Hi, y’all! The introduction of the Honey List has allowed us to travel to several fabulous Southern locations, with several more on the books for 2012! We’re excited to give you the inside scoop on some of the best honeymoon and vacation spots in the South. Today, we’re taking a trip to the Red Horse Inn! – Marissa
In February, my boyfriend Michael and I were so lucky to get away for the weekend to the Red Horse Inn, a AAA Four Diamond bed and breakfast sitting on nearly 200 acres in Landrum, SC. To give you an idea of where that is (since we are located four hours away in Chapel Hill and were unfamiliar with the area!), Landrum is in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains, in the South Carolina Upstate. The Red Horse Inn is less than an hour south of Asheville, NC, and less than an hour north of Greenville and Spartanburg, SC. I don’t know about y’all, but for me, there is a point in the winter when a getaway is absolutely necessary. We were fortunate enough to go around Valentine’s Day, knocking two birds out with one stone!
The estate is tucked away on a long gravel drive surrounded by trees and ponds. When we pulled up to the front of the picturesque main inn and started to get out of the car, we were immediately greeted by Mary and Roger, the owners. They were so friendly that it was like visiting old friends or relatives! They gave us a little information and handed over the key to our private cottage, The Grainary. They also explained that they wouldn’t be bothering us unless we needed something. Housekeeping was optional, and breakfast was already in the cottage. Their goal is to give you the maximum amount of privacy, and facilitate a romantic, relaxing stay.
The Inn itself has six rooms. Each suite is decorated in a different style, and has a fireplace, kitchen closet and whirlpool. Two of the larger rooms open up to patios shielded by vine-draped arbors. The Inn also offers packages where guests can choose to make their stay even more romantic with the addition of things like a four-course candlelit dinner served in the privacy of your cottage, or ordering roses, champagne or chocolate-covered strawberries to have when you arrive. We didn’t try either, but I think they’d be perfect for a honeymoon or special anniversary trip!
In addition to the main inn, there are also six Victorian cottages (charming white houses with green tin roofs), that are located about half a mile away, and this is where we stayed. Each cottage has a kitchen, bedroom, bath, living room with a fireplace, and front porch complete with rocking chairs. Our cottage even had a private outdoor hot tub! The cottages have high ceilings and large windows which fill the rooms with blissful natural light.
One thing we couldn’t help but notice right away was how well thought out the details in the cottage were. For example, there was a little basket of washcloths that said something along the lines of, “Use these to wipe the dew off your rockers in the morning.” Isn’t that adorable? As we put our luggage down, we looked out the window to see the sun setting behind the mountains in the distance. It was so peaceful and romantic!
That night we had reservations at Stone Soup. Since Landrum is considered “horse country,” the walls were covered with equestrian photos and gear that celebrated the community. We loved that! The layout was so cozy and really felt like you were fine-dining in a friend’s nice home. Michael had the North Carolina cornmeal crusted trout (which I also tried and was delicious!), with succotash and mixed greens with buttermilk dressing. I had a delicious mixed green salad with cranberries and almonds and the half-chicken.
Saturday was packed full of adventure. We started with breakfast in our cottage at our leisure, then went on a self-guided driving tour of bridges in the area. Our favorite was Poinsett Bridge, the oldest bridge in South Carolina, built in 1820. Next, we drove up to Caesar’s Head State Park, which is deemed one of the best panoramic views in the Blue Ridge Mountains, at 3,266 ft. On this particular morning, it was raining and quite foggy. Therefore, when we finally reached the lookout, we couldn’t see even ten feet in front of us! We’ll definitely have to try again on a different day.
We then went to Victoria Valley Vineyard, a forty-seven acre site, styled after a French “chateau.” We had paninis from the deli on the terrace, experienced our first wine tasting (we pretended like we knew what we were doing!) and lastly, went on a tour of the vineyard and learned how the wine was made. From the vineyard, we went to The DuPont Forest and hiked around three waterfalls. The highest was appropriately named High Falls, a 150-foot cascade. While we would have loved to hike even more, we didn’t want to be late for our dinner reservation!
That night, we had dinner at Zenzera, a Tuscan-themed restaurant with live music. The restaurant is located in downtown Landrum, nestled among a strand of unique shops and antique stores. We had a separate map of all the antique stores in the area, but we just didn’t have the time to fit shopping in. Michael ordered the Pesto Fettuccine Alfredo, and I got the Shrimp & Grits. The dish was very different than the Shrimp & Grits I’ve had before – it was served in a big bowl with shrimp, grits, peppers, mushrooms, spinach and white cheddar all mixed together, almost like a thick soup. It was tasty!
Overall, we had such a wonderful visit. If the Red Horse Inn was this enjoyable in the winter, I can only imagine how beautiful it would be in the summer or fall! It was obvious that Mary and Roger developed their property with couples in mind, and we think they succeeded. Judging from the countless comments we read in their guest books (dating back to 1995!), I’d say we aren’t the only ones! If you’re a Southern bride not looking for the typical tropical honeymoon, this could be a good option for you. It’s peaceful, romantic and not too far away from city centers like Asheville.
We are so thankful for the Southern hospitality shown to us on our trip! Photos are courtesy of the Red Horse Inn, except for the last four which are my personal photos.
P.S. Take a trip over to The Honey List to get the scoop on even more lovely properties!
P.P.S. Brides, did you have a fabulous honeymoon? Email Marissa and let us know! Properties, want to get involved? Shoot Marissa an email, and let’s chat!