Mast Farm Inn White Flower Graphic
Old black and white photo of The Mast Farm Inn

About the Inn

A Snapshot History of The Mast Farm Inn

“So Much More… The world renowned Mast Farm Inn of Valle Crucis is nothing short of a handcrafted masterpiece of North Carolina Folk Art”. ~ Emma Johnson 1792 Joseph Mast walks from Pennsylvania and settles much of the land that is now Valle Crucis, North Carolina. In 1810 Joseph Mast’s son David, builds the two-room log cabin which now sits facing the main house at the Mast Farm Inn. Three generations reside in this cabin, and like most of the Valle Crucis residents, the Masts raise corn, grain, sheep, cattle, and food for the family. Now called the Loom House, this original cabin is widely believed to be the oldest habitable log cabin in the state of North Carolina. 1880 David’s son Andrew begins building the main farm house and Andrew’s son, D. Finley Mast, completes it in 1896. In 1900 – Finley and his wife, Josephine, also known as Aunt Josie, begin to make more additions to the house, and begin to operate the property full-time as both a farm and inn. Over the next 20 years, five different symmetrical additions are completed, ultimately comprising thirteen bedrooms and one bathroom. 1913 When President Woodrow Wilson’s daughter, Jessie, is to be married, Josephine Mast gathers neighbors to help weave spreads and rugs for Jessie’s room in the White House. The president’s family is so impressed by the work they redecorate the room around the weavings. Some of Josephine’s weavings are in the Smithsonian. Josephine used the “Loom House” to make all of her weavings and was very well known for her outstanding work.

1919 The Masts had by now built 16 different buildings as part of the old mountain farmstead all of whom have survived to this day. Most of the buildings in the meadow were used for livestock, storing hay, and grain and for tobacco curing. Finley and Josephine Mast have two sons, Joe, the son who stayed on the farm, is blind by the time he is a young adult. Joe would attach string between the buildings in order to find his way around the farm. Later, with typical mountain ingenuity, he abandoned the strings and created his own personal system for getting from place to place on the farm. 1950 Joseph Mast and his wife Edna run the inn until the 1950’s. The main house is often so full that Joe sleeps upstairs in the loom house to make room for guests. After Edna passes and Joe becomes ill, Edna’s maid Nell, and neighbors, The Yates Family, help take care of Joe. In 1964 Joe Mast moves out of the main house and passes away in 1969. Joe and Edna did not have any children and no one in the family steps in to carry on the tradition of the inn. The Inn closes to the public and stays furnished but closed for the next 20 years. 1972 The United States Department of the Interior evaluates the property. The departments’ representative writes “The numerous buildings that make up the Mast Farm, each expressive of its function, represent vividly the wide variety of operations necessary to a self-sustaining farm complex. The weaving house is particularly interesting, both because “it is an example of log construction which reached its finest development in North Carolina,” and because it was the original dwelling around which the farm grew up. With this building as a nucleus, the farm illustrates the progression of an enterprising pioneer family from this rude early house on a small homestead to a larger, more comfortable house, the seat of much larger land holdings. This complex includes one of the most complete and best preserved groups of nineteenth-century farm buildings in western North Carolina.” The farm is placed on the National Register of Historic Places at that time. In 1980 The Paul Lackey family buys the property from Joe’s heirs and begins renovations to re-open the Inn, but are unable to properly renovate and repair the hand-crafted over two centuries old property. 1984 The Lackeys sell the inn to Francis and Sibyl Pressley who rescue the old homestead. They first renovate and move into the Loom house, then begin the painstaking process of renovating the main house, and other buildings using traditional mountain construction craftsmen. In 1985 the Pressley’s re-open the inn; first the main house to guests and later renovated the granary, blacksmith shop, and the woodwork shop. Years of meticulous work result in the facility today which earns the Gertrude S. Carraway Award of Merit from the Historic Preservation Foundation of North Carolina. The Pressley’s serve family style food, with one meal on the menu each evening. In 1996, Francis and Sibyl Pressley retire as innkeepers and sell the inn to the Schoenfeldt family which carry the Mast’s tradition of hospitality into another century and introduce fine dining. Over the next 10 years they enhance the Inn, meet the high-standards, and criteria required to become a Select Registry Inn. 2006 On January 31st, The Schoenfeldt’s retire and sell the inn to the Deschamps family. On February 1, 2006 the Deschamps purchase and assume management of The Mast Farm Inn. They relocate full-time to the Valle Crucis community en-masse; nine members of the family move to Valle Crucis after having lived in Paris, London, Switzerland, Manhattan, Petionville, Laboule, Coconut Grove, and North Carolina. In April 2006, they began extensive and in-depth restorations, renovations, and improvements. Since 2006, The Deschamps family have continuously invested, restored, renovated, and enhanced the modest rural estate, grounds, micro-farm, inn, rooms, cottages, barn, and added new special event capabilities as well as new cottages. 2021 The era of covid begins and while shooting around ideas with Andy from Over Yonder, Melody Pineda learns about the Deschamps interest in selling.  Melody calls Shay Frendt, a real estate client of hers, and they meet Danielle Deschamps at the inn. It was a match. Melody and Shay loved Danielle and she called her family to say, “they’re the ones.” The Deschamps had a preference in selling local, Melody already lived down the street (literally) and was raised in Boone. Shay had a second home in Valle Crucis and spent his weekends in the mountains. Shay and Melody are the first professional partners to operate the inn, but Melody’s lifetime in Watauga County ensures that family styled hospitality and literal family are still a large part of the inn. Their partnership also highlights the possibility when locals and visitors unit in creating one community – hence their steps to widen the doors to the inn by opening to public breakfast, social hours, and public events. The future is bright. See you in it. 

The Garden

A gorgeous array of flowers and herbs
Flowers in bloom in front of the barn
Gardens in front of The Mast Farm Inn
Flowers blooming in the garden

A delightful spot to pause for a few moments or hours

Located across the lane from the principal farmhouse, our main garden near the barn is a delightful spot to pause for a few moments or hours. The grounds are at peak from June through September. Typical annual and perennial plantings include significant collections of multi-colored Lupines, Dahlias, Zinnias, Calendula, Lilies, Tulips, Snapdragons, Hollyhock, Sunflowers, Cosmos, Poppy, Nasturtium, Daisies, and Zinnias. These attract a mesmerizing population of butterflies and birds. We also grow an array of Roses, as well garden herbs for our kitchen.

New Summer Offerings!

Weekend tea parties! Beer Garden! Heavy Tavern Menu! Sauna! Special Dinners!

Learn More