- Nov 26, 2016
- central NC
The Jarrett House is one of the oldest inns in Western North Carolina, a throwback to the days of the horse and buggy and the wood-burning passenger train. William Allen Dills, who founded the town of Dillsboro, North Carolina built it just two years after the coming of the Western North Carolina Railway in 1882. He named it for his youngest daughter, Beulah, who was born next door in the family home. He called it, The Mount Beulah Hotel. At the same time he gave the mountain facing the hotel the name, Mount Beulah.
Once Mr. Dills opened his establishment, it quickly became the official dining place for passengers and employees of the Western North Carolina Railway. The passenger train from Asheville stopped there for 20 minutes at noon for dinner and the number of passengers requesting reservations for dinner was telegraphed ahead from Balsam, a custom that persisted for many years. By 1894 The Mount Beulah Hotel was catering to summertime "comers and stayers" from far and wide.
Mr. Dills had many other interests and sold his hotel in 1894 so that he could devote more time to them. R. Frank Jarrett of Franklin, North Carolina purchased the place and changed its name to The Jarrett Springs Hotel. This was during a time when "springs" were in their heyday in the North Carolina mountains and folks flocked to them to partake of their minerals. Fortunately for Frank Jarrett, he discovered during negotiations for Mount Beulah that there was a beautiful sulfur spring at the rear of the hotel that bubbled up into a soapstone basin.
Frank Jarrett capitalized on the sulfur spring behind the inn and made it part of the name of the hotel. He even built a summer house encircled by seats where his guests could go and sit and sip the waters that were reputed to "give a body new vigor." But it was not the waters that gave the Jarrett Springs Hotel its fame and legend, but the food served up country-style by the innkeeper's wife, "Miss Sallie." Frank cured his own hams and he worked out a process of curing that made them famous and caused folks to spend a day's travel just to eat them. The fried ham went to the tables in great platters along with red-eye gravy, hot buttermilk biscuits, sourwood honey, homemade butter and, in season, fresh vegetables right out of the garden. "Mister Frank" used to say that if a guest ever had to ask a waitress to bring more ham the meal was on the house. Nobody ever heard of it happening.
The Jarretts, Frank and Sallie, owned the inn until Frank’s death in 1950 and then his heirs sold it to W.B. Faw, a hotel operator from Gainesville, GA. Mr. Faw rechristened it The Jarrett House and its reputation for good food and lodging still lives on.
Miss Sallie's vinegar pie remains one of the inn's most famous offerings. Best described as an old-school, Southern dessert, it is a classic “desperation," “make-do” or “pantry” pie. In other words, it's a recipe that relies on kitchen staples versus seasonal, perishable ingredients. Instead of using apples,it uses apple cider vinegar. And instead of using buttermilk, it uses a lot of melted butter. The result is as humble as it is addictive. Try it at home or enjoy a piece at Jarrett House located at 100 Haywood Road in Dillsboro, North Carolina.
Jarrett House Vinegar Pie
1 stick margarine, melted and cooled
1½ cups sugar
1 tablespoon flour
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
1 (9-inch) pie shell, unbaked
Combine the first six ingredients and pour into the unbaked pie shell. Bake at 300º for 45 minutes.
Our sweet @donna did a lovely thread on vinegar pie a couple of years ago. Make sure you check it out too.