By Madison Fisler Lewis
Jan. 13, 2015. The harsh winter weather may have many folks feeling like there is no nightlife in the High Country until the spring thaw comes around. Well, Chetola Resort in Blowing Rock thinks differently. The resort will offer plenty of fun things to do this winter, from live music to food specials and everything in between.
On Friday, Jan. 9, Maureen Renihan played her first show at Chetola Resort.
“We have live music on a regular basis at Chetola, and we wanted to do something a little different this season,” said dinner manager Deedee Taylor.
“So we decided to try out live jazz on Thursday nights. I could really tell that the customers really responded to Maureen’s music and her style much more than other artists out there. So now we are hoping to have live jazz music every Friday night and we think that this will really become something that people will come to enjoy on a weekly basis. We have a lot of locals that want something to do in the winter and this is a great option. It acts as good background music for our dinner guests.”
Renihan has been described as a jazz singer with a voice reminiscent of the 1920s.
“People really respond to her sound,” Taylor said. “She has a great sound to her voice, it is very unique and people really stop to listen.”
The live jazz will continue on Jan. 16 from 6-9 p.m., where Renihan and accompaniments will be positioned in the foyer outside of Timberlake’s Restaurant at the resort. The musicians are positioned perfectly so guests can hear when they walk in and enjoy the music while they dine.
“It is nice to sit and have a cocktail by the fire and listen to her sing,” Taylor said. “People are really enjoying it. It is hard not to be caught up in it when you listen, it just pulls you right in. On Jan. 9, we had about 75 people for dinner and everyone had great positive things to say about it and everyone seems to want to keep it going. I think that if we stick with it, it will be something that will draw in the crowds from all around.”
The live music will continue Jan. 16 from 6-9 p.m. To read our story about Maureen Renihan, click here.
But live jazz isn’t the only thing that guests can expect to enjoy on Friday nights at Chetola. The resort will continue the famous Steak on the Lake deal in conjunction.
“Steak on the Lake started out because we have a patio by Chetola Lake,” said Taylor. “Steak on the Lake is a theme night with live music on the patio in the summer, where guests can enjoy a chef’s choice of steak with potato du jour and a salad. It was really big over the summer because people like to sit on the lake and having the live music was really nice. Well, we just changed to our winter hours so we moved it to Friday nights instead of Wednesday nights and now we are offering it inside.”
The weekly Steak on the Lake on Friday evenings has become a tradition for many locals and for many visitors to the High Country area. Along with delicious food and great music, those attending get to take in the gorgeous atmosphere of Chetola Resort.
“We have such a beautiful venue here and we have this beautiful lake,” said Taylor. “And you have these amazing mountains in the background with swans and geese swimming around. It’s all about the ambiance, the appearance and the setting that we have here. We are the only place in Blowing Rock with a setting like this, and people really seem to be enjoying it.
Steak on the Lake is offered on Friday evenings from 5-10 p.m. Guests are invited to enjoy a choice of chef’s daily steak specials, potato du jour and a choice of salad. The cost for the weekly deal is $28 per person. On Friday nights, the regular menu is also available.
But Fridays aren’t the only days with themed events.
On Thursday evenings, guests can enjoy Oyster and Shrimp Knight from 5-10 p.m. featuring a half pound of Tim Knight’s famous fried oysters or shrimp, a choice of two sides and dessert. Cost for Oyster Knight is $26 per person.
Tim Knight worked at Sonny’s Grill for many years until he left to open his own restaurant, Knight’s on Main.
“He opened up Knights on Main on Main Street and it turned into a downtown staple for locals. People could walk in and everyone knew everyone else. It was that friendly feel that made everyone feel at home. Well, when Tim sold his restaurant he came to work for us. He was famous for his fried oysters that he served and so he came here and Chetola’s owner wanted to get the same thing going here.”
And on Saturday evenings, grab the kids and a blanket and head out to Chetola Lake for the weekly bonfire. The bonfires take place at the fire pit situated on the front lawn from 6-9 p.m. featuring live music, s’mores packets and an outdoor bar with winter drink specials.
“We had our first night not too long ago, and we had over 100 people, it was just extraordinary,” Taylor said. “When you think of the mountains, you think of bonfires and this is a great event for the whole family.
The fire is manned by a dedicated employee for the event, and chairs are situated around the bonfire for guests to sit on.
“It is a really great atmosphere,” Taylor said. “You can warm up by the fire and roast marshmallows and have a hot tottie. It’s just great.”
Since the bonfires have proven to be so popular so far, Chetola expects to continue them through the whole year.
“It is a good way to make a whole night out of Chetola,” said Taylor. “People can come and have dinner with us and then go out to the bonfire for a while. It’s a great atmosphere and a beautiful setting that just can’t be beat.”
And Taylor wants to ensure that everyone knows that all events are open to the public.
“A lot of people see the security gate around Chetola and think that it is a private resort, and that isn’t true,” Taylor said. “We are right in the middle of Blowing Rock and we are open to the public.”
For more information about Chetola’s events and more, click here or call 828-265-5500.
Photos by Ken Ketchie