Front yard of property.  View from dining room windows.Misty spring sunrise and view of the front yard/pasture at Bald Mountain Farms.  Photo taken from front patio of main house.
Bald Mountain Farms, Historic Cheek Family Estate
Bald Mountain Farms, Historic Cheek Family Estate

Entire home/apt

12 guests

6 bedrooms

8 beds
Please set the number of adults.
Please set the number of children.
Ages 2 - 12
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Under 2
12 guests maximum. Infants don’t count toward the number of guests.
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About this listing

This historic estate, originally "Faraway Farm", was built in 1939 by celebrated museum administrator Leslie Cheek, heir to the Maxwell House Coffee fortune. The remote farm was the Cheek family safe-haven during WWII. The home underwent renovation & remodeling in the 1970's. The 3,532 sq ft home has 5 bdrms, 3 baths & guest house with 2 bdrm, 1 bath. Situated on 320 acres of private mountain land 50 mins SE of Asheville. Rental includes use of boat house, privileges to Rumbling Bald Resort.

The space

This one-of-a-kind historic home was built in 1939 by Leslie Cheek Jr., a wealthy museum administrator who was heir to the Maxwell House Coffee fortune. The remote farm-estate was built to be a mountain retreat and safe haven for the Cheek family during WW II. (Other notable Cheek family properties include Cheekwood Botanical Garden and Museum of Art in Nashville, TN.)

In the 1930's, Leslie Cheek viewed Lucius Morse's plans for a luxury resort development along the shores of Lake Lure. Cheek was inspired by Morse's visions for the area, by his development of Chimney Rock Park and construction of the world-class hydro-electric dam (used to create Lake Lure.) Thus, Leslie Cheek selected a site at the south shore of Lake Lure, to build his private estate.

Cheek designed the house himself, drawing inspiration from period architects such as Frank Lloyd Wright. He named the estate "Faraway Farm" and modeled the grounds & gardens on the landscape design of his parents estate; Cheekwood in Nashville, TN. (Cheekwood gardens were designed by NY Landscape Architect Bryant Flemming.) Leslie Cheek and his wife Mary Tyler Freeman-Cheek spent many happy years at Faraway Farm, and raised several children on the farm.

In 1957 the Cheek family sold the estate to Rolland King, a developer from south Florida. Rolland King had gained accolades for his Sarasota developments of Gulf Gate and Village Green, his Bradenton developments at Whiskey Creek and Village Gardens, as well as Governors Harbor Development in the Cayman Islands.

Rolland King changed the name of the farm from "Faraway Farm" to "Bald Mountain Farms". King utilized the farm as a summer retreat for his large family. In 1965, King began to develop the lake-front area of the property. He built a dinner club (now Lakeview Restaurant/Legends on the Lake) and a golf course (now Bald Mountain Golf Course.) He developed a swimming pool, beach and marina area and began promoting the destination as a mountain resort called "The Bald Mountain Club at Lake Lure."

In the 1970's, King partnered with Wyndham and other time-share corporations to construct condos and resort housing throughout the property. The resort became known at Rumbling Bald Resort.

Today, the Rumbling Bald Resort boasts premier dining and cocktail lounge, with a deck area for viewing the lake/outdoor dining. The golf pro shop and another casual restaurant and bar overlook a world-class 18 hole course. The course is open to the public.

Since 1957, Faraway Farm / Bald Mountain Farms has served as the private, family home of Rolland King; original developer of Rumbling Bald resort.

There are miles of unspoiled hiking trails just out the back door of the house. The estate boasts spectacular views of mountains and many streams run through the property. The boat house offers a private setting on the lake and affords swimming and fishing from the dock. (Boats can be rented from the resort cabana.)

The home itself is a unique combination of Leslie Cheek's original design from the 1930's, and Rolland King's renovations in the 1970's. Unlike other contemporary rental homes in the area, this is a historic property designed in the Art Deco era. Many of the furnishings are vintage and antique/period pieces.

The home boats spacious stone patios on the front and back, expanses of grassy lawns, rose bushes, massive camellia bushes, magnificent magnolia trees and heritage boxwood hedges. The house contains a steep back staircase & separate guest suite that were originally built as servants/caretaker's quarters.

Guest access

Your rental of Bald Mountain Farms includes guest privileges to the Rumbling Bald Resort that Mr. King founded. The use of two world-class golf courses, two outdoor pools, a spa & fitness center, indoor pool, tennis courts, beach, marina, boat launch, and fine dining are included in this package.

The main house has five bedrooms. A master king suite with full bath. Another king suite with full bath, three small (child) bedrooms each with a twin bed, and a third upstairs full bath for the children.

There is a separate guest house (attached to the main house by a covered walkway) that includes two additional bedrooms, one room with 2 twin beds, one room with a king bed. The guest suite has a bathroom with shower stall (no tub.)

The property also features a separate lodge room, with fireplace, pool table, ping pong table and covered parking/garage for guests.

The property has spacious front and back stone patios. The back patio has a grill and dining/picnic table.

Interaction with guests

As this is a large estate, there is a small team of knowledgeable folks who are committed to managing this property as a rental space and working farm. Richard Ammons serves as the Farm Manager. Sara Shea serves as online booking and Guest Communications Coordinator. Carmen and Joaquin Millet assist with cleaning and guest services. Members of the King family manage the overall business. Other employees or maintenance/contractors may be on the property intermittently.

Other things to note

One of the biggest problems we have encountered at Bald Mountain Farms is insects. Asian lady beetles (that look like lady bugs) and stink bugs are two invasive species that have recently impacted our region of NC. Although the property has been treated by an exterminator, these critters do make their way inside. We ask guests to understand that these harmless insects are part of a larger invasive species issue which environmental agencies are tackling.

The space
Bathrooms: 4.5
Bedrooms: 6
Beds: 8
Check In: 3PM - 9PM
Check Out: 11AM
Room type: Entire home/apt


Extra people: 10 / night after 8 guests
Cleaning Fee: 352
Security Deposit: 493
Weekly Discount: 21%
Weekend Price: 634 / night
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Sleeping arrangements
Bedroom 1
1 king bed
Bedroom 2
1 king bed
Bedroom 3
1 single bed
Bedroom 4
1 single bed
Bedroom 5
1 single bed
Bedroom 6
2 single beds
Common spaces
1 king bed, 2 single beds, 1 couch

House Rules
No smoking
Not suitable for pets
Check in time is 3PM - 9PM



Cancel up to 7 days before your trip and get a 50% refund. Cancel within 7 days of your trip and the reservation is non-refundable.

Safety features
Smoke detector
First aid kit
Safety card
Fire extinguisher

2 nights minimum stay

8 Reviews

Check In
Matt User Profile
July 2017
What a fantastic place! Descriptions and other reviews are accurate. If you're expecting "brand-new"; this isn't your kind of rental. It is well-loved, and its unique history and location make for an incredibly special, one-of-a-kind property. The house is comfortable, and was a perfect size for our group of 7 adults and 3 children. Large enough that everyone can spread out, but not so large that you feel disconnected from your group. The kitchen was very well equipped, and easily allowed for us to cook all our own meals. I highly recommend stocking up on groceries (and firewood) before checking in, as once you're here you really won't even want to leave. Richard was fantastic and helpful, and our children got a kick out of feeding the chickens every day. The coffee table had books about the owners, and Sara has compiled a history of the property; all of which contributed to making the house more interesting and memorable. The property feels completely remote, but is convenient to everything in Rumbling Bald. We enjoyed some of the resort amenities, but spent most of our time in and around the house. Despite the internet access being spotty, no one in our group was ever bored or had any complaints. This is one of those special places that truly has something for everyone.

Kim User Profile
July 2017
An amazing farm/property close minutes to Lake Lure and the amenities of the Rumbling Bald Club. House is a vintage beauty, property is exquisite ~complete with roaring stream outside the back door! Richard, the onsite caretaker, was great showing us around the barns, garden and chicken coop. Sara, you were so easy to work with and accommodating with our requests! We so appreciate this beautiful property and our time there!!!

David User Profile
July 2017
Sara and Richard are great. Communication and instructions. Place is dated but very well described, clean, and pictures are accurate. We loved the charm of it so we got exaxtly what we wanted. Wifi is slow but if you care about that don't stay in the mountains!! The sound of the stream is so relaxing. I slept in every chair because of it. We grilled every night ans enjoyed the view and weather. Resort is so family friendly and has tons to do. We will be back for sure!!!

Jared User Profile
June 2017
This place is a wonderful getaway for families. The space is cool and retro with a great sitting room, game room, and outdoor spaces. I can't wait to go back. Sara and Richard were amazing hosts. Thanks!!!

Brystana User Profile
May 2017
This home and property are so unique and beautiful I don't know where to start. We enjoyed the sitting on the patio taking in the views, feeling like we were alone on the mountain, while only being a few miles from all the resort amenities. The kids bounced from indoor pool to outdoor lazy river pool to the beach all day long. The home is a working farm, and there is an amazing creek with a hundred tiny waterfalls that can be viewed and even heard from inside the house. That said, the home is quite old and the decor is dated. Didn't bother us at all, but it's a matter of taste. Beds are very comfortable and there is plenty of space for large families. And don't forget your bug spray if you plan to be outside, which you should. There is a caretaker onsite, which came in very handy for quick questions about thermostats etc. Good communication all around. Such a memorable weekend, thank you!

Manisha User Profile
May 2017
Amazing place there were 11 of us. Had an amazing time.

Debi User Profile
May 2017
Sitting around the fire in the living room at Bald Mountain Farms brings about an overwhelming sense of being in nature, even though you are indoors. There is something about this house that seems to reduce one’s technology addiction; one’s need to engage with one’s devices (smartphones, tablets, etc.) drifts away, with the exception of taking pictures of all of the beautiful views and cool, vintage details of the house. It’s moving to think about how the steep, massive stone staircase from the original stone terrace down to the creek has been used by only two families and all of their children and grandchildren, over all of these years. It feels like a privilege to be able to stay at Bald Mountain Farms, and yet it is a thoroughly unpretentious, very relaxed place. This is not a fancy house; it is a remarkable place that will appeal to people who love family, history, architecture, nature and hard-core chilling out. The house is comfortable, nostalgic, and feels like visiting a great auntie who had a lot of style in her heyday. Staying at this estate and reading its history, compiled in a book by caretaker Sara Shea (look for it on the coffee table), helps you feel like you are stepping into another family’s home as an invited guest. It’s very cool to read the letters about gargantuan endeavors back in the day, like getting a telephone cable laid under the lake so that the house could finally get telephone service, or how Mary Tyler Cheek had to drive their Chris Craft boat 5 miles down the lake to shop for milk and bread. The hosts were very accommodating. There are nice, low-key hiking trails right from the property. It’s right next to Buffalo Creek, so in the spring when the creek is high, the sound of the creek rushing is always there in this soothing way. Beautiful organically raised cows and chickens are pleasant to visit down at the farm. The kitchen is large enough that multiple people can be working on cooking a meal and making cocktails at one time without stepping on each other. It’s a well-equipped kitchen in that there is every type of pot or bowl or pan or kitchen tool you might need. Like with any vacation rental, the cooking knives aren’t sharp, so bring your own if you’re into cooking. (Note: the grocery store is a long, winding drive, so definitely get all of your shopping done on the way up.) There are two – count ‘em, two! – bars, where you can play cocktail time. One is in the lodge with the pool table. The wallpaper designs throughout the house are very fun to explore, and the light fixtures are really cool and unique. The grand piano is tuned and plays beautifully. There is a massive hearth in the living room for fires. We didn’t find any board games so bring your own if you love board games. It felt very, very private....
Sara User Profile
Response from Sara:
Debi, thanks for this wonderful, thoughtful and authentic review. It was a pleasure to host you and your friends here at Bald Mountain Farms. We hope you will return and certain hope you will share information about our farm with your connections in the Columbia area! Please keep in touch and let us know if we can help in the future
May 2017

This host has 121 reviews for other properties.

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Connecticut, United StatesJoined in November 2013
Sara User Profile

I am a writer, photographer and marketing consultant based in the mountains of North Carolina. I earned my BA in English from Kenyon College, where I served as a Student Associate Editor for The Kenyon Review. I pursued an MFA at UNC Asheville and WCU. I recently obtained my NC Real Estate License. I am also a rep with Arbonne and love introducing my guests to the pure, safe, beneficial skin care and health products.

I am a lover of literature and an outdoor enthusiast. I work part-time in Asheville. The town of Lake Lure is my treasured mountain get-away... I adore hiking, cycling, kayaking, swimming and gardening here in Rumbling Bald Resort.

It is my my joy to share and promote lovely, unique, family-friendly properties in Asheville and Lake Lure, NC.

Please feel free to ask me for free samples of Arbonne products. I offer a significant discount on Arbonne products to all my airbnb guests.

Languages: English, Español
Response rate: 88%
Response time: within an hour

About the home

When you stay in an Airbnb, you’re staying in someone’s home.

This is Sara’s place.
Jerri And Betsy, Joaquin and Richard D help host.
Jerri And Betsy
Richard D
Exact location information is provided after a booking is confirmed.

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