Rustic Log Cabins Set in Majestic Mountainside
At Hidden Creek Cabins, tucked into the Smoky Mountains, the crackle of a campfire and hearty laughter often punctuate quiet nights. It’s appropriate, then, that on the porch of one of the rustic log cottages, a carved wooden sign reads, "Here Let the Fires of Friendship Burn." Other thoughtful accents—from hand-stitched quilts to decorative cast-iron cookware—are sprinkled throughout the homey accommodations. Forest views and all-wood furnishing are staples of each Hidden Creek cabin, but locations vary from hilltop sites with expansive Smoky Mountain vistas to quiet, creek-side digs. A roomy hot tub on the deck at Maggie's cabin offers a balmy counterpoint to the crisp creek waters running their course a scented candle's throw away. While the hot tub at Pop's Cottage heats up and burgers sizzle on the gas grill, take to the hammock or swinging love seat to watch the sun dip behind the Smokies. The similarly sited Skytop cabin overlooks an indigo ridgeline and thousands of acres of protected forest. Rocking chairs share patio space with a charcoal grill and hot tub, and high-backed adirondacks surround a campfire site below.
Bryson City, North Carolina: Mountain Beauty and Outdoor Adventure
Set in the heart of North Carolina's Blue Ridge about an hour west of Asheville, the town of Bryson City lives up to its nickname as "Base Camp for the Great Smokies." The nearby Nantahala National Forest and Great Smoky Mountains National Park each provide endless year-round opportunities for hiking, biking, and stealing picnic baskets. Between November and early spring, Cataloochee Ski Area, a half hour northeast of Bryson City, opens its 14 slopes to the public. The Blue Ridge Parkway rewards drivers with stunning vistas free of charge, but many visitors are happy to pay for a half-day ride in a vintage train car on the Great Smoky Mountains Railroad, which winds through 53 miles of pristine mountain country.