How often have you driven a road never knowing a secluded getaway was simply yards away?

Motorists do just that daily on the pastoral two-lane Smokey Park Highway in Canton, North Carolina. Hidden behind trees and a steep hillside rests the rounded porch and cupola of an 1885 Queen Anne Victorian that welcomes overnight guests today.

Discovering Engadine

Roadside, the sign reads:  Engadine Inn, Cabins and Venue

We’ve reached Engadine Inn & Cabins. Pulling into the loop driveway reveals a home turned bed and breakfast, mountain cabins for rent, and mountainside, outdoor space for weddings, reunions and corporate events, all with views.

The Engadine Inn

The Engadine Inn (Credit: Engadine Inn, Cabins and Venue)

This respite is just 15 minutes from popular and sometimes crowded Asheville. Sites like Biltmore Estate, Omni Grove Park and the Art Deco Grove Arcade are easily explored from this comfortable home base. So are Blue Ridge Parkway, one entrance just 12 miles away, and the Great Smoky Mountains National Park (40-minute drive), the most visited in the U.S.

The Engadine cabins

Engadine is a labor of love for innkeepers Tom Watson and Rick Bell, the resident chef who charms guests with a bountiful breakfast.

The Innkeepers at Engadine: Rick & Tom

The Innkeepers at Engadine: Rick & Tom

The six rental cabins on the 107-acre property can be reached by driving, taking a courtesy golf cart or strolling, perhaps hand-in-hand, up the winding gravel path from behind the inn. Each route passes a cheery, red barn  sprouting sunflower artwork on its side—in short, a scene you’d expect from a mountain getaway.

Our stay in the Mount Mitchell Cabin took full advantage of the incredible views. The cabin offered an upstairs king bed, a whirlpool tub, a kitchen, a living room, a wood-burning fireplace, and a charcoal grill. A highlight: the perfect perch—a sitting porch to take in all the fresh mountain air.

The view from Honey Hill

The view from Honey Hill (Credit: Engadine Inn, Cabins and Venue)

We discovered that the chairs by the fire pit on Honey Hill, one of the property’s highest points, offered gorgeous, late-day views of the setting-sun lighting the mountains beyond.

Sweeping cabin views

Sweeping cabin views

The Inn

The main house, listed on the National Register of Historic Places, is a step back in time with richly carved wood in the living and dining rooms. The entrance is reached via a few steps up to the two wrap-around porches flanking the building. Extensive artwork, curios, a wooden box collection and antiques adorn the interiors.

Historic marker at the Inn

Historic marker at the Inn

Five guest rooms are available on two upper floors. The largest, the Captain’s Room, pays homage to the home’s builder, Captain John Hoyt, a former Confederate Army officer. It features a sit-in tub by the fireplace.

The Captain's Room at Engadine

The Captain’s Room at Engadine

Opposite it is the Howell Room, named for the Howell family who lived at Engadine for 44 years.

The Howell Room

The Howell Room

Also available are the Vineyard View Room, overlooking the former vineyard dating from when the property featured a winery, and The Mary Hoyt room, named for the original owners’ daughter.

Each of these second-floor rooms offers easy access to a common sitting area with a complimentary, 24-hour beverage station.

The upstairs sitting area

The upstairs sitting area

The spacious, third-floor Engadine Suite, furnished in more modern décor, offers the most privacy. Furnishings include a leather sofa and chair by a fireplace and two large armoires.

The Engadine Suite

The Engadine Suite

While children are welcome in the cabin accommodations, the Inn is just for adults.

Breakfast at the Inn

Breakfast is included for Inn guests only. Cabins have a full kitchen, so guests who bring in their own provisions don’t have to go off-site.

Inn guests may choose in advance from two options. Rick whips up delights for the two-course, full breakfast Tom serves in the welcoming dining room. Conversation flows from both. A continental breakfast-to-go works well for those planning a full-day of touring in Asheville and the area.

Breakfast at Engadine

Breakfast at Engadine

As we sip our Parkway Pick coffee, Rick and Tom tell the story of Engadine’s history; Captain Hoyt took the name from Switzerland’s Engadine Valley. In its heyday, the Hoyts often entertained local families and guests from the nearby Turnpike Hotel, a resort and whistle-stop on the railway that ran from downtown Asheville to Waynesville.

From the 1940s to 1985, the property saw several different families in residence including the Howells. It began transitioning to an inn in 1988. The current owners purchased it  in 2014 and immediately rechristened it Engadine. Although Prohibition put an end to the wine making, the current innkeepers still make jelly from the last remaining vine.

“We see ourselves as the next stewards of this place and good stewards. That’s one reason we took the name back,” Bell explains.

View of the mountains from Engadine

View of the mountains from Engadine


What’s appealing to the over-50 luxury traveler?

  • Choose from a welcoming, restored Victorian inn or fully-equipped rustic cabins in the same North Carolina mountain setting: Both offer comfort and privacy.
  • The easy drive from here to both the Blue Ridge Parkway and Asheville, site of America’s largest private home, the Biltmore Estate.
  • Two of the six cabins have wood-burning stoves; the rest use gas. All have either queen or king beds; some are pet-friendly.

Take note

  • Reaching the cabins on foot requires a hillside climb from the main Inn; so does reaching Honey Hill.
  • The Inn has no elevator.
  • Some traffic noise from the interstate can be heard.
  • Engadine is a member of the 16-member Asheville Bed and Breakfast Association (ABBA).

All photo credits: Fletcher/Newbern (unless otherwise noted)


IF YOU GO

Additional tips for visitors:

The area offers:

  • Hiking plus waterfalls in summer, leaf-watching in fall
  • Gardens at Biltmore Estate that have massive tulip displays in spring, fantastic Christmas decorations in winter
  • Kayaking and tubing on the French Broad River
  • Ziplining 30 minutes away
  • Asheville’s downtown food scene and eclectic shopping plus historical sites
  • Strolling the North Carolina Arboretum
  • Experiencing farm life up close in the Sandy Mush Community near Leicester

Disclosure: The authors’ stay was hosted by Engadine Inn and Cabins but any opinions expressed in this post are their own.


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