BUTLER — Like a lot of other things that were planned for this spring and summer, the grand opening of a new resort on Watauga Lake was postponed.
After the regional media provided a lot of news about the plans for Blue Mountanya at Cove Ridge, people became interested in visiting. There were several pre-opening events held around the Christmas season to whet everyone’s appetite. But, then, COVID-19 hit and there was a lot less interest in joining crowds coming to the new mountain lake resort.
Where there had once been quite frequent stories about the plans for the new resort and events taking place there, it all changed. The news was now all about COVID-19 and the upcoming presidential election.
With no news about Blue Mountanya so close to the time when it was supposed to open, some people thought the family developing the resort must have lost heart and abandoned the project.
Daniel Goodhall, Blue Mountanya’s president and chief executive officer, said he and his wife, Anastasia, and the rest of his family have been working together closely “to develop Blue Mountanya to preserve the beauty of the Appalachian Mountains and Watauga Lake for generations to come.” The family conceived the dream of creating a resort along the mountain-rimmed lake that is about 1,950 feet above sea level, the highest elevation of any lake within the Tennessee Valley Authority system of reservoirs.
Your family appeared on track for a grand opening of Blue Montanya earlier this year. What has changed?
“The resort was planning to open in spring 2020. Due to COVID-19, the family decided to delay its grand opening until spring 2021.”
Will there be any events leading up to the grand opening?
Goodhall said the resort was preparing to release publicity in late September about the opening of the resort. This five questions story was presented to him a few weeks earlier.
“We’re planning several soft openings and private events this fall,” he said. “In addition we will be opening on a limited basis for pre-ticket sales for events like ‘Music in the Mountains’ and ‘Movies in the Mountains’ … We are also offering limited general hours this late fall for people to come visit our Blue Stone Gardens and the changing of leaves offering our magnificent views and fall colors.”
I know you are planning some press releases and other publicity on your upcoming opening events, but how can people get more information on the opening plans?
The resort’s website is https://bluemountanya.com/. Goodhall said the resort is also also opening an office in downtown Elizabethton at 429 E. Elk Ave., directly across the street from The Coffee Company to meet with the public and tell of the resort’s plans, programs and events.
“We’re very excited working with the Downtown Merchant Association to revitalize old town Elizabethton. We feel it represents the gateway to Watauga Lake and recreation areas of East Tennessee and the region,” Goodhall said.
I understand there are some important parts of the construction plan of the resort that have only recently received approval from the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation.
“We’ve received our construction permits and are excited to be obtaining our permit for an on-site sewer treatment plant. Our on-site wells reach deep into the limestone historic river beds well below Watauga Lake.”
Goodhall said he appreciated the toughness of the approval process because Watauga Lake is such a beautiful area and should remain protected because of the Cherokee National Forest. He said the purity of the water supply at the resort is protected by those limestone deposits. The same type of limestone that makes the quality of the water so good for Kentucky bourbon distillers is making the resort’s water just as pure.
You have recently been involved in developments in such places as Northern California and Texas. What made you decide to build your resort on Watauga Lake?
That question was answered by the family on the first lines of the Blue Mountanya website. When the members of the family first saw the view surrounding the resort, they “knew this was where they wanted to create a lasting experience for generations to come.”
The Goodhall Family was inspired “to create a resort committed to preserving the rich beauty of the Appalachian Mountains.”