Top Dogs

After 25 years in Tampa, FL, we packed up the kids, Rachel and Frank, our dog Snickers, cat Snowcap and moved to the mountains to change our careers and our lives. Michael’s family has vacationed “at the lake” in Minnesota for three generations. We wanted to create that same “aaaah” getaway feeling here in the beautiful Blue Ridge mountains. It took a year to formulate our plan and find the right place, but in the fall of 2004, the property presented itself ready to go with one cabin and an antique sign on the barn that read Barkwells Antique Gallery, Lexington Avenue, Asheville. It was a “sign” that we had found the perfect place to create a dog-friendly haven for vacationers. We were additionally fortunate to be able to purchase and renovate a home just across the street. When Peppermint Patty, our second giant schnauzer, rounded out our family, we were ready to embark on the new adventure.

We now have eight vacation cabins on the property, a terrific staff, verdant gardens, stocked pond, a flock of chickens that provide eggs for us and guests, two fainting goats (Cookie and MoonPie), a dwarf Nigerian goat (Cupcake) and a Pygmy goat (BonBon). Rachel has graduated, travels and works abroad and has her own business (WinnersWords.com) and blog, and Frank (aka Kirby) is in college. Snickers, Snowcap and Peppermint Patty are with us in spirit. Fisher-and-goatsFisher, a lab/border collie mix from Brother Wolf Rescue and Baxter, a rescue Tibetan Terrier (terror is more like it) are our four-footed family.  We are blessed to have a lot of wonderful repeat and regular guests and we so enjoy all the new friends we make here. We are very grateful to have found what we were looking for — great quality of life in a spectacular setting. We hope you will find that here, too.

Ellen & Michael Winner