We recently interviewed Billy Maddalon, owner of two of Charlotte’s most beautiful and historic venues, The VanLandingham Estate and The Morehead Inn. These fabulous, southern-chic locations specialize in boutique lodging and event hosting for occasions of all size and style… here’s what he had to say!
1) How long have you been at The VanLandingham Estate and The Morehead Inn? What are your favorite things about each venue?
“We purchased Morehead in October of 1995 and VanLandingham Estate in February of 2000. Each venue has its own special appeal. For the Estate it’s clearly the vast grounds and gardens that I appreciate most. At Morehead, the building and architecture are just so distinct and unique. Everywhere you go you find little eccentricities. When you consider the history each of these locations has hosted, it really gives a whole new meaning to the term ‘if these walls could talk…’.”
2) What aspects and features make each venue so special? What are your favorite historical facts about each place?
“My favorite story about the Estate, as with most historic properties, surrounds the people that have lived there over the years. For example, Mr. VanLandingham made his wife, Susie Harwood a promise that he would bring as much of Linville, NC to Charlotte as he could, if she would agree to move there and expand their family business. As a result, all of the stone in and around the house, as well as much of the vegetation on the grounds, were brought down from Linville in an effort to give the building and property as much of a “mountain” feel as possible.
As for Morehead, the stories are endless. But the one that fascinates me the most is the fact that Mr. Coddington had such an entrepreneurial streak in him that he bought WBT radio, which was then a fledgling start up. He ended up co-opting the WBT moniker to advertise and promote his Buick dealerships throughout the region. My 100 year old grandmother can still sing the little jingle they used to run all the time when they said, ‘WBT- Watch Buick Travel’….”
3) One of our favorite features at The VanLandingham Estate is the beautiful, spacious open room connected to the outdoor area, what can you tell us about that space?
“That would be what we’ve come to call the Garden Room, due to its all glass and window vista out into our gardens. It’s a room we actually added in 2001 so that we could host parties all year round. It’s the only part of the main building that’s not original. We can host groups of 80-100 in there and it’s changed the nature of our business.”
The VanLandingham Estate’s outdoor area connected to the Garden Room
4) Which type of events are best for each specific venue? Is one location more accommodating for larger events, etc.?
“Not really, although one could argue that the Estate is more capable of hosting the very large events. Each building is pretty close in terms of square footage and entertaining space. We can host about 200 inside each historic home. But when you consider the grounds, Morehead sits on just short of an acre and the Estate is just short of 5 acres. So if there’s a really large event then logically the Estate is more appropriate. Morehead is just so intimate that unless you really need the added dimension of acreage, then it’s hard to overlook its charm.
We host literally all types of events at each location: fundraisers, meetings and conferences, wedding celebrations, community gatherings, birthday parties and family reunions, and of course Holiday parties.”
I also noticed on the VanLandingham Estate Facebook page that you all did a Father’s Day Barbeque & Lawn party last summer, do you all host similar events at The Morehead? When is the next “open” event at each venue?
“We’ll be hosting several in the upcoming year. We have a “Evolution of Bourbon” dinner in early Winter that will explore the origins and changes to Bourbon over the years, how it’s made, various nuances to flavors and aging, etc. And of course that will coincide with a fantastic meal and entertainment. It’s a great evening out. Then we have our annual Valentine’s Day festivities. This year we’re probably going to just stick to special couples dining at each location. It’s always so popular and well received, mostly because of the sheer uniqueness of the experience. In Spring we’ll be hosting Mothers Day brunch and then our Fathers Day Lawn Party in June. There’s always the Midwood Easter Egg Hunt the Sunday preceding Easter. And we’ll likely add some things as time goes along.”
Which services are provided at each venue? (i.e.: in-house catering, event coordinating, etc.)
“We used to do a lot of off-premise catering and events, but we sort of got out of that a few years ago. We try and stick with our bread and butter: boutique lodging, event hosting, and regionally correct catering.”
What are some of the seasonal features of each location (i.e.: patios, lawns, etc.)
“Each location takes on its own feel in each season. At the Estate it’s obviously the beauty and change of the Spring and Fall. At Morehead I actually think any season that you can sit on that wonderful front porch and relax with a book and a favorite drink is the time to be there. If it’s cold outside, each location has any number of choices if you want a roaring indoor fireplace to sit by.”