Arriving Any Day: Asheville and Western North Carolina Fall Colors

PumpkinJust in time, and in the interest of presenting our “locals” perspective on the best way to see the changing leaves and to  also enjoy the bounty of the area’s mountain farms and local artists, Engadine joins our fellow Asheville Bed and Breakfast Association members to present its fall promotion: The ABBA Fall Farms and Artisan Tour.

This is a self-driving tour of the Sandy Mush Community of Artists and Farms near Leicester, NC (just 20-minutes from Downtown Asheville).  It includes suggested visits to select farms and artist studios, a stop at an area winery, discounts on purchases at affiliated shops and a gourmet picnic lunch.  The tour package runs through November 15 and is being offered by all ABBA bed and breakfast inns.

If you are considering a stay at Engadine Inn and Cabins and if you have an interest in including the tour during to your getaway to Asheville, you can read more about it as one of the optional add-ons items available to you during the booking process when making a reservation online.  Or you can call us.  Either way, we will happy to have you visit with us and enjoy the tour along with the Asheville and Western North Carolina Fall Colors!

Why Stay At A Classic Bed And Breakfast Inn?

DSC02746 (lo)- blog crop 150 x 150As a new inn owner and as a traveler who, over time, came to crave unique, eclectic and historic lodging experiences, I’ve recently grown dismayed to see the traditional moniker “bed and breakfast” coopted by so many other segments of the lodging industry.  Say it ain’t so!  But, whether I like it or not, I have to admit that it’s true.  Please read on…

These days, it seems that many hotels and motels from big to small…those very businesses that successfully built chains of properties by using ubiquity and the predictability of “prescribed” hospitality to insure delivery of the same portfolio of the same services over and over from location to location…are now looking for ways to break from their mold of “sameness”.  They are attempting to suggest to their guests that they, too, can provide the personal service, custom cuisine, luxury amenities and eclectic guest experiences found at America’s classic inns and B&B’s.  Really?  They can do that?  In those steel and glass structures where banks of elevators lead to long hallways flanked by rows of cookie cutter guest rooms and where a complimentary breakfast is self-served in a “coffee shop” from steaming chafing dishes filled with “delectable” dishes often prepared hours in advance?

Somehow I don’t think so.

And then, to make matters worse, today’s lodging landscape is becoming even more cluttered with those new players in the sharing economy (such as Airbnb) who suggest to their subscribers that they can have a bed and breakfast experience by simply renting a spare bedroom room in a stranger’s house…a house where hosts (even if they live on property) are most likely NOT professional innkeepers, where insurance, health and safety concerns have often not been considered or addressed and where the typical  portfolio of expected amenities and guest services are not available.

Sounds to me like more “air” (dare I say of the “hot” variety?) and very little B&B!

If you regularly enjoy the B&B experience, I’m not telling you anything you probably don’t already know.  You most likely have seen and clicked past the “B&B-like” purveyors in search of the true and classic inn experience.  You already know the value of what you are buying when you choose to stay at the real thing.  To you, I say “thank you” for your business.

But for those of you still stuck in the sea of sameness and who are searching for a more unique guest experience, consider that you have much to gain and not much to lose by booking your next stay at a bed and breakfast inn.  Not so sure?  Then consider a quick click over to a recent Huffington Post article entitled “If You’ve Never Stayed At A Bed And Breakfast, Here’s What You Are Missing Out On“.  All I can say is, “once bitten”!!!

Here in Asheville, we would love to have you book (and enjoy!) a classic bed and breakfast inn experience at Engadine Inn and Cabins.  But if for some reason we’re not available to host your visit, you might also consider checking out the other members of the Asheville Bed and Breakfast AssociationABBA boasts 16 member inns…the premier collection of classic bed and breakfast inns in the area!

Rick Bell, Innkeeper/Proprietor

Celebrating The Fourth Of July In Asheville!!!

DSC03023 (lo)- blog crop 150 x 150The Fourth Of July is upon us which means it’s time for the annual mid-summer break…the pause when we take time to gather with friends and family to celebrate the founding of our Nation.  But here at Engadine Inn and Cabins (formerly Honey Hill Inn and Cabins), Tom and I will be celebrating the Fourth of July in Asheville with more to appreciate.

You see, this year the Fourth Of July will also be the 8-month anniversary of the purchase of our bed and breakfast.  In those 8 months, much has happened so as WE pause, we’ll also be celebrating a few other things…

Asheville, our new home-This little town has amazed me!  We moved here from South Florida where there was always plenty to keep you busy.  But Asheville and Western North Carolina in general offer a pretty impressive portfolio of things to do.  Like to eat?  The restaurant scene in town offers a smorgasbord of cuisine options.  Like beer?  Pick your poison…the City has the highest per capita number of breweries specializing in craft beers in the country.  Like recreation?  Pack your gear for hiking, kayaking, zip lining, fishing and boating.  Like art and cultural offerings?  Check out the River Arts District, the Asheville Art Museum, North Carolilna Stage, the Fine Arts Theatre, the Asheville Community Theatre, and/or the nearby Brevard Music Center and the Flat Rock Playhouse.  Like historical attractions?  Asheville has the Mack Daddy of them all…The Biltmore Estate.

If, by chance, you will be in town this weekend and need help with creating an itinerary, check out either RomanticAsheville or ExploreAsheville where you can find out more about these suggestions along with calendars of events which are updated weekly.

Family, closer yet just far enough away- OK, let’s start by acknowledging that we LOVE our families.  Moving here certainly means that we’re closer than we were in Florida.  But you know how it can be with families.  So we can also celebrate that they live “nearby” in SOUTH Carolina!

Our Guests, new experiences with new friends- In the Inn business, the karma of the place changes with each new guest that arrives.  So far, we’ve experienced an eclectic collection of visitors, almost all of whom have expressed enthusiasm for our new venture…especially after a weekend of luxury accommodations and amenities!!!  (Oh, and there are also my culinary (LOL) skills.  As we like to say, “Dining in Asheville begins with breakfast!” and they REALLY seem to kike my cooking…thank goodness!)  Many of these folks are sure to become our new friends as the years pass and they return to visit with us again.

The Weather, and cool mountain breezes- OK, so we had a few hot days here recently (and we need rain).  But they seem to be behind us now.  So, can I just try to tell you about the cool mountain breezes and clear summer nights that descend upon us as the sun sets each day?  This place is heaven for two people who had to run our air conditioning even in the WINTER to escape the Florida heat.  So if you’re in Raleigh or Charlotte or Charleston or Columbia or Atlanta or Savannah and you need to escape the heat, Asheville is the place for you.

So here at Engadine, Tom and I will be celebrating the Fourth in Asheville with a lot to appreciate!  And we’d love to have you come celebrate with us.  We still have rooms and cabins available…I’m just saying!

Rick Bell, Innkeeper and Proprietor.

Honey Hill Returns To Its Roots As Engadine Inn And Cabins

DSC02351- blog crop 150 x 150Spring’s annual promise of renewal is in full bloom in Western North Carolina!  But it’s not just the trees and the flowers that are coming to new life at Honey Hill.  Here, our big news is that the Inn has new ownership and that it is being rechristened “Engadine,” the property’s original and historic name…a name bestowed upon it by its builder, Captain John Hoyt, in 1885.  Our “new” name?  Engadine Inn and Cabins!

Rick Bell and Tom Watson, formerly of Wilton Manors, Florida, purchased and began operating the property in November of 2014 and immediately set about bringing a new and refreshed life to one of Asheville’s most storied, historic and tenured homes (Engadine predates the nearby Biltmore Estate by 10 years!).

In addition to the name, other changes and upgrades are in the works as well…replacement of specific soft goods, clearing of overgrown areas around the property, grading and sculpting of the Honey Hill wedding and event venue to increase its capacity and improve its functionality, installation of new flowering beds and landscaping around the Inn, addition of exterior lighting around the Inn and the barn, expansion of the property’s WiFi service to the cabins, creation of a new graphics package, addition of period antiques in select public areas and the development of new breakfast menus to add to the current list of guest favorites, including Gretchen’s (one of the former owners) famous bacon!  As you can see, we’ve been busy!

And in the coming months, we have plans for additional changes and improvements…developing a more informative website designed to showcase new photographs of the property and to feature new package offerings, upgrading the reservation system and developing portfolio of event services in order to expand our wedding and reunion capabilities.

Combine our  renaissance with that of Asheville and you have the makings of a great weekend or vacation getaway!  If you’re thinking of a weekend visit to enjoy a bed and breakfast or cabin experience, you might spend some time checking out ExploreAsheville or RomanticAsheville to learn more about what the area has to offer.

With so much happening around the property, we hope you will consider visiting Engadine Inn and Cabins sometime very soon!!!

Elopement Packages


Engadine Inn & Cabins Elopement Packages asheville nc

Our beautiful property, located just outside of Asheville, NC, is the perfect place for your elopement ceremony. wedding ad 1We offer special packages that allow you to choose your room or cabin and the number of nights for your stay.

You have the option of getting married outdoors on “Honey Hill” with the breathtaking backdrop of the Blue Ridge Mountains, or in our elegant 1885 Queen Anne Victorian bed and breakfast. Either way, you will have the inn and property for capturing photos of your special day.



Select a two or three night stay in either our private Engadine Suite or our luxury Cherokee Log cabin. All packages include the following:

  • Use of the mansion and grounds for ceremony and photographs – maximum of two (2) hours.
  • Bouquet of roses arranged in a vase and boxed handmade chocolate truffles or chocolate covered strawberries (in season) delivered to your suite or cabin at your requested time.
  • Concierge services including recommendations for officiate and photographer.
  • Assistance with ceremony: witness, amateur photography (using your camera), general assistance.

Engadine Suite Elopement Package also includes a multi-course gourmet breakfast each morning, 24/7 beverage service, afternoon snack.

Cherokee Luxury Log Cabin Elopement Package also includes a multi-course gourmet breakfast each morning (served in the inn dining room).


Package Prices

Two nights: $875.00 (plus state and county taxes)

Three nights: $1,125.00 (plus state and county taxes)

This package cannot be combined with any other package or special offer.

Please note: We define an elopement as follows: Maximum of four (4) individuals in attendance (excluding officiant and photographer): wedding couple plus two witnesses. Package does not include lodging for witnesses.

What to Expect at our Asheville Bed & Breakfast & Cabins

Our Asheville bed and breakfast and cabins.

We field numerous questions from guests who have never stayed in a bed and breakfast. Some people have questions about our cabins as well. We hope that this blog post will help!

This Isn’t Your Grandma’s Bed and Breakfast!

People often ask us if we have a curfew. Absolutely not! You are free to come and go as you please. When you arrive, we will give you a set of keys, including one for our front door and one to your room. Because this is our home (we live on the first floor of the inn), we keep our front door locked at all times. This comes as a surprise to some of our guests who don’t understand that we live here. If you are staying in a cabin, you will not have key access to the inn. We are available to you from 9 AM to 8 PM, unless there is an emergency. Just ring the door bell at our front door.

Planning for your Stay in our Asheville Bed and Breakfast and Cabins

Booking on our secure reservation website: If you book through our reservation system, make sure that the room or cabin you reserve is appropriate for you.

Our bed and breakfast is reserved for adults only, with a maximum of two guests per room. We understand that babies can sleep with their parents and that some children are mature for their age, but our inn is not baby or child-proof. It is unrealistic for us to expect children of any age to behave like adults for an extended period of time. Furthermore, guests who book a room in our bed and breakfast expect a quiet, adult environment. It would be unfair to them to arrive and discover otherwise. Therefore, we never make exceptions to this policy.

If you are staying in our bed and breakfast and have dietary restrictions, please indicate them in the space we provide on our reservation page, or tell us if you reserve by phone. We strive to accommodate every guest, but we need to be informed by you!

For those guests traveling with children, we offer five family-friendly cabins. Check the maximum occupancy of each of our cabins to choose a cabin that is appropriate for your family. Children three years and older are considered guests and count toward the maximum occupancy (which is regulated by our county and insurance company). Please remember that our Cherokee log cabin is a luxury cabin that is reserved for two adults.

Arrival time: We welcome each guest personally between 3 PM and 7 PM, unless you make arrangements for a later check-in. We do not have a front desk clerk who is available 24 hours/day to check you in. Therefore, we ask that you provide us with an estimated arrival time when you make your reservation. This insures that we are available to check you in when you arrive. If your plans change and you are going to be late, please call us because we are waiting up for you!

Your confirmation email: When you make a reservation, we send you a confirmation email. Most guests never look at their confirmation emails to verify the details of their reservation, and they miss important information such as our policies (which are also posted on our website), and accurate directions to our driveway. We recommend that you review your confirmation email as soon as you receive it.

Guest Etiquette

Cabins: We are known for the cleanliness of our cabins. While we don’t expect you to clean your cabin before you check out, we hope that you will respect our property and policies during your stay. If you notice a problem, please notify us so that we can remedy the situation. We want you to enjoy your stay!

Inn: Our housekeepers do a wonderful job of preparing your linens and amenities for your arrival. If you have a spill or “mishap,” please let us know. We are masters at stain removal, but it helps to know what type of stain it is. Please do not try to clean the stain yourself. Just bring it to our attention as soon as possible and we will cheerfully attend to it!

Breakfast: Our breakfast service begins promptly at 9 AM. If you stay in our inn, breakfast is included in your stay. We set our dining room for the exact number of guests staying in the inn. Gretchen prepares a two-to-three-course breakfast for the exact number of guests expected. If you do not plan to have breakfast, please leave a note for us on the dining room table (where we will be sure to see it). If you arrive late for breakfast or wait until we serve your food to inform us of your health-related dietary restriction, we might not be able to accommodate you.

At the Breakfast Table: Our guests are from all over the world. Please respect others’ cultural and religious preferences at the breakfast table. A private prayer of thanks is always appropriate, but do not assume that everyone at the table will feel comfortable holding hands with you while you say grace.

Check out time: Our check out time is 11 AM. Our housekeepers arrive at 11 AM to begin work, so we appreciate our guests who respect our check out time.

Housekeeping Gratuities: Housekeeping is one of those “thankless jobs.” Our dedicated housekeepers have been with us for years and work incredibly hard behind the scenes to prepare your room in the inn or cabin for your arrival as well as freshen your room during your stay. Although gratuities are optional, and we do not charge a cleaning fee to our cabin guests, any acknowledgement of their hard work and attention to detail is greatly appreciated. If you don’t know how much to tip your housekeeper, please consider a minimum of $3-$5 per day.

Concierge Services

We are available to our cabin and inn guests to assist you with maps, directions and suggestions for activities and dining. We know the area well and can often provide tidbits of additional information that are not in the guide books. Please ask us! We want to make your stay a memorable one!

The Market Place Restaurant in Asheville

Honey Hill Asheville Bed and Breakfast and Cabins

Innovative Menu, Delicious Food, Great Service

Marketplace RestaurantGretchen and I are always recommending favorite restaurants to guests who stay in our Asheville bed and breakfast and cabins. We recently had dinner at the Market Place Restaurant located on 20 Wall Street in downtown Asheville. Our experience there was thoroughly enjoyable. The service was excellent and the food was delicious.

The Market Place is a beautiful restaurant with a full service bar. In addition to the fantastic food, it is a great place to meet friends for drinks. The Market Place’s concept is farm-to-table cuisine using fresh, local ingredients procured from vendors within a 100 mile radius of Asheville.

The Market Place is gearing up for a busy 2014 and will be expanding their hours. Beginning in April they will offer brunch and dinner service on Sunday. In May, they will add a Saturday brunch service.

Here is a quick reference for the spring 2014 season:

April 2014

Tuesday – Sunday

Cocktails begin at 5pm and dinner service begins at 5:30 pm
Sunday Brunch is served from 10:30 am – 2:30 pm

May 2014

Monday – Sunday

Cocktails begin at 5pm and dinner service begins at 5:30 pm
Saturday and Sunday Brunch is served from 10:30 am – 2:30 pm

 Click on the link to view the Market Place’s brunch menu: marketplace brunch.

Click here to visit the Market Place website.

Engadine Inn and Cabins Featured on Pet-Friendly Blog

This is Bella enjoying a sunny winter day on Honey Hill.

This is Bella enjoying a sunny winter day on Honey Hill.


We recently had a blog writer from the Canine Journal stay in one of our dog-friendly cabins. She, her husband and their two sweet dogs stayed in our Smoky Mountains cabin. Michelle wrote about their experience in a recent blog post.

Do you travel with a dog? We have three pet-friendly cabins on our 12 acre property. Check out Michelle’s blog post about staying at Honey Hill Inn and Cabins.

Fire on the Rock – Asheville’s Chef Challenge Dining Competition

Are you a foodie? Have you ever thought about what it would be like to be a judge in a professional cooking competition? Well, this is your chance to participate in Asheville’s “Fire on the Rock” Competition Dining series!

fire on the rock 2For three weeks in March, chefs from eight of Asheville’s finest restaurants will pair up against each other in a competition called “Fire On the Rock,” which is part of a statewide “Got to Be NC” competition. The Asheville competition is one of a series of competition dinners taking place in five cities across North Carolina. Asheville, Wilmington, Blowing Rock, Greensboro, Raleigh, and Charlotte host this year’s high-pressure series. Each regional champion will move on to the Final Fire-Battle of Champions in November.

The Competition: Each evening, two restaurants battle it out side by side, preparing meals that must include a
secret ingredient from North Carolina. The diners will enjoy a six-course menu, which will include three courses from each chef. Diners will not know which chef prepared the courses. You are a judge as you rate each dish and determine who moves to the next round and who goes home. At stake in each series is a grand prize of $2,000 and the coveted “Red Chef Jacket.”

The Schedule: Dinners begin at 6:30 PM on Monday and Tuesday nights on the following dates:

Qualifying Rounds:  March 10th, 11th , 17th, 18th

March 10th         Vidalia vs. Strada Italiano.

March 11th          Isis vs. Season’s

March 17th         The Gamekeeper vs. Ambrozia

March 18th         King James Public House vs. LAB

Semi-Final Rounds: March 24th, 25th.

March 24th         The winners of the March 10th and 11th  rounds compete

March 25th         The winners of the March 17th and 18th compete

The Final event on March 31st  will be held in Raleigh and is not included in the package.

The Venue: The dinners will take place at the Lioncrest on the Biltmore Estate. Built in 1930 as a barn, the property was extensively renovated in 2006. The enclosed terrace has stunning views of the Biltmore property. One hundred fifty diners will be seated at tables of eight to enjoy the offerings of the chefs.

The Package: The Asheville Bed and Breakfast Association, of which we are a member, is offering an exclusive package that includes more than $150 in dining vouchers and gifts along with your lodging and dinner.

  • 1 night’s lodging in a room of your choice (cabins not available).
  • 2 tickets to Got to Be NC Competition Dining Series “Fire On the Rock”
  • 2 commemorative wine glasses from NC Wine & Grape Council
  • 1 bottle Cackalacky Sauce (sample size)
  • Free dessert for two at Ambrozia
  • Free dessert for two at The King James Public House
  • 10% off lunch or dinner at Seasons Restaurant
  • $10 off $25 purchase (alcohol not included) at Lexington Avenue Brewery (LAB)
  • One complimentary Chef’s choice appetizer with the purchase of a bottle of wine at Strada Italiana
  • Buy 2 Signature drinks and get your choice of 1 complimentary Tapas at The Social Lounge
  • Copy of Savour the Inns of Asheville: Cookbook of the Asheville Bed & Breakfast Association

The Cost:
The price of your room plus the cost of tickets to the event:

  • Initial rounds $59/person plus tax and service (total $74.78)
  • Semi-finals $69/person plus tax and service (total $87.46)


Tickets will be limited so book early. Please call us directly at 828-633-1110 to make your lodging reservation. We will take care of booking your tickets to Fire on the Rock!

This package is non-refundable.

Happy Holidays 2013 Special

This Holiday 2013 special has expired.

Take some time for yourself this holiday season and visit Honey Hill Inn and Cabins. Reserve a room or cabin for a stay any time (yes, the weekends are included!) between December 1 and December 19, 2013 and receive a Happy Holidays discount on your entire reservation!

Honey Hill Inn and Cabins Holiday Special

  • Two night stay – take 20% off
  • Three night stay – take 25% off
  • Four night stay – take 30% off

Yes – you can add on a package! We usually don’t allow specials to be combined with other specials or packages, but… it’s the holidays! Our Biltmore Candlelight Evenings package can be added to any stay. Please read the details on our blog and mention the package when you book. All policies and restrictions detailed on our blog page apply to this package.

Two Easy Ways to Reserve

  1. Call us directly – 828-633-1110
  2. Book online (mention Happy Holidays Special in the Notes section) – Click the Reservations button anywhere on our site to be directed to our secure reservation system.

The Not-So-Fine Print (Policies and Restrictions)

  • Cannot be combined with any specials, discounts or packages (exception: Biltmore Candlelight Evenings package).
  • Valid for stays between December 1 – 19, 2013.
  • Discount based on double occupancy. For cabins with occupancy of more than two guests, we add an additional $10 per night per guest. This additional charge is not discounted.
  • Special must be mentioned at the time the reservation is made. No exceptions!
  • You may add the Candlelight Evenings package up to three days prior to your arrival date.
  • All other Honey Hill reservation and cancellation policies apply.

29th Annual Biltmore Candlelight Christmas Evenings

Biltmore Candlelight Christmas Evenings – The Nature of Christmas

Now through January 4, 2014

The Biltmore Estate is a destination for many travelers to the Asheville area. Christmas is the most popular time for visitors when the estate is decorated with one of the largest holiday displays in the Southeast. Candlelight Evenings in the Biltmore House are an added attraction during the holiday season when guests experience the hundreds of lighted trees in and outside the house as well as carolers, live music and the warm glow of the many lighted fireplaces and candles.

Biltmore House embraces “The nature of Christmas” during this year’s Christmas season. Guests enjoy a self-guided evening visit of Biltmore House that takes them through four decorated floors of the house as firelight and candlelight fill the house with a warm glow and accent delicate ornaments. Live music is performed during the evenings throughout the first and second floors.


Booking Candlelight Christmas Evenings

If you want to visit the estate for one day and attend Candlelight, it is best to reserve your tickets directly through Biltmore in advance of your visit. Visit their web site for details:

Attending Candlelight Christmas Evenings requires a separate entry fee in addition to a daytime ticket, and reservations that are date and time specific.

Daytime tickets purchased directly from Biltmore are valid for one day. If you want to spend two days on the estate, or don’t reserve your Candlelight visit in advance, the Biltmore Daytime ticket you purchase from us for $60, which is good for two consecutive days, can be upgraded to a Candlelight Evening ticket for an additional $15. You can purchase your upgrade at any guest service station on the Estate when visiting during the day, but your request for an upgrade will be based on availability at the time. We strongly advise that you plan your visit in advance!

Candlelight Christmas Evenings are not available on the following dates:

  •  Tuesday, November 26
  •  Thursday, November 28
  •  Tuesday, December 24
  •  Wednesday, December 25

Veteran’s Day 2013 – Showing Gratitude

November 11, 2013, Veteran’s Day, was a special day here at Honey Hill. We were proud to participate in a program sponsored by the Asheville Bed and Breakfast Association honoring veterans and their spouses for their service to our country. The local program was part of the Professional Association of International Innkeepers (PAII) initiative: B&Bs for Vets – A Better Way to Stay.

We hosted two veterans, Army and Navy, and their spouses in our bed and breakfast. What made it even more special was knowing that one couple were victims of Hurricane Katrina and had been displaced as a result of the damage and devastation caused by that hurricane. We were so happy that they were able to take advantage of this program, as they have had such a difficult time in recent years.

Our veterans’ complimentary stay included afternoon snacks, 24/7 hot and cold beverages and a delicious three-course plated breakfast in our dining room. Here are some photos from that day.

Veteran's Day Free stay

Chip and Betty


Veteran's Day Free stay

Joe and Melissa

Baby Announcement at Honey Hill!

One of the reasons we love our jobs as innkeepers is because of the happy events that take place here. I recently got a call from an expectant mother whose parents were anxiously awaiting the news – boy or girl? The baby didn’t cooperate for the initial test to determine gender. A second test was scheduled the day before her parents were to check in to stay in our Balsam Mountains cabin.

Rather than simply call them with the news, the expectant parents decided to make their announcement with balloons. I recommended a local florist shop for her to call, and sure enough, the day the soon-to-be grandparents were to arrive, an adorable balloon delivery arrived at our door. It was a busy day, but I managed to snap a photo of the arrangement in our kitchen before Gretchen delivered the balloons to their cabin. What a fun way to check people in! Gretchen opened the door to their cabin, showed them in and there was this wonderful surprise!


Asheville Restaurants Open on Thanksgiving Day 2013

The holidays are approaching and they are a busy time for us. We have many guests who stay with us for Thanksgiving. One of the questions we are frequently asked is, “Which restaurants are open on Thanksgiving Day?” This year, we’ve decided to post a list of restaurants scheduled to be open for each major holiday, starting with Thanksgiving.

The following restaurants are all members of the local association AIR – Asheville Independent Restaurants and are scheduled to be open on Thanksgiving. I have all hours posted hours of operation provided. Please visit their websites to view menus, location, and contact information. If other area restaurants send me hours of operation, I will update this blog post.

Remember to make your travel and dining reservations early!

Stay tuned for Christmas and New Years Day Restaurant Lists!

Asheville Yacht Club – Tilomorae Daily Kitchen, open at 6:00 PM
32 Ice Bar, open at 4:00 PM
The Bier Garden
Biltmore Estate (admission tickets required): Cedric’s Tavern, The Bistro
Blackbird Café
The Social Lounge & Tapas, 11:00 AM – 8:00 PM
Strada Italiano, 11:00 AM – 8:00 PM
Storm Rhum Bar and Bistro, 2:00 PM – 8:00 PM
Glass Onion, 1:00 PM – 6:00 PM

Just Chillaxin’ at Honey Hill

Many of our guests know about Mister Kitty. Some people think he is our cat, when in fact, he belongs to our neighbor. Mister K thinks he belongs to us and lounges around hoping for a snack or a scratch behind the ears. He gets both! MK can be spotted in a number of places on our 12 acres. Here he is, lounging on the bench outside our kitchen door.

Mister Kitty on bench

Ruby Red Grapefruit with Rosemary Syrup

Our guests like this unique twist to traditional grapefruit. Fresh Rosemary creates a delicious flavor profile.



1 c sugar
1/2 c water
3 tbls honey
3  4″ sprigs of fresh Rosemary, plus extra for garnish
10 Maraschino cherries
5 ruby red grapefruit

Serves 10


Step 1: Combine sugar, water, honey and Rosemary in a saucepan and boil for 5 minutes to create a syrup.
Step 2: Let cool and remove Rosemary sprigs.
Step 3: Peel and section grapefruit.
Step 4: Combine syrup and grapefruit sections in a bowl and chill.
Step 5: Spoon grapefruit sections and syrup into individual ramekins or small fruit dishes.
Step 6: Garnish with sprigs of fresh Rosemary and Maraschino cherries and serve.

Photo credit: Cheryl DeCristofaro

Nona Mia Italian Kitchen – West Asheville

October is our busiest month, but Gretchen and I had an unexpected opportunity to go out for dinner last night. We decided to try Nona Mia in West Asheville, which means My Grandmother in Italian. I knew this was the place for me when I saw a pasta dish made with “Sunday Gravy” on the menu. Any Italian American from New England will know that this means tomato sauce!

We sampled two salads, homemade ravioli and a Neapolitan Margarita pizza. The food was delicious! The pizza crust was flavorful and tender – no jar sauce to be found, just fresh tomatoes. The ravioli was homemade and yummy. We can’t wait for dinner tonight – leftovers!


Check out their menu!


A Beautiful Day for an Elopement

We were so happy to host an elopement ceremony on Saturday, October 12, 2013. Many people picture an elopement as two people “running away” to secretly get married. These days, many couples are opting out of expensive weddings in favor of smaller, intimate weddings or elopements, which consist of the couple, two witnesses and the officiant. Whitney and Matthew chose Honey Hill for their elopement. It was the perfect location with a spectacular backdrop of the Blue Ridge Mountains!

Brown elopement oct 2013

Best of luck to you both and we hope to see you on your first anniversary!

Engadine Vineyards at Honey Hill Inn and Cabins

Our 12 acre property at Honey Hill Inn and Cabins is rich with history, beginning with the construction of Engadine, our 1885 Queen Anne Victorian mansion. Captain John Keais Hoyt named his home “Engadine” because the mountains surrounding his property in western North Carolina reminded him of the mountains surrounding the Engadine Valley in Switzerland.

Before the Captain began construction of Engadine, he planted red and white varieties of grapes on the hills behind the mansion. He also built a winery, which was located where our vintage barn now stands.

The entire family was involved in the business. The Captain, Mrs. Hoyt (Molly) and their daughters bottled, labeled and shipped Engadine Wine by rail all over the country. They also sold Engadine Wine to many hotels in Asheville and to the Vanderbilts. Mary (Mamie), their youngest daughter, also helped in the vineyards. This is Mamie posing in front of the vineyard with the backdrop of the mountains so loved so much.

History of Engadine, honey hill inn and cabins

Mary (Mamie) Hoyt
Engadine, Summer 1902

Honey Hill Caramelized Pecan Encrusted Bacon


This the most requested menu item and recipe. Returning guests ask for Pecan Encrusted Bacon when they arrive. New guests read about it on and ask for it. So, here it is. Enjoy!


Thick sliced applewood bacon
Brown Sugar


Step 1: Pre-heat oven to 400. Line a cookie sheet with aluminum foil. Set a cooling rack on top of the foil and arrange bacon slices on the rack.


Step 2: Coarsely chop pecans.


Step 3: Sprinkle brown sugar on each slice of bacon. Do not use too much sugar.

Step 4: Sprinkle chopped pecans on each slice.


Step 5: Carefully grasp the cookie sheet and cooling rack together and slide into the oven. Bake for 20 minutes. Tip: If the end pieces begin to brown too soon, cover them with small pieces of foil. Do not leave bacon unattended!

Step 6: Carefully remove pan and rack from oven.

Cooked bacon

Serve with French toast or pancakes.


The Woman Behind Honey Hill Inn’s Delicious Breakfasts

Gretchen Huffsmith, who is the chef at Honey Hill Inn and Cabins, brings over 25 years experience in the restaurant business to Honey Hill, starting as a cook and ending in upper management for large restaurant chains. Along the way, she has worked with a lot of talented people.


When our guests ask Gretchen if she went to culinary school, her reply is, “No… I went to the school of Hard Knocks!” What she doesn’t tell our guests is that, in addition to her years of experience, she holds a BA in Theatre from Emerson College and an MBA from Simmons College in Boston, MA.

Our menus and recipes are always evolving. Rather than publish a cookbook that is really just a snapshot in time, we have decided to publish some of our favorite breakfast and snack recipes here on our blog. We hope you enjoy them and continue to check back as we add more!

photo credit – Cheryl DeCristofaro

Biltmore Wine Events and Holiday Update

Biltmore is celebrating North Carolina Wine Month in September. There are a number of interesting events going on, including a Movable Feast, a Wine Pairing Dinner and live music on the patio at the Wine Bar.

Don’t forget to check out our Biltmore Package to save on two-day passes!

Christmas at Biltmore


The holidays are fast approaching and Biltmore is already preparing. Their legendary 30′ live Christmas tree will be delivered and decorated the first week of November, launching Biltmore’s busiest season. Even if you have visited Biltmore during other times of the year, Christmas is a must-see tradition. Stay tuned for more information on the 2013 Christmas season at Biltmore!


Rainbows over our Asheville Cabins

Guests often ask us about the weather during their stay. If it is raining or the day is looking cloudy or overcast,  we explain that there are microclimates here in the mountains. The weather can be completely different three or four miles down the road. We have experienced different weather right here on our 12 acres of property. Recently, it was raining down at the mansion (our 1885 historic bed and breakfast). Gretchen took a ride up to the top of the hill behind the mansion and the sun was out. She captured gorgeous rainbows on two separate locations on our property – one from the east and the other from the west.

rainbow 1


Rainbow over the Looking Glass Cabin

rainbow 2


Double Rainbow over the Mt. Mitchell Cabin

Hiking the Graveyard Fields Loop Trail

The Graveyard Fields hiking trail, located on the Blue Ridge Parkway, is a popular destination for guests staying at Honey Hill Inn and Cabins. The trail is located close to Mt. Pisgah, the second highest point along the parkway – approximately 5,000 feet above sea level.

There are a number of theories about how this area got its name. During the early 1900s, when the mountains in western North Carolina were being extensively logged, all that remained in this valley were the stumps of cut trees. Over time, mosses and vines eventually grew all over the stumps, resembling an overgrown graveyard. Later, catastrophic fires swept through the area, destroying anything resembling a graveyard, but the name remains. The heat of the fires destroyed the tree stumps and sterilized the soil, making it difficult for anything to grow. This area, however, has beautiful mountain vistas and waterfalls that are along the trails.

 Graveyard Fields loop

Asheville River Arts District 2013 Studio Stroll

On June 8 and 9, Asheville’s River Arts District held the first of two Studio Stroll weekends. I was thrilled to slip away from Honey Hill for a few hours on Saturday afternoon to experience it for the first time. More than 180 working artists in 19 historic converted warehouses along the French Broad River, open their studios and galleries to the public.

My friends and I had the option of walking to studios that were located close together. We also took advantage the free trolley rather than drive to some of the studios that were further away from our starting point.

Our first stop was our favorite artist Diane English, owner of the Great Cosmic Happy-Ass Card Co. Diane is a talented mixed media artist who creates original works of art and greeting cards. Her use of color is amazing and the subject matter is often fun and thought-provoking.

I Love My Life - Diane English

I Love My Life – Diane English


We hopped off the trolley at the historic Cotton Mill Studios. The building is all that remains of the original textile manufacturing complex owned by the Cone family. As an aside, the Cone sisters (Clarabel and Etta) were art collectors and friends of Picasso, Matisse and Gertrude Stein. They were also friends of Mary Hoyt Reese, the daughter of Captain John Keais Hoyt, who built Engadine, our 1885 Queen Anne Victorian mansion. What drew me to this building was the wonderful trompe l’oeil mural on the façade.

There were numerous artists at work in their studios. I was fascinated by the potters and stopped to watch Maria Andrade Troya make honey pots at the Curve Studios.

Maria Andrade Troya

The River Arts District also has some great restaurants and breweries. We stopped for lunch at White Duck Taco, located in the Hatchery Studio building. This is not your traditional taco/Mexican restaurant! White Duck serves up delicious gourmet tacos, such as duck, Thai chicken, and fish. You won’t find ground beef here!

If you missed the June Studio Stroll, the second one is scheduled for November 9 and 10, 2013. Plan to do some Christmas shopping, and of course, book your stay at Honey Hill Inn and Cabins!