About Red Leaf River Inn
What Makes Our Bed and Breakfast Special
Words can only do so much to describe the experience you'll have here! Come visit us and see why it's the perfect place for your romantic getaway!
We are a casual, family owned bed and breakfast tucked away in the WNC mountains and have been open since June 2016.
The Inn sits on 5 acres in Waynesville, NC, within an hour of Asheville and Cherokee, NC as well as the Tennessee and South Carolina borders. The grounds include ample parking for guests, an upper lawn with a tree bench for enjoying the view and a large lower lawn accessible by stone stairway. Descending the stairway will also bring you to our half acre pond (alternatively a half acre garden during our dry season) and one of two streams on the property. We invite you to relax on the huge deck that wraps two sides of the house and overlooks the pond and a variety of plants and trees including dogwood, walnut, American chestnut, spruce, poplar, and burning bushes. Our cool mountain breezes keep the deck comfortable nearly all summer.
Amenities For A Relaxing Getaway
Inside the Inn, we feature three guest rooms, one suite, and a cottage, all with en suite bathrooms featuring soaps by Hazelwood Soap Company, and a spacious common area with a fireplace. We have parking available in our lot and covered parking for up to four motorcycles. The Inn is family friendly, welcoming children of all ages and well behaved owners with their pets in the suite.
Every stay includes a fresh, chef prepared breakfast, complete with a custom fresh roasted coffee from Smoky Mountain Coffee Roasters, that will leave you full until at least dinner time and the kind of hospitality you can only find at a B&B.
Our Renovation Story Begins in Asheville, NC
We began by researching B&B friendly areas. Asheville, NC, seemed perfect. It was an area with a strong tourism industry that was constantly growing and not too far south or north. However, we were on a limited budget and the Asheville area was both expensive and heavily saturated with existing B&B’s.
So, we gave up on moving to the Western North Carolina mountains and started looking up and down the east coast. we looked at bed and breakfasts in Vermont, Virginia, Maryland, North Carolina, South Carolina, New York, and Georgia. Nothing seemed quite right. we even took a trip, touring several available properties in North Carolina. Nothing worked. Then, in October of that year, my wife and her sister, Frances, took a quick trip down to North Carolina to see some new properties that our realtor had found.
The first one was too small, without the living quarters they needed. The second one had a gorgeous property, but the house itself was old (and not in the good antique way) and needed a lot of work. The third one was blocked off by construction. They had to go around this way and that way and they nearly didn’t make it up. They turned off the road, passed under an arch, and drove over a bridge. They passed a waterfall and drove under red leafed trees. They came up into the parking lot and stepped out of the car. A gust of wind blew red and gold leaves across the driveway and the soothing sound of running water filled the air. The sisters looked at each other and then at the realtor. “Where do we sign,” they asked, unknowingly starting this whole renovation story.
Cherry Blossom - Before Renovations
The stained carpet has been pulled out, but there is still the fabric swathed ceiling (nope, nothing bad hiding under there) and the faux brick pink wall to contend with.
Although I’ll say they didn’t, the sisters did in fact look around the house. They saw the separating railings and the old windows and the pink faux brick wall. They saw the dented cork floor and the acoustic ceiling tiles and the tiny, outdated bathrooms. But they also saw rich chestnut walls, gorgeous views, and a property that could not be duplicated anywhere.
Obviously, We Bought The House
In January of 2014, I saw the house for the first time. The red and gold leaves were gone. It was cold. Everything looked barren. I took one look at the house, looked at my wife, and shook my head. That year, we started with tearing down. I tore down the rotting deck and the stairway going to it, we tore out ceilings and floors and walls. We tore out electric and plumbing and really old fixtures. What we couldn’t afford to tear out (the salmon pink bathtub and the sea foam green shower tile) we patched and painted over instead.
For more than two years, we fixed, repaired, painted, built, and replaced. I learned to build furniture and my wife learned how to finish it. She sewed cushions and curtains. I reroofed the house and built a new deck. We refinished the fireplace using cement and rocks collected from the stream. We researched sheets and soap and towels. We put every ounce of energy and every penny into a neglected building that was so worthy of being loved. We finished all three bedrooms inside the house, turning each one into a work of sweat and tears and love.
In June of 2016, we finally welcomed our first guest. It was our only reservation. They were a lovely couple, who stayed two days and then left. The rest of the month loomed emptily. Then, another reservation came in, and another. Soon, we were welcoming guests from all over the world. I took over day to day operations while my wife continued to work full time.
Because I never can sit still, I started tearing apart the last room – a pair of rooms that would be turned into a suite – shortly after the Inn opened. I gutted the bathroom, including two cemented in showers, and replaced the walls, floors, and ceiling. My wife sanded, painted, and sewed more curtains. I bought a claw foot tub in “great” condition that my wife sanded down and re-enameled. The suite opened in November of 2016.
The Final Project
Just when we thought our renovation story was nearly complete, we started the one final task – converting the carriage house into a rentable guest space. Mostly because of some financing issues, there was over a year between opening the suite and beginning work on the carriage house. But, approximately 157 phone calls, 345 emails, and 37 banks, credit unions, and other financial businesses later, we were able to get started. A significantly newer structure than the main Inn, the carriage house needed mostly cosmetic work, which meant it should be quick and easy. Right?
Just a little paint, some closet doors, fourteen custom built pieces of furniture, a dozen curtains…
There followed two full months of painting cabinets, uninstalling odd light fixtures and a defunct sound system, painting walls, fixing plumbing issues, painting the exterior, building furniture, repairing the crumbling kitchen countertops, and did I mention painting? We landscaped the old pool behind the carriage house (yes, you read that right), and I built a floating deck over part of the deteriorating pool deck and re-cemented the rest of it. My wife sewed even more curtains, stained furniture, and decorated. In July of 2018, just a few weeks after the Inn celebrated 2 years of business, the final piece of our property was able to open.
Now the Red Leaf River Inn proudly invites our guests to relax and get comfortable. Because here? You are home!