East Tennessee B&B has international reputation

The new operators of Whitestone Country Inn want to continue the original mission the bed-and-breakfast's founder Paul Cowell envisioned in the '90s.

The Kingston, Tennessee inn has built an international reputation as a respite for missionary and pastoral families.

The bed-and-breakfast sits on 360 acres on the shore of Watts Bar Lake and is adjacent to Paint Rock Wildlife Refuge. The resort has 23 rooms, some of which are larger cottages.

Visitors can enjoy 12 miles of walking trails, paddleboats, canoes, kayaks, tennis, horseshoes, shuffleboard. The resort offers spa services as well. There's also a chapel on site.

The restaurant serves breakfast, boxed lunches and a full dinner. The restaurant now accepts public reservations for dinner.

In February Lee and Denise Boggs stepped in as co-owners and operators of Whitestone.

The Boggs have retained much of the staff. They want to increase the inn’s service of pastors and their families and continue to operate Whitestone as a “sanctuary for the soul.”

“Statistics show that 1,800 pastors a month are leaving the ministry,” Lee said. “That’s a sad statistic. And we want to be some small part of trying to change that and help as many pastors as we can.”

Living Waters will host its first pastors-only retreat Sept. 13-15 and several other retreats are scheduled for fall.

Expanding wedding sales are a priority, Denise said. They’re offering two new outdoor ceremony venues on the grounds and pre-marital counseling as part of wedding packages.

They're also planning facility improvements. Lee said they can envision adding more cottages and a recreational building that would house a wedding planning area and a fitness center.

Occupancy is not where they want it, Collier said, but its getting better. Though Whitestone has an international reputation in faith circles, he’s met people in Knoxville who thought the inn was closed or didn’t know it existed at all.

“I think the biggest change is just the peace that they’ve brought to the property for our staff,” Collier said.

Beyond the mission to help faith servants, Denise feels strongly Whitestone should be a place for all kinds of families, not just missionaries.

“We’ve always wanted to be a safe place, where people can find a place of rest, a place of peace, a place of just time with God and time with each other as couples and families,” Lee said.

Source: Knoxville News Sentinel, by Brenna McDermott

The East Tennessee Economic Development Agency markets and recruits business for the 15 counties in the greater Knoxville-Oak Ridge region of East Tennessee. Visit www.eteda.org

Published July 20, 2018