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News Community Highlands B&Bs celebrate 150 years with block party

(L-R) Chris and Donna Alley, owners of Colonial Pines, and Rick and Helen Siegel, owners of 4 1/2 Street Inn with the Siegels' dog, Jake, in the foregroundTwo of Highlands oldest inns celebrated their combined 150 years Tuesday, September 13, with an old-fashioned block party on 4 ½ Street. Food, drinks and live music by Tom Hill and the Midnight Sons highlighted the evening.

Across the street from each other, the 4 ½ Street Inn and Colonial Pines are owned and operated by resident innkeepers, Rick and Helene Siegel and Chris and Donna Alley respectively. The owners conducted tours of their inns during the party.

The Siegels, former owners of an Atlanta landscaping firm, purchased the 4 ½ Street Inn in 1997. Throughout the 100-year old inn is a wealth of original woodwork, including mantels, wainscoting and 4- and 5-panel doors. The woodwork is oak, pine and chestnut, all finished with the same dark stain.

In 1984, the Alleys needed an escape from Atlanta. It took all of one half hour to decide that Colonial Pines would be that escape. Donna Alley says, “We knew this was the place we wanted to be.” In the 27 years since, they have raised two daughters and cracked over 100,000 eggs, and still counting.

The party itself was more than the hosts had counted on. “We fixed 240 hot dogs and ran out and we fixed 15 pounds of chili and ran out of that, too,” says Helene Siegel. “Everyone had a great time,” Rick Siegel says. “People connected. It was a real community event. I had more people come up to say ‘Thanks’ for a great party.”

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