I opened up the Asheville Citizen-Times home page and saw an old friend.
George Fain and his wife, Becky, returned to Western North Carolina, eight years ago and bought a 7,500-square-foot house built in 1907 by a one-armed Civil War veteran and turned it into Iris Meadows, a bed and breakfast. The inn is featured as the Citizen-Times’s home of the week.
“The three-story Greek Revival house was built about 1907 for The Rev. J. Arnold, a one-armed veteran of the Civil War and, reputedly, a great orator,” the Asheville paper reported. “Eva Barber, of Waynesville’s Barber Orchards fame, bought the house about 1918. The Barbers lived there until the 1980s and even now come to stay with the Fains, sometimes taking them on tours of the house to tell them what happened where.”
Here’s a link to the story.
More interesting to me, and omitted in the story, is George Fain’s Hendersonville connection. He was the last Fain to run the Times-News, although, as he reminded me when I called him today, not the last Fain to work there. The last Fain was Kelly Fain, who I hired as a copy editor several years ago when I was editor at the T-N. Kelly’s the daughter of Robert Fain, an Episcopal priest in Augusta, Ga., and one of three sons of Jimmy Fain. (The others are Mike Fain and James T. Fain III, a former banker who served as state Commerce secretary in the Easley administration. They’re all George’s first cousins.)
George’s grandfather, James T. Fain Sr., started the Times-News in 1926. James T. “Jimmy” Fain Jr. followed his father as publisher. When the New York Times bought the newspaper in 1974, it named George Fain publisher.
“I came to work there in 1968 after I got out of the service,” he said. He served as publisher for six years, leaving in 1980, and from there ran newspapers in Lumberton, Petersburg, Va., and Tarboro.
George told me that occupancy is ramping up with the start of the high season here in the mountains. “In the winter we sit around and look at each other,” he said. “We’re busy this weekend with Memorial Day and all that stuff. I’ve got one room left if anyone wants it.”
George says he hopes to be back in town next weekend for the celebration of 40th season of the Hendersonville Symphony Orchestra. He was in the trumpet section when the HSO was formed.
Check out the inn’s website: http://irismeadows.com/
I’ve been to George and Becky’s inn and I can tell you it’s nice. Its coolest feature for my money is the porch, which offers a panoramic view of the town of Waynesville down below. Best of luck, old friend, and congratulations on the honor of Home of the Week.
Come see us.