Article in "Our State" Magazine
When you think of traveling through the Blue Ridge Mountains near Asheville, you have a classic image in mind. Of winding roads, and hidden hiking trails, littered with crisp, golden leaves, and a beautiful calmness in the air. Like the mountains themselves, the idea of traveling through them is a sort of timeless sensation, with roadside attractions and lodging bearing an antique look to match. Just off the beaten paths of Asheville, you’ll find one of these classic places to stay. The Log Cabin Motor Court has been an institution in North Carolina since 1917, and more than 100 years later, continues to be the preferred place to stay for travelers from all over the state and the country.
THE HISTORY OF THE CABINS
It was just after the turn of the 20th century when Audrey and Zeb Foster found a shaded grove of pine trees just outside of Asheville. They were captivated by the area’s natural beauty and knew that others would be too. Travelers heading to Tennessee would happen across the Foster property and ask to pitch their tents there to rest. A traveler remarked that the site would make a fine campground, and so the Fosters made one, soon putting up a set of seven pine, cement, and saddle-notch cabins.
The cabins proved to be popular, especially in the post-WWII era, when American families had cars, free time, and money to spare. By the 1970s, the Foster’s Log Cabin Court was one of more than 70 similar campgrounds, catering to the families that wanted a taste for a more classic style of lodging. But as the highway network improved and larger cities become more connected, many travelers chose instead to stay in hotels in the city, and rustic log cabin campgrounds were demolished in droves. However, the Foster’s Log Cabin Court remained, thanks in part, to its family of dedicated lodgers who chose to return to the shaded spot year after year.
In 1986, the court was renamed The Log Cabin Motor Court. Its key feature, of course, was the set of 18 cabins, that all exuded that classic rustic revivalist style and charm.
THE MALTRY FAMILY STORY
John Maltry grew up living in that classic vision of rustic travel through the Blue Mountains. John remembers washing dishes at his parents restaurant in west Asheville and gazing at a set of rustic cabins. When they were torn down, John realized that more than just a place to stay was lost. A way of life, a way of travel, and an iconic moment in time were lost.
After working for an international health-care corporation for more than 20 years, John and Maria realized that there was more to life than just crunching numbers and business suits. In 2002, the pair purchased the Log Cabin Motor Court and quickly found that they were doing more than just running a lodge. Indeed, they found themselves serving as preservationists, ambassadors to a more simple time of relaxation and play.
Today, the cabins are a regional favorite, and they have many returning customers, who rent the same cabin at the same time every year or use it as their go-to place to host family reunions. While the cabins still have their rustic appearance, the Maltrys have brought a modern touch to their cabins, with online booking systems, social media pages, and even a few flat-screen TBs. However, bringing cabins into the 21st century while still retaining the character and appearance is what makes the Log Cabin Motor Court so endearing and enduring.
THE CABINS NATIONAL REGISTER OF HISTORIC PLACES NOMINATION
Part of maintaining that historic feeling was to get the cabins nominated to the National Register of Historic Places. The court now proudly bears this title, but it was a labor of love and hard work. The nomination process is extensive and more than a little complex. A complete history of the cabins and the court had to be written, as well as a statement of significance. Historians had to scrutinize each structure to make sure it was maintained in its original design as closely as possible. Finally, the North Carolina State Historic Preservation Officer had to review the nomination and decide if the court was truly worthy of recognition on the NRHP.
The Maltrys diligently worked through all of these steps, and in May of 2017, were rewarded with a nomination to the NRHP. In keeping with their commitment to the historic nature of the cabins, they carry our all of their updates and renovations in a historically sympathetic manner, using the same kind of materials that the Fosters would have when they put up the first cabin in 1931. The result is a series of quaint cabins, utterly captured in a singular moment in time, allowing for travelers to enjoy the same classic experience that their parents or even grandparents would have decades ago.
BOOK A STAY AT THE LOG CABIN MOTOR COURT TODAY
The Log Cabin Motor Court is committed to the memory of that classic way of traveling and lodging, and now you can make your own memories with us. You can book your stay with us online, and enjoy our rustic cabins today. You can, of course, contact us to learn more about our accommodations.
If you would like to learn more about our story, we were proudly featured in an article published in Our State. The article does a wonderful job of detailing our work, our cabins, and the history of the Log Cabin Motor Court.