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THE MOUNTAIN HOUSE

Encouraging curious travelers to reconnect with the landscape (and each other), the 18-room Highlander Mountain House feels like your own private Blue Ridge retreat—equal parts Appalachian lodge and refined English country estate. After an afternoon exploring the area’s primordial network of trails, trout streams, rivers, waterfalls, and pristine forests, curl up with a hot toddy or restorative cup of tea by the wood-burning stone fireplaces in the lobby and dining room at The Ruffed Grouse, the inn’s elevated, all-day tavern, and plot your next adventure.

Built in 1885—reportedly for a retired sea captain from Charleston, South Carolina—the clapboard mountain farmhouse maintains many of the period architectural details such as the original wood flooring and exposed timber framing, but there’s no lack of modern amenities or contemporary finishes.

The Highlander’s updated design narrative is rooted in the region and draws on the area’s unspoiled natural beauty and rich cultural heritage—from the Cherokee tribes to the Scots-Irish homesteaders to the moonshiners and the avant-garde artists who taught and studied at nearby Black Mountain College. The resulting design is a suitably eclectic mix. Bespoke furniture, antiques, custom lighting, whimsical wallpaper, and quirky art and artifacts like Victorian-era taxidermy create a space that’s as inspiring as it is inviting. It’s a place we hope you’ll look forward to returning—again and again.

THE TAVERN


A communal gathering space for locals and travelers in the tradition of Old World taverns, The Ruffed Grouse with its overstuffed couches, marble-topped pub tables, and large wood-burning fireplace, is the heart of the Highlander. The restaurant’s cozy bar room does double duty, pouring both coffee and cocktails, and while the full menu is available inside the bar, the best seats are fireside in the intimate dining room and lounge or out on the Main Street-facing patio if the weather’s warm.

In the kitchen, chef Charles Hudson takes his cue from the land. Serving regionally-influenced fare for breakfast, lunch, and dinner daily, he stocks his larder with seasonal ingredients from Blue Ridge farmers and growers. In addition to the classic cocktails and La Colombe coffee, you’ll find a rotating selection of craft beers on tap, as well as an expertly edited wine list focused on biodynamic, organic wines from small, family-run vineyards.