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Balsam Mountain Inn, Balsam, NC
A Grand Hideaway, the Balsam Mountain Inn
by Tommy Ford
Since 1905 the Balsam Mountain Inn has greeted visitors to beautiful western North Carolina. Guests then and now have discovered the Inn to be a cool and inviting retreat. Many people travel from all over the USA to come and visit the Balsam Mountain Inn, with the advent of cheap flights getting here is even easier. You can land in one of the many airports in North Carolina and then take a scenic drive to the Inn and be ready for a relaxing retreat with no phones or TV’s to bother you.
The Balsam Mountain Inn is a grand hotel from that golden era of travel when travelers arrived by railroad and carried their steamer trunks down the wide hallways of all three floors. It is interesting to note that for many years the Inn's railroad station was the highest east of the Rockies.
By the early 1980's the Inn's glory days had passed and it sat lonely and abandoned on it's quiet mountaintop. Thankfully the grand structures true potential was realized at last and renovation began in 1990. This carefully achieved renovation reduced the number of rooms from an original 107 to 50 today. Considering that this reduction allowed each room to have it's own private bath, which would have been highly unusual in 1905, we don't think today's traveler will mind a bit!
We visited the Balsam Mountain Inn in the fall, when the leaves of the southern Appalachians had turned the hillsides to a fiery blend of red, yellow, and gold.
The views from the 100 foot front porch were spectacular. Once inside we were promptly greeted by the staff. Check in could not have been easier, but we lingered a moment before going to our room. The lobby is a warm retreat with gas fireplaces that invite the road weary traveler to sit for a while and soak in the atmosphere. There are tables for whiling away the hours with games and puzzles.
While in the lobby area don't miss the library. With over 2000 volumes, a roaring fireplace, and complimentary coffee and tea it's no wonder that the library is always a popular meeting place. The Inn's gift shop is located on the first floor just down the hall from the dining room.
Our third floor room was very comfortable and well appointed with furnishings that complimented the Inn in every way. At no place does the modern override the historic atmosphere. There are no phones and no televisions. Cell phone reception may be spotty but we never had any trouble with it. All rooms have private baths, some with claw foot tubs. After settling into your room, take some time to roam the halls. Many of the artworks which adorn the walls are by local artists and are for sale.
The grounds of the Balsam Mountain Inn cover 24 acres. Trail maps are available at the front desk. Conveniently located between Asheville and Cherokee there are many opportunities for day trips to numerous local attractions.
The famed Blue Ridge Parkway is only 1/2 mile away. If you're headed out for the day the front desk can arrange sack lunches. This is a great idea, especially when headed onto the Parkway where services are far between. We thoroughly enjoyed our stay at the Balsam Mountain Inn. The staff was friendly and helpful and everything was clean and well tended.
Still, the Inn's attraction extends far beyond peaceful comfort. Sit a while on one of the porches. Close your eyes and you can almost hear the trains trudging up the mountainside full of eager guests.
Inside, find a quiet corner, there are couches and chairs located conveniently throughout, take a deep breath. One can easily imagine the traveler of another era stepping through the front door. You're a part of something enduring here. Enjoy every moment.
We would like the thank the staff of the Balsam Mountain Inn for assisting with our stay.
Balsam Mountain Inn Map
68 Seven Springs Drive
Balsam, NC 28707
(tell them Southpoint.com sent you)
Meals in the hotel dining room, also known as the "Grand Old Room," were delicious and we always found the staff to be on hand, ready to take our order or refill our coffee. It's the kind of place where you're tempted to linger long after your meal.
The Balsam Mountain Inn hosts special programs throughout the year. Check the calendar and you'll find events from a memorable Fourth of July celebration to hanging Christmas lights.