North Carolina bed and breakfast innkeepers share their favorite books to read in front of the fire.
Ranging from stately Southern mansions to small farmhouses and romantic Victorian inns, 16 properties make up the Asheville Bed and Breakfast Association, many of them containing blazing fireplaces and cozy nooks for guests who just want to curl up with a blanket and a good book. At Carolina Bed and Breakfast, appetizers are served by the fire from 5-7 p.m., and A Bed of Roses’s pretty pink fireplace graces the Turret Suite, complete with a Jacuzzi and balcony overlooking the gardens. At Beaufort House Inn, guests gather in the library every afternoon for wine, local craft beers and local reads, while the Captain’s Room at Engadine Inn not only has its own fireplace, but also a clawfoot tub.
“We have some great readers in our innkeeper group,” says Susan Dosier with DK Communications Group. We asked nine of them below to recommend a book or two that would make a great fireplace read. From new releases to old favorites, they didn’t disappoint. Whether you decide to check into an Asheville bed and breakfast this winter or just light your own fire and pick up one of these recommended reads, you’ll find yourself immersed in the South’s legendary storytelling tradition.
“A very local author, Ron Rash really evokes Appalachian life in an eerily tragic novel. It’s short enough to read during a stay at a B&B and it’s set in the backwoods around Mars Hill.” – Innkeeper Emily McIntosh
“Our guests can curl up in their favorite place at the lodge and read a selection of short stories that took place on our 2-mile stretch of country road in the 1930s.” – Innkeepers Ken and Glenda Cahill
“A collection of beautiful poems written by western North Carolina native and a Davidson College student. We came across this book at an Anthony Abbott author’s reading at the iconic Malaprop’s Bookstore in Asheville.” – Innkeepers Claudia (pictured) and Christian Hickl
“John Sheffield stayed at the Dry Ridge Inn in June and August of last year. He had just released his book and had a book signing at Malaprop’s. John is from Burnsville, North Carolina, and the book is written with that place in mind. I could not put the book down! He has just released his sequel Return to Roseland, and I can’t wait to start reading it.” – Innkeeper Kristen Dusenbery
“This book was a recent gift to me, and I was completely surprised by how much I love browsing and reading through this collection. Of course the Biltmore Estate is almost cliché in our western North Carolina region, but I do have to offer this for anyone who loves to cook and enjoys a good read. I am working through the recipes right now to incorporate a few on them into our family Christmas meals this year. – Innkeeper Christina Muth
“It was published to little fanfare in 2002, but it’s a gem of a book. It’s a coming of age story of Tallie Brock in small town Eden, Virginia, and what it means to be a mother, daughter and best friend. Through it all Tallie jots down observations in her Rulebook for Living that ring true for us all.” – Innkeeper Diane Rogers
Engadine Inn and Cabins (Asheville, NC)
Recommended Read: The Land Of Waterfalls – Transylvania County, North Carolina by Jim Bob Tinsley
“It’s kind of a coffee table book we keep in the parlor. We often find that it’s made its way into various rooms from time to time. Given our proximity to Dupont State Forest, I guess folks want to read about and see photos of waterfalls.” – Innkeeper Rick Bell
“The Lion and the Rose was once the home of Charles French Toms, a friend of Wolfe’s whom he characterized as ‘Tom French’ in the book.” – Innkeepers Lisa Merritt and Madelyn Silcox
“Not strictly a Southern book, but it is one of the best and most readable accounts of the rise and fall of the Vanderbilts I know of.” – Innkeeper Susan Murray
(Murray has her own book, Our Family Table: Recipes & Lessons From a Life Abroad, out now.)