History of Tea House Drive

From horses saddled with tea to bikes saddled with children, the history of Ducker Mountain encompasses family, adventure, and a quiet respite found only atop this private wooded oasis. Weaving through a century and three generations, Tea House Drive is not only a place with stunning mountainside homesites but a notable piece of western North Carolina history.

George W. Vanderbilt’s commitment to the preservation of the verdant forests surrounding his grand Biltmore House laid the groundwork for modern-day conservation. Without his commitment to preserving the natural beauty offered by the native trees, animals, and plants of the Blue Ridge Mountains, The Ramble itself would not exist today.

His love for this land extended to Ducker Mountain, where he sought peace and solitude among the wild hollies, pines, and hardwoods. Riding on horseback from his home, he often sat at Ducker’s peak, enjoying tea and admiring the expansive mountain views and surrounding lush woodlands. A structure was even devised, a small-roofed building where he could sit shaded from the sun, aptly called “Tea House.” A list of building materials was found among the family archives, which led to a realization of the “Tea House” that was always intended to rest on the peak of Ducker Mountain. Future residents and guests can soon enjoy a moment of peace and reflection, just as George W. Vanderbilt did a century ago.

Ducker Mountain’s appeal extended beyond George W. Vanderbilt. His grandchildren also fell in love with its soaring views of the Blue Ridge Mountains and Jack Cecil, great-grandson of George, describes years of playing with his siblings amongst the hardwoods and pines, high above the enchanting Dingle Creek valley. For Jack and his siblings, Ducker Mountain became a place of adventure, exploration, and education. Learning how to drive on the old forest roads, playing games, and investigating all the flora and fauna that surrounded them made Ducker an idyllic childhood setting.

In 2024, with the introduction of the twenty-two Tea House Drive homesites, the next chapter in Ducker Mountain’s history will unfold, captivating a new generation of residents and guardians. Found somewhere between George’s blissful afternoons enjoying tea and Jack’s childhood of playful romps with his siblings, more families will discover the mystique and beauty of this beautiful mountainside hideaway.

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