Roy Bunn came to the Carolinas from Iowa in the 1940’s, bought a mountaintop and built this cozy winterized home to live in while he developed sites for the rest of the neighborhood. He selected the best lot, with a view of Whiteside Mountain, and nestled his home right next to a stream that cascades over a small falls, runs along the side of the house down to a waterfall below. He built a bridge across the stream and through a tunnel of mountain laurel Mr. Bunn could walk to a quiet meadow under an enormous hemlock tree, five acres in all.
When my family constructed the house a short hike past Mr. Bunn’s grapevine, the families grew to know each other and his house became affectionately known as The Bunn House. Mr. Bunn has passed on, as well as my grandparents. Now it’s our house, with all its mementos and curious eccentricities, like the copper envelope holder by the entrance, swinging Dutch door into the office and Mr. Bunn’s safari hat hanging on a piece of old laurel root outside that sometimes houses a bluebird nest. Three families were raised here and now we are ready to share it with you.
Designed by Mr. Bunn, and built by a well-known builder out of Highlands, the house is paneled predominantly with smooth cedar plank boards. The living room boasts exposed beveled beams, with wood covered bolts, a cherry floor and wormy chestnut paneled walls, a rarity after the blight of the chestnut trees. My mother added the chic, replacing all the drapes and reupholstering the wagon wheel rocker, chair and sofa five years ago with an updated elegance, as well as updating all the appliances. Interior solid doors allow you to close off the living room and light a fire on cool summer nights making a very cozy atmosphere. In the morning you can heat up the kitchen with another fire there, or turn on the furnace for an hour or two until the day warms up, often to a perfect 72 in the summer. In a heat wave, fans are all that are needed to keep cool after opening the windows for cross ventilation.
Twilight is my favorite time on the deck, stretched out on cushy cypress wood chairs listening to the birds while light closes down on Whiteside Mountain. During the day, hummingbirds buzz the flowers and the trees move in the breeze. You might see a black bear pass through the yard if you are quiet enough. When it rains, Adirondack chairs on the front porch sit safely under shelter and allow you to read or just enjoy the sounds of the Appalachian rain forest. Wild flowers grow along the stream and the granite gravel drive, while laurel drop blooms on the trail and rhododendron grow like trees. It’s a magical fairyland, two miles from Cashiers, a growing town of good eats, folk art, antiques and an exclusive Italian dress shop. Highlands, only ten miles in the other direction is a relative metropolis with furniture shops, an antique auction house, summer stock theater, the Center for Cultural Enlightenment and the impressive Bascam Center for Visual Arts. But hiking is what a lot of people come to the mountains for, and we have a library of books to suit your interests in wandering, collecting and watching.
From humble beginnings, we try to maintain our humility and not overprice the simple life. You will have everything you need and none of the worries you left behind. Cable TV and WIFI, comfortable beds and amenable temperatures offer an atmosphere unparalleled.
Hiking Whiteside Mountain is one of the most popular activities to see the entire valley. Scramble over the rocks to views all the way around the precipice, but feel safe with the carefully maintained fencing and trail. Also, Panthertown Valley Trail Map shows miles of trails and a multitude of waterfalls to explore. Both places are minutes from the cabin. Whitewater rapids are navigated along the Chatooga either guided at higher levels or in personal inner tubes at lower levels.