Your Home Away From Home

"When friends are at your hearthside met, Sweet courtesy has done its most If you have made each guest forget That he himself is not the host."

By Linda Feagler

Guest rooms at The Mount Vernon Inn are perfect for a relaxing and romantic getaway. All photos by Laura Watilo Blake, unless otherwise specified.
From the moment guests enter The Mount Vernon Inn, they’ll understand why Kathren Aryanata and her husband, Gede Anak Agung, love the quote by 19th-century poet Thomas Bailey Aldrich that’s inscribed on the Inn’s website.

Since 2014, the couple have been providing personalized hospitality to a host of guests, ranging from those seeking a bit of rest and relaxation in the generously appointed rooms and quiet, opulent garden, to hikers and cyclists wishing to commune with the great outdoors in Knox County’s scenic landscape.

The historic inn, whose main house dates back to the 1850s, has become a destination in itself. “We like to say that we offer the privacy of a hotel with the services of a bed-and-breakfast,” says Aryanata. “My husband and I worked in the hospitality industry for many years before we purchased the inn. Whether guests are with us for a work event, or connecting with family or just getting away, we make the extra effort to learn what they consider to be good service and provide it.”

Whether you’re in the mood for romantic couple time or reconnecting with family and friends, The Mount Vernon Inn has a thoroughly modern accommodation option tailormade for you. All guest rooms feature two double, one queen or one king bed and lead to the stunning central courtyard garden filled with nature’s seasonal wonders. Suites offer plenty of space for families, and a trio of cozy, onsite cottages boast three bedrooms, laundry rooms, full kitchens and small patios.

“The furnishings are modern, and the color palette — designed to exude calmness — ranges from neutral to purple and white to white and gray,” Aryanata says. “We’ve made the space an inviting one where our guests can come in, put their feet up and completely relax.”

Room amenities include free Wi-Fi, a full closet, a coffee maker, mini-fridge, microwave, iron and ironing board and a flat-screen TV. At day’s end, unwind with your choice of a complimentary glass of beer or wine accompanied by freshly baked cookies or brownies.

Top of the Morning

Start the day off deliciously with one of the inn’s complimentary cooked-to-order breakfasts in the sunny dining room. The irresistible omelets are made with fresh eggs local farmers deliver weekly, as well as tomatoes, onions and spinach grown in the inn’s garden.

A luscious option: French toast topped with maple syrup from Bonhomie Acres in nearby Fredericktown, a five-generation farm that’s been producing 100 percent, all-natural, preservative-free syrup for over a century. “We believe in using farm-to-table organic food, when possible,” Aryanata says.

Stop and Smell the Flowers

It’s easy to see why summer is Kathren’s favorite time of year in the garden. Peonies, roses and irises are in full bloom, and attract the cardinals that call the naturescape home. “We have quite a few perennials,” she says. “The idea is that when something loses its luster, something will grow in its place. Since guest rooms look out over the garden, it makes the space beautiful year-round.”

In the morning, sit outside in the gardens and watch birds peck at the bird feeders. Or opt for an evening stroll along the flowered paths after a day of adventuring. Enjoy a complimentary beer or glass of wine to help you relax. At any time of day, the gardens are the perfect place to unwind.

Outside in the gardens

Ask the Innkeeper

Kathren, who grew up in Mount Vernon, loves sharing the joys of her hometown with guests.

What do you love about your job?

I love the fact that every day is different, and I get to meet new people and do all the things I love. I get to bake, I get to garden, I get to talk — and I get to be on my feet running around.

What is your personal favorite breakfast item on the menu?

I love the veggie omelet with feta cheese.

Where should guests go for dinner?

A: We always ask them what they’re in the mood for. If they want to treat themselves, we usually send them to The Alcove. The restaurant, which has been a fine-dining option in the community for over 100 years, is known for their steaks.

Where is your favorite spot to spend an afternoon in Knox County?

Ariel-Foundation Park. I love it because there’s something there for everyone. The 250-acre park has big wide-open spaces where kids can run around. The park also has wonderful iron swings where you can sit, relax and look out over three beautiful lakes. If you want to do something more active, you can climb the 224 steps of the Rastin Observation Tower. Take in a panoramic view of Mount Vernon from 280 feet above the ground.

Out on the Town

Nature lovers will want to make a beeline for one of Knox County’s popular parks that attract visitors from near and far. The stunning 25-foot-high, picture-perfect waterfall is the focal point of Honey Run Highlands Park, where hikers and walkers of all skill levels enjoy traversing the trail leading from the waterfall to the Kokosing State Scenic River.

Make sure to stop along the way to admire the sandstone cliffs, along with the majestic Eastern hemlocks, partridgeberry, wild ginger and rue-anemone that grow naturally here.

Indianfield Bluffs, which features a picnic bench, grill and a 1.5-mile double loop of steep gradients and switchbacks for hiking, offers stunning views of the Kokosing River, especially in fall and spring when the deciduous trees are leafless. Kids of all ages will enjoy the magical Storybook Trail at Wolf Run Regional Park. A partnership between Knox County and the Public Library of Mount Vernon, the footpath features pages from beloved children’s books that can be read while walking with family and friends.

Create a fragrance that’s all your own or choose several you love at The Scent Life Candle Bar, known for their jar tapers in more than 90 scents, along with linen sprays, hand soaps and lotions and reed diffusers.

The Makery welcomes knitters and crocheters with a wide selection of hand-spun yarn, silk Japanese embellishment threads, fair trade fiber that provides jobs for women in India and Nepal and looms and loops. Visitors are welcome to work on their personal lap project in the emporium’s cozy craft lounge or hone their technique in workshops for all skill levels.

A bibliophile’s delight, Paragraphs Bookstore is the place to find the latest best seller, the classics you love and treasured stories from childhood.

Since 1969, the Wagoner family has crafted a variety of timeless styles at Down Home Leather, including purses, wallets, keyrings and hats.