Written by: Jeff Dennis, Lowcountry Outdoors
Listed on the National Registry for Historic Places, The Orchard Inn of Saluda was built in 1926. It’s original mission was to house multiple employees of the railroad while on annual retreat, which is why the main building is well-suited to modern life as a Bed and Breakfast. The pleasing and soothing majestic North Carolina mountain vistas from The Orchard Inn are still the same today as guests view Warrior Mountain, Melrose mountain and the famed Tryon Peak atop White Oak mountain.
What has changed over the years are the owners who sought to steward the 12-acre property that boasts five cabins and a private hiking trail too. Charlestonians will recall that Bob and Kathy Thompson ran the Inn for 13 years, before selling to new owners just three years ago. Marc and Marianne Blazer found their pot of gold at the end of the rainbow in Saluda after searching the U.S. for a suitable Bed and Breakfast to make a part of their lives. Upon arrival guests will be greeted by Marc and will soon be tasting culinary treats prepared by Marianne, with her scones deserving special recognition as terribly tempting. The downstairs of The Orchard Inn is an open commons area with a dining room at the back, where the blue ridge escarpment can be viewed with a breathtaking 270-degrees. One can only imagine the vibrant reds and yellows that will bring life to this view during the peak season in October!
Comfortable lodging is found up one flight of stairs, and guests will find these arrangements to be a refreshing place to sleep during the cool nights. A brief footpath tour of the grounds begins in the front parking area. Walking to the right down a smooth gravel path one passes a hammock hanging between two large poplar trees, and after 60-paces arrives at the back porch with a two-person swing hanging underneath a wisteria-shaded arbor. A joggling board is also available, and when weather permits a special request to dine in this same area may be entertained.
Continuing 37-steps brings one to the bird feeding gardens which are set up to bring goldfinches, titmice, cardinals and hummingbirds to within easy view for those dining inside. A further 47-steps downward takes guests to the three-level vineyard trellis that serves as a backyard and a home to more flowers. From the bird feeding station it’s 50-paces to the area where five cabins await those who desire separate lodging. An easy 60-strides brings one past the wrap-around front porch and back into view of the signature green and white awnings that adorn the second story windows.
For those with more desire to walk, I can recommend the hiking trail that takes about 20-mintues to circumnavigate the woods surrounding The Orchard Inn. My insider tip to those wanting to get a taste for The Orchard Inn is to first go for a meal, since they accept reservations for breakfast, dinner and Sunday brunch for visiting diners. But don’t be surprised when you return to Saluda with an excuse to be an overnight guest, perhaps while attending an event such as the Green River Games or Coon Dog Day. Day trips for fly-fishing and to Pearson’s Falls are also popular diversions for the outdoors enthusiast.