The Highlander Mountain House, in Highlands, NC has been existing since Oct. ’20 looking all good, unbeknownst to me. Upon discovery via a frond this weekend, I’ve found it’s been featured in Garden & Gun and One Kings Lane, to name a few, and my eyes never saw it. But there’s no time like the present to get caught up on one of the cutest places I’ve been excited to see in a very long time.
Here’s what you need to know, via G&G: “The whole concept is the English country house hotels found in the Cotswolds, transposed into Southern Appalachia,” says the owner, Jason Reeves, who has spent most of the last year transforming the rambling 1885 lodge—previously home to the Main Street Inn—into the eclectic and charming Highlander Mountain House. The eighteen-room inn doubles as an art gallery, interspersing art from the Cherokee Nation, midcentury-modern lighting that evokes Black Mountain College—an experimental arts school near Asheville that produced the likes of Elaine de Kooning and Cy Twombly—two Sally Mann originals, several works by Josef Albers, and colorful European wallpaper.”
Apparently this Jason Reeves dude … well, let me just paste in what I’ve learned. Pardon if it’s lazy, b/c I usually can paraphrase, but this is really something:
“Born in Lexington and raised in Richmond, VA, owner Jason Reeves spent his undergrad years in Sewanee, where he received a bachelor’s degree in economics. When he moved to Charleston, SC, he was employed by a high-end restoration contractor, restoring old houses in the historic district, focusing on 18th-century craftsmanship and methods. Inspired, Reeves moved to Boston to pursue a master’s degree in historic preservation and worked for the Society for the Preservation of New England Antiquities. He became more interested in the concepts of urban infill development and adaptive reuse. The writings of Jane Jacobs and a quote by Philip Johnson regarding the relationship of power between architecture and development stirred him.
Reeves attended Harvard, received a second master’s degree in design studies focusing on real estate development, and spent the next fifteen years in New York City. He worked for firms like Tishman Speyer and Zeckendorf Development on projects including 15 Central Park West, then the private equity group Garrison Investment Group, where he focused on repositioning transitional commercial real estate properties throughout the country. Six years ago, with a need to further fulfill his creative instincts, Reeves joined a new boutique hotel company with three other partners. Much of their work focused on adaptive reuse, historic restoration and preservation of vintage motor lodges in cities like Santa Fe and Dallas.
When Reeves closed on the previous location of the Main Street Inn in February of 2020, he brought with him a vision to create spaces that were intriguing, warm and inviting for both guests and locals. This regard for renovation, location and community was not just the work of an astute developer but a labor of love for someone who had built an intimate relationship with place and function over the last two and a half decades. For Reeves, there should be an effortless movement when interacting with the downstairs areas of the Highlander Mountain House. La Colombe espresso and pastries in the morning, lunch with a laptop while working remotely next to the fireplace at noon, evening cocktails or a nightcap after dinner in the Ruffed Grouse Tavern.”
RIGHT??? The Highlander Mountain House is 100% tip top of the list to visit ASAP, agreed?