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Historic Glendale Springs Inn Up for Auction, Owners Hope Inn’s Tradition Carries On

On July 20, the Larry and Amanda will sell the historic Glendale Springs Inn in an auction. The bidding starts at $250,000.

By Jesse Wood

Twenty years ago, Larry and Amanda Smith purchased the historic Glendale Springs Inn and performed substantial renovations to re-open the establishment.

On July 20, the Smiths will sell the property, as the Glendale Springs Inn will go to the auction block. The bidding starts at $250,000.

The Smiths are in their late 70’s and said it’s time for someone else to takeover the country inn and bed and breakfast.

“We just needed to get it fixed before we leave this ole’ Earth,” Amanda said.

The inn was built in 1892, and in the 1930s, it served as the local headquarters for the Works Project Administration when the Blue Ridge Parkway was constructed, according to The Mountain Laurel blog. In 1979, the inn was added to the National Register of Historic Places.

The Smiths bought the three-plus-acre property, which features the five-bedroom Victorian/American inn and four-bedroom, guesthouse cottage, in 1995 from auction. Larry said that the inn had been closed for a few years before he purchased it.

“The inn was in pretty bad shape,” Larry said.

The Smiths completely rewired and re-plumbed the entire inn. It added central heat and air condition and insulated the building. It also did major work on the water supply and septic systems as well.

“It was quite an undertaking. We opened the rooms right after May of ‘95 and opened the restaurant in November of ’95,” Larry said.

A couple years later, the Smiths were in for a big surprise – even if they consider themselves Republicans. President Bill Clinton and Vice President Al Gore selected the inn for their lunch break when they were in the area to dedicate the New River as an American Heritage River.

The Smiths were at the beach when they found out that the administration might select the Glendale Springs Inn as their destination at the last minute. The ended up rushing back to the mountains and spent all of Wednesday preparing for the president’s visit.

Larry said that he and his wife invited 40 of their friends, family members and good customers to partake in the luncheon with Clinton and Gore. Larry said that Clinton was “very personable” and spent nearly two hours after lunch chatting and taking photos with his friends and family that were present.

“We had the luncheon and it turned out real well. Even though my politics are different, it was an honor to have the president and vice president at the inn,” Larry said. “We were glad.”

Aside from its most famous guests, the inn has hosted customers from Israel, Germany, Australia, Japan, Canada, Great Britain, France, Italy and more.

“As well as people from North Carolina. A lot of our clientele come from Charlotte, Winston-Salem and Greensboro. We even have clients that drive all the way from Raleigh to have dinner and turn right around and drive back,” Amanda said.

Both Amanda and Larry said they hope that whoever purchases the property continues its tradition as a historic inn.

“Very much so. I hope they take care of it as a historical site,” Larry said. “The Glendale Inn is a unique thing here in Ashe County, and in particular, Glendale Springs. We got the Church of Fresco here, but the little community has really drawn back from 2000. It was really bustling at that time.”

Larry said that since then Lee’s Lodge, which was known as a gathering place, closed and has re-opened. He added that there’s a gift shop and that a Parkway grill has replaced the old bakery.

But Glendale Springs “lost” the little country store and service station with the road expansion. Also, a local silversmith passed away, so his establishment is closed.

“I am hoping,” Amanda added. “It’s a wonderful inn and is still quite beautiful.”

This coming Thursday, Friday and Saturday before the auction, lunch will be 15 percent off. Dinner will be regular price, and Larry just asks that you call and make a reservation, so they know how many people to cook for.

For more information or to make reservations, call 336-929-3103. Click to the Glendale Springs Inn website here.