November 10, 2022



As an Applewood Manor guest, you are likely to run into the inn’s mascots—Cleo, Pearl, and MASCOTS, The Applewood Manor Ziggy. They are pictured here anxiously watching for new arrivals.

The three French bulldogs belong to Applewood’s owners, Stephen and Robin Collins. A bit of history is needed to understand why have three bulldogs. It started in 2020 when their beloved first French bully, Max, passed away. They realized that life would not be put right again until they had another Frenchie in the house. So, they went back to their source, Byrum’s French Bulldogs in Oak Ridge, Tennessee. While there, they had an epiphany—if one bulldog was good—two would be even better! That’s when they adopted the two females, Cleo and Pearl. It didn’t take long for Stephen to realize that he now had to live with six girls—wife, three daughters and two girl bulldogs. He needed another guy in the house for a little male bonding—so they went back to Oak Ridge and came home with Ziggy.

Cleo is the brindle in the center of the picture and her full name is Byrum’s Ballad of Cleopatra. The cream in the photograph is Pearl, officially known as Byrum’s Somebody to Love. And finally, Stephen’s bonding mate, Ziggy, commands the center of the photo. Ziggy’s absurdly long official name is Byrum’s Moonage Daydreamer Ziggy Stardust.

While the dogs don’t live at Applewood full time, you are very likely to spot them hanging around the place during your stay. So, let me tell you  a little about them. Cleo is a minx—she is flirtatious and sneaky—more of a lover than a fighter. She likes cuddling and sleeping by the fire. She has a thing about toes and thinks they make good chew toys. So, sandal wearers be warned. Pearl on the other hand is the athlete, full of energy, and jumps like a deer. And she has a thing about shoes. Any unattended shoe is at risk, and she will hunt them down! As for Ziggy, don’t let his small size fool you. He is a formidable tugger and has a big bark. In fact, he is the most vocal of the three, growling and barking when playing, and howling when he wants something—like let me out of this crate!

What most people do not know is that French bulldogs first became popular as pets of Parisian “ladies of the night.” The American Kennel Club website includes the following regarding their less that sterling history:

Amid its brasseries and bistros, the Montmartre neighborhood of Paris also had brothels – lots of MASCOTS, The Applewood Manor them. Besides plunging necklines and silk stockings, the city’s belles de nuit often flaunted another accessory: a compact, snub-nosed little dog that sometimes had cartoonishly round, erect ears, and an always outsized personality. Other than companionship, these engagingly odd-looking dogs had a specific marketing purpose: They made very convenient icebreakers and were instant conversation starters with even the most awkward of clients. So indelible was this association between Paris’ fin de siècle working girls and their French Bulldog companions that the dogs began to appear alongside their scantily clad mistresses in risque postcards of the late-19th and early-20th centuries. French Bulldogs of this period also turned up in more high-brow images, in particular the post-Impressionist paintings of Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, the so-called “recorder of Montmartre.” His most famous canine subject was Bouboule, a Frenchie belonging to Madame Palmyre, owner of the famous café La Souris (“the Mouse”). 

A print of Toulouse’s painting of Bouboule hangs in Cortland Cottage.

Asheville is a dog lover’s town. There are outdoor dining areas, beer breweries, and taverns that welcome canine friends.

Asheville has been called many things—weirdest, happiest, quirkiest place in America, Santa Fe of the East, New Age Capital of the World, Paris of the South, Beer City USA, Most Haunted, Sky City and others. It has many secrets, mysteries, and legends—some factual, some alleged, some exaggerated and some just plain lies.


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