Rustic Log Cabins Set in Majestic Mountainside
At Hidden Creek Cabins, tucked into the Great Smoky Mountains, the crackle of campfires and hearty laughter often punctuate quiet nights. It’s appropriate, then, that a carved wooden sign on the porch of a rustic log cottage reads, "Here Let the Fires of Friendship Burn." Other thoughtful accents—from hand-stitched quilts to decorative cast-iron cookware—are sprinkled throughout these homey accommodations.
Forest views and all-wood furnishings are featured in each cabin, but locations vary—some of the cabins are up on hilltops and have views of the Great Smoky Mountains, and some are set next to a creek. There’s a roomy hot tub on the deck at Maggie's Cabin. Pop’s Cottage has a gas grill, and you can take to a hammock or swinging love seat to watch the sun dip behind the Smokies. Skytop Cabin overlooks an indigo ridge line and thousands of acres of protected forest. Rocking chairs share patio space with a charcoal grill and a hot tub, and high-backed adirondack chairs surround a campfire site below.
Bryson City, North Carolina: Mountain Beauty and Outdoor Adventure
Set in the heart of North Carolina's Blue Ridge about an hour west of Asheville, the town of Bryson City lives up to its nickname as "Base Camp for the Great Smokies." The nearby Nantahala National Forest and Great Smoky Mountains National Park each provide endless year-round opportunities for hiking, biking, and stealing picnic baskets.
Between November and early spring, Cataloochee Ski Area, a half hour northeast of Bryson City, opens its 14 slopes to the public. The Blue Ridge Parkway has stunning vistas. It’s also possible to get good views from a vintage train car on the Great Smoky Mountains Railroad; on a half-day trip on the train, you can wind through 53 miles of pristine mountain country.