The Red Leaf River Inn sits on 5 acres just outside the Waynesville city limits. Nestled near the mouth of a small valley, the Inn was originally the home of local scientist and philanthropist A.L. Freedlander, built in 1935. A stone carriage house was added sometime in the 1950’s and the landscaping was kept under immaculate control, with many trees and shrubs bearing identification placards. Once part of a large estate encompassing most of the valley, the Freedlander Estates were later broken into several smaller parcels, the largest of which is the Inn property.
Once sold by the Freedlander family, the property changed hands several times. The property remained at the heart of the community, with many locals sharing stories of remembered visits to the house or the pool behind the carriage house. For several years, from 1995-2005, the property was operated successfully as a bed and breakfast under a different name. The Inn was sold again in 2005 and continued to operate as a bed and breakfast but the new owners ended up unable to care for the building or the business.
In 2011, the unique property was foreclosed on and sat vacant for almost two years until two sisters visited in October 2013. Enchanted by the fall colors, the sound of the rushing water, and the gorgeous stone and wood details on the building, the sisters proceeded to purchase the property in December 2013.
Once the fall colors faded, the property and the Inn proved a huge challenge. Years of ivy was stripped from stone walls and buried paving stones and garden borders were dug up and reinstalled. Overgrown burning bushes were cut back, hidden gardens discovered, and new landscaping planted. An attempt was also made to clear out the choked pond, although a broken diversion and a year of drought means much work is still needed on that front. The Inn itself was also repainted and given a new roof and windows.
Inside the Inn, many rooms were redone floors to walls to ceilings. The fireplace was refurbished and both the floor and the ceiling in the main room replaced, though the gorgeous chestnut walls were saved. The bathrooms were given all new fixtures and in some cases, new tile work and floors. Altogether, two years of renovations were put into updating the Inn. We hope you enjoy the new look and feel.
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