Top Dogs

The Story of Barkwells

After 25 years in Tampa, FL, we packed up the kids, Rachel and Frank (now aka Kirby), our dog Snickers, cat Snowcap and moved to the mountains to change our careers and our lives. Michael’s family has vacationed “at the lake” in Minnesota for four generations and we wanted to create that same “aaaah” getaway feeling here in the beautiful Blue Ridge mountains.

It took a year to formulate our plan and find the right place, but in the fall of 2004, Barkwells presented itself ready to go with one cabin and an antique sign on the barn that read Barkwells Antique Gallery, Lexington Avenue, Asheville. It was a “sign” that we had found the perfect place to create a dog-friendly haven for vacationers. We were additionally fortunate to be able to purchase and renovate a home just across the street. Then we found Peppermint Patty, our second giant schnauzer, to round out our family.

We now have two locations – eight vacation cabins in Mills River, near Asheville, and two cottages and a pending renovation for two more in Pisgah Forest near Brevard. We have a terrific staff, verdant gardens, stocked ponds, a flock of chickens that provide eggs for us and guests and four entertaining (and sometimes fainting) goats.

Rachel has her M.A., lives and works in Israel and Kirby is in nursing school.  Snickers, Snowcap and Peppermint Patty are now with us in spirit. Fisher, our rescue Border Collie/Lab mix, and Baxter, a rescue Tibetan Terrier (terror is more like it), keep us from having an empty nest.

We are blessed to have a lot of wonderful repeat and regular guests and we so enjoy all the new friends we make here. We are very grateful to have found what we were looking for — great quality of life in a spectacular setting. We hope you will find that here, too.


Ellen & Michael Winner