The Columbia Inn at Peralynna is quite real, and is used with the permission of its owners, David and Dr. Cynthia Lynn.
My husband and I first discovered this intriguing boutique bed and breakfast in September. We were charmed by the unique layout and, particularly, by our warm and gracious hosts. We returned in February, when the Lynns graciously showed us around their home and their community. (Royal Taj Restaurant, The Iron Bridge Wine Company, and the old Savage Mills cotton mill complex are also real places.) Cynthia and I spent many hours in the four-story great room, discussing our mutual love for books and writing, and brainstorming future plots.
The inn has a fascinating story behind it. It is, indeed, fashioned after a CIA safe house in Germany that Cynthia thought of as her family’s vacation home. She told me she simply thought their parents threw lots of parties and took their five children on spur-of-the-moment trips, often in the still of night. It was years before she realized her parents were spies and that those clandestine encounters were related to national security. In fact, the American pilot Francis Gary Powers (you probably remember the name from the blockbuster movie Bridge of Spies) was debriefed at the original safe house in Germany by her father.
During my last visit, I had the pleasure of listening to Cynthia and her sister recall memories of the house, their parents, and their unique lifestyle abroad. Oh, the books these women could write!
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