Dan’l Boone Inn, first firing up its griddles more than 50 years ago, caters to connoisseurs of comfort fare with a fixed menu of Southern staples served up family style. Soup or salad kicks off each all-you-can-eat dinner, paving the way for hearty heapings of fried chicken and country-style steak (up to $15.95 depending on age, free for children younger than 3). Between bites, tongue dive into a slew of flavorsome sidekicks that include coleslaw, country-ham biscuits, and fresh stewed apples. A delectable dessert then acts as the coda to a homestyle spread fit for the patron saint of the South, Elvis Faulkner himself.
The zipline at Vance Toe River Lodge zigzags through Plumtree's lush canopies, sending tour-goers on three-hour airborne adventures. After masking their appearance with helmets, harnesses, and gloves to ease ziplines' innate fear of humans, zippers travel across the 11 cables and four sky bridges that run through the forest's tallest topiaries. Along the way, guides enlighten patrons to the ecosystem that surrounds them, the underground mining system that sits beneath them, and the 5,500-foot height that separates danglers from the distant sea. Complimentary lunch at the Lodge Cafe after the trip awaits morning zip-liners unwilling to barter with squirrels for their acorn stockpiles and afternoon groups to fill up on food to give them energy prior to taking off.
The Gamekeeper Restaurant offers modern mountain cuisine in an elegantly rustic setting featuring in-house smoked meats, wild game, fish and vegetables prepared over a wood-fired grill. Most food is indigenous to the area and only the freshest offerings from local farmers, cheese makers and mushroom growers are used.
For the past 30 years, Makoto's has remained a reliable tableside performance grill and sushi bar that has satisfied patrons with Japanese seafood, steaks, and other savories served up by expert and entertaining chefs. The sushi bar artfully decorates plates and stomachs with offerings such as the spicy kani salad ($6.95), inari or smoked salmon nigiri ($3–$4.50), and rolls ranging from the spooky roll with calamari and asparagus ($7.95) to the exotically creative fuji apple roll with apple, goat cheese, samurai secrets, and spicy tuna ($11.95).
Originally the homestead of a miner, River House has grown to cover 170 acres of Blue Ridge wilderness along the North Fork of the New River and encompasses several converted farmhouses, three cabins, and the Inn House Restaurant. Like a Mercedes wrapped in burlap, the rooms at River House combine rustic façades with luxurious interiors. Though every room has its own distinctive personality—from the porch swing and packed bookshelves of Room Five to the honeymoon-friendly Chicken House's chicken-coop coffee tables and private deck looking out onto the river and mountains—each is outfitted with a mammoth bed (all but one are king-size), a gas-log fireplace, and a jacuzzi. Every morning, you'll wake up to find fresh coffee waiting for you outside your door. A cooked to order breakfast in the main house quells the morning munchies and is best enjoyed from rocking chairs between the porch's pristine white columns.