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The Sunnybank Inn in Hot Springs, NC | North Carolina Weekend | UNC-TV


[LIGHT FOLK MUSIC] ♪ – I WOULD SAY IT’S A
BEAUTIFUL LITTLE MOUNTAIN, APPALACHIAN TOWN, ON
THE APPALACHIAN TRAIL. – AND EVERYBODY’S JUST
SO FRIENDLY AND NICE, AND SMILING, AND
EVERYBODY’S ASKING YOU ABOUT YOUR
HIKE, BECAUSE THEY KNOW THAT THE APPALACHIAN TRAIL
RUNS RIGHT THROUGH HOT SPRINGS. – IT’S JUST A VERY
NICE PLACE TO JUST BE ABLE TO SETTLE IN
AND CHAT WITH PEOPLE. – [NARRATOR] HOT SPRINGS HAS
BEEN MANY THINGS OVER THE YEARS BUT IT’S THE HEALING
WATERS FOUND IN THE AREA, AND PLACES LIKE THE
HISTORIC SUNNYBANK INN, THAT KEEP PEOPLE COMING BACK. THIS INN IS A LIVING
PIECE OF MOUNTAIN HISTORY, AND SOUTHERN HOSPITALITY. – SUNNYBANK ORIGINALLY
WAS BUILT IN THE 1840S. WE DON’T KNOW THE
EXACT DATE, BECAUSE A LOT OF THE DEEDS WERE
LOST IN THE CIVIL WAR. BUT, IT WAS A FARM HOUSE;
THERE WAS A LARGE FARM ALL AROUND IT, MAYBE
20 OR 30 ACRES. – [NARRATOR] IN 1976, ELMER
WAS HIKING THROUGH TOWN, STAYED AT THE INN, FELL
IN LOVE WITH THE AREA, AND THE REST IS
APPALACHIAN TRAIL HISTORY. – I CAME BACK AFTER TWO YEARS, I WAS STAYING HERE AS A
HIKER, AND SETTLED DOWN, AND BOUGHT THE PLACE
FROM THE GENTRYS, WHO WERE READY TO RETIRE. – ELMER REALLY HELPED
LAUNCH HOT SPRINGS AS A APPALACHIAN
TRAIL DESTINATION, AND IT’S JUST GROWN FROM THERE. – [NARRATOR] THANKS TO THE
TRAIL, HIKERS HAVE BEEN DISCOVERING THIS
RETREAT FOR MANY YEARS. – IT’S BEEN AN AWESOME
EXPERIENCE SO FAR. THE SMOKYS THOUGH, THE
FIRST DAY WAS 75 AND SUNNY, AND THE THIRD DAY ENDED UP
BEING FOUR DEGREES AND SNOWY. YEAH, IT WAS A CHALLENGE. – WELL, I THINK AS LONG
AS THERE HAVE BEEN HIKERS THROUGH HOT SPRINGS, SOME OF
THEM HAVE PROBABLY STAYED HERE. – JUST LIKE THE OLD
HOUSE THAT YOU ALWAYS WANTED TO GROW UP IN, BUT
NEVER HAD THE CHANCE TO. – JUST A GREAT PLACE
TO REST YOUR FEET, GET A SHOWER, WASH YOUR DUDS IN SOME SUDS, TAKE A SOAK, TELL A JOKE.
[LAUGHING] – [NARRATOR] IT DOESN’T
MATTER IF YOU’RE NORTHBOUND OR SOUTHBOUND ON THE TRAIL,
ELMER’S SUNNYBANK INN IS ALWAYS THE TOPIC
OF CONVERSATION. – IT FEELS LIKE HOME,
RIGHT WHEN YOU WALK IN. IT JUST HAD LIKE A
RELAXING FEELING, JUST A REALLY WELCOMING FEELING,
EVERYBODY’S SO FRIENDLY. – THERE’S A TREMENDOUS
SORT OF NETWORK OF TALKING AND PASSING INFORMATION, UP
AND DOWN THE TRAIL, BY THE HIKERS AS THEY
PASSED EACH OTHER. SO, THAT, THE REPUTATION
FOR THE PLACE, IT PASSES ON, MOSTLY
BY WORD OF MOUTH. – THIS IS A NICE BREAK,
AND IT’S NOT WHAT I THOUGHT IT WAS GONNA BE LIKE EITHER. WHEN I HEARD IT WAS AN
INN, I KIND OF THOUGHT IT WAS MORE OF LIKE
A MOTEL OR SOMETHING, BUT IT WAS REALLY
COOL THAT IT WAS LIKE AN OLD RENOVATED HOUSE. – [MARY] WELL, IT’S A
BEAUTIFUL, OLD HOME, WITH HIGH CEILINGS, AND
SORT OF ARTS AND CRAFTS, WOODWORK SHOWING
ABOUT, AND IT’S ALWAYS GOT THE SMELLS OF BEAUTIFUL,
SPICY VEGETARIAN FOOD. – [NARRATOR] ONE OF
ELMER’S MAIN GOALS IS TO SERVE THE BEST AND
HEALTHIEST VEGETARIAN MEALS, AS GRACIOUSLY AS HE CAN. – IT’S SO FUN TO
BE ABLE TO SIT DOWN WITH A MEAL THAT
YOU’VE PREPARED, OR YOU KNOW, THAT
ELMER’S PREPARED, AND TO JUST HAVE THAT
MEAL WITH THE COOK, AND THEN JUST TO
STRIKE UP CONVERSATION, WITH LIKE A DOZEN TO 20 PEOPLE. SO THE FOOD IS ALWAYS
TASTY AND INTERESTING, BUT ALSO, IT’S JUST A REALLY,
VERY COMMUNAL EXPERIENCE. – IF PEOPLE KNEW HOW
GOOD THE FOOD WAS AT SUNNYBANK INN, IT WOULD
BE, THERE WOULD BE A LINE ALL THE WAY TO THE TOP OF
RICH MOUNTAIN TO GET IN HERE. – IT’S JUST A REALLY NICE PLACE
FOR THROUGH HIKERS TO RELAX AND GET THEIR MENTAL
FEET AND LEGS READY FOR A HIKE, THE NEXT DAY. – [NARRATOR] AFTER YOU CHECK
IN, YOU’LL IMMEDIATELY WITNESS A MORE TRADITIONAL AND
CIVILIZED WAY OF LIVING. – THAT’S PART OF
OUR CHARM, I THINK, THE FACT THAT IT, YOU
KNOW, IT HASN’T CHANGED. IT’S NOT TOTALLY UP
TO DATE ON EVERYTHING, IT DOESN’T
PARTICULARLY WANNA BE, BUT YOU CAN HAVE A GREAT
RENEWING KIND OF WEEKEND, OR VISIT HERE, AND NOT BE
BARRAGED BY OTHER THINGS THAT ARE HARD TO GET AWAY FROM, IF YOU’RE IN A CITY SOMEWHERE. – YEAH, I THINK WHEN
I LEFT SUNNYBANK, I WAS EXCITED TO COME
BACK, BUT THE POSSIBILITY OF COMING BACK AND KNOWING
THAT THIS PLACE EXISTED, AND THAT IT WAS SUCH A HOMEY SPACE, AND SUCH A NICE
JUMPING-OFF POINT FOR SO MANY PEOPLE, IT MADE
ME FEEL A LOT MORE CONNECTED TO THE WORLD IN GENERAL, AND OTHER POSSIBILITIES, KNOWING THAT THERE WERE
THOSE PEOPLE OUT THERE, THAT WOULD ALSO
VALUE THIS PLACE. – THE SUNNYBANK INN IS
LOCATED AT 26 WALNUT STREET, IN HOT SPRINGS, AND
THEY’RE OPEN YEAR-ROUND. FOR MORE INFORMATION, CALL 828-622-7206, OR CHECK THEM OUT ONLINE, AT
SUNNYBANKRETREATASSOCIATION.ORG.

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