The Albemarle Inn in Asheville, North Carolina, is a four diamond Bed & Breakfast on the Select Registry of Distinguished Inns of North America. The historic building is on the National Register, with beautiful gardens, marble fireplaces, polished wood trim, and an elegant carved staircase.
A home for the Reynolds family.
Dr. Carl V. Reynolds bought the land in1907 and began to build his Neo Classical Revival style family home in the area called Proximity Park, because it was close to town and two trolley systems provided transportation. The area grew rapidly, as by 1917 there were forty homes for the rich a famous, and by 1925 twenty more. The Albemarle Inn Bed & Breakfast provides a map for a walking tour of the homes in the area.
Asheville, North Carolina, is a center of medicine, as the fresh mountain air was recommended for those with asthma or respiratory diseases. The homes were often built with large sleeping porches. Dr. Reynolds was a native of Asheville who returned after attending medical school to treat tuberculosis patients. He became the City Health officer and worked on the vaccination of children, a milk ordinance, and a requirement for the wrapping of bread. When there were so many cases of cholera in town, a campaign against the house fly was successful in solving that problem, by swatting flies and installing screens.
The house becomes a private school.
In 1920 the Reynolds family moved on and sold the house to a private school. Grove Park School, formerly the Asheville School for Girls, added a classroom building next door. There was damage to the home from a fire in 1920, but it was repaired and the school operated in the building until 1929, when it was leased to the Plonk sisters who were arts educators. They renamed it the Plonk School of Creative Arts in 1938.
The Albemarle Inn Rooming House hosts Bela Bartok.
The house became a rooming house called the Albemarle Inn, which catered to visitors looking for an elegant but comfortable place to stay while visiting Asheville, which was known for fresh mountain air and tourist attractions in the area. Hungarian composer Bela Bartok lived in the house for nine months in 1942-43, and composed his Third Concerto for Piano, called “The Asheville Concerto,” in part inspired by the concert of birds he heard outside his window.
The Albemarle Inn today.
Cathy and Larry Sklar are the current owners of the Albemarle Inn Bed and Breakfast, and they maintain the spirit of this lovely historic home with what they call “classic Southern hospitality with modern comfort.” Each room has separate heat and air conditioning for comfort, private baths with claw foot tubs, and there is Wi-Fi throughout. Breakfast is served in the dining room or on the sun porch, and includes several courses, such as a fruit dish, egg frittata with vegetables, croissants baked with cheese filing and fruit sauce, lemon tea cake, and a selection of juices, coffee and tea. The Albemarle Inn uses locally roasted and ground coffee which is fresh and delicious. Drinks and coffee are available in the kitchen for guests at any time.
We stayed for a three day weekend, arriving just in time for the evening refreshments, and were encouraged to relax and enjoy before checking in. Guests gather in the parlor or on the porch for drinks and hors d’oeuvres, including cheese, fruit, bread, spreads, and something special each day, such as onion tarts. There are guidebooks, maps, the local newspaper, and a basket of restaurant menus which guests peruse and discuss before making reservations for dinner or plans for the following day. The Albemarle Inn goes beyond just Bed & Breakfast, providing a romantic and relaxing place to stay, including special romantic packages or an in-room massage.
Asheville is a college town, so they have cultural events, theaters, and activities throughout the year. Attractions include the huge Biltmore estate with many levels of tours, the home of American author Thomas Wolfe, mountains, the Appalachian Trail, and the Blue Ridge Parkway. The Albemarle Inn Bed & Breakfast is an elegant center for visiting Asheville and the surrounding areas, or just enjoying a relaxing weekend or midweek getaway.
The Albemarle Inn
86 Edgemont Road
Asheville, NC 28801
Sources: Albemarle Inn and Personal Experience.