We drove from Fallingwater to Asheville, but arrived long after the visitor’s centre had closed. Hotel Tonight, the app that had guided us so well in Pittsburgh was showing squat in Asheville. We drove around in the dark, wondering what to do.
Then we passed a sign for The Lion & The Rose, a B&B listed in the Lonely Planet guide we brought with us. We parked and rang the bell. Diddley.
Wait, there’s another B&B next door: The Black Walnut Inn.
Instructions on the door list a number to call for assistance. I call. Someone answers and tells me I should have rung the doorbell first. So I rang the bell. Matthew is still on duty and shows us two available rooms. We pick the “Dogwood”, a strange set up with a tiny sleeping area in the turret, and an even tinier sitting area with barely enough room to stand due to the sloping roofs. Quirky ain’t the half of it.
It’s getting late and we haven’t eaten. Matthew directed us down the road to the only restaurant in the neighbourhood. A jerk spot called The Nine Mile, which turned out to be pretty darned good.
Next morning breakfast is served by Peter, while his wife Lori whips up breakfast. Turns out that the building was designed by Richard Sharp-Smith, the supervising architect for the Biltmore Estate (more about that coming in future posts).
Curiously the house has two stairwells, situated beside one another, leading from the main to the second floors. The larger one originates in the main entranceway. The second, smaller one goes to a couple of rooms in the back of the house. Both lead to the second floor bedrooms. Peter told us that there was speculation that Spencer-Smith designed the stairwells (which were not used to get to servant’s quarters), as a representation of “separate but equal” as one was used by the owners (presumably white) and the other by the help (presumably black). Not sure if I’m buying it.
Peter also told us, and I believe this, that the elegant looking Montford area where the B&B is currently located was a scary, crack-house neighbourhood in the 60’s and 70’s. Hard to imagine now.
Next, our day with the Vanderbilts at Biltmore Estate.