Chetola Resort – As legendary as the Mountains
Tucked away in a quiet pocket of the Blue Ridge Mountains lies Chetola Mountain Resort, which was built in 1846 as a way station. Since then, the home has served as a post–Civil War family home and a Coca-Cola magnate’s estate. Today, it’s a rustic getaway that lives up to the name “Chetola,” a Cherokee word meaning “haven of rest.” With a private lake and 87 acres of rolling hills, the property offers outdoor pursuits ranging from fishing to hiking, along with a restaurant, a full spa, and kids’ play areas.
The resort’s secluded location borders forests and waterfronts alike, leading Frommer’s to call it “the grandest resort in the area.” Hiking trails connect to neighboring Moses Cone Memorial Park, another country estate with a turn-of-the-century mansion, as well as to nearby waterfalls and mountain summits. The resort sits along the banks of Chetola Lake, which you can navigate by paddleboat or plumb the depths of by renting a fishing rod.
On Thursday, Friday and Saturday evenings, enjoy delicious Appalachian specialties in the lakefront restaurant, Timberlake’s. The hunting-lodge-themed dining rooms are named for North Carolina realist artist, Bob Timberlake, who frequents the premises quite often. Timberlake’s offers breakfast daily. Afterward, retire to a rustically decorated guest room inside Chetola Lodge or the Bob Timberlake Inn.
The full spa’s maple-wood floors, sea-stone inlays, and wall fountain set the mood for a 90-minute Swedish massage with essential oils. Alternatively, the resort offers fitness, Pilates, and yoga classes to realign spines and mental equilibrium.
Blowing Rock, North Carolina: Scenic Hikes and Skiing in the Blue Ridge Mountains
Blowing Rock is located on the edge of the 500,000-acre Pisgah National Forest in northeastern North Carolina. The town, named for a rock formation, is a home base for outdoor recreation in the Blue Ridge Mountains—especially hiking, whitewater rafting, fly-fishing, and horseback riding. Moses H. Cone Memorial Park, a historic estate on 3,600 acres of forests and meadows, has 26 miles of carriage roads designated for walking and horseback riding. To see the sights from a car, head to the Blue Ridge Parkway, a scenic motorway through the Appalachians.
Aside from the parkway, there’s plenty to do year-round here, from whitewater rafting and fly-fishing in the summer to cross-country and downhill skiing in the cooler months. About 10 minutes away is Appalachian Ski Mountain with skiing, snowboarding, and the best known ski school in the Southeast, French Swiss Ski College.
Back in town, Blowing Rock’s Main Street is lined with antique shops, boutiques, and upscale bistros. Bargain hunters might want to stop by Tanger Outlets (http://www.tangeroutlet.com/blowingrock/), home to Banana Republic, Loft, and Polo Ralph Lauren outlet stores.
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