On a secluded 1,400 acres in the Blue Ridge Mountains, Kanuga Retreat and Conference Center is a favorite destination for many. The original Inn from 1968 just received a serious facelift, a $6.5 million one to be exact.On a secluded 1,400 acres in the Blue Ridge Mountains, Kanuga Conference, Retreat and Camp Center is a favorite destination for many. The original inn from 1968 just received a serious facelift, a $6.5 million one to be exact.Kanuga goes back to 1909 when a Charlotte businessman built 39 cottages surrounding the 120-acre lake. Today, that same lake serves as the centerpiece for the retreat, which frequently attracts 25,000 people a year to Henderson County. Kanuga hosts hundreds of private conferences and welcomes visitors to the inn and cottages.The Great Flood of 1916 reduced the lake’s size to 30 acres, and it fell under new ownership in 1928 when purchased by the dioceses of the Episcopal Church. Today, it continues ties to the church but stands alone as a nonprofit. The addition of the inn allowed Kanuga to not just be a sunny day getaway but also a year-round conference center and retreat.Director of marketing Leslie Hartley hopes the renovation bring more attention to Kanuga and what it offers, “A lot of people are still learning about Kanuga, and now we have this wonderful 61-room inn that has been completely renovated through and through. The inn is modernized and more accessible. I definitely anticipate this will create more interest in coming to Kanuga.”The inn was closed for six months as renovations embraced modernity. Rooms come equipped with king size beds, an upgrade in lighting, fully renovated bathrooms, Wi-Fi, and a new HVAC system with controls in each room. To add to the homey, warm aesthetic, the inn was filled with craftsman style furniture from Absolute Style Furniture in High Point, N.C.Kanuga’s vice president of property, Ricky Varnadore, oversaw the project, tailoring to the needs and requests of frequent visitors. He understands that although the inn allowed year-round stays, there was still work to be done “Now, we’ve taken it a step further by improving accessibility and making staying at the inn a more welcoming experience for all.”On such a beautiful setting with over 20 miles of hiking trails, it’s no surprise Kanuga was used this year as base camp for the remake of “Dirty Dancing” and two-thirds of the movie was filmed there. While the inn is embracing a more modern approach, there are still a few things that keep it unique. Guests are alerted to three meals a day with the bugle call of revelry, and while there’s Wi-Fi you won’t find a television, clock, or telephone in sight.
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