The Magic That is Home.
Faded Glory Farm is much more than just a sixteen room restored Victorian home composed of wood, granite, slate shingles and glass. For many of our out-of-town guests, it embodies an expectation and an almost ethereal, dream-like destination. For others, it is a legitimate Victorian work of art resurrected from an age gone by. For Isabel, it is the culmination of a dream, brought about by her (and Ray’s) perseverance and hard work. For Micah Davenport, it will always be a work in progress; and, for me, it is a comfortable vantage point from which I can survey the human condition. And frankly, for lots of other folks who “just don’t get it,” it’s just another B&B situated in north Georgia.
In addition to being a very popular tourist destination, Faded Glory is our home, with all of the warm, ‘touchy-feely’ aspects characteristic of such a welcoming place. It is not, and never was, inhabited by ghosts, but if these old walls could talk, I would wager that you might be somewhat shocked at what they have witnessed through the years.
When Isabel and Ray began their painstaking restoration years ago, portions of the roofing had failed, windows and sashes were broken and in great disrepair, solid walnut floors and woodwork had been compromised by multiple coats of paint, with rot and decay running rampant throughout the structure. Frankly, the place was a dump! Despite the sanding, scraping and refinishing, the semi-sweet smell of aging hardwood still prevails, giving the Inn a comfortable and familiar smell that can only be achieved by vintage structures. With her wide, inviting stairways, twelve-foot ceilings, and copious, ornate gingerbread trim, this proud painted lady from a bygone era still promises great potential for the future.
Area residents around Faded Glory were pleased and excited to see the old farm being restored. Their expectations for its future had been very low. Many thought that the farm would ultimately rot away before their eyes or fall prey to arson or vandals, but these scenarios were never to come to pass. The original barn and outbuildings, once readily visible from Route 60, were too far gone to be restored, and they were torn down early in the restoration process. Only the oak structural beams were salvaged and used for renovation of the main house.
Originally built and occupied by a young Blue Ridge banker for his family back in 1896, the farm was constructed from oak, poplar and walnut brought over from nearby North Carolina, with two large stained glass windows made in Atlanta several years after the Civil War. The home boasts a cylindrical tower, complete with a rickety stairway, and a no- longer functional dumbwaiter that once traveled from the basement to the third floor.
Some say that there is a magical component to this old Inn. Isabel and Micah believe that the true magic is indeed brought to the Inn by those who visit here, and perhaps our peaceful surroundings just provide the ideal environment for the gestation of our guests’ hopeful thoughts and dreams. Based on comments by our many repeat visitors, we do know that a large number of our guests leave here with a sense of peace and well-being rarely experienced on visits to other destinations. Maybe it’s something in the water!
I have heard Isabel say many times that a week in north Georgia isn’t going to be glitzy and exciting. To be sure, it’s not a Cancun, Las Vegas, or New York City; it is, instead, an heady amalgam of pleasant and peaceful sights, good food, nature’s sounds, and kinder and gentler experiences that just make your heart feel good — like comfort food for your soul! If you want to re-experience America the way it might have been in the 1950s, this might be the closest you will ever come to it. Grandmothers, apple pies, deep cool lakes, irresistible views, and fine, honest people exist and thrive here in the Blue Ridge mountains of north Georgia; it’s the real deal!
Make no mistake; there are towns and tourist destinations like this scattered all around our great country, but places like this are becoming few and far between as we rush headlong into global turmult and technology. Our future will come at a heavy cost. I am privileged to live in an area where dogs still run free, doors are left unlocked at night, billboards don’t pervade our landscape, and children can still ride their bikes safely on old dirt roads. This is the “magic” that is home!