in town to watch the Blue Ridge Mountains change from this 

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to this: 

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(I know, right? Pretty spectacular). 

So I thought it'd be the perfect time of year to talk about little things I learned from my mom that I like to do when hosting guests, besides putting out fresh towels. 

1. Flowers! 

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Buying flowers can get expensive, so lots of times I source the blooms from my yard, or even just use the greenery. A little bit of "living thing" in a room totally changes the feel. I try to put two large arrangements in the den, kitchen, and guest bedroom, and small arrangements (usually in Mason jars) in each bathroom. 

As you can see in the background of this photo, the first weekend we moved up here, we had a big arrangement of wildflowers in our den. Also very funny to look back on this decorating from three years ago. We've come a long way, baby. 

2. Candy and snacks! 

This is another direct result of growing up in my mother's house, but we usually have bowls of treats (my signature is seasonal M&M's) all over the place. One in the kitchen, one in the guest room, and one on the table in front of the TV. 

I know. It's an issue. 

Really, it's less about candy specifically, and more about having something for people to easily reach for. I've found that if you ask your guests, "Are you guys feeling hungry?" the answer is always, "Not really!" because no one wants to put you out or make you work. 

But if you just MAKE the food and put it out ANYWAY, it always mysteriously gets eaten...funny how that works. ;) 

So just put it out! I always have a cheese board ready when people are coming in from out of town, just so folks can immediately have something to nibble on and don't feel like they're inconveniencing me. I also like to play a fun game with myself to see if I can remember people's favorites and buy them in advance - favorite beer, favorite kinds of cheese, favorite chips, etc. I may or may not have a running list in a drawer. Don't tell. 

 Normally I cook a full breakfast (eggs, bacon, yogurt, granola, berries, OJ, etc.), but this is a perfect quick option: Sister Schubert cinnamon rolls served with fruit and carried out onto the front porch to enjoy the fall temps. 

Normally I cook a full breakfast (eggs, bacon, yogurt, granola, berries, OJ, etc.), but this is a perfect quick option: Sister Schubert cinnamon rolls served with fruit and carried out onto the front porch to enjoy the fall temps. 

3. Bedside water and coffee. 

Another "my mom" touch. We bought these glass bottles for about $5 each Michael's a few years ago and they have paid for themselves about 1,000 times over with how many times we've put them to use. 

When we have company, each guest has a glass bottle filled with water and fresh, clean glasses on their nightstand. If I'm REALLY doing a good job, I make sure to go up and re-fill the water bottles at some point during each day. 

We also happened to have an extra Keurig, because Jordan's sweet parents got us a Ninja coffeemaker for Christmas two years ago. So we moved our old Keurig to the guest room, stocked a glass canister with pods of coffee and tea, and I always stick an extra mug or two up there in case our guests are super-early risers (as in, before 6 AM) and want to have a cup of coffee without waking the whole house up. 

4. Have a plan.

No photo to go along with this one, and this may be showing my cards too much, but when guests are coming for a weekend, I like to sit down with a legal pad and map out the trip. It's helpful for my type-A brain to go ahead and plan what we're going to do, because there is SO MUCH in Asheville and often we only get one full day with our guests, as Friday and Sunday are travel days. 

One of the most important things I've found is to also include rest time in the "plan." The perfect weekend tends to balance activities and downtime. As much of an extrovert as I am, I also really need time to be quiet and re-charge - so if I'M feeling tired or overexerted socially, I know my friends are. Laying around on the couch and drinking makes for some of the best memories anyway, don'tcha think? 

 Like so. 

Like so. 

Okay, so I only made it to four things. Sue me. Hopefully that inspires some ideas and makes you want to call your friend to invite them over! These little touches really are so fun to do and are all about thanking people for driving to see us. So - how comfortable can you make your guests? 

Happy hosting!