The Lodge on Gorham's Bluff has been on my bucket list for many years, after having read about it in Southern Living many years ago. My husband and I finally went for a weekend to celebrate our anniversary. It wasn't a bad weekend, just not what I expected.
Gorham's Bluff (the development)
The development of Gorham's Bluff began in the mid to late 90's. It was meant to be a planned community, much like Seaside, Florida. Unfortunately, development slowed (or basically stopped) during the economic downslide in the 2000's.
I knew something wasn't quite right when we got to the entrance of Gorham's Bluff. The landscaping was unkept and the signs for the property were in disrepair (rotting wood, peeling paint). We turned in and you could see where they had planned for this massive development that never occurred. There were maybe 20-25 houses built. It is just empty lot after empty lot.
They started to build a downtown area, much like Seaside, but the shops never materialized. There is a church for weddings in the Main Street area but it is suffering from neglect. The landscaping is overgrown and the building looks really shabby (rotting wood and peeling paint).
The community art center is in an old school that was built in 1938. It is a beautiful old building that was supposed to be refurbished. They only got as far as a new roof. The inside is still gutted and the renovation was never completed. The door is wide open so we poked our head in but did not go inside because it did not appear safe all.
There is a wooden outdoor amphitheatre overlooking the bluff. It has a beautiful view but it has not been maintained either.
The community left me feeling sad. You can tell that someone had a great vision for a thriving arts community but it never materialized. And now it is like they don't have the money to maintain it.
Gorham's Bluff is also out in the middle of nowhere. Take what you need, because it is not easy to get to a store to pick things up.
The lodge has a gorgeous design. Like the rest of the community, it is falling into disrepair too. There is a lovely fountain in front of the lodge. The landscaping is overgrown though. You can't even use the benches around the fountain because they are covered in ivy and weeds. The lodge itself is in desperate need of a paint job and some basic repairs (broken slats, broken railings). The observation deck at the top of the lodge is currently closed. You can see from the ground that the railings around it are unstable.
The interior of the lodge was still very nice. Our room was clean and nicely decorated. It had a huge balcony with rocking chairs overlooking the Tennessee River. There was also a stacked stone fireplace.
We ate dinner and breakfast at the lodge. The food was very good. There are only two menu options at dinner (a filet or fish). They do not serve alcohol so people were bringing their own wine. Breakfast was cooked to order with three different menu options.
The one thing that would have improved our stay would have just been more communication. There was no information about check in or out times. There was no description of property amenities anywhere in the room. We weren't sure if we could use the pool across the street or the rental bikes. When we made a dinner reservation, we weren't told that we could bring our own wine.
There also isn't really anything to do there. You have to be prepared to sit on the porch and admire the view because that is all that is really going on. I feel like the website is a little misleading when it talks about a vibrant art community. Maybe ten years ago but definitely not now.
- Also Known As:
- Lodge On Gorham`s Bluff Hotel Pisgah