Also See: Photos of our Holiday decorations
Cedar Crest sits strategically poised on a hilltop, surrounded by towering trees and rambling gardens. Christened "Swannanoa Hill", by original owner William E. Breese, her borders once stretched to the banks of the river bearing the same name, and uniquely positioned her as a neighboring property to the Biltmore House. This opulent and impressive mansion reflected Mr. Breese's stature within the community, having been a Confederate officer, founder of the First Bank of Asheville, and prominent socialite.
Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, this magnificent example of Victorian architecture continues to capture the eye of onlookers, traveling into the city of Asheville, as she has done for over 110 years. Now situated on four beautifully landscaped acres, this "haven in the city" serves as an inviting oasis for guests seeking a private retreat from the outside world, yet strategically located near all of Asheville's fine restaurants and attractions. Cedar Crest offers a glimpse into the past, when life and times moved at a gentler pace, in breathtaking surroundings; yet, she provides the comforts and conveniences deserving and expected by today's discriminating traveler.
The winding drive up the hillside reveals high-pitched twin gables, turrets and delightful expanses of gingerbread trimmings and ironwork. Stately stairs and an elegant entranceway of beveled and leaded glass add to the exterior of this imposing structure, but does not adequately prepare visitors for what awaits them inside.
Cedar Crest is Victorian splendor. Rich hardwoods were in abundance in the 1890's , and the first generation oak and walnut displayed throughout is witness to the fact. Each area of the home is elaborate and different, possessing unique qualities and features only to be surpassed by the Biltmore Estate itself. Cedar Crest has been described as offering appreciation on a "closer to reality " level of craftsmanship and materials, purportedly done by some of the same artisans enlisted by Mr. Vanderbilt himself.
The grand foyer is heavy and masculine with the entire walls and ceiling, paneled in oak. An imposing grand fireplace, obviously influenced by the Arts and Crafts movement so prevalent during the 1890's, serves as the centerpiece of this receiving area. A Tiffany stained glass window, richly colored in shades of teal blue and harvest gold, is accentuated with a single jeweled Piece. Complementing all this is the main staircase, capturing your attention and tantalizing your curiosity. What does the upstairs have to offer?
Delicate, delightful detail is the key feature of the parlor woodwork. The Baroque-style mantel is surrounded by fluted columns, medallions and richly carved crests, with the original beveled glass mirror gently tilted to catch the reflection of any fine lady, past or present. The eye travels up the walls, where the 12 foot ceilings meet the dental design work and caved swags. The fireplace is surrounded by original tiles, while a charming Victorian cherub dances over the flames, against the bronze cast fireback.
What was once the Gentlemen's Room, now referred to as the Study, invites you in with its rich, warm golden oak paneling and tiered mantelpiece. Tall windows are crowned with impressive cornices, and the entire space topped off with an entertaining shelf for seasonal displays. In the early days, this room would have been reserved for the gentlemen to enjoy their cigars and brandy, with the ladies gathering in the formal parlor. Today, everyone relaxes here in comfortable reading chairs by the fire, or listens to music from the beautiful, tiger-oak player piano!
The Dining Room is generously treated with spindled woodwork that travels overhead creating a grid like pattern. The walls and ceiling boast William Morris reproduction papers. This popular English craftsman incorporated the Victorian love and fascination of nature within his designs. Vining raspberries and blossoms, deer and rabbits, add a lighter air to what would normally be considered a formal room. All create a most pleasant atmosphere for savoring the wonderful breakfasts, home-baked cookies and nightly desserts.
Relax on the verandah in the afternoon, with lemonade, herbal tea or cider and fresh baked, homemade cookies. After enjoying a wonderful evening meal out on the town, guests return to the Inn looking forward to coffee, tea and a delicious dessert, compliments of the house!
Beyond the inviting French doors draped in white lace, is a sweeping verandah that wraps around the mansion. Old-fashioned wicker chairs and rockers create a relaxing, yet comfortable space for breakfast in the morning, beverages in the afternoon, or dessert and coffee as the sun goes down. It's the perfect spot to curl up with a good book or have a casual conversation with other guests. Intricate architectural details are enhanced by period antique furnishings, throughout the home.
Oriental rugs, rich fabric textures of velvet, satin and lace grace the windows and are matched with beautifully ornate wall coverings and accent pieces. China, silver and distinctive Victorian "knick knacks" create an atmosphere of prosperity, reminiscent of the 19th century lifestyle Cedar Crest once basked in.
Century old oaks and stately Canadian hemlocks hover over much of the four acres that comprise Cedar Crest today. She truly is an oasis in the city, whose color palette is determined by Mother Nature herself, depending on her mood and the season. Fragrant herb, perennial and English flower gardens grace the terraces, framed by perfectly pruned hedges and finely manicured lawns. Rambling pathways and stone stairways lead you to hidden retreats and special delights. The Croquet Pitch on the upper green offers an ideal setting for the perfect Victorian pastime!
In addition to our grand Victorian Mansion, our newly renovated Cottage and Carriage House offers additional guest rooms just a few steps away. In the Carriage House, you can book a room for just two. Or you can rent the entire House with four bedrooms for girlfriend getaways, family reunions, friends gatherings, weddings, conferences, etc. for up to eight people. All rates listed are for double occupancy. Additional persons are $30/each per night.
See more photos of guestrooms.
See more photos of our cottages.