Photos: Old Edwards Inn
The cold rain and gloomy fog had hung around for weeks in Atlanta. Unlike some parts of the country, we’re used to bright sunny days, even when there’s a chill in the air. But this February had been particularly dreary leaving me feeling a little down.
The only thing that seemed to lift my spirits in spite of the weather was sitting in front of my cozy fireplace. What is it about a fireplace that can change the feel of any room and the mood of the people that gather around them, I wondered. Like waving a magic wand, a room can go from stark and uninviting to warm and cozy in an instant with a crackling fire in the fireplace.
That’s when I got an idea. How fun would it be to search out some of the best fireplaces out there? I’ve always been interested in fireplaces. From rustic and historic to sleek and modern – I love them all! After doing some quick research, I decided a great place to start was the Old Edwards Inn in Highlands, North Carolina.
So after packing a bag, I hopped in my car cranked up some 80’s tunes and started the three hour drive north.
Near Highlands, the road began to get more curvy as I headed up the mountain thru the low-hanging clouds that created a dense fog.
Driving down the main street in the quaint little town, I recognized the old red brick building that was the main part of the Old Edwards Inn.
After parking my car, I walked into the lobby area to find a real wood burning fireplace with a beautiful crackling fire, just as I expected. Ahhhhh! I love this place. The large gray stone fireplace was the focal point of the room, and the antique chairs were the perfect spot to sit and relax while waiting to check in.
After putting my bag in my room, (which was an absolutely beautiful suite!) I was ready to explore and find all the fireplaces on the property.
I walked up a beautiful dark wood staircase to the second floor where the spa is located. The fireplace in the main sitting area looked warm and cozy in the dimly lit room. Lighted sconces hung on each side of a painting above the surround.
During my stay I noticed women gathered around the fire in their robes, sipping hot tea and talking in soft animated voices. What a perfect place for a “girls’ weekend”!
On the other side of the spa is the “quiet” area where you aren’t supposed to talk loudly or have any electronic devices. On one end of the room is a soothing fountain and on the other side is – you guessed it – a fireplace. This gorgeous gray and tan stone fireplace was surrounded with comfy chairs, blankets, and an ottoman.
Stacks of books and magazines offered plenty of material to read if you didn’t want to just curl up and take a nap. Oh, and did I mention the room was lined by an entire wall of beautiful windows overlooking the courtyard.
Nestled back behind the spa a wonderful solarium filled with tables were lunch was served.
Heading up to the third floor, I opened a door to the outside to find a rooftop patio with a large seating area and fieldstone fireplace. A huge mirror hung above the heavy wrought iron spark guard. With umbrellas as well as a covered porch area, this looked like the perfect space to spend time in the warmer months.
Taking the elevator back down to the first floor, I wandered into the lounge area where there’s a baby grand piano sitting next to a lovely fireplace. Guests hang out here in the evenings before or after dinner to listen to live music and sip cocktails and nibble on a snack tray with olives, truffle potato chips, and peanuts. The large room is filled with rich looking antique furnishings, woven rugs, and custom draperies.
Walking back outside, I found an interesting archway made of stone that had the cutest black iron gate. Taking a stroll down the path, I discovered the most charming stone fireplace tucked away in back of the building like a secret. There was a little courtyard with some metal tables and chairs that looked so quaint. Just lovely!
I decided to walk over to the area where Old Edwards Inn has built some newer cottages complete with their own lodge.
The fireplaces there were burning bright, creating the perfect atmosphere. The fireplace in the main room, made of large stones, had a rustic mantel and wrought iron screen which perfectly fit the arched firebox opening.
In the next room, a bartender mixed drinks, while guests relaxed in front of a distressed limestone fireplace. With a dark wood mantel and a hearth made from caramel colored slate, the fireplace commanded attention. Soft lighting from the sconces above added to the ambiance in the cozy room.
I found that some rooms in the cottages had their own individual fireplaces.
On my quest to see every fireplace on all the Old Edwards properties, I decided to drive a few miles away to Half-Mile Farm. This secluded property, complete with a serene lake, is the perfect getaway for anyone who wants to totally unplug.
The large flagstone fireplace in the main dining area welcomes you as you walk in. Couches and dining tables give guests plenty of spaces to relax in the naturally lit space. The manager told me that guest chefs come every now and then and prepare six -course dinners for anyone who buys a ticket. I’m putting that on my bucket list
In the next room, a real wood burning fieldstone fireplace crackles with a stack of wood on the hearth to keep the flames going. A more casual vibe in this room creates a great space to chat or read a book.
In the main lobby, sits a quaint, double- sided fireplace. Original to main historic house, the firebox is filled with flickering candles since it’s no longer in working condition. I noticed how the charming white mantel surround and shiplap complimented the cottage feel of the room.
On the other side of the double fireplace, with a firebox also filled with candles, I found a sprawling bar area. With plenty of large windows and french doors, the room looked light and spacious. Sprinkled throughout the room, stylish tables and chairs were waiting for guests to arrive.
Taking a walk out one set of french doors, I discovered a large fire pit perched on the expansive grassy lawn. Surrounded by heavy white wooden aderondak chairs, I can only imagine what it would be like to sit out there on a warm summer evening watching the fireflies and dancing flames of the bonfire with a view of the pond in the distance. Ahhhhh!
My last stop was the Garden House, a separate retreat space on the property. The stone fireplace reached up to the vaulted ceiling looking grand. A couple of modern looking chairs in front and a rustic mantel perfectly accented the creamy white beams and shiplap (Joanna Gaines would be proud!)
After relaxing for a couple of days in front of every fireplace I could find, and getting outside for some fresh air, I drove home feeling relaxed and refreshed.
My visit to the Old Edwards Inn and Spa was fabulous. There’s nothing like a little weekend getaway with some“fireplace therapy” and a couple of spa treatments to chase away the blues. I drove home feeling relaxed and ready for the new week ahead, already planning my next fireplace adventure.