31 Days of Simple Goodness: The Stovall House Inn and Restaurant

Posted by on Oct 4, 2012 in Kitchen Goodness | 0 comments

Sometimes it takes getting away from home for a respite elsewhere to help me gain perspective and return appreciating the rest but looking forward to the routine. 

Rob and me at the Stovall House in 2008.

It’s with fond memories of early married days that I write today’s reflection as part of the 31 Days of Simple Goodness Series.

What do George Winston’s December, cheese muffins, and Nicholas Sparks’ The Notebook have in common?

The musician’s cd and the muffins were introduced to me in the fall of 1986 during our first stay at a wonderful jewel of a bed and breakfast in North Georgia’s town of Sautee called, The Stovall House Country Inn and Restaurant. {More about the book at the end.}

Rob had secured a copy of the October issue of Southern Living magazine and had noted the great review this humble bed and breakfast had received.  Because of my exhaustion from being a new teacher he planned a surprise weekend getaway, packed my bags, picked me up from school one Friday, and whisked me away to this place that made me want to live in a white farmhouse then and now! It’s accommodations were welcoming and its restaurant was filled with guests dining on freshly prepared delights from their kitchen.  Heaven!

For several autumns in a row we went back to “our place”.  Once I was pregnant. That baby was born, then grew to be a toddler, then another baby came along and the next thing I knew we had two little boys staying behind with grandparents while we escaped to our upstairs room at the Stovall House.  Life got busy. Our trips came to an end. 

In 2008 we revisited the Inn for dinner while in the mountains.  My youngest went with us while the oldest drove over from college and surprised me making an additional sweet memory for me.

The Stovall House is so much my happy place that when I hear George Winston or make cheese muffins I am transported there in my mind.

And now about the book…

In 1996, Nicholas Sparks had his first novel published and while I was perusing a book store, the cover caught my eye!  I was confident the porch was the very same one at the Stovall House. I knew Rob and I had sat there in a swing sipping coffee, eating apple muffins for breakfast, and scratching behind the ears of a Golden Retriever. I was sure I had seen brides glide down those steps to their grooms.  I bought the book based on its cover because I was convinced it was the porch.

Yesterday, in preparation for this post, I decided I had better check a few facts.  So I called the number listed on their website but it had been disconnected and I almost cried.  Not to be outdone, I called the Sautee post office.  Who else would be more helpful than the one who fills a mailbox to let me know if the inn was closed?  After the post master suggested I call a location where I might find the proprietor, I got Hamilton Schwartz’s wife Tracy and we had a sweet conversation and I got a number for her husband at the inn and called him to find out that…

The inn has been sold to a gentleman who will continue the B&B through the end of the year but he is converting it over to a sustainable senior living home with an organic garden on the premises.  The new owner will continue to have the home available for private parties, but the restaurant is closed for small dining.

In catching up with “Ham” who did remember us, I asked him a couple of questions:

  • May I put the cheese muffin recipe on my blog?  Yes.

  • Was the picture on the first cover of the first printing of The Notebook the porch at the Stovall House?  YES!!!! 
Cover photo from Wikipedia.

A photographer staying at the B&B had taken pictures of the surroundings and put them in his portfolio.  Nicholas Sparks had asked the publisher to find a picture of a mountain setting and this picture was stumbled upon and chosen.  Unfortunately, the Stovall House didn’t know this until after the fact and since the book and cover had already been published, the location of the photo was never disclosed.  But, now YOU know what I knew all along!

And so, with tears in my eyes, I say so long to a lovely haven away from home, thankful for the sweet memories.  Just as I have entered a new chapter in my own life, the Stovall House enters a new one of its own where I am sure those who dwell there or host a private event there will be blessed by the environment of the mountains, the pastoral setting, the organic food on the premises, and the simple beauty of a historical farmhouse.

If you want to escape through the fall and stay at this place as they transition, go to their website and call the number.  If the old number is not restored at that point, shoot them an email with your contact information.  I promise they’ll get back with you.

The recipe…
Stovall House Inn and Restaurant Infamous Cheese Muffins
(makes 12)

2 cups all-purpose flour           2 Tbsp. sugar
1 Tbsp. baking powder           1/4 tsp. pepper
1/2 tsp. garlic salt                    1 egg
1 cup grated cheddar               1 cup milk
1/4 cup oil/melted butter

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  In a medium mixing bowl, combine dry ingredients.  Add liquid ingredients, stirring until moistened.  Bake in a greased muffin tin for 20 minutes or until lightly browned.

Listen to George Winston’s December cd, make these cheese muffins today, reflect on simply good moments in your life, and give thanks.

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