Escape the stress of the city at Tryon’s Pine Crest Inn
A sharp right off Highway 176 in downtown Tryon will bring you, in a few blocks, to the main lodge of the Pine Crest Inn. As you come up the driveway, wooden rockers on the wide, covered front porch beckon you to set a spell to let the tranquil mountain views transport you back to a simpler time.
For more than a hundred years, people have sought out the mountains of western North Carolina as a place of healing. So, it’s not surprising that the Pine Crest Inn was built as a sanitarium for tuberculosis patients in 1906. Patients at the turn of the century benefitted from the clean mountain air and serene setting, much as guests have done here since 1917, when Michigan hotelier Carter Brown converted the place into an inn.
From the porch, gaze out over the collection of stone, wood, and log cottages that range over landscapes of roses and rhododendrons. Between the inn’s 11 buildings, 35 individually decorated rooms and suites retain a sense of history in the likes of antique furnishings, handmade quilts, and original wood beams, while offering the modern conveniences of flatscreen TVs, refrigerators, and gas fireplaces.
Tiny Swayback Cottage, named for its sunken roofline, best embodies the property’s past. Dating back some 240 years, this rough-hewn log cottage (transported from Tennessee by Carter Brown) is the oldest and the smallest of the inn’s accommodations. It’s a natural roost for writers, who might find themselves inspired by the spirits of former guests F. Scott Fitzgerald and Ernest Hemingway.
Carl Caudle, the current innkeeper, felt the call of the mountains, too. Nine years ago, he left his career in technology consulting on the West Coast to take the reins at the Pine Crest Inn. “And I’ve never looked back,” he says. Since then, Caudle has not only upgraded the onsite conference facilities and renovated the restaurant and many of the rooms, but his passion for beekeeping has added 20 hives to the grounds. Available for sale to inn guests, Caudle’s honey has been in demand since it took first place in the Black Jar Honey Contest in Asheville last year.
Less than an hour’s drive from Greenville, the Pine Crest Inn is still, in Caudle’s words, “a world away from the city.” Indeed, as you’re rocking on the porch, the only care you’ll have is watching out for the tails of the inn’s resident kitties: Shadow, Lily, and Mew.
Pine Crest Inn
85 Pine Crest Ln, Tryon
(800) 633-3001, pinecrestinn.com
High-season (Apr–July and Oct–Dec) rates range from $129/night for a small room to $599/night for the three-bedroom Stone Cottage. Off-season rates run from $99/night to $549/night for the same accommodations.