Favorite Year-Round Mountain Escapes
Majestic snow capped peaks, rugged trails winding through forests with early spring buds, lush foliage bursting with brilliant color; these are the North Carolina Mountains, timeless and serene. Isn’t it about time you made your escape?
Escape to Scenic Views, Attractions and Outdoor Adventures
You won’t find a better spot to view the world than from the top of a mountain. Start with a scenic drive on the Blue Ridge Parkway or through the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Both of these roads close during the winter months because of snow, but magnificent vistas await the traveler during all the other seasons. If it’s snow you want, try one of the many ski resorts from Beech Mountain to Maggie Valley. Even if you don’t ski, the hot cocoa is a warm reward after a snowball fight.
When the snow thaws, you can hike the Appalachian Trail, or find a wealth of hiking, biking and horseback riding trails in the Pisgah National Forest or the Nantahala National Forest and the many state parks scattered throughout the mountains.
Attractions abound, from the renowned Biltmore Estate to Grandfather Mountain with its famous Mile High Swinging Bridge. The Cradle of Forestry in America is a great place to learn about one of our greatest natural resources, and the 426-acre North Carolina Arboretum has the finest bonsai collection in the Southeastern United States. Nearby Pack Place Education, Arts & Science Center houses five of Asheville’s premier attractions, including the Colburn Earth Science Museum and the Asheville Art Museum.
Escape to History, Culture and Spas
The history and culture of the Appalachian people can be found everywhere, from the ancient Cherokee to the Waldensians to modern day settlers. Visit the Cherokee Heritage Center and the Museum of the Cherokee Indian and see the outdoor drama, "Unto These Hills" to learn more about the proud heritage of these Native Americans. The Folk Art Center in Asheville is home to the Southern Highland Craft Guild which displays the works of artists and crafters steeped in Appalachian traditions.
Writers and actors have always found the North Carolina mountains inspiring. Author Thomas Wolfe made his home in Asheville, while Historic Hendersonville and Flat Rock were home to poet Carl Sandburg. Here too is where you’ll find the Flat Rock Playhouse: State Theatre of North Carolina, offering a full season of professional theater from April to October and classes year-round.
Not far from Flat Rock is Lake Lure, much used as a filming location for numerous movies, most notably, Dirty Dancing. Here you’ll find the Lake Lure Inn and Spa, a great place to pamper yourself and unwind. Nearby Asheville also has a number of luxurious spas including the historic Grove Park Inn Resort & Spa.
So, whether it’s swooshing down the slopes, immersing yourself in Appalachian culture, luxuriating in a world-class spa, or just enjoying the view, you’re sure to find a North Carolina Mountains escape that will take you to new heights.
By Pam Watson
By Pam Watson
added: December 11, 2008
updated: May 4, 2009