Bartender Tyler Marsh “smoking” some cocktails in The Swag’s new bar.
The Swag over near Waynesville, North Carolina, opened for its 40th season last weekend with a lot of familiar faces — including ours! Owned by Knoxville residents Annie and David Colquitt, the mountain resort which consistently ranks in Conde Nast Traveler’s “Top Resorts in the South” listings, has a lot of new features — starting with a liquor license!
Now you can have a full range of creative cocktails — as well as beer and wine — without having the forethought to bring them with you. Also new is a separate bar and spa. (Alan was massage client No. 1!) And there are many new room updates and comfy new furnishings.
Also new this season: You drop your car off at a welcome station near the top of the 5,000-foot peak and are valeted to The Swag House and property where you will spend your stay. Moving the parking lot has allowed for a massive expansion of the garden, still being planted.
The best things about The Swag are the stunning views and spectacular food. The accommodating staff also begin to feel like old friends. Notable, too, are the wide variety of hiking trails and the constantly revolving “experts in residence” who provide programs ranging from bird-watching to wildflower walks and a variety of musical performances.
Although there have been many wonderful upgrades, what endures about The Swag in its 40th season is its rustic mountain charm and authentic representation of Appalachian culture.
It was great being with so many folks from Knoxville for a weekend. This was partly planned and partly by coincidence. But it sure worked out well. We have two more trips to The Swag planned this season — one in the summer and one in the fall. If you’d like to go, I recommend you book your stay soon because slots are filling up fast. Maybe we’ll see you there!
We knew these two Knoxville guys would be there because we planned our trips together. John Winemiller, left, is with R.J. Hinde.
Hubby Alan Carmichael checking out the bed in “Deener’s Room,” where we would be staying.
First things first. The view from our little porch.
One of The Swag’s owners, Annie Colquitt, was a great host socializing with guests and answering questions. They removed their masks for this photo. But staff and guests alike wear masks when they are not dining or being socially distant outside.
Our first dinner was fabulous! Snap pea soup; green salad topped with a crab cake; scallops with couscous, snap peas and roasted radishes; strawberry shortcake!
The new bar.
This new picture in the bar is controversial: Annie Colquitt loves it; David does not! We are in the Annie camp! Some suggested the name of the bar should be “The Smoking Goat!” But that will be Annie and David’s call.
The main room of the Swag House.
Beautiful flowers are everywhere at The Swag.
The Swag House.
One of the other new highlights of The Swag is the addition of a picnic lunch on Saturdays — in addition to Wednesdays — at Gooseberry Knob. It’s about a quarter-mile hike from Swag House. (You can catch a golf cart ride, if you’d prefer.)
Knoxvillians Scott and Annette Brun enjoying some quiet time at Gooseberry Knob before the picnic.
Steve and Mary Ellen Brewington, also from Knoxville, arriving for the picnic lunch.
Chef Jake Schmidt manning the grill.
I selected swordfish for my main course and it was perfectly grilled and delicious. An array of salads finished my plate.
We could have opted for fried chicken, as well!
Alan on Saturday at Gooseberry Knob.
The daffodils are quite a bit behind ours here in Knoxville due to the altitude and the chill in the air.
I love all the whimsical touches throughout the property. Like this cool birdbath.
This sweet deer picture was outside the door to our room.
For happy hour on Saturday, everyone from Knoxville gathered in a cottage called “Mountain Laurel.” From left, Steven Frampton, Mary Ellen Brewington, Craig Shelton, Mark Grayson, Susan Brown, Scott Brun, Steve Brewington and Alan Carmichael. That’s Annette Brun kneeling in front.
Our new friend Kelly Lenz with Alan.
We only eat red meat about twice a month. But on Saturday, we sure are glad we decided to splurge on this filet mignon! It was perfect with a strawberry salad.
Because of a commitment in Knoxville, we had to leave before the Sunday brunch was served. But we’ll catch it next time.
Until then, we’ll remember this fantastic view.
And we’ll leave you with a snippet of Doug Peters performing one of his original songs on the porch.
(Full disclosure: Moxley Carmichael represents The Swag. But I’d say the same things even if we didn’t!)