Riding in a pontoon boat on Lake Glenville in the North Carolina mountains with Henry Hoche as captain and his wife, Claire, as the hostess, we sat among a dozen passengers enjoying this add-on benefit offered guests of Innisfree Inn by the Lake.
Rated Four Diamonds by AAA, the Inn is a Victorian-style masterpiece presided over by the Hoches with the type of hospitality and attentiveness usually reserved for when royalty would visit a local London inn during Victorian times.
Innisfree hospitality begins at check-in when champagne or wine is offered to arriving guests who sip their welcome drinks on a wrap-around veranda overlooking shimmering Lake Glenville, called one of the ten most beautiful lakes in the nation. The backdrop showcased a vista of the Blue Ridge Mountains.
During our stay we were shown the public observatory, with its higher, more expansive third-floor view of Glenville’s surrounding beauty.
Evenings found guests sipping wine and cheese and morning breakfast was served in the parlor for guests staying in the inn. Those staying in the Garden House below had breakfast bedside or on their room’s balconies.
One breakfast consisted of quiche, bacon, asparagus stalks, grilled grape tomatoes, a peaches/grapes/blueberries/cantaloupe fruit cup, two fresh blueberry muffins, orange juice, and in-room Folgers or Starbucks coffee.
Each one of the ten rooms in the Inn and Garden House are named for famous English authors and are individually furnished with luxurious period antiques, configured differently to fit the contours of an English mansion.
Our weekend entourage consisted of three couples, who enjoyed pristine air and mountain views, as well as the camaraderie, and visits to Cashiers, the small town near Glenville at the crossroads of US 64 and NC 107.
The men enjoyed rounds of golf at High Hampton Inn while the ladies scoured shops, boutiques, craft shows and outlets for bargains in jewelry, clothes and knick-knacks.
Dinner one night was at The Orchard, a restaurant seven miles from Innisfree, with excellent food and owned by two on-site brothers, that shows its popularity on summer weekend nights when reservations are required.
A mountain-cool weekend at Innisfree Inn by the Lake with shopping, golf and evening meals together was a perfect respite from the hot summer vapors of Charlotte in June.