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Balsam Mountain Inn

Sylva, NC   Offered for sale at $2,150,000

Balsam, NC (elev. 3,500 ft.) is located in a gap between two towering mountain ranges, and was once home to the highest passenger rail station in the east. Southern Railway promoted the area for summer travel.

Two brothers-in-law from Georgia operated a boarding house in Balsam at the turn of the last century, leading hunting and fishing excursions and building a name by serving wonderful food. In 1905 they began construction of a 100-room hotel, and opened the inn in 1908. Balsam’s corridors were built extra-wide to accommodate the steamer trunks of summertime guests, who almost all arrived by rail. With its 100-foot porches, spectacular views and hearty cuisine, the inn became known as the “Grand Old Lady of Balsam”.

Passenger rail service to Balsam ended in 1949, and business faded. In disrepair, the inn was rediscovered by its current owner, Merrily Teasley, an experienced preservationist and innkeeper, in 1989. The inn, which is on the National Register of Historic Places, was restored by Teasley following the guidelines of the US Department of the Interior.The Balsam Mountain Inn is one of the few buildings of its age and grandeur remaining in North Carolina.

During restoration the structure was re-wired and re-plumbed, and private baths were added throughout (community baths had sufficed before). An intricate fire-sprinkler system was constructed, and for the first time in its existence the inn was heated.

It has been in steady operation since, a highly-rated local tourism leader.

The inn’s location is ideal, a half-mile from an entrance to the Blue Ridge Parkway, and half an hour from the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. These are the two most visited National Parks in the nation. Balsam is 40 minutes west of Asheville, and midway between the “Main Street” towns of Waynesville and Sylva. The inn is a quarter-mile off of US 23/74, which is a major east-west corridor. Western Carolina University and the Cherokee Indian Reservation are each 20 minutes away.

The 48,000 sq. ft. all-wood inn offers 50 guest rooms, each with private bath, and is located on 23 wooded acres. It overlooks the village of Balsam, and the views from its 100-foot, east-facing, rocker-filled porches are filled with mountains and the romance of sunrises and moon rises.

The inn features a dining facility with almost 200 seats, spread over the inn's original grand dining room, a dining porch addition, a patio, and two smaller private dining rooms. The 68-seat sun porch dining room was added in 1996 as part of a two-story addition.

The kitchen is spacious and light-filled, with two adjoining staff rooms, adjoining laundry room, dry storage and walk-in cooler.

Guest rooms come in a range of sizes, from a few smaller “economy” rooms to “regular” rooms with king-sized or two double beds, to “bedsitting” rooms with king-sized or two double beds and a sitting area and on to a range of suites.

Two large innkeepers quarters are included. These apartments, which occupy the second floor of an entire wing, are spacious, one with two bedrooms, two baths and a large living room dining room combination, and the other with three bedrooms, three baths, separate living room and kitchen, a double porch-living room combination and a balcony overlooking the lawn with a mountain view.

Two offices adjoin the larger of the two apartments.

Revenue centers include a gift shop, restaurant and other, expandable retail options, a gallery of local fine arts and crafts, and broad potential as an events venue.

Full alcohol licensing is available.

The 23-acre property includes a ridge top (where the inn is situated), a woodland cove dotted with freshwater springs and a small pond, and several acres of flat bottomland useful for parking and with potential for gardening.

Property Details
  • 50 Guest Rooms
  • 50 Guest Room Baths
  • Has Owner's Quarters
  • Built in 1908
  • Last Renovated in 1996
  • Opened in 1908
  • Building is 48,000 SQFT
  • Lot is 23 Acres
  • Photo Gallery
  • Property Website
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