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 mountain, 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 where legends such as Arnold Palmer and Sam Snead have played.
Historic rooms are housed in the 1920s-era main lodge, while mountain-view rooms are in a newer, separate building overlooking the hills. Most rooms have either a balcony or a patio. When you’re not relaxing in your room, you can head to the Balsam Spa for a massage.
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 dig into wings, quesadillas, burgers, and other pub favorites. This getaway comes with a $20 dining credit.
Waynesville, North Carolina: Gateway to Great Smoky Mountains and Blue Ridge Parkway
Located 30 miles west of Asheville, Waynesville is nestled between the Blue Ridge and Great Smoky Mountains. The 469-mile Blue Ridge Parkway, one of the country’s most popular scenic drives, meanders through mountain valleys and loops around Waynesville en route to Virginia’s Shenandoah National Park. The picturesque thoroughfare branches out to more than 100 hiking trails, ranging from short footpaths to the Appalachian Trail, which stretches from Georgia to Maine. Blue Ridge Parkway closes frequently throughout the colder seasons due to snowfall.
Anyone visiting Waynesville should spend a least a day exploring Great Smoky Mountains National Park, America’s most popular national park. The park covers cascading waterfalls, more than 1,500 types of wildflowers, and dozens of historical mills and barns in the southern Appalachians. Naturally, the area is a haven for outdoorsy activities, whether it’s kayaking, whitewater rafting, hiking, trout fishing, or panning for gems. While out, keep an eye out for elk, black bear cubs, eastern box turtles, and white-tailed deer.
Waynesville itself is a charming, old-fashioned town, with a Main Street lined with pretty trees and brick sidewalks. There are also many quaint storefronts, including a general store, a candy store, and numerous antique shops housed in old buildings. Every year, the downtown area is the setting for several festivals, such as Folkmoot USA, an international folk-dance and music extravaganza.