Marietta residents Gigi and Shawn Poole were charmed by Blowing Rock, North Carolina, long before the town became the inspiration for Jan Karon’s bestselling Mitford novels. They both grew up vacationing in the area, and they lived only an hour away in Lincolnton when their children, Will and Mills, were young. “Whenever it got too hot in the summer, we would head up to the Rock for some cool breeze,” says Gigi. (The average July high is 76.)
Though the village has fewer than 2,000 year-round residents, a strong tourist industry and nearby Appalachian State University help it support “large-city benefits” like sophisticated restaurants, shops, and cultural activities, notes Shawn.
The Pooles looked at houses for five years. They loved this home’s stonework and original pine paneling and floors. Two fireplaces have arrowhead patterns in granite from nearby Grandfather Mountain. One fireplace screen is reported to have been made by Daniel Boone VI. Also, “in Blowing Rock, it is ‘village or view,’” says Shawn. “We hit a compromise. We are less than a half mile from the town center and have a partial view.”
Named “Blythewood” for its original owner, Senator Joe Blythe, the home was built in 1937 and belonged to only two families before the Pooles bought it in 2012. They raised the main-floor ceiling by six feet and removed walls, then salvaged extra paneling from the demolished sections. Finally, they extended the front porch so friends could gather and watch the sun set.
This article originally appeared in the Spring 2015 issue of Atlanta Magazine’s HOME.