At the turn of the 20th century, it was known for its natural beauty and therapeutic qualities. It is fitting that in Cherokee, Chetola means "Haven of Rest." Today it spans 87 magnificent acres in the heart of the Blue Ridge Mountains and has come to be known as a world-class resort.
Chetola Resort Lakefront
Chetola Resort has a lively past that ranges from historically functional to lavishly entertaining. In 1846, Lot Estes, Chetola's first recorded owner, purchased 100 acres for a mere 5 cents per acre. The only two structures on the property at that time were a horse stable and a way station for freight, passengers and mail. Following the Civil War, Mr. Estes built a family home and later enlarged it. The home eventually was used as a boarding house and was well known as a summer resort called Silverlake. In the winter months, Silverlake served as an "ice house" where 100 pounds of ice could be purchased for 10 cents! In 1892, William Stringfellow from Anniston, Ala., purchased the estate. Stringfellow suffered from tuberculosis and as he grew older his disease became more debilitating. His wife convinced him to purchase the estate as a mountain retreat, believing the cooler weather would improve her husband's health. It was the Stringfellows who actually named the estate Chetola and turned it into one of the most beautiful private dwellings in Blowing Rock. Mr. Stringfellow enlarged the estate by building a spring house, a smoke house, a servant's house, caretaker's home and a large horse stable. William Stringfellow's health improved greatly while at Chetola. In 1919 he sold the property to another family.
In 1926, J. Luther Snyder purchased Chetola Estate. He paid $36,000 for 36 acres. Luther was truly a self-made man. He started his career by traveling the streets of Charlotte in a one-horse wagon selling Coca-Cola to merchants. Eventually, he operated 10 Coca-Cola bottling plants in the Charlotte area and came to be known as the "Coca-Cola King of the Carolinas." Luther expanded the estate, even building a regulation bowling alley for his children. Horseback riding trails intertwined the estate joining those at the bordering Moses Cone Estate, which today is located off the Blue Ridge Parkway. All of Blowing Rock loved the Snyders' parties and celebrations. With six children, the Snyders entertained frequently and often invited the entire community. These were truly memorable times at Chetola and the Estate House provided the perfect backdrop. This glorious bygone era came to an end with Luther's death in 1957 at the age of 83. The estate went to Snyder's heirs and remained in the family until 1972.
In 1982 Chetola Resort was purchased by a group of businessmen who had the vision of making the estate accessible to others seeking a magnificent retreat in the Blue Ridge Mountains. Part of the development during this time period was the construction of an elegant lodge, one-, two- and three-bedroom luxury condominiums, as well as meeting facilities accommodating up to 150 people. Chetola was well on its way to becoming one of the most beautiful and sought after vacation resorts in the Blue Ridge Mountains.
Early in 1997, Chetola was purchased by Rachael Renar and her son Kent Tarbutton. Originally from Norfolk, Va., Kent and Rachael have shown a great deal of dedication in their efforts to retain the historic enchantment that existed at Chetola since its beginnings. In Fall 2004, the Manor House Estate House became the Bob Timberlake Inn at Chetola Resort. A magnificent Inn with eight luxurious rooms, the Inn features the designs, furnishings and accessories of North Carolina's most recognized and successful living artist, Bob Timberlake. In keeping with the tradition of preserving the Estate's history, the Inn is a tribute to the era when J. Luther Snyder entertained at the Manor House Estate in grand style. Rooms in the Bob Timberlake Inn are named for past and present owners of Chetola, as well as other regional and local historic figures such as Hugh Morton, Moses Cone, and Ben Church. Also in 2004, Chetola became an Orvis Endorsed Fly Fishing Lodge. Orvis is the most recognized and respected name in the world of Fly Fishing. Rachael and Kent have developed Chetola into one of the finest resorts in the Southeast and have continued to pay scrupulous attention to the historic significance of the great estate.
In Fall 2009, the luxurious Spa at Chetola Resort opened with five treatment rooms (one for couples), a nail treatment area, the Swan Juice Bar, and the Relaxation Room with floor to ceiling fireplace. Adjoining the Spa is a heated indoor pool, Jacuzzi, sauna and fitness room. The Spa offers a wonderful journey of rejuvenation with an indulgent variety of professional massage, facial and nail treatments.
In early August 2011, the Manor House Restaurant, which occupied the main level of the original 1846 Estate House, suffered a kitchen fire and closed for a year while the restaurant underwent a redesign to offer additional lakefront dining. In July 2012 the restaurant reopened as Timberlake's Restaurant, featuring a menu inspired by artist Bob Timberlake's culinary favorites and outfitted with Timberlake's paintings, designs, and historic angling and hunting equipment. While Timberlake's was being built, construction crews unearthed a fireplace, estimated to have been built between the 1890s and early 1900s, with an original locust log in the hearth. The fireplace remains in the restaurant's main dining room, Timbers.
In 2010, brother Greg, who had a passion for the great outdoors, moved to the mountains with his wife, Anne. In 2014, the family purchased 67 acres of land at the nearby 10,000 acre Blue Ridge Mountain Club, and he and Morgan created the Chetola Sporting Reserve. It opened in 2016 with an elaborate clubhouse, pub, 5-stand, 13 station clay shooting course, as well as rifle, pistol, and archery ranges, along with 27 miles of hiking/ ATV trails, and trophy trout fly fishing adventures.
In 2019, the Chetola Lodge's 1st floor was completely renovated, and became dog friendly! Chetola was awarded Best Commercial Renovation by the Blowing Rock Chamber of Commerce.