In 1994, when “The Cashiers Area, Yesterday, Today, and Forever” was published, the section entitled “Sapphire Valley Resort” borrowed most of its prose from a column written in the Asheville Citizen Times by John Parris.
That entire column was printed on the back of the Circa 1915 menu of The Mountain Porch at the Fairfield Inn and some of the interesting items that were left out of “The Cashiers Area” follow:
“Three-story Fairfield Inn had 57 high-ceiling guest rooms, a breezy veranda with dozens of rocking chairs, a kitchen that served excellent food – including mountain trout – and a relaxed atmosphere, all contained in an architectural achievement reminiscent of a Swiss Alpine lodge. Fairfield Inn was a tribute to persistence and skill. Persistence because that’s what it took for the Toxaway Company to haul building materials and equipment by wagon over a dozen miles of roads that were muddy and bumpy at best, and skill because the inn stands today as an outstanding example of the work of artisans of that day.”
Fairfield Inn opened its doors to guests in 1896 when Grover Cleveland was President of the United States, Queen Victoria sat on the throne of England, James “Gentleman Jim” Corbett was the heavyweight boxing champion, Mark Twain was America’s most popular writer, the song of the year was “There’ll Be a Hot Time in the Old Town Tonight,” and the Klondike Gold Rush was on.
Rates were $5 a day and included three meals. The inn’s dining room was called “The Mountain Porch at the Fairfield Inn.” The menu said “In the tradition of fine resort inns, we have created a menu that brings you back to the turn of the century. We take pride in using only fresh ingredients. All of our vegetables, breads, soups, salad dressings, desserts and sauces are prepared from original recipes compiled by our Fairfield culinary team.”
A sample of the entrees offered were: Pan Fried Chicken, Sugar Cured Virginia Ham, Fresh Mountain Trout (boned, breaded and sautéed in butter), N. Y Strip Steak and each evening a Chef’s Special was available. The most expensive item on the menu cost $12.95.
Contributed by Jane Gibson Nardy, Historian, Cashiers Historical Society