By Dustin Swope – 2014
Just five minutes south of Hendersonville proper and tucked away in a network of quiet residential backroads, a collection of homestyle cottages await discovery by the weary traveler searching for a more authentic lodging experience. Plenty of people have a favorite lodge that they return to every season, but I’m here to say that the Cedarwood Inn and Event Room should be everyone’s first choice. I only had the pleasure of one night’s stay at Cedarwood Inn, but I can already tell that the mass-produced franchise lodging with towering neon signs just can’t compete.
The Inn sits on a plot of land about three acres large and features thirteen spacious rooms and five full-kitchen cottages, each with their own carport right outside the room’s door. On our visit, my two colleagues and I stayed in one of the regular rooms with a rollaway bed delivered for yours truly. We enjoyed a moment on the porch in front of our room before turning inside to find a delightful marriage of cleanliness and simple comforts.
The beds – all three of them – felt genuine and cared for, like that of a guest room in a home rather than overnight lodging. Coupling that with A/C that actually does what you ask it to (I’m looking at you, Holiday Inn) and the natural silence of mountain country, I dare say that I slept more peacefully at the Cedarwood Inn than I do most nights in my own apartment. Technology takes a supporting role rather than center stage, consisting of a modest, but modern mounted television, mini-fridge, and microwave – unless you also count the wi-fi, which you should because it’s shockingly fast and included with your room! Personally, we barely used the wi-fi because Cedarwood makes it so easy to have a perfectly nice time offline, but it was nice to know that it was there if we needed it.
Stepping out of your room at the Cedarwood Inn first thing in the morning is an experience all of its own. The wind rushing through tall trees and songbirds calling out to one another take turns breaking the sleepy quiet of the country. Crunch across the gravel to “the event room” where the front desk is and you find the shining star of the Cedarwood Inn – and no, I’m not talking about the exceptional home-cooked breakfast spread. Karen Orbaugh, the proprietor of the Inn, is one of the most sincere people one could ever hope to rent a room from. She spends 30 minutes or so preparing breakfast before it officially opens, but after that she spends the rest of her time sitting down and sharing breakfast with her guests. Forget comparing her to other lodging owners, Ms. Orbaugh is an exceptional hostess who completed my experience of Cedarwood as a home away from home… just a little better.
Whether it’s in-season or off, the Cedarwood Inn should be at the top of your list when visiting the Hendersonville area. True to their claim, my stay left me wishing I could come back “again, and again, and again.”