Music And Festivities Ring In Grove Park Inn Centennial

Friday, February 15, 2013 - by Ann N. Yungmeyer

A huge roaring fire, the pleasant scent of wood smoke, and live jazz music offer the perfect panacea to winter's chill. So it was for jazz enthusiasts at The Grove Park Inn’s recent festival weekend featuring The Pat Metheny Trio and other talented musicians. Add majestic mountain views, excellent dining, a world-class spa and Donald Ross golf course, and all give reason for the timeless appeal of The Grove Park Inn Resort and Spa, which marks its centennial in July.

Famous Guests

Overlooking the city of Asheville, N.C., with the backdrop of the Blue Ridge Mountains, The Grove Park Inn has been called a sanctuary for the soul. Since its opening in 1913, the mountain retreat has attracted many notable guests including ten U.S. presidents and famous personalities such as F. Scott Fitzgerald, Yogi Berra, and Burt Reynolds. Plaques mark the doors of the rooms where they stayed, and photographs of their visits grace the hallway walls along with historic photos of the inn’s legendary construction, when 400 men with mules hauled granite boulders from mountain quarries.

Resort Amenities

An iconic stone structure, The Grove Park Inn reflects the style of the Arts & Crafts movement. Its original character and historic features are well preserved, including an old-fashioned elevator that rises up the chimney wall, but the inn hardly rests on its past. In keeping with the aesthetics of the main inn, modern additions include themed rooms and suites such as the “Presidential” and the “Gatsby,” multiple meeting spaces and a sports complex. New dining choices range from innovative American classic to southern comfort cuisine. The state-of-the-art subterranean spa was built in 1991 in a complementary design that features cavernous rock walls, healing waters, outdoor patios and fireside nooks. Luxury treatments are enhanced with special amenities from waterfalls and underwater music to a eucalyptus-infused steam room.

The resort is also known for hosting acclaimed cultural events such as their National Gingerbread House Competition and the annual Arts & Crafts conference. "We celebrate the arts and music, health and wellness, and always have," said David Mead, manager of special events.

Centennial Celebrations

Events are planned throughout the year with special activities highlighting the inn’s July birthday. In addition to winter concert weekends with jazz, Big Band/Swing and Celtic music, the centennial series presents a Comedy Classic, March 8-9, with headline comedienne Caroline Rhea. Independence Day weekend kicks off the main events with a fireworks display and gourmet barbeque on July 5, followed by Blues legend B.B. King in concert on July 6, and a traditional champagne toast July 12 to commemorate the inn’s opening day a century ago. A time capsule will be uncovered and guests will have the chance to participate in planting a new one. And this year, it pays to be a centenarian – for anyone turning 100 years old in 2013, Grove Park offers a special package with free two-night accommodation, meals and other birthday amenities.

Timeless Appeal

The Grove Park was acquired by KSL Capital Partners in May 2012, joining company with a collection of premier golf, spa and ski resorts including The Homestead, Vail Mountain Lodge, and La Costa Resort and Spa. KSL Resorts has begun a $25 million restoration plan at Grove Park that includes renovating guest rooms, adding a multi-media lounge and new terraces, and bringing back the “living room” feel of the early glory days in the Great Hall lobby. Restoration was just completed on one of the 14-ft. wide granite fireplaces, which now blazes again for the first time in more than 30 years.

Even in summertime, Grove Park guests are drawn to the rocking chairs in front of the massive fireplace, a cozy spot that resonates the words of William Jennings Bryan in 1913, when he said the hotel “was not built for this century, but for the ages.”

10 Favorites at Grove Park:

Indoor tennis, yoga and spin class

Spa waterfall therapy

Eucalyptus-infused steam bath with cold peppermint towelettes

Guided history tour

Sunset Happy Hour at Magnolia’s Bar

Terrace dining

The extensive wine list at Horizons Dining Room

After-dinner drinks at Elaine's Piano Bar

GPI signature hot chocolate – caramel, whipped cream, chocolate sauce and sea salt

Sunday Champagne Brunch

For more information on The Grove Park Inn and centennial celebrations, visit

This Week's Tennessee Tourism Roundup

  Walk through 150,000 blooms, get out in nature, hunt for Easter eggs, fly to Neverland with Peter Pan, experience the first show at the new home for Bluegrass Underground, celebrate the King of Rock ‘n’ Roll or see the Violins of Hope, a collection of restored instruments used by Jewish musicians during the Holocaust. Here’s ... (click for more)

Etowah Historical Commission Awarded Grant For Digitization Project

The Tennessee State Library and Archives approved a State Board Programming Regrant Award in the amount of $2,300 to the Etowah Historical Commission and City of Etowah to support EHC’s Archives Digitization Project. State Board Programming Regrants are funded by the National Historical Publications and Records Commission, a division of the National Archives. The grants are administered ... (click for more)

Sheriff Hammond Says $4 Million Needed To Put SROs In All Hamilton County Schools

Sheriff Jim Hammond on Thursday night told members of the County School Board that $4 million is needed to provide School Resource Officers for all of the 79 schools. He said currently there are 31 SROs in 29 schools, leaving 50 uncovered. School Board member Rhonda Thurman said she believes the community could come together to provide the necessary funding. "It's something ... (click for more)

Judge Philyaw Denies He Did Not Reappoint Magistrate Because She Was Gay

Juvenile Court Judge Rob Philyaw told a federal jury on Thursday that the fact Elizabeth Gentzler is openly gay had no part in his decision not to reappoint her as a magistrate. "Absolutely not. I have a lot of gay friends, family and acquaintances," he said. However, a court officer at Juvenile Court sided with Ms. Gentzler. Jimmie Cannon said, "Ninety-nine percent ... (click for more)

Avoid Underage Drinking And Other Prom Drama

My high school prom took a dramatic turn when two guys got their tuxedo jackets mixed up. One of them belonged to my date, who kindly offered to keep my wallet in his pocket. That’s the jacket another young man mistakenly grabbed off the back of a chair before heading to an underage drinking party that got shut down by police well after midnight—as kids scattered in every direction.  ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: ‘In God We Trust …And Protecting Our School Children

On a day that the Tennessee Legislature overwhelmingly approved a bill that would prominently display the words “In God We Trust” in every school building in the state, the Hamilton County School Board gave my boy Bad Little Johnny cause to get a magic market and scribble underneath, “but ‘Everybody Else Is Gonna’ Need A Pistol!’” Hamilton County Sheriff Jim Hammond, who was ... (click for more)