This Classic Queen Ann Victorian, located in one of the oldest established villages in Western North Carolina, stands as a landmark work of art—a testament to the architecture and craftsmanship of the 1800’s. Today, this elegant lady graciously welcomes guests with arms open wide.
Generations that have grown-up in the mountains of Polk County can make reference to the “beautiful Victorian up the hill.” The original home was built on land purchased from the Pace Family ($116) in 1895 by physician E.B. Goelet as residence for himself and wife Julia. The Oaks was sold to Wessie Roach-Lane in 1906 and a long tradition of receiving guests had begun. At that time, Saluda boasted nearly 40 lodges and retreats, welcoming visitors who arrived by rail, up the famous Saluda Grade, or horse drawn carriage to enjoy the infinite vistas, cool summer breezes and the healthy mountain air. The Oaks Bed and Breakfast is now, more than ever, a historic and memorable part of your Blue Ridge experience.
From the moment The Oaks Bed and Breakfast comes into view, you’ll know this place is special. The primary historic structure features four spacious guest rooms, all located on the second floor and each with a private bath. The Carriage House offers two cottage suites designed to accommodate up to four travelers each, with maximum privacy and comfort.
Your favorite destination/inn in the Blue Ridge Mountains has been featured in this sweeping article by CBS Atlanta. While shooting in the area the crew stayed at The Oaks Bed and Breakfast and you can too! Call 828.749.2000 for reservations.
Relax. . . Explore. . . Enjoy. . .
Relax and sit awhile on one of three veranda and deck areas. Visit the library and peruse the hundreds of publications—both contemporary and historic—that encompass this magnificent room. In cooler weather, a robust fire welcome all who enter. Luxuriate in the Parlor with its ornate fireplace mantle, elegant chandelier and French Doors that access the deck and a view of the gardens and the nature preserve. After discovering the extensive public areas of this beautiful Inn, explore Main Street and its bistros, shops and galleries.
Enjoy a sumptuous gourmet breakfast in our Dining Room seated beneath one of the most extraordinary Venetian glass chandeliers ever seen. Weather permitting, breakfast may be served on the deck over looking the natural wooded area that borders this remarkable property. Regular guests may include: Carolina wrens, Mr. and Mrs. Cardinal and Ruby Throated Hummingbirds.
Many of North Carolina’s most popular attractions and points-of-interest — including Biltmore House, The Carl Sandburg Home, Flat Rock Playhouse, Chimney Rock, Lake Lure, the Pisgah National Forest and the Blue Ridge Parkway — are all within an easy drive from the Inn.
“You [Dale and Donna] created an idealized vision of 18th Century holiday life that is homey yet elegant and with a congenial environment that is welcoming, relaxing, cheerful, delightful, . . Your personal touches created a magical ambiance for our family that brought us together from Florida, Wisconsin, Raleigh and Wilmington, NC. “ (Guest Review, November 2013) _______________________________________________________
Remember these important dates:
• Coon Dog Day, July 7th
• Minor League Baseball, Asheville Tourists and Greenville Drive, April-September
• The Annual Bele Chere Celebration, Asheville, July
• Annual Hickory Nut Gorge Olympiad & Race to the Rock, Lake Lure, August
• North Carolina Apple Festival, Hendersonville September, Labor Day weekend
• Fall Leaf Season, September, November
• The Flat Rock Music Festival, Flat Rock, September
• Moogfest, Asheville, October 26 – 27• Biltmore Candlelight Christmas, Biltmore Estate, December
• Christmas at Connemara, Carl Sandburg National Historic Site, December
• Home Town Christmasb and Parade , Saluda, December 13&14
• A Victorian Christmas , The Oaks Bed and Breakfast,Thanksgiving through New Years
FROG Jam and the Art of the Two Finger Wave
As Saluda sits atop one of the first peaks of the Blue Ridge Mountains, the abundant beauty and remarkable mountain vistas make it a memorable place to visit. But for those fortunate individuals that call this place home, Saluda has a few characteristics that make them unique.
Items labeled as Mayhaw and Muscadine Jelly seem to stand out on the shelves. But the one that caught my eye was FROG Jam. (A name that conjures images of the little amphibians, outfitted with tiny guitars and drums, playing improvised music . . . that is to say, jamming.)
Turns out that F.R.O.G Jam is as much an acronym as it is a tasty breakfast treat. The name spelled out is: fig, raspberry, orange and ginger. The color is an inviting red (not green), with the seeds of the raspberries running throughout. The taste is as stimulating as that first cup of coffee. F.R.O.G. Jam has become a staple at our breakfast table here at The Oaks Bed and Breakfast and generously spread upon many a hot buttered biscuit. Our guests will tell you, “There’s nothing like the F.R.O.G.!”
The Art of the Two Finger Wave
For over one hundred years, Saluda has been known as a haven for coastal dwellers escaping the summer heat. And as abundant as the cool-comfortable nights, are the friendly folk you will find welcome you to town.
Over the past five years, as the owners of The Oaks Bed and Breakfast, we have become familiar faces to many of the “locals”, as they have become familiar to us. Maybe they recognize us for Donna’s red hair, or my colorful SUV, but the smiles are everywhere on Main Street, the Saluda Center and the post office. Often times we will be acknowledged with a gesture unique to southern culture and one that we have come to embrace – the Two Finger Wave.
Turns out the Two Finger Wave is a cross between a wave and a salute. I am talking about an act performed while approaching an oncoming vehicle. The speed limit on most Saluda streets is 20 to 25-mph, giving the drivers of each vehicle time to recognize the other. Without lifting the hand from the steering wheel, the middle and index fingers are extended, palm side outward, while the ring and little fingers remain bent, loosely gripping the wheel. The two fingers remain touching each other, as not to be confused with the “Peace Sign” from the ‘60s.
The origin of the Two Finger Wave is not documented. It is, however, an effective way for busy people to say “Hello” while not jeopardizing control of their truck or tractor on a winding mountain road or city street.
I see the Two Finger Wave as sort of a mountain “high five” and while it may not be recognized on the streets of New York City, it is a wonderful reminder that we are home. ~ Dale Potruski
The Art of Breakfastby Dale Potruski Summer 2012 From my first experience helping prepare Sunday breakfast with my Dad, to the craft of fine dining that I learned from working at some of Michigan, Florida and North Carolina’s best restaurants, I realized that dining is an art. Food preparation is very gratifying and extremely satisfying when it comes to our guests. Every feast includes fresh fruit (local and seasonal), a breakfast meat (apple wood cured bacon, fresh ground country sausage or lean ham) and an entrée that is as pleasing to the eye as it is to the pallet. Breakfast at The Oaks is an event and friends that stay with us for up to a week, will never be greeted by the same plate more than once.“I challenge myself to come up with a new and different menu every day,” explains Dale, the owner and chef of The Oaks Bed and Breakfast. “I try to alternate meals between sweet one day and savory the next – something square, something round. A great deal of thought and preparation goes into every presentation.” “Accommodating guests with special dietary requirements or food allergies is never a problem”. Dale promises, “With advance notice we can put a smile on everybody’s face!”
What Makes Saluda a “Playful City”?
What does it mean to be one of America’s most “Playful Cities”?
The non-profit organization, KaBoom!, has honored Saluda (for the second year) for its efforts in creating an environment that – quite simply – promotes outdoor activity!
With schools releasing their students for summer vacation, there no doubt will be the temptation for many to remain sedentary in front of the TV or computer.
The American Academy of Pediatrics had written that outdoor play is critical to healthy brain development, stimulating creativity and imagination, while building physical and cognitive strength.
It is inspiring to pass any of the parks within walking distance of The Oaks Bed and Breakfast and witness the interaction between kids and their parents as they play catch in the schoolyard or practice their serve on the tennis courts. Such a simple act as a walk with Granddad on a quiet lane or trail opens conversational possibilities creating a bond that lasts forever.
The emotional connection between a husband and his wife as he pushes her gently on a swing under a brilliant summer sky. Their children have grown, but for one shining moment, they are young again.
How wonderful it is to have all this and to share it with others.
Now is the time to visit one of America’s Most Playful Cities and reconnect with your children, your inner child . . . your husband, your wife . . . your life. Contact The Oaks Bed and Breakfast for reservations:
828-749-2000 — or visit us on facebook.
TOP TEN REASONS TO STAY AT THE OAKS BED AND BREAKFAST:
#10. To experience staying in a 119-year old Queen Ann Victorian, located in one of the oldest established villages in the Blue Ridge.
#9. Easy access to all the area’s entertainment and attractions, including; theater, live music, waterfalls, hiking, cycling, tubing/kayaking, art classes, festivals, restaurants, shops, boutiques and golf.
#8. Delectable gourmet breakfasts served each morning.
#7. Cool evenings on the verandas.
#6. Personal, courteous and knowledgeable hosts.
#5. Hand pressed and starched sheets, pillow cases and napkins.
#4. Fresh flowers in every room.
#3. Lavender bubble bath.
#2. Those cute little soaps wrapped in paper.
#1. And the NUMBER ONE reason to visit The Oaks Bed and Breakfast this summer. . . CROQUET anyone?
My wife, Donna, and I took over The Oaks Bed and Breakfast in the summer of 2007. Every year since, we have focused on an annual project to keep the inn shiny as a new diamond!
That first winter it was decided that we would reestablish the original foundation to insure that the structure would remain stable and stand proud for another 100-years. Jacks were used to raise the house ever-so-carefully, allowing the contractors to pour concrete footers, install new pillars and build additional floor joist for added support.
We shared a fantasy that the crew that labored beneath the house would surprise us by unearthing a crest of “Civil War gold” or some relic of untold wealth. Truth be told, the workers did find an antique tea spoon, an old medicine bottle, a frontier ladle and a croquet set. It wasn’t exactly what we had hoped for, but it was a connection to our home’s past and a treasure none the less.
It was then we decided that one day, we would have a gorgeous tournament quality lawn on which guests, dressed in summer white and straw-hats, would play the regal game of croquet.After much effort and expense, we are proud to say, the time has come! With the beautiful woodlands and landscaping as a backdrop, we invite you to come and experience the “Queen of Games” — Croquet at The Oaks Bed and Breakfast!
The Mountains are calling.
We’re up before dawn and already the house is filled with the inviting aroma of fresh brewed coffee and savory apple wood bacon. Much of our preparations is done the night before — forming crusts into quiche, marinating thick slabs of challah bread and peeling apples.
Breakfast at our table is a celebration… a way to welcome a new day in the mountains with all its promise of beauty and adventure. Robust coffee, lively conversation, a radiant fire and a sumptuous gourmet breakfast is served in a room filled with laughter. Does anybody remember laughter?
Sunday morning was always special as a kid growing up in our house. Having worked long hours at GM through the week, my Dad would round-up us kids and hustle us into the kitchen, leaving our Mom to sleep-in — something she rarely did. There we would participate in an event called breakfast!
Dad would delegate the responsibilities, with my youngest brother, Brian, in charge of “toast”, my next youngest brother, Alan, was the “chopper” and, as the eldest, I would work the stove. Baby sister, Lori, would stay safe in my father’s arms. Like a scene from the Wizard of Oz, bread was buttered, potatoes got diced and eggs and sausages were cooked in the pan.
Alternately, some Sundays would be oat meal and others pancakes. Sure there was the occasional cut finger or burned hand, but what we had in abundance was a kitchen filled with laughter. My Mom would rise and would wonder what had happened to her kitchen.
Before the clean-up commenced, we would come together as family over a breakfast so fine. The laughter continued as we got ready for church — shoes polished to a high gloss shine and cowlicks plastered down with something called “Wave-set”.
This morning, it’s Donna and I in the kitchen and a house filled with splendid guests, who will soon gather for a delightful meal. They will talk about where they’re from and where they are going and most importantly… there will be laughter.
Historic Saluda, North Carolina
In the days before air conditioning and the interstate, folks traveled from the coast by rail to Saluda to find respite from the oppressive heat and the threat of malaria. At 2,200 feet above sea-level, Saluda lured guests to its Inns and guest houses, with mild winters and comfortable summer temperatures.
At the turn of the century visitors flocked to Main Street which was home to the post office, three general stores, restaurants, a tea room, a theater and a bowling alley.
Saluda has always been known for its healthy mountain air and in 1941 Dr. Smith constructed a hospital that catered to children with respiratory health issues known as the Smith Well Baby Clinic.
History speaks of the Saluda Grade as the “steepest standard-gauge railroad grade in the United States” and due to the number of train wrecks and fatalities associated with them, the railroad was closed in 1989. These days, the interstate brings people to Saluda and the villages stands as a postcard from the past, with its City Hall and the Police Department anchoring one end of Main Street and the bank and the post office on the other and an eclectic collection of restaurants, shops and galleries in-between.
Saluda’s popularity has continued to escalate along with its population – currently at 720! Today, this picturesque mountain village inspires artists of all disciplines, while attracting nature lovers of all persuasions with cycling, hiking, rafting, kayaking, winding mountain roads and a countless number of historic sites.
Surrounded by all the history of Western North Carolina and majesty of the Blue Ridge, stands The Oaks Bed and Breakfast — a warm and welcoming Victorian Inn, built in 1895 as the opulent residence of a mountain doctor and operating today as Saluda’s premier Bed and Breakfast.
The holiday season has come and gone and with its passing, new memories are honed. The year of 2009 will no doubt be historically looked upon as the year that financial difficulties affected us all. But Christmas ‘09 will forever hold special memories of the wonderful guests that have become like family.
Donna and I stay close to the inn and welcome all holiday travelers, whether their highway leads through Saluda, or if they have chosen The Oaks as their destination, we welcome all. It seems that many modern families have dispersed around the country and people are looking to fill the void and a relaxing visit to a quiet mountain town is a reflection of less complicated times.
Thanks to family members who had made the journey to help, The Oaks had been decked out for the holidays with garland and wreaths at every archway and entry; antique nutcrackers danced with the candles on the mantles; the Snow Village collection was warmly illuminated by the fire that burned brightly in the parlor; and the crowning glory of the perfect tree that adorned the library and reached nearly to the very pinnacle of our 10-foot ceilings.
Only one week before, the snow had fallen and created a winter wonderland found only in a Christmas card. A few guests shot down the icy hill at the school yard on swatches of cardboard I had cut from boxes I found in the basement, while others ventured out to view the countryside and waterfalls in their frozen state. One gentleman (Dave) graciously shoveled the sidewalk out front – claimed that he needed the workout. Who was I to argue?
It was wonderful to have these special people find their way to our door and create holiday memories that will live with us forever. I have always said, “You are a stranger here but once”. And to these precious friends, and all that the New Year will bring, all the best . . . We look forward to hosting your visit to The Oaks Bed and Breakfast!
People often ask me, “How are summers in Saluda?” I can answer in a word, mild. I have come to know July as having comfortable overnight temperatures, perfect for restful-healthy sleep. We have yet to need the air conditioning. Recent guests from Florida pulled their blankets from the closet to insure a cozy slumber.
The days are warm and rarely humid. Daytime temperatures linger in the 80s. We have gotten some rain this season – unlike previous years, where we have spent the majority of our summer months, like most of the country, under burn bans and water restriction. When the rain comes, it is usually gentle and when it falls overnight, it contributes a sedative-like effect. Before the raindrops make it to the ground, I have learned recognize the familiar percussive clatter as they play upon the leaves of the giant trees that surround us.
This past Independence Day will stay in my memories forever. We expected a moderate crowd at the inn – a mix of old friends and new. After enjoying a lavish breakfast, some guests headed down to Main Street, while others relaxed on the veranda.
An impromptu cookout materialized late in the afternoon and while the burgers sizzled, guests gathered to enjoy the perfect summer day. The highlight of any Independence Day celebration would be the fireworks. Many of us have witnessed massive fireworks displays in major metropolitan areas. Some, where mirrored skyscrapers reflect the flash of the rocket’s red glare and the explosions resonate through the buildings. Some with symphonies and operatic accompaniment.
Here in Saluda, the event is planed and executed by the local firefighters. Just before sunset, guests gather as Donna passed out the comforters and blankets. We join the procession of vehicles that make their way up Greenville Street to Orchard Lake and find our place on the grassy hill by the lake.
Family and friends laugh n’ chat as children tumble like gymnasts. Fireflies and sparklers interrupt the darkness competing for attention.
The event begins with a brief invocation, followed by the Pledge of Allegiance and a moment to remember and recognize those serving in the military.
From one end of the lake, torches ignite and fireworks take flight. It is relaxing and beautiful. The pops echo off the surrounding pine draped mountains as dazzling colors fill the nighttime sky. Our guests offer nothing but complements and praise calling event “impressive”.
The Saluda Firefighters serve up a superb slice of Americana every Fourth of July. They spend their time and money so that we may celebrate the nation’s birthday and honor our Armed Forces. For this we say a special “Thanks” to Shane Bradley, Daryl Russell, Zak Pace and all the dedicated personal of the Saluda Fire Department.