Yonahlossee Resort In Blowing Rock
The designated welcoming committee at the Yonahlossee Resort & Club in Blowing Rock has just one member. Guests to this tranquil escape in the mountains of Watauga County should not be offended if the sole greeter, a lithe creature named Lucy, decides to brush up against their legs or cozy into their laps. Lucy, formerly a stray black cat, has spent five years as the official mascot and greeter at the Yonahlossee Inn. In her capacity, Lucy also maintains a blog on the resort’s Web site; it details days primarily filled with napping and stalking chipmunks when not hosting.
Once welcomed and checked-in, resort guests face the mission of deciding what to do next. There are a mind-boggling number of options both on the Yonahlossee Resort property, and in the surrounding mountains and nearby towns of Boone, Blowing Rock and Banner Elk. The Yonahlossee Resort is on the site of a former all-girl’s camp that opened in the 1920s and is ideally situated as a launching point for exploring this region of North Carolina that is appropriately known as The High Country.
Yonahlossee is Cherokee for “trail of the bear.” It is not out of the question to spot a native American Black Bear occasionally passing through the area. The resort takes full advantage of its namesake symbol. The Ursus americanus is the heart of the Yonahlossee Resort & Club’s logo. There is a five-foot carved bear at the entrance to the inn. A smaller version rests atop the inn’s fireplace mantle. Another black bear likeness serves as the base of a lamp in the inn’s Bear Cub Room.
First, it must be mentioned, a choice inactivity for the length of a stay is to just kick back on a deck or patio and breathe in the cool air saturated with scents of high-altitude flora.
For travelers ready to get up and move, tennis is at the top of the available recreation list. The resort features six well-maintained clay courts and three indoor hard courts. Recreational leagues, junior clinics and statewide amateur tournaments are regularly scheduled. The racquet complex is constantly humming.
Swimmers can take advantage of a 75-foot heated indoor pool. There is also a fitness center. Sessions with a personal trainer can be set. Guest services can also assist with arranging massages, spa treatments, golf, hiking, horseback riding, caving, fly-fishing and whitewater rafting among other pursuits.
The Yonahlossee Inn is rustic and cozy with a Southern Appalachian wood exterior that is accented by stacked stone trim and columns. It features eight comfortable rooms with twig headboards and queen beds topped with down comforters. Bathrooms feature double vanities and circulating tubs. Adirondack chairs are staples on the covered decks and patios.
Other available accommodations on the sprawling Yonahlossee property include studio cottages and homes ranging from one to five bedrooms. The grounds are a haven of tumbling streams and thickets of rhododendron and mountain laurel.
Overnight guests at the Yonahlossee Inn can partake of a Continental breakfast. The other dining option within walking distance is The Gamekeeper Restaurant and Bar . The Gamekeeper is a gourmet eatery that serves standard Southern fare along with a dash of the diverse. Its Mixed Grill menu selection is only for the adventurous epicurean; it is a sampling of ostrich, buffalo and alligator sausages. The restaurant is housed in a 1950s stone cottage that was once the residence of the girls’ camp founders.
There is a lengthy laundry list of activities to enjoy in close proximity to Yonahlossee Resort. Highlights include a trip to Grandfather Mountain to stroll across its Mile High Swinging Bridge. Kids will be enthralled with its wildlife habitats, which are basically open-air zoos.
North Carolina’s most popular ski destinations, Ski Beech and Sugar Mountain, are nearby with wintertime and summertime activities. Boone, home to Appalachian State University, is less than 15 minutes away.
The Blowing Rock, which claims itself as the state’s oldest travel attraction, offers breathtaking and panoramic views of Grandfather Mountain and Mount Mitchell. The latter is the highest point east of the Mississippi River. It is worth the minimal entrance fee to The Blowing Rock to soak in the vistas and the Johns River Gorge that lies 3,000 feet below.
Tweetsie Railroad is a destination that the kids won’t want to miss. It is a Wild West theme park that features a 3-mile ride on an historic steam locomotive.
Also highly recommended is a leisurely drive on the Blue Ridge Parkway. It is easily accessed less than three miles from the Yonahlossee Resort & Club. An enjoyable ride involves heading north toward Linville to catch a glimpse of the parkway’s Linn Cove Viaduct at Milepost 304. It is a remarkable display of engineering ingenuity and offers spectacular scenery.
Other recommendations include a visit to the Mast General Store in Valle Crucis and a stroll down Main Street in Blowing Rock. There are numerous shopping, window-shopping and people-watching opportunities on Blowing Rock’s primary thoroughfare. Antique shops abound as do art galleries and dining establishments. Kids can spend time in the town’s Memorial Park, which offers basketball and tennis courts, a playground and a rock climbing wall.
No matter your chosen itinerary at Yonahlossee Resort & Club, make sure, upon your return home, to occasionally check back in on the resort’s Web site for updates on Lucy’s latest forays.
By Patrick Jones
added: December 20, 2008
updated: January 2, 2009
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