Boutique Lodge in Linville is Small But Offers Impeccable Service

By Dave Daubert

Sometimes history tells a funny story. Back in 1888, mining entrepreneur Hugh MacRae envisioned the Linville, N.C., area as a busy manufacturing hub with hundreds of buildings lining the streets and lots of hustle and bustle.

Thankfully, he came to learn that Linville’s potential was in its existing beauty, not future industry. People were falling in love with Linville because it was already a special place. Travelers flocked to the area for the cool summer temperatures and friendly people. MacRae abandoned his initial plans and the town slowly morphed into a resort community. And, at the center of it all was – and still is – The Eseeola Lodge.

Work was completed on the original Eseeola Inn in in Linville in 1891, a large Queen Anne-styled building. The Inn hired a baker and chef from New York for that summer, purchased the finest linens and china money could buy and created a first-class dining experience for guests that came to Linville for some rest and relaxation.

There was plenty to do at the Eseeola Inn in Linville. Guests could take a buggy or horseback ride through the mountains or enjoy trout fishing from the banks of the Linville River. Or they could indulge in a rousing croquet match, a few sets of tennis, archery, billiards or lawn bowling. The following year, the Eseeola Inn built a nine-hole golf course, giving guests one more activity to choose from. Another 5 holes were added in 1900 and as Howard E Covington wrote in his book Linville: A Mountain Home for 100 Years, “By playing four of the new holes twice, and shooting from different tees, Linville could claim an 18-hole course.”

Fast forward several years. As the season got underway in the spring of 1936, a fire broke out in the kitchen and the entire resort was destroyed. Guests were accommodated in the Chestnut Annex, named for its unique – and now irreplaceable – chestnut bark shingles, selected by world-renowned architect Henry Bacon. Because it had become so popular by guests of the resort, the company decided to add a lounge, dining room, and kitchen to the annex and officially renamed it The Eseeola Lodge. More