by Nadine Naujoks
In a western North Carolina valley, where you might expect to find little at all, sits the surprisingly elegant town of Tryon — since the mid-1800’s a retreat for artists, authors, actors and retired tycoons. Still today, it tempts travelers with a surprising rural elegance.
Hardly a backwater, this is a place where you can rest your slippered feet atop an ottoman, in front of a crackling fire… sip a glass of local award-winning wine… flip through the pages of a book written by a local author… and enjoy an inspiring mountain view.
The Town of Tryon offers a rich array of cultural offerings, railroad history, and lots of equestrian lore and activity. In fact, it’s a horse that stands guard in the center of town.
Morris he’s called — also known as the Tryon Horse. When you ask a local how to get someplace, the answer is likely to be something like, "Two blocks on the left, past Morris.”
Host of the first annual National Equine Economic Summit and home to the Block House Steeplechase for more than 60 years, plans are also underway in Tryon now for the 20- 25-thousand-square-foot Carter Brown Museum, the North Carolina Museum of the Horse.
Standing twenty-two hands tall, or about 7’3”, the Tryon Horse’s saddle pad sometimes serves as a billboard for events such as the Steeplechase or the Tryon Horse Show. (And Morris may also be seen sporting a deerstalker cap and bent-stemmed pipe hailing the unique Sherlock Holmes Festival in the fall.)
Owned and maintained by the Tryon Riding & Hunt Club, Morris calmly observes the comings and goings about town with a knowing Mona Lisa-like smile. He has even been known to whisper a tid-bit to an unsuspecting passer-by that, on occasion, finds its way into print into The Tryon Daily Bulletin.
What to Do
During the day, lace-up your hiking boots and take to the trails, from an easy stroll to Pearson’s Falls to the more challenging Norman Wilder Forest trails.
Or perhaps you prefer to walk among boutiques and art galleries. You won’t be disappointed. Here you’ll find antiques, unique gifts, and fine art and crafts by regional artisans. A must see is the Tryon House on N. Trade Street, the official retail outlet for all things Morris.
Yet Morris reminds you: Tryon is best known for its horses. The Foothills Equestrian Nature Center (FENCE) boasts almost 400 acres of equestrian facilities. So pull on your tall boots and bring your favorite trail horse for an unparalleled riding experience through meadows, woods, and ambling waters. Or attend one of the numerous exciting equestrian events scheduled from early spring to late fall. (You’ll find a listing here: http://www.fence.org/ )
If You Go
Tryon, NC is in the foothills of western North Carolina, off I-26. It is 40 minutes south of Asheville, NC, and 30 minutes north of Greenville-Spartanburg, SC.
Where to Stay
- The Historic Melrose Inn is conveniently located in the heart of downtown Tryon and specializes in relaxed refinement. The Inn is owner managed, family friendly, and earth friendly. http://www.themelroseinn.com/Home.html
- The Stone Hedge Inn presents romantic stacked stone cottages, a pool, and fine dining on 26 rolling acres. http://www.stone-hedge-inn.com/
- The 1906 Pine Crest Inn offers plush accommodations, corporate retreat facilities, and is home to the Tryon Wine Society. http://www.pinecrestinn.com/
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