Archive for Aug 2012

We recently returned from our 6th or 7th visit to The Swag, a (justifiably) legendary country inn on mountain top, bordering The Great Smoky Mountain National Park, not far from Asheville, NC. Whenever someone asks us “what is your favorite inn?”, The Swag inevitably ends up on the short list. Deener and Dan Matthews have created something remarkable over the past 31 years, and are still at the top of their game. On this visit, we focused on the abundant activities and events available right on the property or nearby: waterfalls, national park hiking trails, hilltop vistas, mossy verdant nature walks, the Thursday night barbeque and the daily pre-dinner social hour. We brought in models to make this all come to life, which really worked well. While there, we also did a few food shots.

To see more images of rooms, etc., check out our special spotlight on The Swag in the “Projects” section of our website.

Swag Scenics General 03 XL A Visit Back to The Swag   A Jewel in the Smoky Mountains

Sunrise activities on The Swag porch – the best time of day up here

Swag Hiking Hemphill 05 XL A Visit Back to The Swag   A Jewel in the Smoky Mountains

Couple near Hemphill Bald, resting after a hike

Swag Hiking Woods 01 XL A Visit Back to The Swag   A Jewel in the Smoky Mountains

An early morning hike on a national park trail

Swag Hiking Gooseberry 11 XL A Visit Back to The Swag   A Jewel in the Smoky Mountains

A very special place on The Swag Property: Gooseberry Knob at dawn

Swag Hiking Waterfall 03 X2 A Visit Back to The Swag   A Jewel in the Smoky Mountains

This waterfall is a great destination hike from the inn

389794079 vhgL2 XL A Visit Back to The Swag   A Jewel in the Smoky Mountains

After your hike, imagine cleaning up for dinner in this fantasy fireside outdoor shower. Not roughing it!

Swag Food Social 04 XL A Visit Back to The Swag   A Jewel in the Smoky Mountains

Guests enjoying hors d’oeuvres on the porch before dinner–a Swag tradition

Swag Food ThursBBQ 12 XL A Visit Back to The Swag   A Jewel in the Smoky Mountains

Thursday night is barbeque night..and just behind the grill is the entrance to the National Park

Swag Food 01 XL A Visit Back to The Swag   A Jewel in the Smoky Mountains

A typical dinner entree: a seared salmon fillet with beets and greens from the Swag gardens

Swag Scenics Gooseberry 02 XL A Visit Back to The Swag   A Jewel in the Smoky Mountains

Another great spot to relax: The Gazebo at Gooseberry Knob

One of the stops we made on our last extended swing through New England was visiting long-time customer Squam Lake Inn in Holderness, NH. Innkeepers/Owners (also chef, restauranteurs and all-around entrepreneurs) Cindy and Rae run one of the most fun inns around. Simply put, it has a fabulous vibe. It’s not something easy to describe…nor is it easy to create. But they’ve done it and it’s a total joy to be there. (Kudos to the staff. What a positive, upbeat–and beautiful–group they’ve got working there!) A few years ago on a shoot, Cindy first introduced us to The St Germaine Cocktail - check out our post on that cocktail and recipe. Here is yet another creative and refreshing summer cocktail we wanted to share. During the summer, Cindy and Rae introduce a different garden-driven cocktail each week. Great idea, right??

SquamLake U Cocktails 06 X2 Refreshing Summer Cocktail from the Garden at Squam Lake Inn

Strawberry Basil Gimlet from The Squam Lake Inn

Strawberry Basil Gimlet at the Squam Lake Inn

  • Muddle 2 strawberries and fresh basil leaves
  • Add 2 oz Bulldog Gin
  • 1 oz. St Germain Elderflower liquor
  • 1 oz fresh lime juice

Mint can be substituted for basil if you wish

 

While at Squam Lake Inn,  we also shot the newly-renovated Eagles Nest Suite. This is their first luxury bathroom. We thought the new bathroom was especially fun, cheery and very much infused with that Squam Lake Inn vibe.

SquamLake Rooms EaglesNest 01 XL Refreshing Summer Cocktail from the Garden at Squam Lake Inn

New Bathroom in Eagles Nest Suite at Squam Lake Inn