Romance, Adventure and Charm in the Land of Waterfalls

Transylvania County Tourism Development AuthorityRomance, Adventure and Charm in the Land of Waterfalls

Many of Transylvania County's waterfalls are easily accessible from short hikes or walks on trails

Located in the cradle of the Blue Ridge Mountains, Brevard is the perfect pairing of an idyllic small town combined with the thrills of world-class outdoor activities. It’s a great place for you to spend a romantic weekend, whether your interests are cultural, such as music, art galleries, shopping and spas; or a bit more on the adventurous side, with paddling, hiking, biking and waterfalls.

3-Day Itinerary

Day 1: Enjoy a romantic afternoon exploring Main Street.

Day 2: Take a walk on the wild side on the French Broad River and the Blue Ridge Parkway.

Day 3: Hiking, biking and late-day soothing.

Please exercise caution and obey all rules and warnings posted near waterfalls. The rocks around waterfalls are often slippery, and the currents can be very strong.

Day 1: Charming Brevard

Welcome to the “Land of Waterfalls,” the official moniker of Transylvania County, home to Brevard. You’re going to need your energy, so arrive in time to enjoy a hearty Southern lunch on the front porch of a traditional arts and crafts house at Hob Nob.

Then, leave your car where it is and set off on foot down Main Street to explore this imminently walkable town. Pop into one of six art galleries within three blocks or explore the history of the region at the Heritage Museum. Do a little shopping in more than 50 shops and boutiques that line the streets. Afterward, what’s more romantic than sharing a shake with two straws at Rocky’s Grill & Soda Shop? The venerable diner offers a taste of Americana – with its vintage decor – in addition to delicious items such as Mammy's Grilled Cheese, Rocky's Chili Cheeseburger, a dozen different styles of hot dogs, and a great variety of milkshakes and fountain drinks.

Rocky's Grill and Soda Shop in Brevard

Transylvania County TDA

Rocky's Grill and Soda Shop is a great date spot with vintage charm

Check in for the night at the Sunset Motel, a once-classic roadside motel that’s been “retro-vated” into a hip and oh-so-groovy hotel. Combining retro furnishings and artwork reminiscent of a romantic era gone-by with modern hotel touches like pillow-top mattresses, free Wi-Fi, refrigerators and coffee makers, the Sunset Motel makes for a charming base for your Brevard adventures. If the Sunset is full, or bed-and-breakfasts are more your thing, reserve a room at the romantic Red House Inn.

Once you’re settled, head back to Main Street for an evening of romance. Share a carafe of wine while dining on Italian specialties at Marco Trattoria. Enjoy your meal under the twinkling lights on the front porch or in the elegant dining room filled with local artwork.

After dinner – if you’re visiting during summer – head over to the renowned Brevard Music Center for a classical concert under the stars during its Summer Music Festival, featuring more than 80 opera, chamber and orchestra performances over seven weeks. Plus, there are music series and special events the center hosts or organizes at other local venues, such as the First Mondays Concert Series and Sundays with Brevard Music Center that run October through May.

Day 2: Over the River and Through the Trees

Start your day with coffee and freshly baked pastries and muffins – or something heartier – at Quotations Coffee Café. While you’re there, pick up a salad or bistro sandwich for a picnic later in the day.

Then, it’s time to hit the water. Get back to nature with your special someone while paddling down the French Broad River in a canoe or kayak with Headwaters Outfitters. If you prefer some floating action, try tubing. Or, for the angler in your life, maybe fly fishing. Afterward, go north to Cathedral Falls and enjoy a secluded picnic overlooking the dramatic falls.

Next, head farther north to the Blue Ridge Parkway and stop at one or more overlooks to admire the beauty below. Don’t miss Looking Glass Rock and Skinny Dip Falls at Milepost 417. After a short hike to the falls, take a refreshing dip in the swimming hole. Keep the excitement going by heading to Whale Back Falls and the Cove Creek swimming hole, featuring an irregular granite rock resembling a whale breaching the surface. Once you’re sufficiently cool, drive back to Brevard proper and the even cooler Oskar Blues Brewery to toast your fun-filled day over a can or draft of craft beer by one of the trendiest craft breweries in the U.S.

Skinny Dip Falls with bridge

Skinny Dip Falls is one of many treasures to discover along the Blue Ridge Parkway

For dinner, reserve a romantic table at Jaime’s Creole Brasserie for a taste of N’awlins in downtown Brevard. The delectable menu features gumbo, crawfish étouffée, barbecued shrimp and more, with much of the meats and produce sourced from North Carolina farmers. Afterward, check out the live music schedule at Brevard’s quintessential music hall, 185 King Street.

Day 3: Spend the day in the Land of Waterfalls

More waterfalls await, but first pay a visit to Blue Ridge Bakery for freshly made muffins or breakfast pastries. For a real treat, try a piece of the towering spanakopita. On your way out of town, stop in at Food Matters Market & Café and pick up some provisions. A picnic of cheese and fruit, a freshly made deli sandwich or a salad will be perfect for a day in the great outdoors.

Go to Pisgah National Forest and stop at Looking Glass Falls, one of North Carolina’s most photographed waterfalls. Admire the falls from the viewing platform off the parking lot, venture down to the lower platform or go all the way down to the Davidson River for a truly spectacular view (and a perfect selfie for Facebook or Instagram).

Looking Glass Falls in Pisgah National Forest

Looking Glass Falls is a sight to behold, and swimming is allowed there

Next, take an easy hike to what may be Western North Carolina’s most famous naturally occurring thrill ride: Sliding Rock. Plunge down the 60-foot rock waterslide – if you’re a couple, try it in tandem – for a trip you won’t soon forget (and it’s wise to wear shorts over your bathing suit for this slide). A picnic lunch while watching others is almost as much fun.

Now that you’ve had your adrenaline rush, it’s time to check out the Cradle of Forestry. Learn how George Vanderbilt inspired forestry conservation and America’s first school of forestry. Walk hand-in-hand along wide guided trails that will take you back in time with historic cabins, an original logging locomotive and an antique sawmill.

Drive back to Brevard and bring your heart rate down a notch with a spa treatment at Elements Spa. Unwind from the day with a Two-by-Two Couples Massage or splurge on a Couples Retreat, which includes a foot soak, couples massage and a mini foot reflexology.

As the sun begins to set, stroll down a quiet side alley to Square Root for dinner. Enjoy the romantic décor and architecture of the dining room or opt to dine in the soft breeze of their covered porch. Save room for dessert and cross over the alley to Downtown Chocolates for decadent truffles and handcrafted chocolates. Take a few home for a tasty memory of your time together in the romantic Land of Waterfalls.

Enjoy all the area has to offer by mixing and matching activities and events to your particular interest. Be sure to check days and hours of operation for each venue.

Cele Seldon is an Oak Island-based travel writer who loves covering her home state.

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