The charm of Twelve Oaks Bed & Breakfast is based in part on its old-fashioned ways and antebellum architecture.
The white columns start from the lush green grass and head up two stories toward the red roof, leaving most of the color inside the lavishly decorated walls of its eight guest rooms. However, last week, a red chair stood out on its grounds, adding a vibrant splash to the canvas, along with unique viral marketing.
The red chair-at-bed & breakfasts phenomenon began when the innkeeper at Woods Hole Inn on Cape Cod photographed a red chair sitting on a frozen pond and posted it on Facebook. The image took off and brought in one Facebook "like" after another. The red chair brought in so much web traffic that it grew from there, and innkeepers were invited to bring the chair to their own establishments so that guests could look forward to seeing it for themselves, as part of a community of top-tier bed & breakfasts.
"It’s just a quirky little thing," said Twelve Oaks owner Nicole Greer. "I think people enjoy watching it go to different places."
The red chair made its stop in Covington just a week ago, providing Greer with a chance to photograph the iconic piece and get her business even more exposure on the Web. She even managed to snap a photo, similar to the one that started it all, of the chair on a frozen pond, thanks to last week’s bitter cold in the South.
Fans of the Red Chair Travels – the chair has 1,022 likes on Facebook -- are sure to check out the newly renovated Twelve Oaks Bed & Breakfast, but it’s by no means the first recognition for the historic Covington home.
The house was built in 1836, and was then called the Cedars. It survived the burning of Atlanta and its surrounding areas in 1864 and was renamed White Hall. In 2012, Greer began renovating the house to become a bed & breakfast and decided to give it its current name, Twelve Oaks, based on part of the house’s history.
"We wanted to restore (it), and I thought it would be good for the community to have a bed & breakfast right off the square," Greer said. "It’s always been a little dream of mine, since I like to cook and meet new people, to open a bed & breakfast."
The name connection is this: When Margaret Mitchell’s hit novel "Gone With the Wind" was going to be produced as a film back in the 1930s, the author sent a photo of the Covington house to the producers, along with a note saying she liked it for Ashley Wilkes’ home, Twelve Oaks.
Greer named one of the inn’s first rooms -- it opened with just three renovated -- the Frankly Scarlett Suite, while she continued to renovate additional rooms. While the house’s history stretched back long before the Civil War, Twelve Oaks’ acclaim didn’t take nearly as long to build.
Since opening, Twelve Oaks Bed & Breakfast has not only hosted the red chair, but also been named a 2014 pick for the "best of weddings" in The Knot magazine, been chosen for a wedding wire couples’ choice award, and, about six months ago, was named a top-10 Luxury Inn in the world by bedandbreakfast.com.
"We had only been open for about 14 months, so we were really blown away by being voted (among) Top 10 Luxury Inns in the world," Greer said.
The recognition by wedding magazines and websites is the most surprising to Greer, who said that during the roughly 300 days a year that Twelve Oaks is open, it hosts around 20 weddings.