Duncraig Manor and Gardens
Experience the elegance and simplicity of a bygone era at Duncraig Manor & Gardens, the most inviting and special place to stay in the Southern Pines area. Duncraig, a beautifully restored circa 1928 estate, which is listed on the Department of the Interior’s Historic Register, was completely and carefully restored to its former glory in 2019. The over 12,000 square foot manor house has large, comfortable living spaces with a total of 7 guest quarters available for occupancy. Our suites, which accommodate up to 4 persons, are ideal for families. Each space has been carefully decorated and appointed with a blend of period and traditional furnishings, all with the comfort of our guests in mind. The Gardens, Patios and Terraces that surround the Manor, with their tastefully placed seating and tables, are wonderful spaces to enjoy the great outdoors and its natural beauty. The Spa offers Massages and a Pool to help you unwind and relax, and there’s comfy seating, game tables and home theater in the Spa Lounge. The Butler’s Pantry is always open and offers cold drinks, hot beverages and snacks. For our guests, a delicious gourmet breakfast is served each morning and hors d’oeuvres are provided at the close of each afternoon.
All our rooms and suites have private baths and are air-conditioned. Amenities in each accommodation include comfortable seating, a hair dryer, premium soaps, shampoos, conditioners and lotions, and Wi-Fi. Irons and ironing boards are available upon request. The most romantic guest rooms have fireplaces and oversized bathtubs.
It all began in 1928 when Mrs. Helen A. Lohmann of New Haven, Connecticut and her mother, Quaker Oats heiress Mrs. J. H. Andrews, commissioned Alfred B. Yeomans to build a 26-room English Cottage style Tudor Manor House in Southern Pines. Yeomans, a local designer and relative of the famous Boyd family of Weymouth, Southern Pines, oversaw the project which was completed in 1930. The large sprawling home was later dubbed Duncraig Manor by the 2nd owners, Dr. & Mrs. George Matheson, who had ties to Duncraig Castle in Scotland (which was built by Alexander Matheson in 1866). As part of the Southern Pines Historic District, it was added to the Department of the Interior’s List of Historic Places in November of 1991.
In 1990, Duncraig was chosen as a “showhouse” by the American Society of Interior Designers. Over 40 designers participated with each decorating a separate space in the house. The Manor then went through a period of decline until Caroline and Donald Naysmith purchased it in 2017. As the 5th owners of the property, they began the process of historic restoration with the objective of returning Duncraig to like-new condition. Due to the size and complexity of the project, which included the grounds as well as the structures, it took about 18 months to complete the process. The century-old integrity of the historic house was carefully maintained during the restoration, which makes an old-world connection while providing a comfortable and charming retreat for guests. In 2018 the Southern Pines Town Council approved the use of Duncraig Manor as a Bed and Breakfast and Special Events Venue.
Donald and Caroline Naysmith are Carolina residents who have lived, worked, and traveled in Europe. They have a passion for reclaiming and restoring historically significant structures. Their combined experience includes: many years in developing properties including completion of six historic restorations, planning and production of high-end weddings and other special events, organization of international corporate events, and management of multi-million dollar domestic and international projects.
The Naysmiths own and operate Cardon Development and Cardon Consulting, real estate development and consulting companies specializing in historic restoration.
Caroline Naysmith, a highly motivated results-oriented visionary, was a trailblazer who pioneered the all-inclusive, historic destination, wedding concept. She began in St. Louis, Missouri in 1989 with the purchase and subsequent restoration of the 1857 Larimore House and Barn. Through God’s enablement she had transformed a run-down Italianate plantation house and out-building into a thriving and highly sought after wedding and special events venue. It was added to the National register of Historic places in 1989. Ownership was later transferred to a family member and it currently operates as Larimore Weddings.
In 2000, Caroline sought a location in Colorado that would be suitable for a bed and breakfast and a more intimate wedding and reception location. She purchased Rockledge Country Inn, situated on the crest of a hill in Manitou Springs, close to Pikes Peak. The greenstone mansion was built in 1913 and was the former home of a wealthy oil executive and another Historic Register property. Caroline had some restoration and up-fitting work to finish before she could open for business. After completion, Rockledge became a successful wedding and special events venue as well as a Five-star Bed and Breakfast. Its new owners have made it part of the Sunwellness Spa in Manitou.
With Larimore and Rockledge in full-swing, Caroline acquired an 1857 farm house and surrounding land in Washington, Missouri. The site, later named “Caroline Vineyard” was located on a bluff overlooking the Missouri River. It was perfect for weddings and special events, but much work had to be done. First was completing the restoration of the farm house. Then came the construction of a beautiful 14,000 square foot wedding chapel and banquet hall. Subsequently sold and renamed The Vineyard at Riverbend Chapel, it functions as a very successful special events venue and is also listed on the National Historic Register.
Then, Donald Naysmith, Caroline’s husband, retired early so they could work together on the Alexander Homestead project in Charlotte, NC. They bought the severely dilapidated historic landmark, originally the home of Charlotte’s “First Family”, situated on 5 beautifully wooded acres and began its restoration in 2007. Work was completed in 2008 and included construction of a 2,800 square foot Carriage House just a few steps from the historic residence. The circa 1903 Queen Anne Victorian home was added to the Department of the Interior’s Register of Historic Places in 2008 and the completed project won Historic Charlotte’s Preservation Award that same year. The Naysmiths then reconstructed a “dressed up” Dairy Barn that today serves as both wedding chapel and banquet hall. The exterior of this historically based barn resembles the sites original dairy barn that had fallen into ruin long before they purchased the property. This beautiful venue, now owned by another family member, operates today as Alexander Homestead Weddings.
In 2010, the Naysmith’s acquired the only remaining Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) Camp in New York State, Camp S-90. Originally, one of 92 such facilities, it was opened in the early 1930’s as a part of President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s New Deal. Then, after the CCC was dissolved, it was used as a 4-H camp for many years. Due to lack of funds the 4-H abandoned the camp which was in great disrepair. Over a period of 5 years Caroline and Donald meticulously restored this very historic place with 17 buildings on 17 acres and turned it into a children’s camp. It was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in June of 2016 and the Naysmith’s won a Preservation Award from the State of New York that same year. This unique property is now owned by a family and used a their personal retreat.
If you ask Caroline and Donald, they will tell you that Duncraig Manor & Gardens is their “last project”. But who knows? It’s reported that those words have been spoken on previous occasions. We’ll have to just wait and see.