Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2020 - 16

COUNTRY ROADS

Classic Mountain Books

'Saints at the River,'
by Ron Rash

JOE TENNIS

I

Architecture Tied To Jefferson
Now A Boutique Hotel
The Blackburn Inn's history reaches back to 1825.

T

homas Blackburn, born in 1795, studied architecture and construction details with Thomas Jefferson when Jefferson was contructing the University of Virginia, at Charlottesville.
A few years later, in 1825, Blackburn began construction on what
has become his own architectural masterpiece: what is now known
as the Blackburn Inn at Staunton, Virginia.
Opened as an inn in 2018, this 49-room boutique hotel occupies
what was once the main administration building for the Western
State Hospital. From 1828 to 1976, the Western State Hospital occupied a meticulously designed collection of 22 buildings. Later, from
1981 to 2002, these buildings along U.S. 11 in Staunton became
known as the Staunton Correctional Center.
The property was abandoned from 2002 to 2006. Then a longterm renovation began with the Villages at Staunton and, later, the
Blackburn Inn.
"This is the only boutique inn," says hotel manager
The refurbished Blackburn
Lacy Peterson, 43. "All of the other developments have
Inn is scheduled to open a
been apartment buildings."
wellness center in 2020.
The modern hotel features glass doors in the hallways plus a hot breakfast best enjoyed on the porch
overlooking the lush lawn. Inside, a spiral staircase
climbs to a cupola, which affords a 360-degree view of the property,
listed on the national historic landmarks register.
"It just has impeccable grounds and really unique features
throughout the property," Peterson says. "We plan in 2020 to open
a wellness center that will have yoga classes, a meditation studio and
then also cooking classes, as well as conference space."
Blackburn Inn, 301 Greenville Avenue, Staunton, Virginia. 540-7020601. blackburn-inn.com
-JOE TENNIS

16

BLUERIDGECOUNTRY.COM

t's hard to know where to start
reading Ron Rash. With family roots
extending far back in the North
Carolina mountains, Rash sees and
hears his place with keen accuracy
and weaves story lines you can't stop
following into the dark woods, hoping
for light.
There's much to admire in Rash's
2004 novel "Saints at the River,"
which begins with a graphic, oddly
beautiful account of a young girl's
drowning in a wild, Upcountry South
Carolina river...a river that by novel's
end is celebrated for its "vast and
generous unremembering."
Oconee County native Maggie
Glenn, photographer for a Columbia,
South Carolina, newspaper, is sent
home to cover the aftermath of the
drowning, which pits the victim's
grieving parents seeking the return
of their daughter's body, against
environmentalists wanting to maintain
the natural state of the river's Wild and
Scenic designation.
Maggie has her own sorrows to
reckon with, as memories of her own
family tragedies return, and her estranged father seeks
forgiveness from the
daughter he's failed
again and again.
"Saints at the
River" was named
the best book of
the year by the
Southeast Booksellers Association
and received
the Weatherford
Award for Best
Novel. It's a novel you can't stop
reading, because the character-rich
story-and Rash's understated, beautiful prose-won't let you.
-JOAN VANNORSDALL


http://www.blackburn-inn.com http://www.BLUERIDGECOUNTRY.COM

Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2020

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2020

Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2020 - Intro
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2020 - Cover1
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2020 - Cover2
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2020 - 3
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2020 - 4
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2020 - 5
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2020 - 6
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2020 - 7
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2020 - 8
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2020 - 9
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2020 - 10
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2020 - 11
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2020 - 12
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2020 - 13
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2020 - 14
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2020 - 15
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2020 - 16
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2020 - 17
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2020 - 18
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2020 - 19
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2020 - 20
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2020 - 21
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2020 - 22
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2020 - 23
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2020 - 24
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2020 - 25
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2020 - 26
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2020 - 27
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2020 - 28
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2020 - 29
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2020 - 30
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2020 - 31
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2020 - 32
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2020 - 33
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2020 - 34
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2020 - 35
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2020 - 36
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2020 - 37
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2020 - 38
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2020 - 39
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2020 - 40
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2020 - 41
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2020 - 42
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2020 - 43
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Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2020 - 46
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2020 - 47
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Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2020 - 49
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2020 - 50
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2020 - 51
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Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2020 - 53
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2020 - 54
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2020 - 55
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2020 - 56
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2020 - 57
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Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2020 - 60
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2020 - 61
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Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2020 - 63
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2020 - 64
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2020 - 65
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2020 - 66
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2020 - Cover3
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2020 - Cover4
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