Luxurious Suites in the Middle of Pisgah National Forest
In North Carolina’s Blue Ridge Mountains, there’s a narrow suspension footbridge that sways over a deep, river-cut gorge. Originally built in 1952, Grandfather Mountain's mile-high swinging bridge today draws more than 150,000 visitors annually who brave the journey across the chasm. Make it across and you’re rewarded with sublime views of rocky mountainsides, birds flying along the valley below, and a majestic, blue-tinted ridgeline. It’s the ideal introduction to the Blue Ridge Mountains and Pisgah National Forest, where Blue Ridge Village Resort’s deluxe suites dot the picturesque terrain just a few miles north of Grandfather Mountain.
Knotty pines make up many of the floors, walls, and ceilings throughout Blue Ridge Village Resort. In the lobby's fireside sitting area, a canoe hangs above leather couches. Guest suites are air-conditioned, with balconies overlooking the surrounding forest. Although the atmosphere is woodsy, it’s not all rustic in the rooms: flat-screen TVs hang above stone fireplaces, and WiFi is complimentary throughout the property. The full kitchens contain sleek black refrigerators, ovens, and microwaves, and living rooms open onto balconies.
The resort also boasts an indoor pool and spa tub so you can cool off after a hike. Rent a paddleboat to explore a nearby pond, or hone your putting game on the property's mini-golf course. And if stovetops and ovens feel too domestic, then head outside to use the picnic areas’ built-in grills.
Banner Elk, North Carolina: Scenic Highlands near Appalachian State University
Banner Elk is located in the middle of Pisgah National Forest in northwestern North Carolina. It’s one of a cluster of charming towns in the area: follow the Blue Ridge Highway northeast for 15 miles and you'll reach the college town of Boone, home of Appalachian State University and several vintage clothing shops and bookshops. Boone is also an excellent place to meet up with outfitters for expeditions through Pisgah National Forest on horseback, mountain bike, or steam-powered sleigh.