Web’s ‘Red Chair’ makes stop at Twelve Oaks

The Covington News - - BUSINESS - BRYAN FAZIO bfazio@cov­news.com

The charm of Twelve Oaks Bed & Breakfast is based in part on its old-fash­ioned ways and an­te­bel­lum ar­chi­tec­ture.

The white col­umns start from the lush green grass and head up two sto­ries to­ward the red roof, leav­ing most of the color in­side the lav­ishly dec­o­rated walls of its eight guest rooms. How­ever, last week, a red chair stood out on its grounds, adding a vi­brant splash to the can­vas, along with unique viral mar­ket­ing.

The red chair-at-bed & break­fasts phe­nom­e­non be­gan when the innkeep- er at Woods Hole Inn on Cape Cod pho­tographed a red chair sit­ting on a frozen pond and posted it on Face­book. The im­age took off and brought in one Face­book “like” af­ter an­other. The red chair brought in so much web traf­fic that it grew from there, and innkeep­ers were in­vited to bring the chair to their own es­tab­lish­ments so that guests could look for­ward to see­ing it for them­selves, as part of a com­mu­nity of top-tier bed & break­fasts.

“It’s just a quirky lit­tle thing,” said Twelve Oaks owner Ni­cole Greer. “I think peo­ple en­joy watch­ing it go to dif­fer­ent places.”

The red chair made its stop in Covington just a week ago, pro­vid­ing Greer with a chance to pho­to­graph the iconic piece and get her busi­ness even more ex­po­sure on the Web. She even man­aged to snap a photo, sim­i­lar to the one that started it all, of the chair on a frozen pond, thanks to last week’s bit­ter cold in the South.

Fans of the Red Chair Trav­els – the chair has 1,022 likes on Face­book -- are sure to check out the newly ren­o­vated Twelve Oaks Bed & Breakfast, but it’s by no means the first recog­ni­tion for the his­toric Covington home.

The house was built in 1836, and was then called the Cedars. It sur­vived the burn­ing of At­lanta and its sur­round­ing ar­eas in 1864 and was re­named White Hall. In 2012, Greer be­gan ren­o­vat­ing the house to be­come a bed & breakfast and de­cided to give it its cur­rent name, Twelve Oaks, based on part of the house’s his­tory.

“We wanted to res­tore (it), and I thought it would be good for the com­mu­nity to have a bed & breakfast right off the square,” Greer said. “It’s al­ways been a lit­tle dream of mine, since I like to cook and meet new peo­ple, to open a bed & breakfast.”

The name con­nec­tion is this: When Mar­garet Mitchell’s hit novel “Gone With the Wind” was go­ing to be pro­duced as a film back in the 1930s, the au­thor sent a photo of the Covington house to the pro­duc­ers, along with a note say­ing she liked it for Ash­ley Wilkes’ home, Twelve Oaks.

Greer named one of the inn’s first rooms -- it opened with just three ren­o­vated -the Frankly Scar­lett Suite, while she con­tin­ued to ren­o­vate ad­di­tional rooms. While the house’s his­tory stretched back long be­fore the Civil War, Twelve Oaks’ ac­claim didn’t take nearly as long to build.

Since open­ing, Twelve Oaks Bed & Breakfast has not only hosted the red chair, but also been named a 2014 pick for the “best of wed­dings” in The Knot magazine, been cho­sen for a wed­ding wire cou­ples’ choice award, and, about six months ago, was named a top-10 Lux­ury Inn in the world by be­dand­break­fast. com.

“We had only been open for about 14 months, so we were re­ally blown away by be­ing voted (among) Top 10 Lux­ury Inns in the world,” Greer said.

The recog­ni­tion by wed­ding mag­a­zines and web­sites is the most sur­pris­ing to Greer, who said that dur­ing the roughly 300 days a year that Twelve Oaks is open, it hosts around 20 wed­dings.

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