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More than a balanced breakfast: a holistic take on the B&B.

Standing on a grassy knoll looking out across the surrounding green mountains of Buncombe County, North Carolina, I'm suddenly overcome with an intense urge to fling my arms wide and careen down the mowed pathway Sound of Music style. Kitschy, I know, but the unspoiled landscape of the Hawk & Ivy Bed and Breakfast inspires me with romantic imaginings--an inclination not missed by owners Eve and James Davis.

The Atlanta-transplant couple is a creative super team, boasting building, baking, gardening, decorating and countless other skills between them ... not least of all wedding planning.

Saying I Do

"We're the wedding place," Eve tells me in the spacious kitchen where guests are served sumptuous breakfasts while watching some thirty species of birds flutter about the voluptuous gardens. "We focus on creating a sacred space"

But more than just creating a space--and I'll get to that in a minute-the Davises handle every detail of the nuptials, from rooms, food, flowers, the reception in their refurbished tobacco barn, and even the ceremony. James is an ordained minister who offers nondenominational ceremonies running the gamut from Wiccan and Native American to traditional.

"When we looked at this house, we thought 'We could do weddings" Eve remembers of the couple's first foray into Barnardsville more than a decade ago. They purchased the property, made the move, and threw open the doors of their B&B almost immediately. ("It was leaf season, we had to;" James laughs.)

"After the first couple years, it started taking off," Eve continues. "So we said, 'God, we get it. This is what we're supposed to do."

But there's much more to the Hawk & Ivy than wedding bells. In fact, both Eve and James are quick to point out that their place is first and foremost a bed and breakfast for people looking for a getaway. They also offer personal retreats and can accommodate themed retreats by request.

A Nice Place to Visit--And You'll Probably Want to Live There

"One of the things we feel so strongly about and have lived all our lives is following dreams," Eve imparts. "It has to do with what you love to do-and being guided" She hopes to teach workshops on manifesting dreams in the future.

For now, the Davises' creative and holistic approach can be felt in every aspect of the place. Breakfast treats are often embellished with herbs and berries from Eve's gardens. Food served in the couple's newly completed kitchen (James built it) is organic and uses natural ingredients like spelt and Sucanat[TM]. Eggs come from a neighbor's free-range chickens. Meals are often vegetarian; vegan and other dietary needs can be accommodated.

"Some people are freaked out when they find out we're organic; they think brown rice and tofu," Eve muses. Far from it; think vanilla orange waffles, herb parmesan scrambled eggs (herbs from the garden), fresh asparagus omelets (asparagus grows just outside the kitchen), or the raspberry coffee cake topped with almond meal that Eve offers to me, along with a cup of organic coffee.

About creating space: every inch of the 24 acres--even those not cultivated--is treated with love and deliberation. Instead of razing the antique tobacco-drying barn, the Davises turned it into a reception area with bathrooms and spacious decks. Wild roses clamber up tulip poplars and pink roses grow around a hollow stump. A meadow is left to its own devices, turning out daisies, buttercups, and wild strawberries. When a wild turkey struts through this effusion, Eve enthuses, "They're a sign of earth's blessing"

Equanimity ... and Fine Linens

Wandering the ground of the Hawk & Ivy is a bit like a trip through the secret garden; an experience both so earthy and fantasy-imbibed it warrants mention.

At first glance, the house--set just off the main road through town-is modest, though dotingly landscaped. Inside, it offers all the creature comforts of any well-tended home. It's filled with interesting heirlooms. A writing desk James' grandfather carried during the Civil War; paintings gifted by a friend who owned a gallery; an ornate chair from Eve's Charleston roots.

Outside, past the workshop, there's a cottage with two stories, both available to guests. Both offer living rooms and full kitchens (including fresh ground coffee, a stash of tea, condiments, and nice dishes). The upper level is an intimate, yet airy space with crisp linens, turned bedposts and a deck overlooking the pond and gazebo (rooms range $100-140 per night).

Gazing over green space toward mountain views, it's easy to understand why the Davises call their place a holistic establishment. More than a bed and a hot cup of coffee, they offer comfort and serenity. Pick berries, spy on birds, gaze at a rainbow of blossoms, kick back on the porch and scribble in a journal. Sure, organic nourishment is good (they also clean with nontoxic supplies and air-dry the sheets), but feeding the spirit is what a retreat is all about.

For more information, visit the Hawk & Ivy at or call 888-395-7294.
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Title Annotation:B&B
Author:Marshall, Alli
Publication:New Life Journal
Geographic Code:1U5NC
Date:Jul 1, 2005
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