Old-Fashioned Bed and Breakfast High Above the Tuckasiegee River
From Tuckasiegee River Mountain Lodge’s front porch, you can look out onto a seemingly endless expanse of forest-covered Great Smoky Mountains. It’s a sensational view that rewards those making the trip down a mile-long road that winds through the wilderness. Inside the lodge, husband-and-wife innkeepers John and Nancy Hopp, along with their son and daughter-in-law, make folks feel at home with home-cooked breakfasts, a gift shop, and a meeting room where you can watch TV sitcoms from the 1950s. The lodge’s location only enhances each stay, as it’s within an hour's drive from Great Smoky Mountains National Park, the Biltmore Estate, and the Blue Ridge Parkway. The entire package earned Tuckasiegee River Mountain Lodge a TripAdvisor 2014 Certificate of Excellence.
The lodge has just five guest suites, which helps ensure peace and quiet. Each suite is named for a different gemstone and is appropriately decorated in rich hues of ruby, emerald, sapphire, amethyst, or pearl, as well as with rustic wood paneling and antique furnishings. All rooms are pet friendly, and on chilly nights, you and your furry friend can warm up next to the electric fireplace. (Pets are an additional $15 per night.)
At the lodge's restaurant, innkeeper James Shively uses local produce and farm-fresh eggs to make a decadent complimentary breakfast that has included pancakes, fresh fruit, and breakfast casseroles. You can eat in the onsite dining room, in the comfort of your guest room, or on the porch. The restaurant also serves sandwiches, salads, and more for lunch and dinner. Make sure to call ahead for a reservation at the lodge's restaurant.
Whittier, North Carolina: Tranquil Riverside Town near Great Smoky Mountains National Park
Located along the Tuckasiegee River in the mountains of western North Carolina, Whittier draws visitors primarily with its breathtaking natural setting. In town, you’re about a 10-minute drive from the southern entrance of Great Smoky Mountains National Park, where you can hike past rushing waterfalls and spot woodland creatures including black bears, woodchucks, and wild turkeys. To get up close and personal with nature, go whitewater rafting on the Tuckasiegee or snow tubing down the hills in winter.
The Great Smoky Mountains Railroad’s train chugs past colorful hemlock, birch, and sugar-maple trees as it makes its way along the riverside. Board the old-fashioned locomotive at nearby Bryson City for a more than three-hour journey to historical railroad towns and depots.