doe branch ink

About us


Doe Branch Ink is located in Madison County, NC between the towns of Marshall and Hot Springs, which are both located on the scenic French Broad River as it flows northward into Tennessee. The area is bucolic with wooded hillsides, flowing streams and abundant hiking trails. The Appalachian Trail is nearby and runs through the town of Hot Springs. We are 30 miles and 45 minutes from downtown Asheville, and similarly close to Greeneville, TN. These local communities support a variety of interesting restaurants and craft shops.


We work with successful authors and artists to create engaging, hands-on workshop experiences in a relaxing, supportive, purposeful and distraction-free environment. Fees cover lodging, catered meals, refreshments and tuition. Our caterer can accommodate any dietary restrictions.

Doe Branch Ink is a retreat for Writers and other Artists located on 110 acres nestled in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina. Just 30 miles north of Asheville, our retreat takes its name from a spring fed stream that borders our property, flowing from high in Pisgah National Forest into the French Broad River. The Vermillion guest house is the retreat headquarters, with other nearby accommodations available as needed, including the historic Doe Branch Schoolhouse.


Jim Roberts and Deborah Jakubs first discovered the natural beauty of Madison County and the Blue Ridge Mountains north of Asheville in 2005 when they bought a log cabin home on four acres on Doe Branch Road. In 2010 they purchased a 45 acre neighboring property from the Vermillion family, and laid the foundation for the Doe Branch Ink writers retreat program. In 2016 they purchased another adjacent property of approximately 60 acres, including the old Doe Branch school, which had been remodeled into a cozy mountain cabin. All three properties were once part of the same 125 acre homestead and are interconnected by streams and trails. They love sharing their guest houses and trails, especially with writers and other artists. The have both had long careers at Duke University. We are happy now to involve the younger generation of our family as well.

Logan Roberts and Cameron Todd recently fulfilled a longtime dream of making Doe Branch their home. They are Colorado College graduates and now live in a small cabin on the property, where they work, explore creative projects, and try their hand at homesteading. Cameron is a fiction writer with an MFA from the University of New Orleans, and the program coordinator for Doe Branch Ink. Logan, who helps with DBI lodging logistics, web and graphic design, also runs a custom apparel apparel company called Inkmule. Logan spent many summers as a raft guide on the nearby French Broad River. Nick Roberts, now based in Miami, is an outdoor writer and fiction writer who has worked many years as a professional fly fishing guide in the Asheville area.