Thanks to an interesting background of famous viticulture, gracious hosts, and one of the best breakfasts we’ll ever eat, I’m putting this down as one of our favorite places to stay in North Carolina.
The historic home and its surrounding cabins sit on a beautiful 12-acre property, surrounded by mountains and offering gorgeous views all around. Since we were lucky enough to spend some time at Engadine, we wanted to share a bit about this place and why we think it’d be perfect for you, whether you’re traveling with a loved one or with your family!
Engadine Inn and Cabins in Candler NC
Special thanks to Engadine Inn and Cabins for providing us with complimentary accommodations. All opinions within this article are our own.
Famous Wine Makers
There’s a long backstory that you can read while staying at Engadine and I really don’t want to spoil things for you, because it’s filled with interesting events. Long story short, the home was built by the Hoyt family and they used the property to grow grapes.
And from those vines came some of the finest wine in this part of the United States. The Hoyts shipped their product as far as New England and elsewhere in the US. It also made appearances at Biltmore, since the Vanderbilts were fond of the Hoyts’ wine.
Prohibition & Sudden Collapse
Since our state loves to be first at everything, North Carolina took the lead on Prohibition with its own statewide form in 1909. This put an end to a very successful operation at Engadine.
The Hoyts left the property not long after NC Probhition’s start and the place changed hands a few times over the years. Its time as an inn began in the 1980s, as it also lived under a different name. When the current owners, Tom Watson and Rick Bell, purchased the property in 2014, they immediately rechristened it “Engadine.”
The Current Ownership
The two have spent the past few years restoring it to its former glory. There’s even a single original grapevine on the property that they’ve kept as a tribute to the original owners and hope to someday recreate a vineyard in the Hoyts’ honor. The excellent shape and character of each room is a testament to their hard work and dream.
The latter was to create a home in the mountains after many years of living in hot and hectic South Florida. Even though the two keep busy prepping meals and maintaining a busy inn, both Tom and Rick are a pleasure to speak with, even if you bring along a toddler!
Today: Engadine Inn and Cabins
The property has long been a convenient stop for folks traveling between Asheville and nearby Waynesville, and that remains true today. It’s less than a mile from I-40 (Exit 37) and about 15 minutes from Downtown Asheville.
If you’re not feeling a drive into Asheville and want to stick to Candler, you have options, too. The inn is just a few miles from good eats like Doc Brown’s Barbecue, which we thoroughly enjoyed.
John Keais Hoyt named this beautiful home Engadine because it reminded him of Engadine in Switzerland. And since he’s the man who built this mansion, who can argue with him? Although we can’t report on the Swiss version, I can attest to this property sitting in a beautiful spot.
As you drive up toward the house, you’ll see why. The Queen Anne-style Victorian home feels secluded enough, thanks to the varieties of trees that stand in front of it. If you’re lucky enough to stay in one of their mountain cabins, you’ll be treated to a variety of views, since you’ll be overlooking the property.
Inside the House
Before entering the house, you’ll find the wrap-around porch enticing for time relaxing and taking in your surroundings. I’ve always wanted one of these and took some notes on how to design one for our own house.
Inside, you have four comfy rooms and one suite to choose from on the upper floors. The first floor is where you’ll find the dining room and cozy living room on opposite sides. There’s also a second-floor common area, where you’ll find drinks and snacks.
And if the house is packed or you’re seeking more seclusion, go for one of Engadine’s mountain cabins. They’re pet-friendly and great for a family, with the latter being especially great for us. Understandably, the Inn is for adults only, but five out of six of the cabins welcome kids. The luxury Cherokee Cabin is for two adults, which sets it apart from the others.
Our Engadine Cabin Experience
During our stay, we occupied the “Looking Glass Cabin,” which is named for the famed peak in Pisgah National Forest. We enjoyed the view from the porch and inside, a cozy atmosphere for our little one before and after days out exploring surrounding spots in Western North Carolina.
The queen bed in our bedroom was just right for me and Christina and there was enough room to fit our pack n’ play for the kiddo. Also in the bedroom, we found plenty of closet space to store our clothes.
The living room/dining room was where we spent most of our mornings and evenings before turning in. Here, a comfy sleeper sofa and recliner are both up for grabs, as well as a table and chairs in the eating area. When we put the little one down early in the evening, we maximized our time outside on the covered porch, which is my favorite part of the cabin.
I look forward to coming back and staying in more of their cabins just to get a feel for them. You can learn more about all of Engadine’s cabins here.
Outdoor fun doesn’t stop with the cabins. Not only is Engadine one of the best places to stay near Asheville, but the property also hosts an awesome event venue. Weddings and family reunions are two of the many events that would be perfect at “Honey Hill.”
Ceremonies hosting up to 100 guests and 150 for a reception can be accommodated. Try to time your event to coincide with the sunset at some point, and you can thank me later.
Breakfast: The Main Event
I wanted to talk about Engadine’s breakfast first but have saved it for last. I mean, isn’t that what you do with the best things in life? This two-course, gourmet meal will set you up for the entire day. If you’re staying for two or more nights, you’ll find alternating sweet and savory menus, which I think is a nice touch.
We still fondly remember our meal and hope you’ll get to experience it, too. It’s so popular that they even share a recipe or two on Engadine’s website. The first course consisted of lightly baked pears with a house-made caramel sauce and crunchy toasted nuts. And no pressure on Rick, but I hope he treats you to Gretchen’s Bacon and waffles for the second course.
Please be available for breakfast at 9:00 am, but if you can’t make it, there’s a “breakfast-to-go” option ($10 per person per day). Folks staying in the cabins can join breakfast, but for an extra charge ($18 per person per day). There’s also a “continental breakfast” option where a variety of bites will be delivered to your cabin the prior afternoon.
Since a lot of care and time go into this meal, please be thoughtful of the chef and give at least 24 hours notice.
Final Thoughts (And Yours, Too!)
When we left Engadine, I knew this was a place that I wanted to visit again. Rick and Tom have cultivated a warm and welcoming environment that I think any person could enjoy. We might’ve chosen the cabins because we brought our little one, but I think we’ll be back sans kid to enjoy the rest of the place. Sorry, Charlotte, but that Engadine Suite is screaming our names.
While we plan our return trip to Engadine, we’d love to know where you’ll be staying here? Are you an inn person or would you go for one of the cabins? And if you’ve stayed at Engadine before, we’d love to know your thoughts.