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Memphis News & Weather | Memphis, TN | WATN - localmemphis.com

Pandemic springs new life into 19th century resort in Mount Airy

New owners are working to restore White Sulphur Springs to its former glory and the pandemic is bringing a new generation of guests.

MOUNT AIRY, N.C. — Technology has been a lifeline during the pandemic - from work meetings on Zoom to online school - it keeps us connected while we can't be near each other. It's also created the need for a break and people are disconnecting at White Sulphur Springs in Mount Airy.

Co-owner, Ellie Needham, said the centuries-old property is offering an escape to a new generation.

"The late 1800s is when it was getting developed with the hotel and from what we understand the hotel had like 160 rooms in it which is crazy for the late 1800's in Mount Airy," Needham said. "So the train would bring people to this property the draw of it was the Sulphur spring."

White Sulphur Springs in Mount Airy is drawing people in once again, not for the healing properties its water is said to have, but for the opportunity to disconnect from devices and reconnect with nature.

"We've got all this property up here, you know, to get out and hike," Needham said. "It's not got the technology but people are getting back to, right now, they're like digging deep to find stuff for their families to do so we can offer that up here."

With 25 rolling acres against the Blue Ridge Parkway, there is plenty of space to social distance and fresh air to breathe. Needham said the same activities that attracted people to the resort in the late 19th century are bringing them back in 2020. 

"Especially with COVID we brought back a whole lot of stuff that we thought had aged out or phased out but people are coming and doing horseshoes, croquet, bocce ball things like that," Needham said.

In the past year and under new ownership, White Sulphur Springs has seen major upgrades from renovated cabins to a new event center. It may have been off of people's radars for the last few years but a pandemic-induced need to escape is springing rediscovery. 

"It's weird because you and I grew up in Mount Airy," Needham told WFMY News 2's Maddie Gardner. "We knew about the Andy Griffith show but we didn't know about this piece of property."

"We have people who are not just here for the event center but they're here to get away," Needham said.

You can learn more about White Sulphur Springs on their website.