1920s Lodge Surrounded by Great Smoky Mountains
The Blue Ridge Parkway twists and turns through the Great Balsam Mountains, reaching a height of more than 6,000 feet as it passes over Richland Balsam, the road’s highest point. Just a few minutes northwest of this spot, Waynesville Inn Golf Resort and Spa sits amid purple Appalachian ridges and ancient forests. The resort makes good use of its location—you can get 360-degree mountain views at three four-star golf courses that have attracted legends such as Arnold Palmer and Sam Snead.
Every morning, breakfast includes offerings such as Southern-style grits and fresh fruit. At the casual Tap Room Sports Bar & Grill—open daily for lunch and dinner—you can join locals for wings, quesadillas, burgers, and draft beers. Or take in a more upscale evening at Cork & Cleaver, the steakhouse open Friday and Saturday for dinner, featuring appetizers such as stuffed brie and entrees like pan-fried North Carolina flounder and smoked Angus beef tenderloin.
Guest accommodations are housed in the 1920s-era main lodge and a separate building overlooking the mountains. When you’re not relaxing in your room, you can head to the Balsam Spa, where massage therapists perform soothing services such as the Tension Tamer, a concentrated massage devoted to the head, neck, back, and subconscious.
Waynesville, North Carolina: Historical Southern Town in Appalachian Valley
Waynesville is nestled between the Blue Ridge and Great Smoky Mountains, 30 miles west of Asheville. For up-close views of the region's beautiful terrain, hop on the Blue Ridge Parkway, a 469-mile scenic drive that starts just 30 miles east of Waynesville and ends near Waynesboro, Virginia (both towns are named after Revolutionary War General “Mad” Anthony Wayne). The parkway branches out to more than 100 hiking trails, ranging from short footpaths to the Appalachian Trail, which stretches from Georgia to Maine.
In Waynesville, check out Frog Level, the town’s preserved commercial district. Furniture, hardware, and groceries thrived here from the late 19th century into the 1940s. Today you can find several art galleries featuring work inspired by the Appalachian Valley, including the metal sculptures at Grace Cathey’s Sculpture Gallery and Garden and woodworking and quilting displays at the Museum of North Carolina Handicrafts.