Adult-oriented accommodations and dining in Blowing Rock, North Carolina.
By Hope S. Philbrick
The top floor “Tree House Suite” is for the kid in your heart—not for actual children, we are thrilled to point out.
“Children over ten welcome,” reads the brochure for the Inn at Ragged Gardens, which is just what we grownups like to see, since the subtext is really, “Don’t bring your kids.”
It provides a comforting guarantee that you won’t be awakened by a screaming baby or tantrum-ing toddler, which tempers the cost of staying in this suite (nightly rates are $275 Sunday through Thursday and $325 Friday and Saturday; inn rates start at $145 for the smallest room of the 13 options). Worth it, if you seek a getaway that appeals to the childhood fun of climbing up to a private retreat as well as the grownup affinity for pampering amenities like a whirlpool bathtub large and separate steam shower, both large enough for two.
Reaching the Tree House Suite requires climbing up two flights of stairs—there’s no elevator, so pack light if you can. The suite is comprised of a main room that houses a king-sized bed and an upholstered chair and sofa, all strategically placed to enjoy the warmth and ambiance of the two-sided gas fireplace that, on its reverse, is across from the whirlpool tub in the large bathroom. There’s also a reading nook with a rocking chair and upholstered chair, an office nook with a desk made of a finished tree slice, and a private balcony overlooking the garden. Two robes hang waiting in the closet and the mini refrigerator is stocked with sodas and water.
Inn amenities include breakfast served in the garden dining room, refreshments from the butler’s pantry (beverages and cookies are available 24 hours a day), early evening wine and hors d’oeuvres, free Wi-Fi, cable TV and seasonal access to Blowing Rock pool.
This is a place that’s ideal for a romantic or a relaxing getaway. It also suits those traveling alone or with someone with divergent interests: My husband Dean and I happened to arrive on Super Bowl Sunday, an event that he adores and I don’t. So I watched Downton Abbey from the comfort of the bed in our guestroom while he headed downstairs to watch the big game in front of the bigger TV in the sitting room near the lobby. We happened to have the whole Inn to ourselves, but he would have been just as happy to tune in with other football fans.
The Inn at Ragged Gardens is a short stroll to downtown Blowing Rock. But you need only head downstairs to dine in one of the best restaurants in town, The Best Cellar.
Beyond the picturesque bar (the mural was transported to its current location from the restaurant’s previous home), is the dining room overlooking the garden. In cool weather, fireplaces warm the air; candlelight warms the ambiance year-round. Attentive servers keep water glasses filled and deliver wine, beer and cocktails as you wish and whisk food orders to the table as soon as the kitchen has plates ready. The dinner menu features classic favorites like Caesar salad, oysters Rockefeller, filet and veal Oscar, veal picatta, chicken marsala and more. Confident preparations match expectations and may even surpass memories of previous experiences with the dishes.
Sure, you could dine at the restaurant without having booked overnight accommodations. But climbing upstairs after a satisfying dinner is the best possible commute.
- Free Wi-Fi
- Cable TV
- Refreshments available in the butler’s pantry 24-hours a day
- Complimentary wine and appetizers each evening
- On-site dining at The Best Cellar
- Convenient, short walk to downtown Blowing Rock
- All rooms boast private baths and fireplaces
- Two pet-friendly rooms available at $50 additional per night
- Check-in between 3 and 7 p.m.
- Check out by 11 a.m.
- Private meeting rooms available
The Inn at Ragged Gardens
203 Sunset Drive
Blowing Rock NC 28605
The Best Cellar
— Photos © HSP Media LLC