Cozy Cabins Tucked in Great Smoky Mountains
When winter hit the Great Smoky Mountains in the mid-19th century, resourceful frontier families constructed tiny log cabins to shelter them from the heavy snow, often rarely venturing outdoors until springtime. Today, the luxurious Mountain Vista Log Cabins are settled in the same secluded area but instead serve as base camps to embrace the winter landscape. Families can set up to ski and hike throughout the Smokies and then retire to these rustic and charming properties, which lie along Alarka Creek and are nestled in the Great Smokies just outside Bryson City.
The cabins' woodsy décor echoes their natural surroundings; each dwelling is trimmed with wood-paneled walls and sports thick quilts. An outdoor hot tub provides a tranquil setting to ease muscles fatigued from trying to lift up boulders to rescue trapped snowmen. The roomy Eagle's Nest cabin sits steps from the rushing waters of Alarka Creek, and a private porch and rocking chairs look to the rushing waters, where anglers may fish for trout. In the Smokies cabin, an old-fashioned fireplace glows amid natural wood accents, and a cozy sleeping loft has space for additional guests. Before hiking the Smokies, guests can whip up breakfast in the full kitchen. A scenic, half-hour drive from the cabins resides Cataloochee Ski Area's slopes, open for skiing and snow tubing.
Bryson City, North Carolina: Small-Town Charm amid Outdoor Recreation
Tucked in North Carolina's southwest corner, the small town of Bryson City sits amid the woodsy slopes of the North Carolina Smoky Mountains. The bisecting Little Tennessee and Nantahala Rivers create picturesque waterfalls that cascade through the mountainous terrain, a natural setting for outdoor recreation throughout the year. On clear days, one can catch a 360-degree view of the entire range from Clingmans Dome, the highest point in the national park at more than 6,500 feet.
In winter, lodgers can take a scenic half-hour drive from the cabins to Cataloochee Ski Area, a challenging downhill course with 16 illuminated trails and slopes. Once all the snow thaws or is exported as ice cubes for Hawaii, whitewater rafting and kayaking become popular attractions at nearby Nantahala Gorge. And Bryson City itself charms tourists with antique stores, handcrafted pottery, and homemade chocolate amid the fetching natural landscape.