Stay local: Area inns offer indulgent getaway options for foodies

THE SPICE OF LIFE: Local innkeepers strive to create delicious and varied dishes for guest meals. "Stay as long as you like, and never have the same thing twice," vows Bent Creek Lodge owner and chef Jodee Sellers. Photo by Alisa Moody

We’ve all been there. It’s that vacation from which we need a vacation. Yes — it was memorable, but exhausting. So, plan B? Stay local.

Urban elegance

Dating back to 1847, the Reynolds Mansion Bed & Breakfast Inn has ties to the late U.S. Sen. Robert Rice Reynolds (aka “Buncombe Bob”) and to Evalyn Walsh McLean, a mining heiress and owner of the Hope Diamond, which now resides in the Smithsonian Institution.

Today, innkeepers Billy Sanders and Michael Griffith welcome guests to experience Asheville as it was more than 150 years ago. Most mornings, Sanders can be found preparing a breakfast to be served on any one of 18 sets of china.

Billy Sanders, The Reynolds Mansion
Billy Sanders, Reynolds Mansion

“I’m a little crazy when it comes to china, and the food dictates what pattern is used. A simple meal will get a busier pattern and vice versa,” he says.

Sanders says that the greatest challenge lies in meeting various dietary restrictions because he takes them all seriously.

“However, we have to be realistic. For example, if someone is a strict vegan, we’re probably not the place for them,” he says. “I mean, hey, we’re in Asheville. They’ll find a place to suit their needs.”

A three-course breakfast starts with fruit juice, homemade buttermilk biscuits or muffins and a specially prepared fruit dish. It’s followed by a hot entrée such as sweet-pepper scrambled eggs or ginger pancakes with lemon sauce.

“If you call yourself a bed-and-breakfast, you can’t skimp on the bed or the breakfast,” Sanders says.

Room rates start at about $185 per night.

Just roll with it

At Bent Creek Lodge, innkeepers Doug and Jodee Sellers say the key to keeping everyone happy is to just “roll with it.”

“We have an open kitchen, and guests want to chat while we cook,” Jodee says. “It’s one of the things I really enjoy about the whole experience, but you just have to keep moving.”

Jodee has a culinary degree from A-B Tech, and Doug also cooks. His specialty is waffles.

“I’ve tried many recipes,” he says. “I’ve finally nailed it. The greatest challenge is to keep them crispy. The key is a little cornstarch.”

Jodee’s pledge: “Stay as long as you like and never have the same thing twice.”

Rates start at $105 per night.

Solving the world’s problems at the Sourwood Inn

One of the Sourwood Inn’s intentions has been to provide a positive environment, not only for guests, but for staff as well.

“Every morning after breakfast service, staff sits down together to enjoy the leftovers, share hoots and solve the world’s problems,” innkeeper Susan Curtis says.

Curtis runs the inn with her husband, Jeff, and her parents, Anne and Nat Burkhardt. A full house for the Sourwood is 26.

“There’s always a rogue early riser looking for that first cup of coffee, and guests frequently want to chat when they do that,” she says. “Time can move all too quickly, so my warming oven is a useful tool.”

Specialties of the house include a cheesy grit casserole and buttermilk oatmeal pancakes.

Rates start at about $150 per night. Local discounts are available.

Put a little Swag-ger in your step

Deener and Dan Matthews originally built The Swag in Waynesville as their private residence. In 1982, they agreed to provide lodging for attendees of the World’s Fair in Knoxville, but many of the original guests never went to the fair and wanted to return year after year. The Swag is now in its 34th season.

“One of the most interesting things about The Swag is that Deener prepared every meal for the first 10 seasons — breakfast, lunch and dinner,” says the inn’s general manager, Brooks Bradbury. “The original ladder is still in the kitchen that leads down from their bedroom.”

Swag Bars — a chewy chocolate treat — are a guest favorite.

Rates start at $495 per night.

While all these places have different charms, what they all have in common is return guests who live locally. “I recently learned a new term — ‘babymooners,’” Jodee says. “It’s a couple’s last hurrah — for a while at least — before a new baby arrives.”

So, whether you’re seeking a quiet escape from the kids or a full-blown weekend of sublime indulgence, you’ll likely find what you’re looking for right in your own backyard.

Scroll down for more breakfast recipes from local innkeepers. 



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