Building a mountain lodge in Western North Carolina

Following the sale of GuildQuality, I’ve turned my attention to a handful of ventures that have been on my back burner for a long time.

The first new endeavor is the development of Big Ridge, a mountain club in Western North Carolina. Big Ridge will offer family and friends a simple and gracious home away from home, opportunities for convivial fellowship and quiet reflection, and a home base from which they can enjoy all the bucolic pleasures the mountains have to offer.

For those who are curious, here are a few answers to some obvious questions:

Who is Big Ridge for? Ultimately, there will be around forty owners. If you love the outdoors, time spent in front of a good fire, and the idea of a gracious and comfortable “summer camp”-type setting for families, it will probably be your sort of place.

What will be there? Pastures; woods; trails; a pool; a small lodge with a big kitchen, a dining hall, and a handful of hotel-style bedrooms upstairs; about five tiny two- and three-bedroom cottages; and two full-time caretakers. I expect we will also have gardens, bees, chickens, and more. And, of course, we’re surrounded by the North Carolina mountains and all of its delightful offerings. You might think of Big Ridge as a bigger version of the kind of place you’d like to have in the mountains, but with someone else taking care of everything.

Where is it? Big Ridge is in Glenville, NC about 2.5 hours from our house in Midtown Atlanta. It’s about thirty minutes from Highlands, NC, just outside of the wonderful mountain town of Cashiers, and up the mountain from Lake Glenville (the highest elevation lake East of the Rockies).

Where do things stand now? We’re interviewing general contractors and tightening up the architecture. We’ll soon be underway with construction documents. My plan is to break ground in the Fall, recruit the management team while construction is under way, and complete construction in late 2020.

Most of the work that’s happening right now is on paper and in meetings and not much is happening on the property itself: The apple trees are dormant, the woods are quiet, the grass in the pasture stopped growing in November, and Big Ridge is spending a decent amount of the winter blanketed in snow, with turkey, deer, and an occasional bear leaving tracks here and there.

How can I learn more? I’ll share more here from time to time and will share a good bit more at We’ll also host a proper unveiling in Atlanta in a few months. In the meantime, I’d love to hear your reactions and will happily answer any questions, so please reach out.

P.S. Here are some pictures of the property, along with a few videos. This one is my favorite (volume up).