Nestled in the forest of the Blue Ridge Mountains in Asheville, North Carolina, sits beautiful Bent Creek Lodge. This rustic, cozy bed-and-breakfast is a wayfarer’s dream, thanks to the dedication of owners Jodee and Doug Sellers. As you wind through the trees on the road leading to the stunningly beautiful B&B, you immediately are struck by the bounty of nature all around you. When you reach the main house and enter through the arched double doors, you immediately feel welcomed. Jodee and Doug are almost always there to greet you personally before checking you into one of ten uniquely themed rooms. Depending on your arrival time, they will offer you steaming hot cocoa or an icy cold beverage, both of which are available throughout your stay. Adding to your sensory experience will be the tantalizing aroma of daily, fresh-baked cookies, which await you as a welcomed visitor.
Sophisticated, Artistic Aesthetic
The foyer of the inn opens into an expansive room with warm, rich, wooden floors, a large stone fireplace, and beautifully crafted furniture designed and built by Doug himself. The furnishings are heavily influenced by the Arts and Crafts Movement, with a contemporary twist. Books about the natural world, old-fashioned board games, and eclectic artwork fill the space. In the center of the front room sits a pool table that beckons you to play. As you look around the spacious room, you will see a variety of original artwork, including a framed quotation that reflects the comfortable feeling of the lodge, “Come all ye who are heavy laden and we will give you rest.”
Conceived, designed, and built from the ground up by owners Jodee and Doug, the inn offers ten warm and inviting rooms: one on the main floor, named the Barn Room; five upstairs, with whimsical names like the Bird, Bike, and Wildflower Rooms; and four downstairs, including the Fern, Cherokee, Mountain, and Tree Rooms. Doug designed and handcrafted much of the furniture that fills each room. Clearly the inn is a labor of love—a three-dimensional painting brought to life.
As time passes during your stay, you come to realize that Bent Creek Lodge is a creative respite designed to feed your soul and refresh your spirit. To the left of the front desk sits two custom-made bookcases filled with Jodee’s whimsical, handmade pottery and spirit sticks. On a nearby table sits a box of alphabetized menus from a variety of local restaurants. Colorful, freshly picked flowers from the garden adorn ten breakfast tables off to the left. Their spacing allows for quiet, intimate conversations as well as lively group interactions.
One of Jodee and Doug’s favorite times of day is “the break of dawn,” when they switch on the coffee machine, prepare breakfast together, and serve their guests a hearty, scrumptious meal. After breakfast they enjoy chatting with lodgers and offering recommendations for things to do around Asheville. Jodee’s culinary talents are extraordinary. A sample week-end breakfast might include spinach cakes, tomato gravy, grits, eggs, chicken sausage, biscuits, and pineapple. And that’s a single meal. Another day, you might enjoy whole wheat waffles, sausage patties, sautéed apples, and scrambled eggs. Needless to say, you never begin a day of adventure feeling hungry.
Lush Forest Setting Filled with Wonder
Once you’ve checked in, you can stash your luggage and head to one of two large, outdoor porches that extend the length of the house—one upstairs, one downstairs. From there, you can take in the glorious sights, sounds, and smells of nature. Each porch features handmade birdhouses, water features, Bentwood rockers, swings, tables, and chairs. Jodee built several of the tables using whimsical pottery tiles that she fired herself.
Views from the porches have a magical, mystical quality. A variety of unique, handmade bird feeders are strung in the trees like zip lines for birds. Birdsong fills the air. Two grapevine trellises and a grapevine gate welcome hikers to the forest beyond the B&B, along mulched paths lined with natural rocks. In the distance sits a large fire pit flanked by a handmade stone bench.
From the front porch, you’ll see hikers walking along the Blue Ridge Parkway. (You’ll also be well-positioned to greet newcomers.) From your room off the porch, you can hike secluded trails located just outside your door. Either way, you will spot a variety of animals, including birds, rabbits, turtles, and squirrels.
As you might guess, the inn appeals to people from all walks of life. Since Jodee and Doug are avid athletes, Bent Creek Lodge initially attracted hikers, cyclists, and naturalists. However, as word spread about the innkeepers’ friendliness and hospitality, they began to receive phone calls from visitors around the globe, including Europe and the Middle East. Jodee and Doug enjoy telling a story about their first guest from Germany. During his first visit, the three of them experienced an immediate kinship. Thereafter, he returned year after year, sometimes two or three times yearly. During each visit, he often insisted on cooking for Jodee and Doug as a way of expressing his gratitude for their friendship. Word spread quickly back to Germany about the friendly innkeepers. Ultimately, the inn hosted numerous international guests from Germany, Poland, Saudi Arabia, and beyond.
The Future of Bent Creek Lodge
Even after hosting visitors for 19+ years, Jodee and Doug aren’t ready to retire. Jodee likens the B&B to “having a kid that never grows up.” They love the great outdoors and exercise regularly for fun, including walking, biking, hiking, snow skiing, and fishing. They also love to travel. Their future plans include trips to Ecuador, the Galapagos Islands, and Greece—and visiting all 59 national parks in the United States.
Because they live and work together 24/7 at the lodge, Jodee and Doug give each other enough space to nurture their creative spirits together and separately. To nurture his soul and creativity, Doug participates in “boys’ days out” and is a member of a men’s book club that meets monthly around a campfire. (Bourbon and scotch may play a prominent role.) Jodee takes a variety of art classes with working artists in the region, including pottery, photography, and paper making at the nearby John C. Campbell Folk School in Brasstown, NC.
Since Jodee and Doug’s residence is currently in the B&B, their future plans include purchasing a house nearby and hiring a live-in manager so they will have time to explore the next chapter in their lives. However, no matter where life’s journey may take them, Bent Creek Lodge is their forever home.
For more information about Bent Creek Lodge, here’s a link to their website: http://www.bentcreeknc.com
By Eileen Perrigo and Deb Gaut