Nestful of Knoxvillians help The Swag open 40th season

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!)


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29 Responses to Nestful of Knoxvillians help The Swag open 40th season

  1. Dick Krieg, on April 20th, 2021 at 2:16 pm said:

    Welcome back Blue Streak! We’ve missed you.

  2. Alan Carmichael, on April 20th, 2021 at 2:18 pm said:

    It was great seeing friends from Knoxville at the opening. I got a very relaxing massage in the new spa. Customer No. 1 – yay! The Swag is such a great representation of our region, from its rustic charm, entertainment and furnishings to the first-class food and service. Oh yeah, and the mountain views!

  3. Cynthia Moxley, on April 20th, 2021 at 2:21 pm said:

    Dick: Thanks! Good to be back to some semblance of normalcy!

    Alan: You are so right!

  4. Gay Lyons, on April 20th, 2021 at 2:46 pm said:

    Welcome back, Blue Streak. The Streak’s reappearance is a hopeful sign.

  5. Cynthia Moxley, on April 20th, 2021 at 2:48 pm said:

    Gay: Let’s hope so!

  6. Betty Sue Sparks, on April 20th, 2021 at 3:08 pm said:

    We have reservations in August! Even though we have a cabin in Waynesville, we need a Swag visit at least once a year!
    Love seeing the Blue Streak!

  7. Monique Anderson, on April 20th, 2021 at 5:33 pm said:

    Wow. Looks like a great place!

  8. Karyn Holbrook, on April 20th, 2021 at 6:27 pm said:

    Your return represents great hope and fun for the future. Welcome back!

  9. Frances Adams-O’Brien, on April 20th, 2021 at 8:04 pm said:

    So great to all the new additions at The Swag! That lunch at Gooseberry Knob is amazing!

  10. Cynthia Moxley, on April 20th, 2021 at 8:09 pm said:

    Betty Sue: I love that you have a place there and still go to The Swag! Totally get it!

    Monique: It is fantastic! You and Bruce should go with us sometime!

    Karyn: Thanks!

    Frances: Agree with both your observations!

  11. Steve Carmichael, on April 20th, 2021 at 8:11 pm said:

    What a wonderful retreat ! Thanks for sharing !

  12. Cynthia Moxley, on April 20th, 2021 at 8:18 pm said:

    Steve: You and Phyllis should come with us sometime!

  13. Rusha Sams, on April 20th, 2021 at 8:47 pm said:

    What a great way to crank up The Blue Streak again! I’ve missed you. And what’s not to love about The Swag? So glad you always include food pictures- and this food looks “over the top” delicious! Welcome back!!

  14. carolyn jensen, on April 20th, 2021 at 8:54 pm said:

    so glad to have the Blue Streak back. Makes things feel a little more normal.

    “The Swag” has such a wonderful reputation that I sure hope I can get there sometime.

  15. Cynthia Moxley, on April 20th, 2021 at 8:56 pm said:

    Rusha: Thanks! The food definitely was over the top! We have been super careful during the pandemic so we appreciate restaurant dining more than ever!

  16. Cynthia Moxley, on April 20th, 2021 at 9:04 pm said:

    Carolyn: You simply MUST go there! You would love! Thanks for your sweet comment about the Blue Streak.

  17. Katie Kline, on April 20th, 2021 at 9:53 pm said:

    Mox – What a great piece to bring back the Blue Streak. We haven’t been there in 13 years – I think we need to go back to see the updates. Glad y’all had fun.

  18. Cynthia Moxley, on April 20th, 2021 at 9:56 pm said:

    Katie: Go with us sometime! You will love!

  19. Helen Hewitt, on April 21st, 2021 at 7:42 am said:

    Yay! The Blue Streak is back! And what a beautiful place to report on! The Swag is truly a gift!

  20. Christa Malone, on April 21st, 2021 at 10:50 am said:

    Welcome to Waynesville and Haywood County

    Literally felt the new energy to the Swag reading your Announcement!

    Would love to receive News and Happenings
    From the Swag.

  21. Cynthia Moxley, on April 21st, 2021 at 11:51 am said:

    Helen: Agree that The Swag is a gift. We are so lucky it’s so near to Knoxville!

    Christa: Thanks! Follow this link and at the bottom of the page, you will see a place to sign up for the newsletter from The Swag: Thanks for reading!

  22. Ronny Venable, on April 21st, 2021 at 1:30 pm said:

    The Streak is back, and I’m no longer Blue.

  23. Bill Horton, on April 21st, 2021 at 1:38 pm said:

    I have missed the Blue Streak. Welcome back!

  24. Cynthia Moxley, on April 21st, 2021 at 1:45 pm said:

    Hey, Bill: Thanks so much! It’s good to be back. Let’s hope things continue to open up! It feels like I haven’t seen you since Rome burned!

  25. Fay Bailey Carr, on April 22nd, 2021 at 12:25 pm said:

    Cynthia I have truly missed the Blue Streak. Now that I am retired, it gives me a way to keep up with what everyone is doing. Willard and I are planning a trip to the Swag. Cannot wait to go now that I have had a preview.

  26. Cynthia Moxley, on April 22nd, 2021 at 2:22 pm said:

    Fay: Thanks for the kind words! You are going to love The Swag!

  27. Stephen Harris, on April 23rd, 2021 at 4:43 pm said:

    We can now “officially” see light at the end of the tunnel! Welcome back BLUE STREAK!

  28. Cynthia Moxley, on April 23rd, 2021 at 9:56 pm said:

    Stephen: Thanks so much! I hope we are finally seeing that light!

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