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How We Discovered and Created Our Waterfall Dream Home


The year was 2005. My family and I had been searching for the perfect western North Carolina mountain dream home for nearly 3 years, but we were selective.  We placed a higher premium on unique settings rather than conventional neighborhoods, as we were seeking the perfect mountain home with spectacular views, but not too far from civilization. We searched from Cashiers to Blowing Rock, and seemingly everywhere in between in the previous three years, and only found places that fit a few of our requirements.  We were resigned to find acreage with astounding views to design and build our dream house ourselves.


The same morning that we were to make an offer on a property in Bat Cave, (that I hoped to name, “Stately Wayne Manor. lol) my wife Wendy called me at my office and declared that she found “it.” “It” was a picturesque Old-World style home between Saluda and Tryon, NC.  Storybook House, she called it.  And get this;  the enchanting Storybook House was situated between two waterfalls!  An honest-to-gosh, western NC Waterfall House! With work, she said it could resemble the “Sweetheart Cottage” by Thomas Kinkade (pictured above).  It was a very plain, two-page web-site created by the homeowner entitled “Saluda Waterfall Home.” When I saw the photos, I immediately understood her enthusiasm.  This was one of the most unique homes I’d ever seen.  We had to tour this incredible property before it hit the MLS.


We were delighted that this magical place was near Saluda, Tryon, Flat Rock and Hendersonville, as we ranked these towns as the friendliest, prettiest, and most appealing of all the western NC towns we toured. Saluda, in particular, was the most hospitable town we’d experienced, and one of the most special. That was another factor in our decision-a very critical one, especially if you have kids.

Making plans to tour the Waterfall House in Saluda, we were certain that this was “the one.” Upon arrival, we weren’t disappointed!  The house itself was rather ordinary but adorable, built like a rock, and deceptively larger than it appeared from the street view.  Then we toured the property, and we were astonished!  Of all the incredible properties we’d toured over the past three years, this lot was by far the most unique, featuring the exceedingly rare combination of two bold rushing streams, two waterfalls, lamp-lit paths, two footbridges, a tram transport to the partially-finished hydro-electric out-building, and a sliding-rock feature in one stream. Spread over almost 4 acres, there was over a half-mile of stream frontage! My sons would enjoy incredible hiking, playing, and water fun, right in their own backyard!  And only 8 minutes to Saluda or Tryon, and only 10 minutes to I-26, but a world away from stress and strife.

Talk about WOW! We were blown away.

We were home.

Wayne Auman

Negotiations were simple. There were none! We paid the asking price with no haggling, for the house was one-in-a-million.  Once our house in Hilton Head sold, we closed right away.  We had ambitious plans to completely renovate the house, and “Sweetheart Cottage” definitely influenced our décor choices.  In my next installment, I’ll share our adventure in transforming this ordinary house into the extraordinary Storybook Hideaway it was destined to become.

Thanks for reading…

Wayne Auman