Music And Festivities Ring In Grove Park Inn Centennial

Friday, February 15, 2013 - by Ann N. Yungmeyer

A huge roaring fire, the pleasant scent of wood smoke, and live jazz music offer the perfect panacea to winter's chill. So it was for jazz enthusiasts at The Grove Park Inn’s recent festival weekend featuring The Pat Metheny Trio and other talented musicians. Add majestic mountain views, excellent dining, a world-class spa and Donald Ross golf course, and all give reason for the timeless appeal of The Grove Park Inn Resort and Spa, which marks its centennial in July.

Famous Guests

Overlooking the city of Asheville, N.C., with the backdrop of the Blue Ridge Mountains, The Grove Park Inn has been called a sanctuary for the soul. Since its opening in 1913, the mountain retreat has attracted many notable guests including ten U.S. presidents and famous personalities such as F. Scott Fitzgerald, Yogi Berra, and Burt Reynolds. Plaques mark the doors of the rooms where they stayed, and photographs of their visits grace the hallway walls along with historic photos of the inn’s legendary construction, when 400 men with mules hauled granite boulders from mountain quarries.

Resort Amenities

An iconic stone structure, The Grove Park Inn reflects the style of the Arts & Crafts movement. Its original character and historic features are well preserved, including an old-fashioned elevator that rises up the chimney wall, but the inn hardly rests on its past. In keeping with the aesthetics of the main inn, modern additions include themed rooms and suites such as the “Presidential” and the “Gatsby,” multiple meeting spaces and a sports complex. New dining choices range from innovative American classic to southern comfort cuisine. The state-of-the-art subterranean spa was built in 1991 in a complementary design that features cavernous rock walls, healing waters, outdoor patios and fireside nooks. Luxury treatments are enhanced with special amenities from waterfalls and underwater music to a eucalyptus-infused steam room.

The resort is also known for hosting acclaimed cultural events such as their National Gingerbread House Competition and the annual Arts & Crafts conference. "We celebrate the arts and music, health and wellness, and always have," said David Mead, manager of special events.

Centennial Celebrations

Events are planned throughout the year with special activities highlighting the inn’s July birthday. In addition to winter concert weekends with jazz, Big Band/Swing and Celtic music, the centennial series presents a Comedy Classic, March 8-9, with headline comedienne Caroline Rhea. Independence Day weekend kicks off the main events with a fireworks display and gourmet barbeque on July 5, followed by Blues legend B.B. King in concert on July 6, and a traditional champagne toast July 12 to commemorate the inn’s opening day a century ago. A time capsule will be uncovered and guests will have the chance to participate in planting a new one. And this year, it pays to be a centenarian – for anyone turning 100 years old in 2013, Grove Park offers a special package with free two-night accommodation, meals and other birthday amenities.

Timeless Appeal

The Grove Park was acquired by KSL Capital Partners in May 2012, joining company with a collection of premier golf, spa and ski resorts including The Homestead, Vail Mountain Lodge, and La Costa Resort and Spa. KSL Resorts has begun a $25 million restoration plan at Grove Park that includes renovating guest rooms, adding a multi-media lounge and new terraces, and bringing back the “living room” feel of the early glory days in the Great Hall lobby. Restoration was just completed on one of the 14-ft. wide granite fireplaces, which now blazes again for the first time in more than 30 years.

Even in summertime, Grove Park guests are drawn to the rocking chairs in front of the massive fireplace, a cozy spot that resonates the words of William Jennings Bryan in 1913, when he said the hotel “was not built for this century, but for the ages.”

10 Favorites at Grove Park:

Indoor tennis, yoga and spin class

Spa waterfall therapy

Eucalyptus-infused steam bath with cold peppermint towelettes

Guided history tour

Sunset Happy Hour at Magnolia’s Bar

Terrace dining

The extensive wine list at Horizons Dining Room

After-dinner drinks at Elaine's Piano Bar

GPI signature hot chocolate – caramel, whipped cream, chocolate sauce and sea salt

Sunday Champagne Brunch

For more information on The Grove Park Inn and centennial celebrations, visit

Tennessee Aquarium’s Family-Friendly AquaScarium IX Is Oct. 28

The Tennessee Aquarium’s annual family-friendly Halloween party, scheduled for Friday, Oct. 28, will take on a “monstrous” theme in honor of the newly opened Monster Fish exhibit. Both Aquarium buildings and River Place (The building where Monster Fish is located.) will be packed with spooky — but not too spooky — fun for “bouys” and “ghouls” during this year’s celebration.  ... (click for more)

Tennessee Aquarium Has Underwater Pumpkin Carving On Saturdays

Tennessee Aquarium guests can see underwater pumpkin carving demonstrations each Saturday at 11 a.m. throughout October in the River Journey building. Costumed SCUBA divers will make weekend appearances for the rest of the month.  Lots of costumed divers will be seen during the AquaScarium family Halloween Party at the Aquarium. Pirates, mermaids, and super heroes will be ... (click for more)

2 Witnesses To A Murder Refuse To Testify At Jury Trial

Two men who prosecutors say witnessed a murder in Hixson on Jan. 31, 2014, on Wednesday refused to tell their story to a jury. Criminal Court Judge Barry Steelman ordered Andrew Biro and Jacob Tyler "T.Y." Keel to answer questions from prosecutor Lance Pope, but they both refused. Biro had said during testimony in General Sessions Court that Christopher Levi Parker threatened ... (click for more)

PETA And Humane Educational Society Offer Reward For Torture-Killing Of Dog After Envelope Mailed From Chattanooga

An envelope postmarked from Chattanooga and containing a photo of a dog strung between two trees arrived at PETA's office in Virginia Tuesday, along with the severed ear of a dog. PETA members are offering a reward of $5,000-and the Humane Educational Society of Chattanooga has added another $1,000-for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the person(s) responsible ... (click for more)

Accountability Doesn't Have To Be A Bad Word

Am I making a difference? Isn’t that the basic question we all ask ourselves, and seek to demonstrate to others?  Ronald Reagan said:  “Some people spend an entire lifetime wondering if they made a difference in the world. But, the Marines don't have that problem.”   We would argue teachers do not have that problem either.    Educators make a huge difference ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: ‘The Right To Bear Arms’

As the worldwide debut of the much-anticipated “Hacksaw Ridge” is set for next weekend, it didn’t take long for the anti-gun fanatics to decry “a war movie.” Mel Gibson, the director of the film that focuses on a conscientious objector Desmond Doss who refused to bear a weapon but saved an estimated 75 lives, was asked about America’s gun problem as he toured to promote the film. ... (click for more)