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The Red Horse Inn in Landrum is South Carolina’s best romantic getaway

The Red Horse Inn in Landrum is South Carolina’s best romantic getaway
The Red Horse Inn in Landrum is South Carolina’s best romantic getaway

It’s known as one of the most romantic getaways in South Carolina and it has the accolades to prove it.

Designed with privacy in mind, The Red Horse Inn in Landrum is a scenic sanctuary with six guest rooms in the inn and six cottages scattered throughout 192 acres of rolling hills and postcard views of the Blue Ridge Mountains.

Since welcoming its first guests in 1996, The Red Horse Inn has been named “One of America’s Most Romantic Inns” by Travel & Leisure, “Best Honeymoon or Anniversary Getaway” by BedAndBreakfast.com, and “Top 25 Undiscovered Incredibly Romantic Inns” by WhereToElope.com. It won Trip Advisor’s Certificate of Excellence Award from 2013 through 2016 and has received AAA’s Four Diamond Award every year since 2006.

“It seems like every few weeks we hear about another accolade that The Red Horse Inn has gotten from TripAdvisor or Yahoo or a travel magazine,” said Tim Todd, Executive Director of Upcountry SC, the tourism organization that promotes Anderson, Oconee, Pickens, Greenville, Spartanburg and Cherokee counties.

“Just a few weeks ago, we had some travel writers from Miami that stayed here for a few days,” Todd said. “A few years ago, if we had travel writers come in, they were probably from Atlanta. But these were some that South Carolina might not have even been on their radar, but now it is.”

The story of The Red Horse Inn began on June 1, 1995 when Roger Wolters gave his wife, Mary, a bulldozer and a strand of pearls for their anniversary. The Wolters began clearing the land they had purchased just a few miles from downtown Landrum and with the help of their two sons, Christian and Ben, built the property’s first cottages.

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With feedback from their guests, the Wolters carefully designed and constructed four more cottages and the inn. The sons moved away to attend college. Christian went on to grad school, then to jobs at Wild Dunes Resort in Isle of Palms, SC and the world-class Stowe Mountain Lodge in Stowe, VT. But he returned home in 2016 to help with the family business and became the youngest innkeeper in South Carolina.

“I was in corporate and that’s the direction I wanted to go as opposed to a little family business,” Wolters said. “Obviously since then, my perspective has changed quite a bit.”

When COVID hit, for example, Wolters was able to make immediate changes to his operations without having to gain outside approvals. He immediately closed two rooms in the inn that are across the hall from one another and switched to self-check-in and check-out to avoid unnecessary contact.

And while the coronavirus pandemic has wreaked havoc on hotel occupancy rates, there has been increased interest in visiting places like The Red Horse Inn where social distancing is more achievable, according to Upcountry SC’s Todd.

With 10 miles of walking and hiking trails, a grand terrace for wine sipping and leaf peeping, and accommodations spread across almost 200 acres, business at The Red Horse Inn has stayed steady during 2020.

“All of our accommodations are unique in the typical bed and breakfast style, but we’re not a typical bed and breakfast in that we offer a breakfast basket rather than a communal breakfast,” Wolters said.

Cottages at The Red Horse Inn have their own unique features, some with outdoor hot tubs and all with fireplaces. Guest rooms in the inn have private entrances and balconies, and a vine-draped arbor patio and flora-filled courtyard complete the scene.

Guests also can enjoy interacting with the property’s three horses: a buckskin named Secret who is a direct descendant of Triple Crown winner Secretariat; a red horse named Indian; and a miniature horse named Winston. To make The Red Horse Inn more furry-friendly, Wolters recently purchased two alpacas from OnAgain OffAgain Farm in Spartanburg, naming them Champagne and Waffles.

But you don’t have to be a guest at The Red Horse Inn to relax and enjoy the sweeping mountain views from the grand terrace. The public is welcome to enjoy wine, cheese and music on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays from 4 p.m. until 9 p.m.

Whether staying overnight or making an evening visit, Wolters wants those who experience The Red Horse Inn to have reconnected, relaxed and rejuvenated.

“I want them to put down their phones, put down their iPads and disconnect from everything outside this little bubble.”

For more information on The Red Horse Inn, visit theredhorseinn.com.

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