Chetola Resort

Featured photo courtesy of Chetola Resort


Blowing Rock, North Carolina

by Jimmy Jacobs

August 2020

There’s an old adage that opines that when you try to please everyone, you are simply courting

disaster. The Chetola Resort in Blowing Rock, North Carolina puts the truth of that saying to the test.

Situated in the High Country Headwaters section of the northwest corner of the state, this world-class facility has something to please just about any visitor. The accommodations consist of luxurious condominiums, rooms in the Chetola Lodge or bed-and-breakfast arrangements in the Bob Timberlake Inn. The resort boasts health and wellness programs at The Spa at Chetola Resort, conference and meeting areas, along with even wedding packages.

Photos by Polly Dean.

For the outdoor oriented, the resort’s 87 acres lie quite close to the recreation options of the Blue Ridge Parkway, guided hiking in the surrounding mountains or golf at nearby Hound Ears Club.

Additionally, the resort is within walking distance of the shopping and dining of Blowing Rock’s quaint mountain town atmosphere.

The lake fronting the lodge is stocked with rainbow trout and is managed to provide easy access and productive fishing. But, if it’s a fish of a lifetime that is desired, you can book a day of angling with one of the resort’s guides on a stretch of private water on Boone Fork.

This part of the creek holds brook, brown, rainbow and palomino trout. The later of these fish is actually a strain of rainbow that was developed in West Virginia. These fish are golden in color with the characteristic rainbow’s pink stripe down the side.

A palomino trout from the private section of the Boone Fork. Photo by Jimmy Jacobs.

Brookies and palominos push 18 inches in length, while browns and rainbows range from 18 to 28 inches. These fish are susceptible to streamers, nymphs and even dry fly fishing.

If you want to sample the area’s other fishing, Chetola guides can arrange wade-fishing trips to the surrounding stocked or wild trout waters. Or you can set up float trips for trout or smallmouth bass on the four rivers draining the high country.

Blowing Rock is a bit unique in being near the headwaters of the New River running north, the Watauga flowing west, the Yadkin coursing to the east and the Catawba River headed to the south. Each have sections are ideal for float fishing and offer varied trout fishing experiences.

The author tangling with a big one on the Boone Fork. Photo by Polly Dean.

In 2004 Chetola became an Orvis Endorsed Fly Fishing Lodge.

The Chetola property has a long and colorful history. The land was part of the original purchase of 100 acres in 1846 by Lot Estes. Prior to that the only buildings on the acreage were a stable and wagon way station handling freight, passengers and mail.

Estes built a home after the Civil War, eventually turning it into “Silverlake,” which became a summer resort and in winter operated as an ice house, selling the frozen water for 10 cents per 100 pounds.

Next ownership went to William Stringfellow of Anniston, Alabama, who lived on the property until selling it in 1919.

The new owner was J. Luther Snyder, who was known as the “Coca Cola King of the Carolinas.” He operated 10 of the soft drink bottling plants in the region. After his death in 1957 his family continued to hold the property, now known as Manor House Estate, until relinquishing it in 1972.

After a couple of more changes of hands, Rachel Renar and her son Kent Tarbutton bought the property in 1997, creating Chetola Resort.

The next important step in the estate’s history took place in 2004, when the Manor House Estate House became the Bob Timberlake Inn at Chetola Resort. The inn contains eight rooms operating as a bed and breakfast, with all designs, furnishings and accessories created by Bob Timberlake. He is famed as North Carolina’s most recognized and successful living artist.

The author with Bob Timberlake in the dining room of Chetola Resort, in front of one of the artist’s paintings. Photo by Polly Dean.

He also has designed a line of men’s and women’s sporting clothing and luggage in conjunction with Bass Pro Shops. That is a natural tie in for the artist. When not occupied in his Lexington, North Carolina studio and gallery, Bob Timberlake is an avid fly fisher and can often be found plying the waters of The Refuge.

After a year closure, the Manor House Restaurant reopened in 2012 as Timberlake’s Restaurant. Again, the decor features Timberlake paintings and designs, along with historic angling and hunting gear. The menu also is inspired by Bob Timberlake’s culinary favorites.

As alluded to earlier, Chetola Resort offers virtually anything a visitor desires. If that traveler happens to be a trout angler, the options are outstanding. Trophy trout, lake fishing, tailwater floats and small, wild trout waters all are within easy reach. Plus, the staff at Chetola Resorts stand ready to make the fishing on those waters both pleasant and productive.

For more information, visit the website for Chetola Resort.