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Legendary Grand Dame of the High Country: The Green Park Inn to Celebrate 125 Years

By Jessica Isaacs | jessica@highcountrypress.com

The summer sun has settled in for another season, and the who’s who of the American South are traveling to the Blue Ridge Mountains to escape its sweltering heat. It’s the turn of the century, and everybody who’s anybody wants to stay at the posh new resort in Blowing Rock, North Carolina.

The land through which Major General Stoneman once led his Union cavalry is now home to the Green Park Inn, where guests often rub elbows with statesmen, dignitaries and society’s elite.

Green Park Inn
Green Park Inn

Built of heart pine and American Chestnut, the stately hotel is a picture of modern luxury — electricity in every guestroom, hot and cold baths, its very own telegraph and post office, freshly drawn spring water and stewards who wait at the ring of the bell to call on your every need. Captains of industry often steal away for dinner and drinks at the grand manor resort, which is coveted by the beau monde of nearby metropolitan cities.

Jump ahead now by a century and a quarter, to an age of boundless information and a world in which technology reigns supreme. The amenities that once made the Green Park Inn a symbol of opulence and innovation now make it a destination for history buffs and travelers who dream of yesteryear.

Its halls keep the stories of people who’ve walked them over the decades, and its past boasts visits from many notable guests, including presidents, national business leaders and Hollywood stars. Herbert Hoover, Eleanor Roosevelt, Margaret Mitchell, Calvin Coolidge and John D. Rockefeller are among the guests it can claim, along with the famous Annie Oakley, who offered sharpshooting lessons on the grounds in the 1920s.

Now known as the Legendary Grand Dame of the High Country, it is the last of the grand manor hotels in western North Carolina and is a member of the Historic Hotels of America.

Two brothers from New York, Eugene and Steven Irace, purchased the hotel in 2010 and have since invested greatly in preserving and restoring its grandeur. The inn remains an integral part of the High Country’s cultural identity, and, thanks to the Irace brothers, it will continue to tell the stories of the past for years to come.

This summer, the Green Park Inn will celebrate the 125th anniversary of the day it first opened in June of 1891.

Descendants of the original developers will be among the special guests invited to the anniversary gala on June 25, and a number of seats have been reserved that are open to the public. A lottery will determine who gets to join the festivities, so call or go online today to put your name in the hat. Call 828-414-9230 or visit www.greenparkinn.com/celebrate for more information on the gala.

Make plans to visit the Grand Dame this summer and experience this treasured piece of North Carolina history for yourself.