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125 Years of High Country History: Photos from the Green Park Inn’s Anniversary Gala

By Jessica Isaacs | jessica@highcountrypress.com

Photos by Ken Ketchie

It’s the last of western North Carolina’s grand manor hotels, but the thriving Green Park Inn is keeping history alive.

This summer, the resort celebrates its 125th anniversary in the High Country, and local leaders, descendants of the original developers and friends in the community gathered there on Saturday for a gala in honor of the milestone.

Lorry Mulhern, the inn’s general manager, said the event saw a great turnout and guests enjoyed a beautiful atmosphere, great service and a wonderful evening of dinner, drinks, dancing and music.

“Everyone had a great time. Our staff did an amazing job and we got rave reviews on the food and the incredibly creative menu the chef designed for the evening,” said Mulhern. “It was a very comfortable evening with plenty of room for dancing and the music was great.”

Live music was provided by The Neighbors bluegrass band during cocktail hour in the hotel’s Garden Room and then by the Steve Franks Orchestra over dinner at the Chestnut Grille.

Among the crowd who attended the gala were the inn’s owners, brothers Eugene and Steven Irace, who purchased the hotel in 2010 and have since invested greatly in preserving and restoring its grandeur.

“They are both history buffs. The more they have discovered about the hotel’s history, the more they have realized how integral it is to the identity of the High Country and even the state,” Mulhern said.

Front Desk Manager Kerry Hines said it was great to see so many people coming together in support of the hotel.

“Attendees included descendants of the businessmen who built the hotel, local government and community members, current owners and staff,and frequent hotel guests,” said Hines. “We were honored by the presence of Michael DiRienzo of Historic Hotels of America, who presented us with a proclamation declaring June 25, 2016 as Historic Hotels of America Green Park Inn (1891) 125th Anniversary Recognition Day. We danced to the musicianship of High Standards, ate delicious creations by our executive chef Jason Clay and all around enjoyed an amazing celebration of the Green Park Inn.”

A community open house, which gave the public a chance to tour the main floor of the inn over drinks, preceded the gala on Friday evening.

Call 828-414-9230 or visit www.greenparkinn.com to learn more about the hotel.





Gala guests enjoy the sounds of Charlie Ellis on piano with a guest singer during Saturday’s 125th anniversary gala at the Green Park Inn.
Frequent guests Jane and Ed Wiseman enjoy the piano music and singing at Friday’s gala.
Charlie and Mary Ellis


Ed and Jane Wiseman
Pictured from left are Blowing Rock Town Councilman and Mayor Pro-Tem Albert Yount, Doug Pegram and Fran Renner
Pictured from left are Mrs. Michelle George, Lt. Colonel Michael George, Mrs. Diana Alfred, First Sgt. Travis Alfred and Lorry Mulhern
Server Taylor Setzer passes drinks during the cocktail hour at Friday’s gala.
The Irace brothers, who purchased the inn in 2010 and remain committed to restoring and preserving its legacy.
Green Park Inn Front Desk Manager Kerry Hines and Front Desk Associate Zack Toller


The Steve Franks Orchestra
Guests flow between the cocktail hour in the Garden Room and dinner at the Chestnut Grille.
Steve Franks




General Manger Lorry Mulhern (right) is pictured with a friend at Green Park’s gala on Friday night.