Rustic Lodge Surrounded by 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 north and west, Waynesville Inn Golf Resort and Spa sits amid the purple Appalachian ridges and deep ancient forests. From the resort’s sprawling grounds and rustic lodgings, 360-degree mountain views elevate the woodland atmosphere.
Depending on conditions, it’s possible to follow a morning at the nearby ski slopes with an afternoon on one of the resort’s three four-star golf courses. Legends such as Arnold Palmer and Sam Snead have played on the Donald Ross–designed Carolina course, a nine-hole gem converted from a dairy farm in 1926. After a respite in cabin-themed traditional rooms—housed in the 1920s-era Main Lodge—guests can pay a visit 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.
Stationed on the first floor of the Waynesville Inn, the AAA Three Diamond–rated steakhouse, Cork & Cleaver, serves fresh seafood and hearty Angus steaks. The three-course prix fixe meal may include options such as a 12 ounce ribeye or a pan-seared sunburst trout and blue-lump crab cake with roasted corn relish and red pepper mayo. In the morning, the garden-side restaurant features a breakfast buffet with southern-style grits and fresh seasonal fruit.
Waynesville: Scenic Southern Town in Appalachian Valley
Waynesville is nestled between the Blue Ridge and Great Smoky Mountains, 30 miles west of Asheville. The Blue Ridge Parkway, one of the country’s most popular scenic drives, meanders through mountain valleys and loops around Waynesville. The picturesque thoroughfare branches out to more than 100 hiking trails, ranging from short footpaths to the Appalachian Trail, which stretches from Georgia to Maine. About a half-hour north of the Waynesville Inn, the modest Cataloochee Ski Area hosts skiers and boarders on its 14 slopes, serviced by five lifts and one catapult.