Nantahala means “land of the noonday sun.” It is the name given long ago to this corner of the Smokys by the Cherokee as they trekked through these mountains. They knew the sun would only light their way through our steep gorge during the middle of the day, when it was high overhead.
A Short History
In the fall of 1947, Charles Watts and his father, John, bought the land that is now Nantahala Village. This property was originally two tracts owned by Tom Underwood and Walt Tabor. The Tabor House, a four-bedroom farmhouse on the back of the Village property, and three log cabins which are no longer standing, were on the land when it was purchased. The Tabor House has hosted dozens of family reunions and other gatherings year after year, and remains one of the most popular cabins on the grounds.
Building the Inn
By the summer of 1948, construction began on the Nantahala Inn. Building the Inn was a lengthy process. Electricity was not available and hundreds of tons of stone had to be transported from a local quarry. It was May of 1949 before the Inn was open for business, complete with ten rooms upstairs and the main dining room paneled in wormy chestnut with a large, open stone fireplace. It would be 1952, however, before the Village would offer electricity and phone service to its guests. In those three years, the pool and eleven cabins were built on the north side of the highway. At that time, travelers through the Great Smoky Mountains numbered in excess of one million annually.
Changes Over Time
In 1958 the Village was acquired by a group of investors from Tallahassee, Florida. Over the next 32 years, they added 22 more lodging units on the north side of Highway 19/74 and seven log cabins on the south side of the road. They also began a homeowners’ association and sold lots with panoramic views to potential home builders.
In January of 1997 an electrical fire resulted in the total loss of the original lodge. Work was begun immediately to design and construct a building that would attempt to do justice to the beauty and character of what was. The building you’re in today is the result of the collaboration of previous owners with Jim Samsel Architects and the William Baxter Construction Company. The Fireplace Suites were built in 2003 to provide additional lodging options for our guests.
Subsequent owners have added the bar in the Lodge, updated the cabin décor, and added hot tubs and game tables to many units. The current owner, Roumelco Properties LLC, headed by Constantine Roumel , invites you to enjoy all that Nantahala Village has to offer today.
Over 65 years after Nantahala Village was created, it continues as it was conceived in the minds of its original owners: “a resort village of classical structures, lovely landscaping, [and] with every attribute of gracious living in an environment of beauty, culture and comfort in summer or even for the year around.”