A View From the Palm Court
I am writing this week’s column from the third floor Palm Court in the historic 1913 Grove Park Inn, where we hold our annual February conference. Today I am here preparing to give a presentation on the history of Asheville’s famed Arts and Crafts hotel to a group of 250 attorneys gathered for their three-day conference.
After making my customary rounds, checking to see if there have been any changes made that could affect our three-day conference next February, I always head up to the third floor Palm Court. There I sit down and relax in one of the leather chairs or wicker rockers beneath the 12′ x 40′ skylight capping the original sixth floor roof.
Directly beneath where I sit, separated by twelve inches of reinforced concrete, is the Great Hall — the mammoth lobby flanked by twin fireplaces at either end, each one large enough to park a car. The Great Hall is always active and often loud, as this is where everyone checks in, gets a drink, meets friends before or after dinner or a seminar, and absorbs the breathtaking views of the Blue Ridge Mountains from the Sunset Terrace.
But the smaller, more intimate Palm Court directly above it is always quiet, peaceful, and almost solemn. I can count 25 chairs around me, but I am the only person sitting here. Of course, one of my reasons for being here is in hopes that — after 28 years of waiting — the Pink Lady will finally come out of her room and reveal herself to me.
Despite having long been shunned by her, I have no doubt that the Grove Park Inn does have a resident ghost. I have read too many unpublished reports and interviewed too many employees not to, for they all have described the same apparition: a shy, young woman with long hair dressed in a vintage pink gown.
Sometimes she appears almost human for an instant, before quickly vanishing. Others see only a pink blur in the Palm Court or in a mirror in their room, or feel a cold hand resting on their forearm. At times she likes to play tricks, such as opening closet doors in the middle of the night, turning lights on and off at random, or walking into a bathroom, but never coming back out.
So far the biggest trick she has played on me is not showing herself, even as I have crawled through the dark basement, crept through the dusty attic, and sat here reading or writing at various times in the Palm Court. I honestly I don’t expect to see her now, in the middle of the day, as the staff is vacuuming the carpets and guests are moving in and out of their rooms.
So, I’ve made arrangements to return sometime in the next few months with Leigh Ann, and we are going to spend a night in Room 445, considered the most “active” by paranormal sleuths who have tracked her, and where she often reveals herself to guests. I’m trying to decide on the best approach: go about the evening as a guest typically would, or stay awake all night, hoping to catch a glimpse of her gliding through the oak door?
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I probably shouldn’t watch “Ghostbusters” on Pay-Per-View, right?
Until next Monday,
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where Alex and John Armstrong gave away three new Teco vases last week!
Next Week: My Theory On How The Pink Lady Died
Top: The Palm Court
Middle: One fireplace in the Great Hall.
Lower: One of the original Main Inn rooms as it appeared in 1913.