The course at the private Wolf Laurel Country Club leads players on a secluded retreat into the Blue Ridge Mountains, with mature forests and alpine vistas dappling climbs to elevations of more than 5,000 feet. Designer W.B. Lewis planned the fairways so that no two run directly parallel to each other, allowing players to explore every angle of the sprawling resort that’s bounded to the north by the Appalachian Trail. With tee-to-green elevation changes of as much as 300 feet, golfers must make careful club selections to give themselves the best shot at the par of 74. The signature sixth hole, a par 3, couples a downhill tee shot that plummets more than 200 feet with a dramatic vista from the tee box, spelling doom for shots that fly long and golfers who recover slowly after tee-to-green barrel rolls.
Course at a Glance:
At Huck Finn Rafting Adventures, new and experienced rafters tame the tides of the French Broad River while soaking up the mountain scenery of Pisgah National Forest. Seasoned guides lead explorers on a five-mile float, navigating class II, III, and III+ rapids. Seafarers stop along the two- to three-hour trek to swim, look for mermaids, and snack on crackers, cookies, fresh fruit, and drinks provided by the staff. Adventurers not content to stop at the 5-mile mark may upgrade to a 9-mile jaunt that features two class IV rapids ($12/person).
Tropical Gardens Miniature Golf strips away the cartoonish aspects of the game found on many courses, instead situating its 18 putting greens amid a diverse landscape of ponds and blooming floras. As a waterfall trickles nearby, a flamboyance of fake flamingos perches under the shade of a tree, silently observing golfers' mannerisms to use in their upcoming novel. Aside from navigating the miniature fairways, players can swing at baseballs in the batting cages or reunite quarters with their captive brethren in the video arcade.
Cinebarre merges the excitement of moviegoing with the satisfaction of a full stomach, with the full-service restaurant and bar’s menu of hearty American favorites complementing a lineup of new releases. Moviegoers settle into plush seats or sprawl out in spacious aisles in front of the big screen while chowing down on mounds of fries ($6) or sextets of fried green tomatoes dunked in ranch ($7). Homemade pizza dough showcases pepperoni, canadian bacon, and sausage in the Bull Durham pie ($12.50), or a hearty Blue Velvet burger ($11) packs a half-pound Angus beef patty beneath layers of buffalo hot sauce, blue cheese, and smoky chipotle mayo. As they enjoy current offerings such as The Grey and Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, patrons can cast new orders—such as for a slice of cheesecake ($6) or a glass of sauvignon blanc ($7)—by scribbling their comestible choice across an order form or a companion’s forehead, then waiting for a waiter to deliver it to their seats.
While the Hampton family owns and operates French Broad Ziplines, twin brothers Mitch and Michael Hampton have also had their personal share of ups and downs, both on the water and off. At age 10, they began exploring eastern Tennessee rivers with their grandfather, and they followed that passion for whitewater rafting into their business, which had been family-run for nearly 30 years. But then their dream was threatened. A fire swallowed the business, and the brothers lost everything. Slowly, though, with the help of family, friends, and staff, they rebuilt their company, learning patience and perseverance while finding comfort and strength in the support of their community.
Today, in addition to their traditional water-based excursions, the brothers also take to the trees on their recently constructed zipline course. Ripping through the clear mountain air, they've charted mid-air trails for zipline canopy tours that send guests soaring from tree to tree more swiftly than a caffeinated eagle. The course's eight ziplines stretch in distance from 420' to 1000', ensuring the guests have plenty of time to admire their sky-high view of the woods on adventures that also incorporate rappels, short hikes, and a rumbling jaunt on a hard-nosed utility vehicle.
USA Raft weaves aquatic wanderers of all skill levels down the whitewaters of the Pigeon River, affording inside views of the towering Smoky Mountains. Speed seekers and mild floaters alike can revel in the five-mile stretch of either the Upper or Lower Pigeon River Express, as guides employ their regional and water-sport knowledge to identify the grandeur of the landscapes and the functionality of pointer fingers. Mellow water-waders and fun-time floaters mosey through the mild ride, a slower guided tour along the Lower Pigeon River that boasts a river gorge, views of the Cherokee National Forest and the Smoky Mountains, and a calm current that never loses its temper. Adventurous seafaring types opting for an adrenaline-fueled excursion will reap the rewards of the wild ride, which careers through five miles of the Upper Pigeon River Express and paddles past Smoky Mountain scenery.