Great B & B A review of The Mast Farm Inn
The Mast Farm Inn has a lot of personality and charm. There was a funny moment when we pulled into the parking lot and saw the "cabins." Their outsides are made of very old wood, look very weathered and frankly appear to be shacks. Since we were with my -n-laws, for whom a 4-star hotel is roughing it, I was glad they had selected the inn, not me!! But some very nice people actually invited us into one of the cottages and it was absolutely lovely on the inside - I would stay there in a heartbeat. It would be pretty funny to take a picture of the outside and tell everyone that's where you stayed.
Our room (Nell's Room) was very comfortable. The bed was quite comfortable (& I have a bad back and can be picky). I did bring my own neck pillow which was good as the pillows are down and far too soft for me, but very nice. Linens were very nice, although we did have to ask for an extra towel - I always use a seperate one for my hair and there were only 2 in the room. They happily provided it.
I agree with the other reviewer who was disappointed that there was only 1 option for breakfast. I don't really like eggs and we had quiche one morning and frittata the other so I ended up eating toast both days. Wish they had served the french toast pictured in the brochure - sure looked great!!
We did eat dinner there one night and it was very good. My FIL was disappointed that the bread pudding didn't have a sauce, but the pear & strawberry cobbler was good. FIL did rave about the fried green tomatoes. All in all very good and a lovely place to stay.
One more tip - call for directions or use the ones on the internet - my in-laws tried to use their Magellan GPS and it was not effective in the mountains - we wandered around Boone for quite awhile!
We want to thank you for the positive review although your stay preceded our purchase of the Inn by a few months.
You bring up several important points worthy of further consideration by other potential visitors:
The Mast Farm Inn effectively has a great deal of character. Many people are surprised by the uniqueness and originality of The Mast Farm Inn on first look because they expect, as they often find elsewhere, an airbrushed reproduction. We are indeed authentic and a bit of a living museum. That makes us different and not necessarily everyone's cup of tea. That is why we seek here to respond to reviews as truthfully and completely as possible so we accurately describe what for want of a better phrase is ~ The Mast Farm Experience.
Among other things, The good news, as you discovered, is that we are probably one of the most photographed private properties within a hundred miles. Not a day goes by even without 3 -15 people parking at the barn, getting out with their camera. But some people prefer to see a copy rather than an original work of art. Lest costly certainly, and obviously requiring much less care and attention. Copies are often more prim and proper having been tweaked and the dings and dents removed, but they are disposable. As in other things in life, our dings and dents are part of what we are. A timeless original such as The Mast Farm Inn, probably requires a more educated mind, people more inclined to understand the value of authenticity, history, tradition and heritage over flash. That type of perspective would be more typical of people who have traveled extensively throughout Europe. This is not a high or low end roadside motel by even the most drastic stretch of the imagination.
It is important to highlight for Trip Advisor readers of these reviews that the Mast Farm Inn is authentic, not a reproduction. While that presents many constraints and adds considerable cost of ownership, it is the primary reason we purchased the inn, because of what it has been since 1810. It is real on the outside, and real on the inside with quality and comfort added without removing the character. A bit of a balancing act. We are currently renovating all the main farm house and all its public and private rooms as we speak, and the decor will remain authentic. A few small examples but which we hope helps you better understand what you will find here:
1) rather than load the room with magazines and clutter one finds everywhere, we have gathered in the last year a considerable number of vintage magazines, vintage photos and postcards which transport the guest back to a simpler past. While quite valuable they are in the rooms for guest enjoyment. It is very much like sleeping overnight in a museum, minus the dust.
2) We have invested close to 60 thousand dollars in the past year in traditional stonework around the property, all created on the scale and in the way one would expect from those times. We do not have a grand waterfall such as one could expect at the gates of a country club, we have a modest 3 step waterfall in the natural stream at the entrance that would have been logical and appropriate to earlier times. Some would say it looks wimpy, some would say it's perfect. It does not make a racket nor seek to impress, it's what a farmer in 1810 would have done.
3) On Sundays we serve a traditional country lunch. While gourmet to say the least, it is what one could have expected to find at a wedding feast in the 1800s and not a manhattan brunch. We love blinies and caviar too, and bagel and lox are personal favorites, but coherence and identity are more important. The Mast Farm Inn needs to be in harmony with itself and that is what we attempt to do in things big and small.
As you mentioned, the breakfast was, also in our opinion, quite mediocre when we took over. That is the reason one of the owners now prepares breakfast, and to say she is one of the finest chefs in North Carolina is quite the understatement. It's food like Mom would have made on Christmas mornings in the 1840s. People now rave and want to thank her personally every morning because it is now also real, creatively authentic and hand-made. As in the old days. And French toast is again one of our specialties, but French Toast like prepared at a Holiday breakfast. We have come to understand that breakfast is more than the most important meal of the day. At a Country Inn, it defines most of the day. Without hyperbole we can safely say our breakfasts are second to none, anywhere, and we have been around.
We also invite readers of these reviews on Trip Advisor to visit our Mast Farm Inn website to read the reviews, feedback and testimonials listed there, in order to form a more complete opinion of the quality of our facility and services. They provide a great many more details of what people find appealing so you can see if it fits your expectations.
All the reviews posted there are from guests subsequent to the new ownership taking over operations in February 1, 2006. As Trip Advisor does not allow links in management response messages, we cannot provide you here a link to that page. But you can find our reviews page by going to the front page of our site. The graphic on the left of that page which says Feedback and Testimonials will bring you to our own reviews page, on which are posted documented, confirmed and verifiable reviews by guests of our inn.
We also hope you will not let these few negative reviews posted elsewhere here cloud your judgment, without first seeing the over 100 reviews posted on our own site which go into great and very specific detail about what visitors like. This will help you more accurately determine if we fit your criteria and if we are indeed your cup of tea. In our profession few things are as important as matching and then surpassing guest expectations. Part of that is defining in advance very clearly what you are and do, what you are not and don't do. Thank you for your constructive message and your consideration.
The Mast Farm Inn