Turning Horse Shows into Vacations with Tryon Retreats

I think I received my first, “Can you recommend a place to stay?” e-mail before I ever even stepped foot on the Tryon show grounds for the first time this past spring. With significant interest in the summer series that just concluded, four new dates added in August, and an AA-rated fall series, I have received a lot of questions from riders and their families ready to make plans. Tryon International Equestrian Center is in the process of building a beautiful resort on the property, but until its completion there are limited accommodations available, especially during the popular summer and fall series. And with the summer show season up and down the east coast in full swing, which can mean weeks and months at a time spent on the road (I’m personally going on Week 4), I’m a firm believer that accommodations while traveling should feel as much like home as possible after a long show day, and as much like a vacation as possible on every off day. One way to experience luxury and feel like you are truly having a vacation in the mountains on your next trip to TIEC is through a fantastic local company called Tryon Retreats.

Tryon Retreats is an independent company that manages vacation rentals within a 30 minute radius of the Equestrian Center, but not on the show grounds themselves. What drew me to Tryon Retreats initially was that it offered all the benefits of vacation rentals: privacy, space and stunning locations with the high standards you would find at a five-star hotel. You don’t have to worry about if the rentals are well-reviewed, well-equipped, or clean like you would if you were trying to find an independent listing–they are all meticulously vetted and managed by one company. They even offer concierge and catering services with their properties, and the service is impeccable. Their concierge services allow you to enjoy your time to the fullest with family, while showing at TIEC, and while exploring the area, and includes amenities such as grocery delivery, private chefs, in home massages, dry cleaning, housekeeping during your stay and more. If you’re new to the area (and a lot/most of us are), Tryon Retreats can also set you up with event tickets, recommendations on things to do and places to eat, and even arrange for car service. If you’re traveling with a group or want to have a special get together for the whole barn, they can plan and personally cater an in-home event, whether a casual barbecue after a fun show weekend or an elegant cocktail party to celebrate a special occasion with friends you may only get to see during the show season.

I had the pleasure of staying at the beautiful “Hawk’s View” rental in Columbus, a short drive away from the Equestrian Center, and wanted to share some pictures of the place and my experience.

Arrival at Hawk’s View! The house sits literally on top of White Oak Mountain and this is the view from the driveway, which is amazing. It takes a little longer driving up the mountain than it does driving down, but I was easily on the show grounds within 15-20 minutes each morning.

Around the left side of the house, here’s a peek at the upper and lower decks.

After walking back and forth outside of the house to scope out the views and texting a few excited photos to my family, it was time to walk through the front door and move in to my new home for the week!

When you spend 12+ hours at a horse show, it’s really nice to come home to a beautiful, full size kitchen. Even though my schedule generally forces me to eat on the go most of the time, it was such a treat to have this space to make a homemade meal a couple times during the week, whether early in the morning before leaving or late at night while working.

And let’s talk again about the concierge-like services. They left fresh flowers all over the house, and a little wine and chocolate as a “house-warming” gift! There were also scones and muffins from Fresh Market (one of my faves), milk, and yogurt since I got in late and they wanted to make sure I didn’t have to immediately go out and get breakfast the following morning. Instead I spent the morning eating the scones on the deck and taking in the view. So thoughtful. They also included a personal letter with recommendations of a variety of places to go out to eat in the area.

View of the living room as you walk in through the front door.

Another view of the living room as you walk in the doors off of the main deck.

String lights and horses!

My favorite part of the whole house: the main deck.

That view though.

More of the main deck. There was plentiful seating with adirondack chairs and then this covered area with cozy couches and seats. It feels like a place that the whole barn could congregate after a busy show weekend.

I woke up early every morning just to sit and enjoy this spot before heading off to a day at the show.

Another view of the adirondack chairs. There were also citronella candles conveniently all over in case you are prone to getting bitten. I didn’t have any issues with bugs when I sat out here every evening until the sun went down, but the candles are the kind of thoughtful touch you’d expect from a five-star hotel.

There were all kinds of nice details around the house, like this pair of binoculars for taking a closer look at the dramatic views from both decks.

Ahhh.. HOME. (For the week at least.)

I was happy to have checked in on Monday because the living room was super cozy for watching The Bachelorette, which is my moment of escape every week. And this was a very easy place to escape.

There was this cute little nook off of the master bedroom that also went over the main staircase looking out onto the living room.

The master bedroom!

The bed was ridiculously comfortable. The door that you can see to the right of it in this photo goes out to the little nook in the previous photo. It can be closed so you have complete privacy from the living room area as well.

The master bedroom also had an amazing walk-in closet which was perfect for my week-long stay and for bringing all kinds of clothes for endless show days. #overpacker

This bathroom also came with a really, really nice and large shower–something I am sure many riders daydream about as a flat class runs way longer than it needs to.

The second bedroom.

With a claw-foot bathtub, if that’s the way you unwind after a day at the show.

At the end of this downstairs hallway is perhaps one of the most important amenities: the laundry room. It’s a must-have for anyone attending a horse show for over a week. The laundry room and bathrooms come fully stocked with anything you could need — detergent, toilet paper, paper towels, napkins, soap, etc.

How cool is the counter?

There’s also a downstairs…

And, okay, so there was also an ARCADE.

A 3rd bedroom with bunk beds. If you don’t get a ribbon in the classic you have to sleep on the top bunk. Every bedroom had its own bathroom and closet space, including this one.

A fourth bedroom downstairs.

There was also a separate downstairs living room area with its own TV and fireplace and deck. This is perfect if you decide to share the home with another barn family and want the extra hang-out space, or if you are traveling with a lot of kids and want to give them their own area to decompress.

The lower deck had a really fun swing.

…and just as amazing views!

I also loved working with Tryon Retreats because their service feels incredibly personal and they are already very aware of the specific needs and desires of equestrian clients. No more explaining how busy and long show days can be and how necessary a big closet, modern washer/dryer, and comfy bed is. To explore options, visit their website at TryonRetreats.com, where you can browse many of their properties. If you’d rather leave the details up to them like I did, you can e-mail them (the form is at the bottom of their website) with your preferences and have them send you options. They’re also constantly on-boarding new properties, so don’t hesitate to reach out to them directly if you have something special in mind for your next trip.  I’m looking forward to watching Tryon Retreats grow along with the Equestrian Center and surrounding area. I was so at-home at Hawk’s View that it was almost impossible to bring myself to check out after the week flew by, but I can’t wait to head back in the fall!

Previous Post Next Post