By Bob Chalker
During the last week in October, Kim and I had the pleasure of spending several nights at the Grove Park Inn in Asheville, NC. I was there for business and Kim came along to enjoy the changing color of the leaves, great shopping, and the company of several of my colleagues and their spouses. We also enjoyed a couple pints at a few of the over 100 breweries in the area. The Grove Park Inn, built in 1913 in the arts and craft style, is an incredible lodge located on pristine grounds with breathtaking mountain vistas.
The Grove Park Inn, Asheville, N.C.
A highlight of the trip was visiting the automobile museum at historic Grovewood Village, located on the hotel grounds. Grovewood Village is a small collection of buildings that have been preserved to celebrate the history of the area. Along with the automobile museum there is an art gallery, gift shop from local artisans, and the Biltmore Industries Homespun Museum of weaving and woodworking factories established in 1901.
Grovewood Village Car Museum
The antique car museum was established in 1966 by Harry Blomberg, Asheville’s Cadillac-Pontiac dealer for more than 50 years, and houses his personal prized collection of antique and vintage automobiles. As you might suspect, this museum is a tribute to the American automobile that includes a 1957 Cadillac Eldorado Brougham, a 1916 Willys Overland Touring car, a 1927 REO Flying Cloud, and a 1940 Packard Coupe along with many more rare and unique American made cars.
1959 Edsel Corsair
But there was one exception. The only non-American car in the collection is a 1950 MG TD roadster proudly on display in the very front of the museum. Like all the cars in the museum, the TD is unrestored but in excellent condition. In fact, the attendant at the museum told us that all of the cars are kept in running condition and are periodically driven.
MG TD leading the pack
1950 MG TD
1950 MG TD Interior
As I stood there admiring this beautiful car, I imagined myself driving it up the Grove Park Inn’s long driveway on a crisp fall day with the smell of freshly fallen leaves mixing with the aroma from the inn’s kitchen in the air. The Grove Park Inn is a historic gem built from massive granite stones quarried from the local mountainsides. As we explored the hallways we came across a collection of paintings depicting the cars in the museum. I couldn’t resist snapping a photo of the MG TD painting. We couldn’t afford to buy it, so we will settle with a photo on my phone.
If you are ever in the Asheville area, the Grove Park Inn and the Grovewood museums are a worthy destination.
1926 Cadillac Sedan
1922 American laFrance Fire Truck