Back Up Sunset Mountain

A trip up to the Grove Park Inn last week was met with a chorus of questions.

Actually, a chorus of one repeated question: “Are you ready for the Conference?”

While I occasionally have to remind our attendees that within the year-long schedule of the Grove Park Inn, we are but one weekend – that being the third weekend in February – in truth, anyone who has worked at the Grove Park Inn even one previous February will quickly tell you we are their favorite weekend of the year.

And it’s not just because we can often be found peering under library tables and Morris chairs searching for shopmarks, or that we love to wander about the 1913 Palm Court and hallways, soaking in threads of history left behind by Scott and Zelda, FDR and Eleanor, Henry Ford and Thomas Edison, and scores of other celebrities, past and present.

No, I think it is because we respect, appreciate, and honor the Arts and Crafts heritage which serves as the foundation for this magnificent 512-room resort hotel. And while owners, managers and interior decorators may temporarily tinker with its furnishings, the history of this grand hotel – starting with the 1913 arrival of train cars filled with Roycroft furniture, chandeliers, and hammered copper lamps and wall sconces, as well as Heywood-Wakefield wicker furniture, Wallace hammered flatware, and hand-painted Arts and Crafts friezes – can never be overlooked.

At least not by us.

And add to that more than a hundred exhibitors representing the country’s most respected antiques dealers and the most admired artisans and artists, who combine to provide Arts and Crafts collectors and homeowners with tens of thousands of examples of Arts and Crafts furniture, art pottery, metalware, textiles, woodblock prints, rugs, tiles, frames, books, magazines and more, and you just may begin to understand how for one weekend the Grove Park Inn becomes the site of “the most important weekend of the year for Arts and Crafts collectors.”

I say this not to persuade anyone to make the journey to Asheville and the Blue Ridge Mountains for any other reason than to hope that you do not deprive yourself of the opportunity to experience the enthusiasm, the emotion and the comradery that swells out from the Great Hall when the entire hotel is filled with Arts and Crafts devotees of all ages from all parts of the country.

Even after 30 years, it remains the weekend I look forward to all year long.

Until next Monday,

“Be the person your dog thinks you are.”