Modern Mountain Retreat near Asheville
The Blue Ridge Parkway curves and loops through North Carolina's Green Mountains. Heading south down the famous 469-mile Appalachian highway, hairpin turns cut past the maples and pines of the Pisgah National Forest. When the parkway reaches Asheville and its mammoth Châteauesque-style Biltmore Estate, it's about a 20-minute drive south on Interstate 26 to reach the Mountain Lodge of Flat Rock, a cabin-inspired resort in a prime location to explore the parkway and the nearby forests.
In a nod to the forests around it, each of the lodge's studio suites are simply decorated with subdued earth tones and windows looking out onto the mountains. A fully equipped kitchen showcases Italian granite countertops, and a roomy bathroom features a soaking tub. In the morning, a buffet-style hot breakfast starts the day with eggs, sausage, and coffee. Weather permitting, guests can take breakfast outside to the terrace, where they can eat near the onsite manmade waterfall and ask if it ever wants to retire and become a river.
Flat Rock, North Carolina: Grand Estates Surrounded by the Blue Ridge Mountains
Surrounding Mountain Lodge of Flat Rock, the Blue Ridge Mountains seem to stretch endlessly in all directions. But nestled within the mountains a 10-minute drive from the lodge is historical Flat Rock, a village listed on the National Register of Historic Places for its large number of homes styled after Old South antebellum manors. The peaceful home where poet Carl Sandburg spent the last two decades of his life is located right off Flat Rock's main highway. A few miles north, the old-fashioned streets of Hendersonville charm with antique stores and upscale restaurants.
With two national forests and Chimney Rock State Park within driving distance, visitors can hike mountain trails, kayak through rushing rivers, and bike along the bumpy paths crisscrossing the countryside. For a popular day trip, head about 60 miles northwest into Great Smoky Mountains National Park, home to the 6,643-foot Clingmans Dome observation deck and several elk, black bears, and white-tailed deer.