Visiting the NC mountains? Boone’s Lovill House Inn is a sustainable and history-filled getaway

Overhead view of Lovill House Inn

(Photo credits: Lovill House Inn)

Sweeping views. Crisp air. Miles of trails and streams. Who doesn’t love a trip to the mountains?

We want to tell you about a place you can stay in luxury in North Carolina’s High Country that aligns with our sustainability values.

Here’s what you should know about this mountain getaway, which we’re grateful is one of our Platinum Partners!

The Lovill House was built in 1875 in Boone and embodies one of the most important aspects of sustainability: reuse. It’s where Appalachian State University’s charter was signed, and it was a family home for over 100 years. Most of the homes built in Boone during the 1800s have long since been demolished, but 30 years ago, the Lovill House was repurposed to become a bed and breakfast.

In 2021, Joel and Tonje Olsen purchased the Lovill House Inn and renovated it once again by preserving the history, modernizing the comfort and incorporating principles of sustainability that are unique to any commercial luxury property in the state. Olsen, a Sustain Charlotte board member, is the founder of O2 Group Ventures, which serves commercial and municipal customers working to meet clean energy deployment goals. Olsen set out to renovate the property with renewable energy, energy efficiency and waste-reduction principles in mind.

The 11-acre property features lush gardens surrounded by a forest with a 100-foot waterfall and hidden “bear cave” on the property. However, the inn is just a short walk from both downtown Boone and App State — and at Sustain Charlotte we’re all about not using cars for short trips when possible!

Mountain creek near Lovill House Inn

For the first 30 years, the Lovill House operated without electricity or internal combustion engine vehicles. As part of the renovation, a solar canopy was erected over the parking lot, protecting guests’ cars and motorcycles from the weather while generating enough power to offset all the electrical needs of the property. Tesla batteries were added as well as electric vehicle charging allowing the property to operate once again completely off-grid when needed and even power electric vehicles.

During the renovation, the Olsen insulated the ceilings, floors and walls while removing the wallpaper, popcorn ceilings and vinyl flooring that were added in earlier renovations. High-efficiency heating, air conditioning and ventilation equipment were added to maintain a stable humidity and modern comfort level for guests.

But it’s the little things that are making a difference, like eliminating plastic in all operations of the inn, from reusable glass water bottles to refillable dispensers in bathrooms using North Carolina-produced vegan shampoo, conditioner and soaps.

“Our guests see that it is just common sense and more comfortable for a bed and breakfast to be sustainable,” Olsen said. “They take these ideas of common-sense sustainability back home with them, expanding the impact of their stay.”

The Lovill House Inn has six guest suites, a two-bedroom cabin and a historic barn. The Inn has received the Sustainable Tourism Award from Explore Boone and the highest rating by the NC Green Travel association. Olsen’s goal is to make the site a model for luxury, sustainability and resilience in the hospitality industry.

We think he is on to something!

You can learn more at

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