I have a thing for old hotels. I'm not so sure when my interest was peaked, but I'm thinking it just may have happened while brunching at the Pinehurst Hotel as a child. The love affair was fueled on a summer trip to The Grove Park Inn. I fell so hard I built a scale model out of foam core, modeling mortar, & paper mache (thanks for the help mom!) for my North Carolina history project in 7th grade. Every time I see a historic hotel I want to stop and take in the history. Who stayed behind these walls? What kind of parties have they had over the years? What was the thinking behind the intricate details? My imagination runs wild as soon as I enter through the doors.
T and I have had our eye on one particular Grande Dame in the high country of NC since we first started dating. The beautiful wooden hotel clad in a bright white coat of paint with a roof as green as mountain moss sits just outside the main street of Blowing Rock. 6 years ago when I first ventured to my in-laws mountain home my curiosity was peaked by this visibly aging but obviously once grande structure. I knew it would be quite an investment to return to working order but I was deep down hoping someone would do it. And they did!
On our first visit of 2012 last week I got my first peak into the restoration. Upon walking through the doors I was instantly transported back to the era of the grande hotel. I could just imagine families "summering" here, escaping the oppressive heat and humidity of the south with cool mountain breezes. One of the new owners happened to be enjoying a cocktail at the bar and graciously showed us around, explaining the phases of renovation and what was still to come. He told stories of what famous guests had visited in the past, and his hopes for the future. Did you know that Margaret Mitchell visited and penned part of Gone with the Wind while as a guest at The Green Park Inn?
If you're ever in the area be sure to make a stop, grab a vintage cocktail (the Manhattan was fantastic), and maybe a seat in a front porch rocker. Take in the beautiful hand carvings and detail work put into this grand hotel. I'm happy that she's been saved!