Nestled in Dandridge, TN and on Douglas Lake, Mountain Harbor Inn can provide the quiet getaway you desire.
This B&B has a variety of reviews on Trip Advisor, and I would agree with the more positive reviews. What we like most is the value-price correlation–they run specials fairly consistently. Last summer (2012) cost us approximately $125/night, but we received an invitation to return with a discount of $99/night. With our room, there is included morning Continental breakfast, evening boat ride, dessert, and s’mores.
Mountain Harbor Inn has a variety of suites, two condos and one cabin. The suites are located in a three-story building facing the lake, while the condos are on the third story above the main building which also houses the kitchen, office, parlor and dining room. The condos also have a side-entrance away from the other suites. Their cabin is on the other side of the suites and a few minutes walk from the main building.
Garden Terrace Suites are on the base floor and walk out onto bottom deck, while all the other suites are street-level and above. One should note that the street-level suites have two entrances (from the street and balcony), but also that the main road is about 20 feet to the door. Comments on Trip Advisor show complaints that vehicles traveling on Hwy 139 can easily be heard inside the two top floors. Both our stays were in the Rose Suite, which is a Garden Terrace Suite next to the stairs. However, during our first stay our last night was spent in the Plantation Suite (street level). The commotion* from above the Rose Suite was so awful (Mr. slept 4 hours), we complained. We were kindly moved upstairs and given a $25 gift certificate for the inconvenience, which we used on our return trip.
That being said, the Rose Suite suited our needs. It has a large king-sized bed, a decent flatscreen TV, a large kitchenette with the only full-sized refrigerator and a bath with a shower. We did notice some odd smells on our second trip, but they quickly dissipated. Cons–the walls are thin. Very thin. So thin we can hear the Jacuzzi and the toilet flushing next door. Luckily, during both visits to this suite our neighbors have not been night owls or terribly loud.
The Plantation Suite is one of the smaller suites (as stated on their site), but we only found that to be the case in terms of space around the front of the bed. Included is a queen-sized bed, flatscreen TV, mini-fridge and a tub with a shower. For our one night, neither of us found the traffic outside to be a problem. From what I understand, you can request ear plugs from the office to alleviate this if you are light sleeper. We had more of an issue with our neighbors, who sat and smoked on the balcony outside our door; but after kindly requesting them to keep it down, sound wasn’t a problem.
Breakfast is fairly basic with hot items including scrambled eggs, bacon, cooked apples, potatoes, biscuits and gravy. Cereal, bagels, fruit and oatmeal are provided, along with OJ, chilled water, milk, coffee and tea.
In the summer, their boat ride begins around 5 pm. If you check in before then, they’ll ask if you are interested, otherwise you must make sure they know you want to go. Our first experience found us alone with their driver, which is was nice and intimate. I was able to stretch out on the pontoon boat and get some rays while he drove us over to a lake owner’s version of a pirate boat. On our second trip, we had so many people we took two boats. With 8 people per boat, it wasn’t too crowded and we got to meet some of the other guests. The trip generally took about an hour, with the owner piloting the boat, he showed us Kenny Chesney’s lake house and meandered into a cove where we watched a man mow his grass via remote control.
Candlelight dessert is between 6 and 8 pm. and the selection was chocolate crunch cake, lemon crunch cake, cheesecake, and their famous brownie and ice cream. We’ve tried them all–yummy! If you are unable to make it to the Inn on time, as a courtesy they’ll put dessert in your room’s fridge (at your request). That service applies to all but the brownie.
Upon request, S’mores can be provided for you to make on the deck’s firepit. It being summer, we’ve never seen anyone do this. However, we did turn on the firepit when it got a little chilly (FYI: doesn’t really provide a lot of heat).
The Inn also has its own marina where a variety of boats, jet skis, and non-motored vehicles can be rented on an hourly basis. I was meaning to try a kayak out (I only wish they had paddle boards!), but I never got around to it.
Generally speaking, guests may encounter several personnel. I highly recommend calling to make a reservation, all emails I’ve sent have never received replies. Billy Inmon is the owner and he can frequently be found in the main building or at the dock. He is relatively congenial (though I’ve read comments from guests startled at his outspoken mannerisms) and pleasant. As our captain, he had a lot to say about the history of the area. In the main building, we regularly saw Pam and Lisa in both the office and the dining room. Lisa is a soft-hearted gem.
In the long run, we like Mountain Harbor Inn because it’s away from home, but not in the middle of the congestion that occupies much of Gatlinburg, Pigeon Forge, and Sevierville. It’s a bit out of the way, but we can get to each of those places easily via backroads. However, don’t be deceived, it’s not a fancy five star hotel, but it provides a lot of comfort and quiet without paying a lot for a cabin.
For more on our travels in this area, go here.