It was dusk when I drove up the road to Weaverville, part of greater Asheville, and spotted the quilt-trail-style sign painted on the side of the old stable. As I turned right onto Brown Street, I saw the white picket fence lined with more colorful quilt patterns and the soft illumination of the covered front porch. The Dry Ridge Inn
felt like a place to call home, if only for a night.
Meeting Howard and Kristen Dusenbery was like visiting friends or relatives and feeling instantly welcomed in their home. From the formally appointed parlor and display cases housing Kristen's doll collection to the personality shown through Howard's motorcycle memorabilia, the bed and breakfast felt hospitable through and through.
The Brown family who made their home there in 1888 is remembered through vintage portraits in the hallway. While the inn offers several ways to tune out, like quiet rooms and peaceful garden spots, it's also equipped with an online business center.
|Dry Ridge Inn, Weaverville, NC|
I enjoyed a comfortable night's sleep in the upper-level Harley room (across from the Davidson room, of course), while accommodations can also include main level rooms without stairs. It was an easy walk over to the eateries in historic downtown Weaverville, where I savored dinner at the Jack of Hearts
. This overnight was part of some "me" time that included a solo weekend attending classes at the Organic Growers School
. It seemed that if my husband and children had come along, they would have enjoyed it as much as I did. The spacious lawn at Dry Ridge Inn and even the nearby playground at Lake Louise Park
seemed to be kid-friendly spots.
Hot breakfast in the formal dining room was a hearty treat, with Kristen making a fabulous egg dish from scratch, served with a delicate croissant. Baked apple, coffee and juice rounded out the morning meal served up by Howard. The innkeepers were sure to ask if I had any special dietary needs and had made another guest a gluten-free version of pancakes the previous day.
"We meet so many wonderful people here, and this little town in particular is very special. So, to be able to share that is really important to me," said Kristen. Like many empty nesters retired from the business world, the innkeepers enjoy running their own small business. "It's the idea of being able to make your own decisions and go your own route, so to speak," shared Howard, who still gets away occasionally for motorcycle touring when he's not hosting guests.
Tourists visit the Dry Ridge Inn
from all around the world, with a particularly loyal following from Great Britain. Repeat customers return again and again, making this their home when they visit the Asheville area. The inn is convenient to the thriving downtown, university and Biltmore
areas of this diverse area near the Blue Ridge Mountains.
A couple of years ago the innkeepers took a chance on the economy by making their room rates even more affordable. The chance has paid off with higher occupancies and their best year ever in 2011. The approach seems to fit with the overall feel of the inn: formal, but not stuffy; historic, with modern amenities; familiar, yet memorable. Consider yourself fortunate if your next visit to the picturesque Western North Carolina area can include a stay at the Dry Ridge Inn.
(Disclosure: the writer received a night's lodging in trade for featured advertising on FlourSackMama.com
, and by the way, it really was wonderful!)