The famous Blue Ridge Parkway curves and loops through northwestern North Carolina. Heading south down the 469-mile Appalachian Highway, hairpin turns cut past the maples and pines of the Pisgah National Forest. When the parkway reaches Asheville, it's about a 20-minute detour to reach the Mountain Lodge of Flat Rock. The cabin-inspired resort is settled in a prime location to explore the parkway and surrounding mountains.
In a nod to the forests around it, each of the lodge's studio suites is simply decorated with subdued earth tones and windows looking out onto the mountains. A fully equipped kitchen showcases Italian-granite countertops, and a roomy bathroom features a soaking tub. In the morning, a buffet-style hot breakfast starts the day with eggs, sausage, and coffee. Weather permitting, you can take breakfast on the terrace near a trickling waterfall fountain. If you purchase the second option, you’ll receive two tickets to a play of your choice at the Flat Rock Playhouse, a local theater just 3 miles away from the resort. Upcoming winter shows include Cat on a Hot Tin Roof and The Nutcracker.
Flat Rock, North Carolina: Grand Estates and Scenic Parks
Nestled within the Blue Ridge Mountains just a 10-minute drive from the lodge is historical Flat Rock, a village listed on the National Register of Historic Places for its large number of homes styled after Old South antebellum manors. The stately home where poet Carl Sandburg spent the last two decades of his life is located right off Flat Rock's main highway. To the north in Asheville is the palatial Biltmore Estate. Dubbed America’s largest home, George Vanderbilt’s private estate features 250 rooms and gardens designed by Frederick Law Olmsted.
Two national forests and Chimney Rock State Park lie within driving distance, so visitors can hike mountain trails, kayak down rushing rivers, and bike along the bumpy paths crisscrossing the countryside. For a popular day trip, head about 60 miles northwest into Great Smoky Mountains National Park, home to miles of walking trails, the 6,643-foot Clingmans Dome observation deck, and a thriving black-bear population.