1920s Lodge Surrounded by Great Smoky Mountains
The Blue Ridge Parkway twists and turns through the Great Balsam Mountains and ascends to more than 6,000 feet as it passes over Richland Balsam, the road’s highest point. Just a few minutes northwest, The Waynesville Inn Golf Resort and Spa sits amid the purple Appalachian ridges and ancient forests. The resort makes good use of its 360-degree mountain views by maintaining three four-star golf courses that have attracted legends such as Arnold Palmer and Sam Snead. Here, golfers can walk down the Donald Ross–designed Carolina course, a nine-hole gem converted from a dairy farm in 1926.
After a rest in rustic historic rooms—housed in the 1920s-era main lodge—head over to the Balsam Spa, where massage therapists perform soothing treatments such as the Tension Tamer, a concentrated massage devoted to the head, neck, back, and subconscious. Every morning, breakfast is served in the AAA Three Diamond–rated Cork & Cleaver restaurant, located on the first floor. Find a garden-side table with views of the golf greens, and enjoy southern-style grits, fresh seasonal fruit, and other dishes from the buffet.
Waynesville, North Carolina: Historical Southern Town in Appalachian Valley Waynesville is nestled between the Blue Ridge and Great Smoky Mountains, 30 miles west of Asheville. For up-close views of the region's beautiful mountain terrain, cruise the Blue Ridge Parkway, a 469-mile scenic drive that starts just 30 miles east of Waynesville and ends near Waynesboro, Virginia (coincidentally, both towns are named after Revolutionary War general “Mad” Anthony Wayne). This picturesque thoroughfare branches out to more than 100 hiking trails, ranging from short footpaths to the Appalachian Trail, which stretches from Georgia to Maine.
In Waynesville, the Frog Level historical district preserves the town’s old commercial center, where furniture stores, hardware stores, and groceries thrived well into the 1940s. Several local art galleries feature work inspired by the Appalachian Valley, including the metal sculptures at Grace Cathey’s Sculpture Garden and Gallery and the woodworks and quilts at the Museum of North Carolina Handicrafts.