Interesting how almost all reviews are either "love" or "hate". Most who didn't like this place visited in 2010; I suspect major positive changes were made since then. We spent a week in the Banner Elk area, eating at about 5 restaurants. None compared to Hearthstone. It was superb - excellent service (Kelly was wonderful), wonderful atmosphere/ambiance, and great food. My wife and I split 6 appetizers rather than do entrees, and they were great. Fried green tomatoes with crayfish (and Cajun type sauce) really novel and excellent; PEI mussels really excellent; crab cake was maybe the best we've ever enjoyed; calamari nicely cooked (no heavy batter). Great chocolate dessert, along with nice bottle of wine. All in all, from atmosphere to service to food . . . best place in the entire mountain area.