Former Artists' Retreat with Holistic Spa Near Appalachian Mountains
For several years starting in 1942, the home now known as the Black Mountain Inn served as a studio and summer hideaway for artists. A who's who of 20th-century writers, painters, and performers—including John Steinbeck, Ernest Hemingway, Norman Rockwell, and Helen Keller—stayed for a while at the rural retreat, which is located in the woodsy, mountainous region of western North Carolina. A 1990 restoration transformed the building into a charming bed and breakfast where a sense of peace and relaxation still prevails on the grounds, in the comfortable guest rooms, and at the onsite spa.
The latter dispenses several holistic treatments and is equipped with an infrared sauna. In addition to soothing sore muscles, its radiant heat cleanses the skin and renders night-vision goggles useless. This Getaway includes a 30-minute sauna session for two as well as a $50 spa voucher, which you can use toward a hot-stone massage or a dry body wrap infused with exfoliating salts and rich nutrients. The gourmet breakfasts prepared each morning by innkeeper June Bergeron reinforce this healthful approach. Offerings include fresh fruit, herbed scones, and homemade granola.
Each of the inn's six bedrooms is decorated in a cozy, countrified style. In the Beverly room, an antique four-poster bed sports a handmade quilt, and floral decals adorn the tiles in an otherwise pistachio-colored bathroom. The Peter room, meanwhile, is lined with six large windows offering expansive views of the inn's 3-acre estate.
Black Mountain, North Carolina: Small Country Town Surrounded by Mountains
Situated in the lush mountains of western North Carolina, Black Mountain enjoys access to rich outdoor sightseeing. The half-million-acre Pisgah National Forest, located one hour from the hotel, features some of the best hiking and biking trails in the region. A drive along a portion of the Blue Ridge Parkway, which stretches nearly 500 miles from the Great Smoky Mountains to the Shenandoah Valley, takes you past gorgeous mountain scenery and natural landmarks such as Mount Mitchell, the tallest peak east of the Rockies. The historical downtown center of Black Mountain provides an authentic dose of Appalachian culture via ironworking shops and bluegrass-music venues. During an afternoon stroll you can watch local artisans craft pottery and whittle musical instruments such as dulcimers and DJ turntables out of wood.