Beginning as the private residence of A.W. Washburn, known as the Washburn House, and later used as a boarding house, The Inn at Ragged Gardens has been a bed and breakfast for many people for more than a century. With thirteen rooms, an on-site restaurant, and a wine cellar, this location is a perfect getaway for any age. Completed in 1900 the building is just a few blocks from Blowing Rock’s Main Street.
At the turn to the twentieth century, many wealthy families began to build homes in Watauga County, specifically in the area that became the Town of Blowing Rock. A.W. Washburn of Charlotte, N.C. was no different. A Mr. Benfield, an architect hired by Washburn, built the main building, the Washburn House. The property also included a stone water well and rock fence surrounding the owned acreage.
The chestnut bark used within the home was made popular by architect Henry Bacon in the late 1800s. He was known for his neoclassical designs and is credited with designing the Lincoln Memorial in Washington D.C.These materials used on the interior of the building are a key feature of the home. Areas of the Inn that include the chestnut wood are double doors leading into the reading room and the room itself, as well as the wall paneling on the first floor. Grandfather Mountain granite is also used throughout the home. . The chestnut is important due to the amount that is preserved in a public place when a local blight took out much of the growth in the area.
A cottage, used for extra boarding was added in 1927 and it is unknown if Benfield was responsible for it as well. The exterior of this second building is made of the same chestnut bark as the home. The original property sat on 11 acres, and included riding trails to the adjacent forests, but the current Inn now sits on just 1 acre. The home is located near the center of town but through the use of stone fences and vegetation the property keeps its unique landscape separated from the storefronts.
The Inn, in addition to its use as a bed and breakfast, is currently available as an event venue with information on their website for weddings and large gatherings. From May through October the Inn also hosts Music on the Lawn each Friday where different bands perform free of charge for the public. These events are sponsored by nonprofit organizations and The Inn at Ragged Gardens welcomes all on Fridays.