Historic inns warm visitors with holiday decor, cookies

Inns1Pinebrook_Dining RS

Pinebrook Manor Inn’s dining room is decorated for the holidays.

Seven inns in Henderson County welcomed visitors in an open house gala Sunday, in the Holiday Tour of Historic Inns and Cookie Caper. Each inn served complimentary cookies.

Many locals have guests from out-of-town who might stay at these inns, perhaps checking out this area to move to. Innkeepers say most of their guests come without personal referrals. They seek relaxing, quaint accommodations such as with large fireplaces, Victorian couches and antique artifacts.

Homes in the Hendersonville Historic Preservation Commission (HHPC) sponsored the self-driving tour included two adjacent inns at the north edge of downtown. Both were built as summer boarding houses, in gallant Queen Anne style.

The 16-bedroom Claddagh Inn (1896; 693-6737) is at 744 N. Main St. Then-Mayor W.A. Smith had it built. In 1906 it became Charleston Boarding House, reflecting the flow “flat landers” here to escape summer heat and malaria. A third floor was added and classical revival adapted, in 1916 by new owner L.R. Chewning. A photo shows him as part of Jesse James’ gang.

The June 24, 1929 This Week in Hendersonville pamphlet lists a dozen hotels in town and that many boarding houses, in economic boom four months before the Great Depression ignited. Some Chewning House boarder rooms went for $21 per week then, which equates to $260 today.

“Claddagh” is the Irish emblem of two hands clasping a crowned heart, such as on a ring. Antique furnishings in the inn include an epergne, an ornate table centerpiece to hold fruit or flowers, noted innkeepers Ed and Sinikka Bell. They have been the owners for a full decade.

Next door is John and Diane Sheiry’s three-story Waverly Inn (1898; 693-9193), at 783 N. Main St., with 15 guest rooms. It emerged as the Anderson Boarding House. The Sheiry family has lived here since becoming owners in 1988. Younger daughter Tori, 22, grew up in the inn.

“Awesome” was how Tori described the holiday open house and visitor response, and how it promotes local heritage.

Nearby is Aunt Adeline’s Bed and Breakfast (1917; 595-4955) at 1314 Hyman Ave., in historic Hyman Heights. It was the Bonnie Haven home, then Bon Haven retirement center a quarter-century ago. The porch sports a river-rock balustrade railing.

Innkeepers Gerald Mitchell and Sue Hathaway display their 319 nutcrackers in the bed and breakfast. Six-feet-tall sentries Heinrich and Herwig flank the front door. Adeline is Sue’s aunt.

The West Side Historic District of stately residences features Elizabeth Leigh Inn (1893; 808-5305). It originated as the revival colonial Roberts House summer home, at 908 Fifth Ave. W. It was converted into the Fifth Avenue Guesthouse, then remodeled into the inn in 2000. This is among elegant local inns with four guest rooms, including one downstairs. Owners are Mike and Cindy Baer; Cindy greeted visitors Sunday in the kitchen where she baked cookies.

On the West edge of downtown is Inn on Church (1919; 696-2001), at Church Street and Third Avenue. Still with plain utilitarian exterior, it began as the Aloah Hotel as tourism boomed. Other early hotels were demolished due to the Depression. But this one sustained as an inn. It went bankrupt as the Carlson House, was auctioned for $25 to W.H. Britt in 1932 and renamed Hendersonville Inn. It carried on.

In 2000, it became a bed and breakfast. Inn on Church has 21 rooms. Joe and Stephanie Carlton have owned it for the past three years. She displays in guest rooms her family quilts, including one her great-grandmother made her as a wedding gift.

The large Echo Mountain Inn (1896; 693-9626) has 33 rooms, and at 2,700 is the highest one up, innkeeper Greg Fortier noted. It is at 2849 Laurel Park Hwy, the road emerging from Fifth Avenue up toward Jump Off Rock. The inn has distant views of Downtown Hendersonville. Echo’s rustic style is colonial. A dual-faced fireplace links two rooms, and is among original features from two centuries prior.

The other inn far from downtown is Pinebrook Manor Inn (circa 1905; 698-2707), at 2701 Kanuga Rd. The five-acre property near Flat Rock was tabbed the Pardee Estate, for post-World War II ownership by the family of hospital lore.

Innkeepers Melanie and Graham MacPherson remodeled the summer home, opening it as an inn in 2004. They researched the property’s history. It was deeded in 1883 from a Dr. Whitted, a Civil War surgeon, to his daughter Anna Amelia Price. The house has a solid granite foundation. Columns were added by A.W. Wheeler, the resident in 1927-45.

The inn tour raised money for such HHPC projects as historic plaques and enriching people about heritage structures. This was the eighth such tour. Ticket sales increased from 324 last year to about 400 this time, with more than half online. HHPC commissioner Phillip Allen, who directed Pinebrook parking, observed a steady flow of visitors on the warm day.

The City of Hendersonville’s historic preservation specialist is City Planning Admin. Asst. Lu Ann Welter, who oversees the commission. She said these inns “reflect Hendersonville as a mountain community. You get the feeling of all of the tourists who have been here over the years, in the inns with big lobbies and dining areas. The one-time private homes have a different feel, for family space.”

Holiday decor varied per inn, but typically was traditional in style. All showcased the holiday spirit in public rooms, some less so in private rooms. “Some were greener with garlands and swags,” Welter said, “and others all out with bright colors.”

Visitor Joy Miller of Hershey, Pa. lauded an inn’s cozy and old-timey feel. “It’s very vintage, clean and pretty. It’s the type of place I’d like to stay in.”

For more about the Hendersonville Historic Preservation Commission and its projects, check

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