In 1895, E. H. Jennings and several industrialist friends from Pittsburgh purchased over 35,000 acres in western North Carolina. This vast real estate holding spanned a unique geographic region, later known as the Highlands-Cashiers Plateau. Over time, the Jennings’ land had been pared down to 800 acres that grandson Richard rode, fished and hunted with dedicated determination to protect it. In the subsequent decades, the Jennings family managed the Valley’s forests and established mink and trout farms along with other farm activities. Developers began to take notice of the magnificent vistas, rolling green meadows and clear mountain streams. In order to preserve their father’s commitment to preserve the integrity of the land, the next generation of Jennings: siblings Sally, Dick and Binford; realized that if change and development were inevitable, then they preferred to undertake the effort themselves.
With a plan for the future deeply rooted in the past, the Jennings decided in 2005 to reestablish and expand their family farmstead. Taking inspiration from the natural cow-shaped image found on Cow Rock Mountain – one of two massive granite walls that define the eastern rim of the canyon – the Lonesome Valley logo was established, along with the vision for a community that rekindled childhood joys and freedoms. Conservation areas, dedicated common spaces, responsible deed restrictions and thoughtful architectural guidelines ensure the Jennings’ legacy will be protected for future generations. Today, Lonesome Valley is a model of agrarian simplicity, communal authenticity and historic preservation. The Jennings family proudly welcomes new families and friends to the Valley and all that it offers.