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Driving on from Smoky Mountains National Park, we headed into North Carolina. Our destination was Asheville, mainly to visit Biltmore Estate, but there were a few other stops as well.
First, how about some CiCi’s Pizza? We love CiCi’s and wish there was one in our town. Inexpensive prices for a salad and and pizza buffet — and even dessert? WIN!
Okay, so the first “official” stop was Grove Park Inn in Asheville. I had never heard of this place, and no we didn’t stay here, but guests are allowed to walk around the premises and the lobby, so that is what we did.
I learned that the arts-and-crafts-style inn sits on the western-facing slope of Sunset Mountain within the Blue Ridge Mountains. It has been visited by many presidents and other famous folks.
The inn was built in 1912 by E. W. Grove, who believed that Asheville’s climate would be ideal for a resort. In fact, his doctors had sent him to the area in hopes of curing his frequent bouts of extreme hiccups.
The place has become a famous haunt for the rich and famous. Presidents who’ve visited include Taft, Wilson, Coolidge, Hoover, FDR, Eisenhower, Nixon, the first Bush, Clinton, and the current occupant. Also visiting have been Harry Houdini, Henry Ford, Billy Graham, and …
… F. Scott Fitzgerald. You can read about his reasons for staying above. And that leads me to our next stop:
… which would be some buildings that made up Highland Hospital, also called Dr. Carroll’s Sanitorium. Here, people were treated for nervous and mental disorders in the early part of the 20th century. Treatment was based on diet, exercise, and occupational therapy. In this era, it was felt that being in beautiful surroundings could help cure people with mental illnesses, or improve the thinking of those in prisons. Above, you’ll see a castle-like building, which was the home of Dr. Carroll and his wife. All the buildings still standing are on Zillicoa Street, in an area of Asheville known as Montford.
Here’s another building that was part of the campus. It’s known as Rumbough House. One of the hospital’s most famous patients was F. Scott Fitzgerald’s wife, Zelda. In fact, she died there, in a 1948 fire at the hospital which killed nine women. The building that burned was not rebuilt, but this one was nearby:
To the side, there was a plaque dedicated to Zelda.
Her quote: “I don’t need anything except hope, which I can’t find by looking backwards or forwards, so I suppose the thing is to shut my eyes.”
Several family members stayed in the car during this foray down Zillicoa Street, but my daughter (who’d read Z: A Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald) and I (who’d read Guests on Earth) enjoyed it. One of my very favorite things to do is visit sites with tie-ins to books I’ve read.
Have you visited a site related to a book? Gone to Asheville? Stayed at Grove Park Inn? I’d love to hear about it!