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The Celo Inn: A Country Inn and Cottage not to miss

September 10, 2007

Chers Amis,

Of all the lovely places we visited in North Carolina, the one that will stay with me the longest will be the pink Dutch-doored cottage at the Celo Inn. I first saw the inn mentioned last fall  in an article in Cooking Light magazine about the artist community living and working in the mountains north of Asheville. Not only did the Celo Inn look like the perfect, rustic, European-style hostellerie, but it was affordable and available in late August!  Even better than the gabled inn itself was the tiny cottage tucked behind the main building. I am a big fan of cottage vacations and as we crunched down the gravel path to the timbered house we knew we would love it.  Inside it is not fancy in the slightest, but there is a comfortable living room witha wood stove, daybed, couch and book shelf full of fabulous100_1681 books and games!

The girls were thrilled to see the entire series of hardbound Oz books by Frank Baum and Pippin immediately pulled out the chess board and the Chinese checker tin. (He loves to play chess and is quite good!)  I perused the holdings that included 100_1694everything from Shakespeare’s “A Midsummer’s Night Dream,” to Night. There was a field guide to the wildflowers of North Carolina, a glossy coffee table book on of the history of the Penland School of Art, current National Geographic, nature magazines, and even the New Yorker.  I meant to make a list of the books, but was too engrossed.  It made you wish it would snow or rain during your stay so you would have to remain inside reading with the stove crackling.  The girls slept in a small downstairs bedroom that had windows on three sides, Pippin took the daybed and  my dh and I retired to the cozy attic/loft.   The full kitchen and bath 100_1682were modern and stocked with all the essentials – pots, pans, sharp knives, toaster, oven, fridge and of course the all important coffee maker! FYI –  they did have a tea kettle too.

Surrounding the inn and cottage are lush gardens that the owners (the Raskins) tend 100_1697daily.  Raised beds overflow with arching sprays of daisies, zinnia, cosmos, joe pyes weed, jewel weed and every cutting flower you can imagine.  Butterflies abound! Juste a cote were grape arbors, apple trees and vegetable, herb, and fruit beds:  peppers of all shapes and colors, heirloom tomatoes, cantaloupe, fennel, carrot  (until Pippin ran through it:(, onion, garlic, lettuces, squash . . .  In the middle of the beds is a lovely old chestnut tree with the perfect rope swing.  Oh! the hours the kids played there.  A tiny, tiny stream runs through the gardens100_1702 towards the South Toe River which borders their property at the end of a grassy path.  When they weren’t on the swing, or reading in the cottage, the kids were spashing in the water and turning over smooth river rocks looking for crayfish.
butterfly-on-orangeOne morning we decided to have breakfast at the inn as a special treat and arrived to find the table set with fresh flowers and slices of melon adorned with mint and edible flowers.  Gorgeous.  I had the oatmeal and it was by far  THE BEST I have ever eaten.  There was much talk of the orange and walnut muffins as well.  At $2.50-$4.50/pp for a full breakfast it is a DEAL!) I would highly recommend having breakfast in the inn at least once so you can see the interior of the building.  This is not your regular establishment built for commercial gain, rather it was lovingly crafted over almost 8 years by members of a Quaker community to serve visitors.  Every beam, tile and piece of furniture has a story behind it.  In fact, the original builders lived in the cottage while they slowly built the inn.  The living room served as the workshop.  Fascinating and fantastic.  If you ever want to spend a few heavenly days away from the city – and I do mean away, Celo is 20-25 min from the nearest grocery store in Burnsville –  not too far from the Blue Ridge Parkway, this is the place for you.


3 Comments leave one →
  1. Priya permalink
    September 11, 2007 12:27 am

    You were not kidding. The place IS gorgeous. Now just to have find time and convince certain family members that it is not THAT far a drive!
    Thanks for the pictures! I can dream.

  2. September 11, 2007 8:13 pm

    That looks wonderful. I’m glad you enjoyed it.

  3. September 14, 2007 11:09 am

    What a fabulous time! Simply gorgeous.

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