The story below is an excerpt from our July/August 2016 issue. For the rest of this story and more like it subscribe today, log in to read our digital edition or download our FREE iOS app. Thank you!
It took the threat of a hurricane to cause Pat and Mikey O’Neal to flee to a vacation home in Beech Mountain, North Carolina. It was not long after that they fled Florida for good, and for an all-season home in the mountains.
Natives of Fort Lauderdale, Florida, Pat and Mikel (she goes by “Mikey”) O’Neal never dreamed they’d trade in the beach lifestyle for a full-time home on a mountain cliff, but that’s exactly what they did after discovering Beech Mountain, North Carolina. The love affair with the mountains began more than a decade ago when friends invited them to Beech Mountain for some winter skiing. They returned the next year and during time off the slopes, they scouted out—and purchased—a chalet vacation home.
Living full-time in the mountains wasn’t on their agenda. They planned to visit often, but Hurricane Wilma in 2005 helped produce a change of heart. As Wilma threatened the Florida coast, Pat and Mikey loaded up their three kids and fled for their little chalet. They planned to stay three weeks, but after experiencing an extended time getting acclimated to the high elevation and stunning views, they knew they couldn’t leave.
“We stayed in our vacation home for a month and ended up buying this house on Easter weekend. We moved in June 2006,” says Mikey. “It was the greatest thing we ever did.”
Making It Their Own
The home they bought on North Pinnacle Ridge Road faces the town of Beech Mountain and the ski resort and is located close to the old Land of Oz theme park and the top of the lift run where there is a Sky Bar. The elevation of their living room deck is 5,225 feet.
One really cool feature of their property includes a former cat walk and observation deck once put in place by the Town of Beech Mountain for visitors to scan the landscape.
“When we bought the house, we extended that deck and put a hot tub out back,” says Mikey. “It has a 360-degree view.”
Another stunning feature: a turret with a spiral staircase that leads to a “crow’s nest” with a chair, daybed and magnificent views. It gives a storybook quality to this house that’s literally perched on top of a mountain.
The O’Neals loved the house when they bought it, but despised the interior. They immediately ripped out all the flooring when they moved in.
“It was very Palm Beach-style with light tile, white carpet and white picket railings,” explains Mikey. “We put in 2,500 square feet of Cherry hardwood flooring and painted the interior.” Renovations of the exterior included adding poplar bark and stone.
A three-level home proved a perfect fit for this family of five. The main level includes the living room, kitchen, powder room, master bedroom and bath. The O’Neals’ daughter enjoyed the spaciousness of a top-level suite with a loft, and their two sons shared the bottom level, complete with a game room area.
“For the winter, we have a fantastic set-up. There’s a view and sliding door from every bedroom,” says Mikey. “You never feel like you’re stuck inside. It’s wonderfully spacious living. We’ve never gotten cabin fever here.”
Soon-To-Be Empty Nesters
After 10 years in this house, the O’Neals are fast approaching the empty-nest stage. Their oldest son, 23-year-old Patrick, graduated from Appalachian State University and has followed in the footsteps of his dad. They both work at High Country Appraisals in Foscoe as real estate appraisers.
... The story above is an excerpt from our July/August 2016 issue. For the rest of this story and more like it subscribe today, log in to read our digital edition or download our FREE iOS app. Thank you!