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.
The independently owned Reel Theatres Movies on the Parkway beckons movie-goers with a fleet of first-run films in a family-friendly setting. The cinematic domicile unspools a rotating roster of blockbusters, including coming attractions The Help, 30 Minutes or Less, and Conan the Barbarian. While awaiting a scheduled appointment with a movie, film-goers can visit the arcade (not included in this Groupon) to train for future real-life encounters with unrelenting Pac-Men. Dolby Surround or DTS Digital Sound envelop eager eardrums with the sounds of cinematic car crashes and sumptuous scores, while the wall-to-wall screens embrace larger-than-life storytelling and giant shadow puppets. An included large bag of freshly popped popcorn inspires buttery thumb-wrestling, while the theater's well-stocked concession stand proffers hot dogs, nachos, candy, and other noshable notions.
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.
Wolf Ridge Ski Resort rises from the mountaintops of western North Carolina, topping their natural spires with its own elegant construction of wood, stone, and shingled peaks. In the resort's surroundiings, guests glide down any combination of 22 exciting ski runs, including nine greens for beginners and three black diamonds for experts. Five ski lifts chauffer snow-riders from the mountains' base back to the peaks for repeat runs or just to enjoy majestic views of the rolling stone- and forest-scapes.