Knoxville group invests in RT Lodge to preserve community ties and legacy
A local partnership of Knoxville hospitality owners has invested in RT Lodge to preserve the history and community essence of the iconic property located on the Maryville College campus.
Often lauded as one of the best-kept hospitality secrets in the region, RT Lodge encompasses seven acres and has served for decades as a special place for gatherings and events with a historic lodge, natural grounds and award-winning dining.
The partnership, Morningside Lodge, LLC, has pledged to oversee the lodge, restaurant and grounds in a way that honors its place in the East Tennessee community. Built as a home by Susan Wiley Walker in the early 1930s, its original name was Morningside. Walker bequeathed the property to Maryville College, which has served as steward since 1950.
The staff of RT Lodge, including General Manager Gary Doyle and Chef Trevor Stockton, will remain in their roles, and the restaurant, lodge and event spaces will stay open throughout the transition.
“This is the best outcome we could have imagined to maintain RT Lodge and its place in the East Tennessee hospitality landscape,” Doyle said. “It’s a weight off all of our shoulders to be supported by local investors, and we anticipate a bright future that builds on the existing legacy.”
The RT Lodge also will welcome leadership from Beth McCabe Holman, founder of The McCabe Company and prior senior event manager for Blackberry Farm. Other local investors include Annie and David Colquitt, Knoxville residents and owners of The Swag resort in North Carolina.
“RT Lodge, like Maryville College, is an East Tennessee treasure,” Colquitt said. “We see this as a long-term responsibility to our community to steward this property well so that it can thrive for another 50 years.”
Maryville College President Dr. Bryan Coker said, “This is incredibly good news for the future of the RT Lodge, formerly Morningside, which is a vital part of Maryville College’s history. Beth McCabe Holman and the Colquitts understand and respect the small, historic and local nature of the lodge and how it is beloved by both the college and wider communities. I have complete confidence in their abilities to effectively steward Morningside and the legacy of Susan Wiley Walker. We look forward to a wonderful relationship with them for many years to come.”
At the helm of this vision is Holman, the founder of a luxury event rentals company and experienced event planner. With an entrenched understanding of local events and long-established relationships in hospitality circles, Holman will bring that experience and sense of place to RT Lodge.
“We’re grateful for this opportunity to extend the longevity of RT Lodge and thrilled that we can retain the current staff to help us do that,” Holman said. “We’re also grateful to Goldman Sachs and Maryville College for their partnership and thoughtful handling of this cherished property.”
In the meantime, it’s business as usual at RT Lodge. The new owners promise a seamless customer experience throughout the transition and encourage the community to continue dining, dancing and making memories at the lodge.
Source: Knoxville News Sentinel
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 May 7, 2021