Saluda Inn & Wine Cellar

The Home of Your Carolina Wine Expert

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Home About The Inn and Its Owners
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 About the Building:

 “Set on a wooded hill just above town, the original part of the 7,000-plus square foot Saluda Inn was built as a family home in the late 1800’s by the first practicing doctor to come to the quaint village. It’s changed hands several times since and has been used as a boarding house, the editorial offices for the town’s first newspaper and a home for physicians working at the Children’s Sanatorium. Joni and Rich Rauschenbach purchased the property in 2004 and have been refurbishing it extensively for the past several years. The inn is always a work in progress but has a cozy, homey feel. Unlike most B&B’s, the Saluda Inn isn’t so fancy you’re afraid to touch anything or put your feet up. Instead everything is accessible, from the large, professional kitchen to the wine cellar.”-Alli Marshall, Mountain Express 2007  

The Saluda Inn is a comfortable environment that can easily accommodate a group of 32 (sometimes more). With 7200 sq. ft. of living space, it offers guests the opportunity to spread out and yet still be under the same roof.  There are spacious living rooms for meetings and group activities.  The dining room has plenty of seating for everyone in your group to share meals together. Kitchen facilities are roomy and fully equipped for you to prepare your own meals as you wish or arrange to have your meals catered.  The sunroom offers a great place to spend time with a book.  You may even wish to enjoy the almost 2 acres of property by sitting next to a campfire, enjoying a game of shuffleboard or just relaxing under a tree in the hammock.  Enjoy an afternoon of tubing on the Green River or a brisk bike ride down to Pearson Falls or just get in some good rocking time on the porch.  In the evening slip down to the cellar for some wine or a local brew.  Come step back in time and relax for awhile.

About Joni:

Joni Mahaffey-Rauschenbach is a true southern belle.  As a graduate of USC, she took her first post-graduate job working as one of PYA/Monarchs top sales reps with a territory including all of the Upstate and Western Carolina.  Her family jokes that she has worked in the hospitality industry since age 14 when she opened her own Icee stand right in downtown Tryon.  Her strong passion for food and entertaining, however, led her back to Johnson & Wales Graduate school of Culinary Arts in Vail, Colorado where she trained and worked in several of Colorado’s top resorts honing her exceptional culinary skills.  It was at this time, that she met her husband Rich and soon moved to Long Beach Island to work at the famous Green Gables Inn and Restaurant as well as catering group events on the weekends. Throughout the past 15 years, she has been working in the wine and spirit industry where she managed many sales teams on the distributor and the supplier levels as well as coordinating and hosting wine and cognac dinners.  Her work has allowed her to travel extensively in the US and abroad visiting some of the most magnificent vineyards on the planet.  She handled brands that are well known to the public as well as some very eclectic, hard to find wines.    Her jobs have always tapped into her superior wine and restaurant knowledge by using her to educate restauranteurs and their staff especially in New York State and Manhattan. 

About Rich:

Rich's parents immigrated to the US from Germany in 1964 during hard times in search of a better life free from Communist rule.  Rich lived in New Jersey most of his childhood and in New York most of his adult life other than a brief stint as a bartender in Berkeley, CA.  Rich collegiate experience includes bachelor degrees in both Mathematics and German from the SUNY Albany.  After a two-years of sharpening his statistical abilities as an actuarial analyst at ISO, he returned to graduate school to obtain is Masters degree in Mathematics Education at Harvard University.  Post-Harvard, he began teaching German, Mathematics and Computers at both the high school and middle school level for six years.  Rich then did post-graduate work in Computer Science and jumped on the dot-com bandwagon as a technology trainer and consultant.  Rich worked in the health and legal sectors for companies such as IBM, WebMD and Sheaman & Sterling, providing data analysis and reporting to the company’s finance and executive management teams.  Afer moving to Saluda, Rich decided to switch careers and do what he had wanted to since 9/11 by becoming a firefighter.  Business aside, Rich likes to stay fit by training and competing in triathlons at the elite-amateur level and enjoying the wonderful outdoors that Western Carolina has to offer. 

The Team:

Joni and Rich met in 1994 while Rich was on a ski vacation in Vail, CO and Joni was attending Johnson and Wales.  There was an immediate connection.  They had come from two different worlds yet had the same passion and direction in life.  After Joni graduated from J&W she joined Rich in NY.  They were married at an 18-room Inn in Fairlee, Vermont.  They hoped to return to this inn each year to celebrate their marriage and eventually bring their children there.  Unfortunately, it was torn down the year after they were married.  It was at that time they decided they would like to find a place of their own that could create warmth and traditions for other families.  After searching on and off for several years, the discovered a potential replacement in 2001.  Timing is everything, and at the time, the Saluda Inn was overpriced.  A few years later, however, an opportunity presented itself that might allow the Saluda Inn to return to a thriving business.  The birth of their son, Wylie, changed it all and allowed them to follow some dreams.  Joni and Rich sold the 1908 Victorian home they had restored in the beautiful Hudson Valley of NY and moved south to be closer to family and begin a new chapter in their lives.  Using their restoration skills, they spent fiver years restoring the Saluda Inn and obtaining the distinction of having it listed on the National Historic Registry.  Most recently, Joni  and Rich have created quite a cozy wine bar in the Cellar.  Please come back and visit us on the web, or stop by at The Saluda Inn & Wine Cellar.

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