November 30, 2022

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Travel ideas

Floridians, try these North Carolina mountain inns

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When the temperature is in the 90s and the humidity is almost as high, it’s no wonder so many Floridians head to the North Carolina mountains, known for their scenic lakes, waterfalls and spectacular views — and, of course, that cool, crisp air. The region also has an abundance of charming inns, perfect for a getaway or a place to stay while searching for a mountain home. Here are some favorites.

Esmeralda Inn, Chimney Rock

The Esmeralda Inn & Restaurant blends in so well with its wooded surroundings that it would be easy to miss it if it weren’t for the sign. Set slightly back from U.S. 64, the rustic inn and cabins are just a short distance from two of the area’s most popular attractions: Chimney Rock and Lake Lure. The current inn, rebuilt twice after fires, contains flooring donated from the gymnasium of the nearby set where parts of Dirty Dancing with Patrick Swayze and Jennifer Grey were filmed. In earlier years, Clark Gable, Douglas Fairbanks, Gloria Swanson and other movie stars used the Esmeralda as a hideout. The inn has an outdoor hot tub, and breakfast is included in the room rate.

901 Main St., Chimney Rock. [email protected].

The porch of the Esmeralda Inn & Restaurant in Chimney Rock. N.C., overlooks U.S. 64, which runs along the Broad River.
The porch of the Esmeralda Inn & Restaurant in Chimney Rock. N.C., overlooks U.S. 64, which runs along the Broad River. [ PICASA | The Esmeralda Inn and Restaurant ]
The Esmeralda Inn & Restaurant in North Carolina is on the site of the original inn, which opened in 1892 and served as the first stage coach stop in the Chimney Rock area. The current inn was built in the late 1990s.
The Esmeralda Inn & Restaurant in North Carolina is on the site of the original inn, which opened in 1892 and served as the first stage coach stop in the Chimney Rock area. The current inn was built in the late 1990s. [ The Esmeralda In and Restaurant ]

Greystone Inn, Lake Toxaway

Lake Toxaway is North Carolina’s largest privately owned lake, lined by some of the most expensive homes in western North Carolina. Fortunately, those who don’t live along its shores can enjoy the man-made lake by taking boat rides on the Miss Lucy or dining, staying or doing both at the historic Greystone Inn. The inn, originally the vacation home of Savannah, Ga., socialite Lucy Armstrong, escaped a disastrous flood in 1916 that caused the Toxaway dam to burst and drained the lake. In 1961, the dam was repaired, the lake waters restored, and after Armstrong’s death, the property opened in 1985 as a luxury inn. The recipient of a number of “best” awards, the resort has a spa, tennis courts, a lakeside restaurant and other amenities.

220 Greystone Lane, Lake Toxaway. greystoneinn.com.

The Greystone Inn is on Lake Toxaway, the largest privately owned lake in North Carolina.
The Greystone Inn is on Lake Toxaway, the largest privately owned lake in North Carolina. [ The Greystone Inn ]
The Greystone Inn is on Lake Toxaway, whose scenic location drew notables like the Fords, Edisons and Rockefellers in the early 1900s.
The Greystone Inn is on Lake Toxaway, whose scenic location drew notables like the Fords, Edisons and Rockefellers in the early 1900s. [ The Greystone Inn ]
This is one of the 33 rooms at the Greystone Inn, which is perched on a rocky bluff overlooking Lake Toxaway in North Carolina.
This is one of the 33 rooms at the Greystone Inn, which is perched on a rocky bluff overlooking Lake Toxaway in North Carolina. [ The Greystone Inn ]

Old Edwards Inn, Highlands

Part of the Relais & Chateaux group of luxurious hotels worldwide, Old Edwards Inn & Spa is often cited as one of the country’s top resorts. The 68-room hotel, which consists of a historic inn and other buildings spread throughout Highlands, has a pool, a spa, a golf course and restaurants. Known for its upscale dining and shopping, the town itself was founded in 1875 by two Kansas developers. As the story goes, they drew lines on a map from Chicago to Savannah, Ga., and from New York City to New Orleans, thinking that the place where these met would become a commercial crossroads. Highlands draws its name from its 4,118-foot elevation, giving it among the coolest summer temperatures in the South.

445 Main St., Highlands. oldedwardshospitality.com.

This is the Lodge at Old Edwards, one of several buildings that make up Old Edwards Inn in Highlands, N.C.  A Palm Beach couple bought the old Edwards Hotel and restaurant in 2001 and went on to buy the lodge and a golf course and add other amenities for a total investment of more than $55 million.
This is the Lodge at Old Edwards, one of several buildings that make up Old Edwards Inn in Highlands, N.C. A Palm Beach couple bought the old Edwards Hotel and restaurant in 2001 and went on to buy the lodge and a golf course and add other amenities for a total investment of more than $55 million.
[ Old Edwards Inn and Spa ]
This is the Old Edwards Inn in downtown Highlands, one of several buildings throughout the town that collectively are known as Old Edwards Inn & Spa.
This is the Old Edwards Inn in downtown Highlands, one of several buildings throughout the town that collectively are known as Old Edwards Inn & Spa. [ Old Edwards Inn and Spa ]
Some of the 68 rooms and suites at Old Edwards Inn have balconies with views of Highlands' upscale downtown area.
Some of the 68 rooms and suites at Old Edwards Inn have balconies with views of Highlands’ upscale downtown area. [ LINDAK | Old Edwards Inn and Spa ]
The Hummingbird Lounge in the Old Edwards Inn in Highlands, N.C., features live music.
The Hummingbird Lounge in the Old Edwards Inn in Highlands, N.C., features live music. [ Old Edwards Inn and Spa ]

Mast Farm Inn, Valle Crucis

The roots of the Mast Farm Inn go back to 1792, when Joseph Mast walked from Pennsylvania and settled in what is now Valle Crucis, near Boone. His family raised crops and livestock, but starting in 1900 the property also began operating as an inn. Today the main house has seven rooms, all individually decorated, and four cottages including the Loom House, thought to be the oldest habitable log cabin in North Carolina. (It was here in the early 1900s that Josephine Mast wove exquisite rugs and spreads‚ some of which are in the Smithsonian.) Guests at the inn enjoy farm-to-table breakfasts and homemade baked goods in the afternoon. The inn is also known for its gardens, at their peak from June to September.

Though not connected to the inn, the Mast General Stores in Boone, Asheville and other Southern cities are worth a visit for their eclectic array of items from candy to clothing to those gag gifts we loved as kids.

2543 Broadstone Road, Valle Crucis. themastfarminn.com.

The Mast Farm Inn near Boone, N.C., has a rustic feel.
The Mast Farm Inn near Boone, N.C., has a rustic feel. [ REVIVAL PHOTOGRAPHY | Mast Farm Inn ]
The Mast Farm Inn, which is on the National Register of Historic Places, is a 19th century farmhouse turned inn near Boone, N.C.
The Mast Farm Inn, which is on the National Register of Historic Places, is a 19th century farmhouse turned inn near Boone, N.C. [ Mast Farm Inn ]

Inn on Biltmore Estate, Asheville

Built by George Washington Vanderbilt in the late 1800s, the 250-room Biltmore House is the country’s largest and best known private residence. You can’t stay there, but you can get a taste of Gilded Age opulence at the nearby Inn on Biltmore Estate. Opened in 2001, the 210-room inn offers sweeping mountain views, including from tables in the Forbes four-star rated dining room, set with china, crystal and white linen tablecloths. Amenities include 24-hour room service, a day spa, a library lounge, a fitness center and a heated outdoor pool. The “Morning at Biltmore” package gives inn guests special access to Biltmore House before it opens to the public, including an organ loft view not seen on other tours.

1 Lodge St., Asheville. biltmore.com.

The Inn on Biltmore Estate is on the 8,000-acre grounds of Asheville's Biltmore House, renowned for its vast size, spectacular gardens and opulent Christmas decorations.
The Inn on Biltmore Estate is on the 8,000-acre grounds of Asheville’s Biltmore House, renowned for its vast size, spectacular gardens and opulent Christmas decorations.
[ The Biltmore Company ]

The Inn on Biltmore Estate is on the 8,000-acre grounds of Asheville's Biltmore House, renowned for its vast size, spectacular gardens and opulent Christmas decorations.
The Inn on Biltmore Estate is on the 8,000-acre grounds of Asheville’s Biltmore House, renowned for its vast size, spectacular gardens and opulent Christmas decorations.
[ The Biltmore Company ]
The Inn on Biltmore Estate in Asheville, N.C., has expansive views of the Blue Ridge Mountains.
The Inn on Biltmore Estate in Asheville, N.C., has expansive views of the Blue Ridge Mountains. [ The Biltmore Company ]

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