This romantic resort is the perfect setting for a vacation built for two.
Time alone with your partner is one of those luxuries that tend to fall by the wayside once you have children. It almost never happens spontaneously, so you’ve got to build it into the schedule. To celebrate our 11th anniversary, my husband and I decided to do something really special. We arranged two nights of sleepovers for the girls with Grandma and Aunt Jo, then headed east to the edge of Smoky Mountains National Park for a weekend of quiet and relaxation at Christopher Place in Newport, Tenn.
Built in 1976 as a private residence, Christopher Place has operated as a resort since 1995. Quiet and luxurious, its spacious rooms are beautifully decorated, and amenities abound. Upon our arrival, we were greeted by the hospitable host and given a tour of the house. We found ourselves a little overwhelmed at first by its beauty and sophistication.
Scenic Inside and Out
Set on the side of English Mountain in Cocke County, Christopher Place boasts a fantastic location with a spectacular view. The romantic resort features eight guest rooms ranging in opulence from the movie-like luxury of a two-room suite to the friendly warmth of a cozy mountain-view room. Many have whirlpool baths, and some feature wood-burning fireplaces. Each room has a different decorative theme, including Roman Holiday and Camelot. Our room, the Paw Paw suite, was beautifully decorated with dark wood paneling and unusual antiques. After we’d examined every piece of furniture thoroughly (and tried out the hot tub), we headed to the game room for a game of pool. With a wide screen TV, pool table and large selection of board games, the game room lives up to its name. One of the best things about the resort is that you can do whatever you want – including nothing, although the game room, fitness room, outdoor heated pool, tennis courts and extensive book, CD and movie library inspire activity. Guests are also welcome to explore any of the unoccupied rooms, which is an entertainment unto itself.
The Great Outdoors
Breakfast the next morning in the sunny breakfast room got the day off to a perfect start. Setting out to explore some of the resort’s 230 acres, we took a pleasurable, yet strenuous hike to the top of English Mountain (if you give 24 hours notice, the chef will send you off with a nice picnic lunch). We then took a drive to nearby Smoky Mountains National Park about 30 minutes away. The little town of Newport was also great fun to explore, and the area is within 45 minutes of tourist attractions such as Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge. Llama trekking is also available nearby.
Dinner for Two
We returned to the resort and freshened up for what was to be an incredible culinary experience. Christopher Place serves four-course dinners nightly to guests and other visitors (24-hour reservations required; $25 per person). Delicious soups, gourmet entrees and delectable desserts are the order of the day thanks to Chef Valentine (yes, that’s really her name). Because the menu is set for each night, we found ourselves enjoying foods we’d never considered before. My husband even tried cheesecake – and loved it!
Due to county regulations, the resort can’t sell alcohol, but guests are welcome to bring their own. We brought a bottle of Italian wine we’d been saving for the occasion and felt like true sophisticates. Dining by candlelight while our host played piano, we couldn’t have imagined a more romantic setting.
The next morning, after another hearty breakfast and a leisurely walk through the house, we said a reluctant goodbye to Christopher Place, vowing to return when we could. Maybe for our 12th anniversary…
Christopher Place: An Intimate Resort
1500 Pinnacles Way, Newport, Tenn.
Accommodations range in price from $150 – $300 per night, with a two-night minimum stay. If you’re on a budget, ask for Mountain Sunrise, a spacious room with a beautiful view.
Ashley Crownover is freelance writer for this publication.