In the summer of 1992, Asheville, NC was our destination for finding the perfect old home to remodel into a B&B. Having read that it was a TOP 10 retirement community due to the arts, natural beauty, university presence and great health services, I had set my sights on the Appalachian Mountains. We made a home base at a B&B in town and spent the next two weeks driving all over the western part of North Carolina looking for a place. Everything about the area was beautiful: rocks, waterfalls, trees, vistas.
We found one old home on a hill overlooking Asheville. It had lots of acreage outside and great old woodwork inside. It even had an attached apartment for Mom. You could sit on the porch and watch the town come alive at night.
The more we thought about it, the more we realized that Mike would have to keep his job for the first few years while Mom & I got the business growing. Asheville, as beautiful as it was, was a two day drive away, making it very difficult for Mike to run over on the weekend to help out.
We next set our sights on Eureka Springs and Branson areas and took off that next winter in search for something that would work. What we quickly discovered was that both of those areas were already discovered. Mountain Home and Mountain View sounded promising and we had a look around some other beautiful parts of the state. Near the end of the trip I came down with the flu and remember being holed up in a dive hotel in Harrison watching the Winter Olympics. We decided to get me back to Mom’s place (close to where the inn is) so I could recover and Mike could eat some good food. When I finally felt good enough to get up, I walked out on the porch with a steaming cup of coffee. Looking at the mist on the mountain behind us, I remember thinking, “What is wrong with right here?” We were close to Hot Springs, close to Lake Ouachita, close to the National Forest…perfect. I felt like Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz. I had what I wanted all along, I just needed to click my heels together.
Well, almost. It took another two years of looking for land (folks around here rarely let outsiders know when land it for sale, preferring to keep it among friends and family) and, at that time, everything else was owned by Weyerhaeuser and they never sold timberland. We finally decided we would have to embark on a new search when the now defunct herb farm next door gave in and offered us ten acres of their 100 acre spread. The herb farm has since sold and moved on and many of you who have been coming for years miss that little gift shop as much as we do.
But thanks to Pat & Kathy, Mountain Thyme got land and we broke ground about 5 ½ years after our search for the perfect place began.
Close friends came and christened our spot with some fine champagne.
The Chamber of Commerce came out for a ribbon cutting with our stand-in bed & breakfast staged with the mountains in the distance.