The Mountain Laurel
The Journal of Mountain Life

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Heart of the Blue Ridge

Country Inns Offer Homestyle Hospitality

By NC Department of Travel and Tourism

Issue: August, 1986

The country inns and bed and breakfast houses in North Carolina reflect perfectly the friendliness and hospitality of the people of the state. The National Register of Historic Homes lists many of these inns as historical treasures; they also reflect the heritage of Americans. The inns, because of their locations throughout the state, can accommodate the interests of almost any vacationer, whether it is hiking, sunbathing or just loafing. These bed and breakfasts are ideal for vacationers or businesspeople travelling alone, since personal attention and friendly conversation is often a part of the country inn plan, they can be sure of residing in homey comfort at the inns.

Their owners have created many of these bed and breakfast houses and inns from restored homes, and the houses' architectural styles range from early American to Italianate.

An added advantage to the comforts of staying in a country inn may be the price of staying there. A bed and breakfast house may charge comparable or lower prices than a hotel/motel. While most inns do not have facilities like swimming pools, inns do provide personal attention, home cooked meals, and a friendly atmosphere which encourages meeting fellow guests. Most of these inns give a complimentary breakfast, which often includes traditional Southern fare like pancakes, eggs, ham, muffins, and fruit, among other things. Some inns also serve a similar "groaning table" dinner as part of their package. A night at a country inn or bed and breakfast will most likely cost between $30 and $60 a night. Prices vary, however, depending on the house's location and facilities.

Travelers can find country inns and bed and breakfast houses throughout North Carolina, although they are more numerous in the mountains. Since most of the houses were built during the 1800's, people desiring to stay in a country inn can frequently find those of Victorian style. Other inns may be European mansions, log cabins, southern plantations, or English manor houses.

Innkeepers usually decorate the guest rooms with period furniture according to the house's origin, and guests may find canopy beds, rich draperies, or homemade quilts in their suites. Many proprietors further try to retain the flavor of an old fashioned establishment by providing small luxuries like fresh flowers, fine chocolates on guest's pillows and breakfast on china and silver. Each inn is unique in flavor.

While several of the inns, such as The Pines Inn in Pisgah Forest, feature separate cottages, most smaller inns house guests in the upstairs bedrooms. For example, the Trestle House Inn in Edenton has only three guestrooms. These lodgings seem ideal for travelers wishing to avoid crowds and relax in a family style atmosphere.

For those who desire more excitement and entertainment, several larger inns provide the same comforts and service as do the small inns. Lake Lure Inn in Lake Lure and Green Park Inn at Blowing Rock can host over 100 guests. Both provide nightly entertainment at their restaurants, as well as facilities like golf and tennis. Staying at a larger inn will probably cost more, however, than staying at a small one.

The majority of the country inns fall into a medium size range, maintaining between 20 and 30 rooms. These establishments provide the atmosphere of a hotel with the comfort of a home. Most serve either a full or a continental breakfast.

Most country inns prefer to give their establishments a down-home flavor rather than the country manor air. Fryemont Inn in Bryson City strives to keep their customers satisfied with huge breakfasts and dinners of food like mountain trout, turkey, fried chicken, apple and blueberry pancakes and country ham. The Old Reynolds Mansion in Asheville relies on its mountain views, working fireplaces, and country setting to keep its guests content. Shatley Springs Inn in Crumpler and Bonnie Haven in Hendersonville believe in making customers not only happy but healthy. Bonnie Haven serves low cholesterol, low calorie foods, while Shatley Springs Inn promotes the "miraculous curing water" of Shatley Springs. Jarrett House in Dillsboro, for example, prides itself not only on its famed heaping platters of country ham, red-eyed gravy, buttermilk biscuits, sourwood honey, and homemade butter, but on its reasonable rate of $28 a night for two people.

Those inns mentioned here are but a representative sampling of the variety and excellence of the inns and bed and breakfast houses which North Carolina has to offer. Most inns open year round, except for some in the mountains. To find out more write for the North Carolina Accommodations Guide, Division of Travel and Tourism, 430 North Salisbury St., Raleigh, NC 27611. Call toll free in the U.S. 1-800-VISIT-NC.