Saturday, April 24, 2010

Bluegrass Legacy and the Mast Farm Inn

The Mast Farm Inn
At first glance combining a high end country inn with bluegrass music in the heart of the Blue Ridge might seem to be a strange combination.  Actually, under the deft hand of Henri Deschamps, owner of the Inn, and his family, it's a marriage made in heaven.  Irene and I had the pleasure to visit The Mast Farm Inn, spend a few hours with Henri talking about his Bluegrass Legacy project, and attend a small unplugged concert by The Dixie Bee Liners a few days ago.  We discovered a place where luxurious accommodations, gourmet meals, quiet country life, and ocasional bluegrass concerts, combine to offer a magic resource for travelers and local friends to mingle and enjoy each others' company and fine music.

Henri Deschamps

Henri Deschamps was born in Haiti and lived most of his early life in Florida, attending schools there and in Boston.  As a young adult he moved first to Haiti and then to France, where his business career encompassed  textbook publishing and web-site development providing an ideal background for his current bluegrass projects.  Owning and operating a country inn appears to have given him and his family a focus to effectively utilize his wife's Cordon Bleu training as well as consolidate the skills and efforts of his close knit family. Together they have created a magical environment for visitors within a few miles of the Blue Ridge Parkway near Boone and Blowing Rock in Valle Crucis, NC.

The Mast Farm Inn and Organic Gardens


In addition to rooms in the main building, several nineteenth century farm outbuildings have been painstakingly restored and decorated to give the appearance of being rustic houses while providing comfortable, temperature controlled luxury spaces for couples or families.  The Mast Farm Inn provides guests with a respite from television and the Internet, while remaining close to the many major attractions found along the Blue Ridge Parkway. While it is located well off the beaten track, reservations are essential at the Inn. 

The Bluegrass Legacy

The Bluegrass Legacy began as a project Henri developed in order to broaden his education about bluegrass music.  Located on Facebook, it has morphed into a hugely popular side that serves to promote bluegrass bands, organizations, events, record labels, agents, and all things bluegrass.  Currently, it has about 13,500 fans and is continuing to grow.  Recently, it has sponsored a People's Choice Awards contest (Grand Prize for the winning voter, chosen by lot - a three day stay at the Mast Farm Inn. There were over 22,000 votes cast.  Henri says he doubts The Bluegrass Legacy will bring guests to the Inn, but the concerts held there may introduce some new fans to the music.  Meanwhile, the project provides a vast store of information about bluegrass music to interested Facebook  fans.

The Dixie Bee-Liners at the Mast Farm Inn

Bluegrass concerts are offered from time-to-time at the Inn.  Seats normally sell out and cost $25.00 with all proceeds going to the band appearing.  The Mast Farm Inn provides a light dessert, wine, and soft drinks. The concerts are held in the warm and lovely dining room, which holds about 37 people for concerts.  The Dixie Bee-Liners draw from a vast array of bluegrass, folk, rock, country, and gospel roots to create an unusual blend of traditional and contemporary sounds.  Their current CD, Susanville, is a concept album about "journeys and destinations" according to founding member Brandi Hart.  The songs are often written from the point of view of the vehicle.  Buddy Woodward, the other founding member of the band, which has represented Virginia's Crooked Road for several years, says Susanville "is a sound track for a movie in your mind."  The Bee-Liners bring a fusion sound based solidly in traditional bluegrass music to the fore.

Brandi Hart

Buddy Woodward
Rachel Renee Johnson

Casey Henry

Sav Sankaran

Supper Together Before the Show

Marie Deschamps in the Kitchen

Some of the Guests

Jason Burleson (Blue Highway) and Henri

Brandi and Renee
Casey and Renee

Sauces from the Inn Store
The Mast Farm Inn is worth a visit for its charm, the food, and the music.  If you can afford even a short stay there, you should call and make a reservation.  If not, visit the Bluegrass Legacy and become acquainted with the world of bluegrass music Henri Deschamps is opening for the rest of us through his exploration and curiosity.  If you get a chance to see and hear the Dixie Bee-Liners along the music trail, be sure to do so.

Henri Deschamps
Finding The Mast Farm Inn