About That New Chair

New Chair“It” happens almost every weekend.  “It” is the question.  “It” usually gets asked by our guests while they are checking in.  “It” (the question) is: “So, why did you buy a B&B and become innkeepers?”

Depending on how spirited I feel, I offer up either the “Cliff Notes” version or the full “Moby Dick”.    Either version tells pretty much the same story…

  • We were dismayed with the collapse of paradise in South Florida…rampant development, over crowding, insane traffic, escalating property taxes, skyrocketing insurance, pollution of the reefs and the everglades, cost of living, escalating crime, etc.,
  • We wanted to be closer to our families…mine in the Upstate and Tom’s in the Lowcountry of South Carolina,
  • We were tired of it being HOT and sunny all the time,
  • I wanted trees with limbs and leaves instead of fronds,
  • It was time to own land instead of just a lot,
  • Tired of our lives serving the needs of big corporations, we wanted a new challenge

But the ones not on the list are the two we hadn’t anticipated when we set out on this journey:  Creating memorable experiences for the strangers who would come to stay in our new home and, at the same time, benefitting from the unique energy and enthusiasm they would bring into our lives.  Who would have thought that the joy of engaging with guests would become such a cool reason to be doing what we are doing?

Case in point… It was late on a Sunday and we were still waiting on a couple to check in.  They arrived and were enthusiastic.  I, on the other hand, was tired and…I admit it…cranky, something I now regret.  Once Tom checked them in, I took over (as is our process) to tell them about Asheville before taking them up to their room.  As I sat down in the tacky, left over from Florida ugly and beat up leather chair we were using at the desk, I started bitching about it (it being the chair this time).  They said wanted to go antiquing so I quickly marked the shops of the Biltmore Antiques District along Swannanoa River Road on a map before escorting them upstairs.  That was that and we were all off to bed.

The next day, they left after a delightful breakfast and we did not see them again.

On the second morning and the day of their departure, breakfast was served and pleasantries were exchanged as per usual.  The dishes were cleared and a final round of coffee/tea was served.  And then, the coolest thing happened.

“We were thinking about you guys yesterday while we were out shopping,” the lady said.  “We saw a chair that we thought you would like.”  “Chair?” I wondered.  “What could she be talking about and what would she know about what we would like”? (I had forgotten my commentary on the leather chair.)

With that, she produced her smart phone and found a photo they took of a chair they thought we might like behind our front desk.  I LOVED it.  “Tom,” I said, “come in here and look at this.”  Which he did.  And he LOVED it, too.  We immediately asked them where they found it and, later that day, set out to buy it.  It now sits behind our front desk.

So what does this chair story have to do with becoming innkeepers?  I’ll tell you.  That chair will always be a symbol to me of the kindness and generosity of spirit our guests bring to our new venture…they, too, want to see us succeed.  And, they want to be a part of it.  How cool is that?

It will also serve as a reminder that Tom and I are getting to live our dream…the dream of a new venture in a new place with new surroundings and new friends.  We are grateful.

So,  now you know about that new chair…

Meet Our Santa(s)!

Christmas at Engadine is on full display where we invite you to meet our Santa(s)!DSC04594 (lo)- 150 x 200 pixels

Our Christmas tradition began nearly 33 years ago with the purchase of a single, simple Christmas tree ornament…a carved balsa wood Santa Claus bought for a quarter.  He was just a piece of wood, devoid of color or decoration.  But he sparked an inspiration:  “Let’s decorate our tree only with Santa Claus ornaments this year!”.

With that one purchase, a collection was born.  And in the ensuing years, we collected what we estimate is about 1,500 unique and different Santa Claus ornaments.

Sadly, for  most of the time we lived in Florida, most of them stayed packed away, DSC04598 (lo)- 150 x 150 pixelsrelegated to a storage unit given our limited space and our “anywhere but the North Pole” setting, we just couldn’t use them all.  But we kept collecting!  And collecting!!  And collecting!!!

With our move to Engadine, an opportunity presented itself.  It’s vintage charm and the size of its rooms provided us the reasons to drag the old boys out of storage for a Christmas display we could have only imagined in South Florida.

This year, the Christmas tree in Engadine’s parlor topped out at 12 feet.  And, once the tree was up and the lights strung, we started the process of hanging DSC04622 (lo)- 150 x 150 pixels Santas.  After so many years away, they are FINALLY out of their boxes and on display for our guests to enjoy! Here, you will find…

  • Santas delivering all sorts of goodies…from toys to trees
  • There are “theme” Santas…from fisherman Santas to fireman Santas
  • And Santas made of all sorts of stuff…from paper and to porcelain
  • There are naughty Santas…including a “mooning” Santa and a Santa raiding the refrigerator
  • And nice Santas…bearing gifts and offering Season’s GreetingsDSC04633 (lo)- 150 x 150 pixels
  • Then there are Santas from the sea…created from star fish and oyster shells
  • And also from the forest…coached by their creators from corn cobs and pine cones
  • There are big Santas and small Santas
  • All with prices tags from cheap to insane


We’ve also decked the halls of Engadine with a sleigh full of other Christmas and seasonal decorations…all setDSC04914 (lo)- 150 x 150 pixels in place to celebrate the start of our second year here and to also welcome our Yuletide guests. So if you’d like to meet “Santa(s)” this year, we invite you to visit with us!

It might not be Christmas At Biltmore, but it’s the beginning our own NEW Asheville holiday tradition…Christmas At Engagine!

“CarolinaMama” Visits Engadine

Carolina Mama and Sons, copyright, 150 x 150 pixelsIn early October, “CarolinaMama” visits Engadine!  Engadine had the pleasure of welcoming  Malise Terrell, better known to many in the world of blogging as “CarolinaMama,” and her family for a weekend stay to enjoy the start of the “leaf season” in Western North Carolina.  It’s that time of the year when Mother Nature blesses us with her brilliant palate of fall colors.  Her trip, organized by the Asheville Bed and Breakfast Association to feature its Fall Farms And Artisans Tour, was chronicled in her CarolinaMama blog post.

For those who don’t know of her, Malise is the owner and author of Carolina Mama Blog which is popular in the Raleigh area and where she is a “spokesmom” and social media consultant.  Her blog was named one of the Top 25 Southern Bloggers and Parenting.com listed her as Best Raleigh Mom Blogger.

We were thrilled to hear that the Terrells enjoyed their stay and hope you will take a moment to read our “good news”!  Afterwards, if you feel inclined to book a stay with us for a fall or holiday season visit to Asheville, please give us a call or use the “Check Availability” button on this website.  We hope to see you soon!

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, but we are available to you from 9 AM to 8 PM.  If 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 Inn is reserved for adults only, with a maximum of two guests per room.

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. Rick 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 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!

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!

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.

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: www.biltmore.com.

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

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 TripAdvisor.com 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.  http://www.biltmore.com/visit/calendar/nc-wine-month.asp

Don’t forget to check out our Biltmore Package to save on two-day passes!  http://honeyhillasheville.com/2013/06/05/biltmore-estate-package/

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!

Beat the Heat at Biltmore this Summer

There is so much more to do on the Biltmore Estate besides touring the fabulous Biltmore House. With one of Honey Hill Inn’s two-day passes to the estate, you can enjoy activities that will keep you cool during the heat of the day and into the evening.

  • Guided Raft Trips: Take in the amazing views as you follow the gentle currents on the French Broad River as it winds through the estate during this 2 hour experience.
  • Self-guided Kayak Rentals: Enjoy a 3-mile, 2-hour float trip down the French Broad River in a single or tandem, sit-on-top, kayak. kayak_raft_closeviewCMYK
  • Shady spots on Hiking Trails: Hike miles of magnificent trails wind throughout the estate. Follow the Creekside Trail alongside the stream through a cool grove of hemlocks, pines, beech, rhododendrons, and bald cypress. The Woodland Trail follows an old farm wagon road, passing through deciduous woodlands. A wooden bridge arcs over the spring-fed brook and provides a spot for quiet meditation.
  • Ice-Cream! Savor a scoop or two at the Ice Cream Shoppe in Stable Courtyard, or at the Creamery in Antler Hill Village.
  • Visit late! Visit the winery and Antler Hill Village during the evening after it’s cooled down. Guests can enter the estate up until 10:00pm.

Biltmore Candlelight Christmas Evenings

About Biltmore Candlelight Christmas Evenings
Biltmore’s Candlelight Evenings is a very popular annual event. Guests are welcomed into the Biltmore House during evening hours to explore it with lights ablaze on the Christmas trees, carolers in many of the rooms with story-tellers in others. The period decorations complete the experience of a true Vanderbilt Christmas.

Ticket Pricing
To attend Biltmore Candlelight Christmas Evenings, you must first purchase standard daytime tickets (good for two consecutive days on the estate) through Honey Hill Inn and Cabins. Daytime ticket prices are $60 per person (Thursday – Saturday). Book a two-night minimum stay Sunday through Wednesday to take advantage of our discounted ticket price of $50 per person. The Candlelight Evenings tickets require a 48 hour advance reservation, which we will make for you. The upgrade price is $10 per person. The Candlelight Evening tickets are non-refundable.

Dates and Hours
Candlelight Christmas Evenings begin November 9, 2012 and extend through December 31, 2012. They not available on the following dates: Tuesday, November 20; Thursday, November 22; Monday, December 24; Tuesday, December 25th. Entry times for upgraded tickets are available as early as 5:30 PM. They are not available at 7:00 and 7:30 PM.

Book your stay at Honey Hill Inn and Cabins and let us help with your itinerary
Book your stay with us today and be sure to let us know you would like to attend Biltmore’s Candlelight Evenings. Tell us which day you would like to attend and a time range for your evening visit. Please indicate if you would prefer before 7:00 PM or after 7:30 PM. We can also book a dinner reservation for you for any of the restaurants on the estate. We will confirm with you when we receive confirmation from Biltmore. Please note: Once we receive a confirmaiton, your Candlelight Evening tickets become non-refundable.

We look forward to making your stay with us a memorable one!

Tips for Visiting Biltmore Estate – Part 2

Part 2 of our Tips for Visiting the Biltmore Estate covers touring the Biltmore House and Antler Hill Village and Winery.

Touring the House

Leave plenty of time to tour the house. A self-guided tour can 2-3 hours, depending on your interest level.


  • To the right of the main entrance to the house is the building that originally housed the stables. There you will find an outdoor courtyard with food vendors, the Stable Shops and the Stable Cafe, a full service restaurant. You will also find the only public restrooms there.
  • Be prepared to consume all food and beverages before entering the Biltmore House. These items cannot be taken inside.
  • There are countless photo opportunities outside of the house, but photography is not allowed inside.
  • We recommend purchasing the optional self-guided audio tour. The history of each room and “back stories” are fascinating and well done. The equipment can be rented at the Guest Services desk immediately to the right as you enter the foyer.
  • There are additional guided tours available. The Behind the Scenes Tour is a favorite because it gives you a closer look at the design and construction of Biltmore House by going into areas not on the regular house visit. You will also enjoy the stunning views and photo opportunities from the rooftop and balconies.

Touring Antler Hill Village and Winery
Antler Hill Village and Winery is located five miles from the Biltmore House. To visit, you will have to drive your car there. The shuttle busses do not provide transportation from the Biltmore House to Antler Hill Village.

As you drive to Antler Hill Village you might want to stop to enjoy the most dramatic view of Biltmore House. When you pass Bass Pond, look for the Lagoon on your left. There is a narrow unpaved road at the far end that crosses a small bridge and takes you around the lagoon for a stunning view of the back of the Biltmore House.

  • History buffs will not want to miss The Biltmore Legacy building located in Antler Hill Village. The exhibits change periodically. Currently, the exhibit is The Vanderbilts at Home and Abroad. This exhibit gives you a fascinating look at the lives of George, Edith and Cornelia Vanderbilt. See rare objects from the Vanderbilts’ personal collection. Entry to the exhibition is included in estate admission.
  • Your admission ticket includes a guided tour and tasting at the Biltmore Winery. This is a must for anyone interested in the art and science of winemaking, or just tasting wine.
  • Also on display is the Vanderbilts’ car, a rare 1913 Stevens-Duryea Model C-Six seven-passenger touring car. This car is the only car in the Biltmore Company’s collection that was purchased by George Vanderbilt. It is believed to be one of only 10 models existing today.

Dining on Biltmore Estate
There are five restaurants on the estate: The Stables Cafe, The Bistro, Cedric’s Tavern, The Smokehouse and The Dining Room (in The Inn on Biltmore Estate). Biltmore embraces the “farm-to-table” concept. Much of the food served in the restaurants is grown or produced right on the estate. Our favorites are: Stables Café (located next to the house), The Bistro, and Cedric’s Tavern (both located in Antler Hill Village). The Bistro is the most upscale of the three. The Stables Cafe is bustling with families during the day. Cedric’s Tavern is casual and has outdoor seating in the warm months. For a quick snack while touring the house, the courtyard outside the Stables building has “quick serve” food and beverages, including gourmet pizza, a coffee shop and bakery, and ice cream. There is plenty of seating in the courtyard.

The Honey Hill logo, honey bee and photos are property of Honey Hill Inn, LLC. They may not be copied or used without expressed permission of Honey Hill Inn, LLC.

Tips for Visiting the Biltmore Estate – Part 1

The Biltmore Estate is a popular destination for visitors coming to Asheville. The Biltmore house is the main attraction, but there are many other things to do on the estate. Biltmore’s lodging partners sell two-day passes to the estate, almost always at or below the gate prices. If you stay at Honey Hill Inn and Cabins, we suggest that you purchase tickets through us rather than purchasing them on the Biltmore website or at the gate. Our tickets allow you to explore the estate without feeling rushed to see and do everything in one day.


Planning Your Visit

These tips are written for visitors who have purchased tickets through one of Biltmore’s lodging partners with two-day passes.

  • During peak tourist season (Memorial Day through New Year’s Day), you might have to reserve a time to enter the house. If you have purchased tickets through us, you will avoid the lines at the Welcome Center Ticket Office.  We recommend that you arrive early and get your reservation at either Guest Services desks located in Antler Hill Village and in front of the Biltmore House. If there is a long wait, you should consider touring the gardens first.
  • During summer months, visit the estate early in the day while temperatures are cooler. The house is not air conditioned. In cold weather, spend the warmest part of the day outside, perhaps at Antler Hill Village. Save the coldest part of the day for touring the house.
  • During peak tourist season (Memorial Day through New Year’s Day), you might have to reserve a time to enter the house. We recommend that you arrive early and get your reservation at either of the Guest Services desks located in Antler Hill Village and in front of the Biltmore House. If there is a long wait, you should consider touring the gardens or conservatory first.

Entering the Estate

  • Just outside the main entrance to the estate is Biltmore Village. George Vanderbilt designed this it to provide housing for employees who were married. He also wanted to create a quaint village for his guests to see as they traveled from the train depot onto the estate. The original cottages are now shops and restaurants.
  • You will enter the main gate on Approach Road. As you drive, imagine you are traveling in a horse-drawn carriage as guests did over 100 years ago. The 15 minute drive to the house took two hours by carriage! This road was designed specifically to build anticipation. Visitors approaching the house cannot see it from any vantage point along the road.
  • When you approach the Welcome Center,  the guard will scan your ticket and direct you to the parking areas at the Biltmore house.
  • There are five parking lots that are a short distance from the house, all with shuttle service. There are also walking paths that will give you the experience of approaching the house from a scenic vantage point.

Stay tuned for Part 2 – Touring the Biltmore Estate.

The Honey Hill logo, honey bee and photos are property of Honey Hill Inn, LLC. They may not be copied or used without expressed permission of Honey Hill Inn, LLC.