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The Ulitimate Gambling Getaway!

With more music, more games and more entertainment. • We’ve expanded our gaming floor so now there’s more video poker, bar-top gaming and a nonsmoking section. • Catch great entertainment in our brand new Entertainment Lounge Wednesday through Saturday every week. • Our premier Event Center showcases all of the top acts and with 3,000 seats there’s not a bad one in the house. Visit

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Asheville’s field guide to regional escapes You don’t have to go far from home to satisfy your appetite for adventure. Less than 10 minutes from downtown Asheville, the region’s newest zipline zings through the trees. One of the oldest rivers in the world, the French Broad, winds through town and offers a fairly easy way to discover how much fun kayaking can be. Venture beyond Asheville, and the Blue Ridge Parkway sports some of the best views for fall leaves, whether you’re hiking, biking or driving. Farther afield, the adventurous can head into the High Country around Boone, N.C., which gets about 70 inches of snow fall every year — plenty of the white stuff for skiing, snowboarding and tubing. Or experience a different kind of escape — perhaps a haunted one — at any of the spas and retreats located less than an hour or so away from town. A bounty of fall and early winter festivals also offers such choices as NASCAR, blues and jazz, authentic Cherokee crafts and more. By spring, you’ll be ready for the next getaway. Scan the square Cover photo by Michael Oppenheim 1968 VW bus courtesy of Denise Montgomery

to check out even more Getaway info online.

Ta b l e of Con ten ts S k y h i gh . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . p a g e 12 Zipline tours offer thrilling rides amid the treetops

We t e x it . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . p a g e 16 Have paddle, will adventure

S o o t h i ng sanctuaries . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . p a g e 20 Spooky spas and retreats near Asheville

F a l l f o r the leaves . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . p a g e 24 Autumn scenery delivers the wows

“ A ” i s f or apples .. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . p a g e 28 Henderson County’s Appalachian bounty

S l i p - s l iding away . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . p a g e 30 Snow and ice lead to wintry adventures

W h e r e the wild things are ............ p a g e 34 Zoos, nature centers and more

F i e l d g uide . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . p a g e 3 8 Festivals, parks and visitor centers

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Spa & Lodge

2,500 ’ Above Stress Level®

• 26 Massage Therapists • Sauna and Cold plunge • 8 minutes from Asheville


77,000 Square Feet of Shopping Voted Best Antique Store 75 Swannanoa River Rd., Asheville, NC Getaway is published bi-annually by Mountain Xpress, P.O. Box 144, Asheville, NC 28802, (828) 251-1333. Visit us on the Web at Email: We have taken great care to ensure the accuracy of information contained herein. However, we are human and capable of error, and businesses do change their services. Please call ahead prior to patronizing these establishments. Copyright 2011 by Mountain Xpress. All rights reserved. No part of this publication — including listings and advertisements — may be reproduced without the expressed permission of Mountain Xpress. PUBLISHER Jeff Fobes • GENERAL MANAGER Andy Sutcliffe EDITOR Margaret Williams • ASSISTANT EDITOR Tracy Rose PHOTOS Eric Crews, Jake Frankel, John Haldane, Jonathan Welch, Chris Wood CONTRIBUTORS Melanie McGee Bianchi, Mary Caitlin Byrd, Jake Frankel Gabe Dunsmith, Mackensy Lunsford, Alli Marshall PRODUCTION MANAGER & GETAWAY LAYOUT Carrie Lare COVER DESIGN Drew Findley • ADVERTISING DESIGNERS Drew Findley, Carrie Lare, Kathy Wadham • WEB DESIGNERS Patrick Conant, Jesse Michel, Steve Shanafelt ADVERTISING MANAGERS Marissa Williams, Russ Keith GETAWAY AD MANAGER Rick Goldstein • ADVERTISING REPRESENTATIVES Bryant Cooper, Rick Goldstein, Russ Keith, Arenda Manning, Tim Navaille, Leigh Reynolds, David Shaw, John Varner, Marissa Williams, Zane Wood DATABASE MANAGER Stefan Colosimo • DISTRIBUTION MANAGER Jeff Tallman

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Preserving African-American History Reflections of the Past Creating the Future

 9 , , 5 = 0 3 3 ,  < 3 ; < 9 ( 3 ?*/(5.,,5;,9

founded in 1987 by ruth ann butler

Exhibits Historical Reflection Research & Education Archives Guided Tours

700 Arlington Avenue • PO Box 5482 Greenville, SC 29606 • 864-232-9162


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Ski the Beech! Beech Mountain Resort is a total Winter experience. With excellent skiing (day or night), and a charming Alpine Village filled with intriguing shops, tempting restaurants and more...youâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ll find that Ski Beech offers a winter wonderland of fun and activities for all members of your family or group! Located high in the mountains of Western North Carolina, in the Town of Beech Mountain, since 1967 Ski Beech redefines southern skiing as the highest ski resort in Eastern North America, at 5506 ft. above sea level.


Visit us at: 1007 Beech Mountain Pkwy, Beech Mountain, NC 28604 W W W. M O U N T A I N X . C O M / G E T A W A Y



Zipline tours offer thrilling rides amid the treetops

Aerial leaf-peeping in the treetops. PHOTO COURTESY OF NAVITAT

BY GABE DUNSMITH I fi rst went ziplining at age 11 at Western North Carolina’s Earthshine course. Th ough it was nerve-wracking to stand at the fi rst run and see the ground drop off below, as soon as I lifted my feet off the ground, I found myself fl ying through the air without any worries. When I landed on the platform, I was ready to go again. E arthshine, one of a handful of ziplining courses within a few hours’ drive of Asheville, ended up being a great place to start; I went with a school group and had a great time with my friends.(Ziplining courses usually have age and weight requirements, which are worth checking out ahead of time.) If you’re a novice, tour guides will fi ll you in on the basics. Once you’re ready to start, you’re strapped into a harness that’s connected to a pulley, which slides on cables that loop through the tree canopy. Participants start on high ground and fl y to a platform in a tree, then fl y to other platforms until reaching solid ground. As a break from ziplining, some courses off er “sky bridges” to walk on between platforms. Cables vary by length and height, off ering diff erent ways to build up speed or to let your stomach plunge as you realize how far you are above the forest fl oor. Like most sports, there is an art to ziplining. It’s quite a bit of fun to build up speed on the zips. Sit back in your harness and tuck in your legs to shoot through the air like a cannonball. Make sure you have a hand free in case you need to brake! In the Blue Ridge Mountains, the craggy peaks and lush forests off er an ideal airborne experience; often you are so close to the trees that you can reach out and touch them. Th e speed and the wind against your skin make for an exhilarating adventure. More recently, I tried out Navitat Canopy Adventure’ s zipline. I was impressed with the adventure company’s eco-friendliness: Th ey used biodiesel-powered all-terrain vehicles, reclaimed all the trees cut down by using the wood for their platforms and facilities and designed the plat-


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Featured in USA To day and New York Tim es as one of the MOS T EXCITING ZIP LIN E TOURS IN THE C OUNTRY

%XPERIENCE :IPPING4HROUGH THE!IRATUPTO -ILES0ER(OUR Come and be part of history! STZ offers the only 2,000 foot triple-wide zip line so you can race your friends & family. Experience one of the only zip line tours where we do the braking for you. Zip lines range from 460 feet, (which is 160 feet longer than a football field) all the way up to the one that gave us our name, Scream Time Zip Line, at just under ½ mile.

Just minutes outside Boone, NC in the Beautiful High Country

828-898-5404 See STZ Videos on You Tube W W W. M O U N T A I N X . C O M / G E T A W A Y


forms to grow with the trees so the trees weren’t crippled by the framing. Th ough it was cold and raining on the day I went, the hours I spent speeding through the trees were well worth it. Closer to home, Adventure America completed an Asheville zipline this past summer; it’s a stone’s throw from downtown and the French Broad River. Adventure America off ers a total of six canopy tours in the region. Ziplines in the Appalachians off er breathtaking views along with a new way to take in the mountains, especially when fall colors light up the air. We’ve listed a few here, so strap yourself in — and fl y. X Gabe Dunsmith is a graduate of Christ School in Arden and will be attending Vassar College.

a b e v Y o f Z I P l Ines adventure america Zipline Canopy Tours

navitat Canopy adventures

ix Southeast ziplines — Asheville S (NC), Chattooga Ridge (SC), Nantahala Gorge (NC), Pigeon River (Tenn.), Plumtree (NC) and Ocoee River Basin (Tenn.) Closest zipline: adjacent to the Crowne Plaza Resort, Asheville, NC Open Year-round (866) 699-2402

avitat’s course off ers views of the N Blue Ridge Parkway from its 10 ziplines, which range from 120 to 1,100 feet long; Navitat also boasts an evening ziplining adventure, Navitat at Night. 242 Poverty Branch Road Barnardsville, NC Open April 1-Nov. 30; reservations required (828) 626-3700

earthshine arthshine off ers six ziplines, one E sky bridge, and a race at course’s end that allows two adventurers to hook up to parallel cables to see who can beat the other across the ridge. 1600 Golden Road Lake Toxaway, NC Open Year-round; reservations required (828) 862-4207

scream Time Zipline ree-person wide, 2,000-feet-long Th ziplines allow adventurers to go fast, but still brake when necessary. Near Boone, NC (828) 898-5404

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Thank you WNC for voting us #1 Best Place to Entertain Kids! Indoor and Outdoor Go-Karts Bumper Cars • Climbing Wall Indoor Mini Golf • Laser Tag Mini-Bowling • Batting Cages and More!!!

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Experience the warmth of a mountain lodge just minutes from Biltmore Estate, Downtown Asheville, shopping and dining. Indoor pool, free wifi, free full breakfast, gift shop, fitness room and inroom amenities. 4 Roberts Road, Asheville, NC • 828-398-5888 • 877-798-5888 W W W. M O U N T A I N X . C O M / G E T A W A Y



Have paddle, will adventure

Experts only on the Green River “Narrows.” PHOTO BY JONATHAN WELCH

BY MARGARET WILLIAMS If you get in the river, you’re going to get wet. Th is certainly proved true on my last kayak adventure. It was a Sunday evening getaway — an impromptu trip with a coworker who had boats to share. We weren’t going far; we weren’t even leaving Asheville. We had in mind a leisurely paddle down the French Broad River where it meanders through downtown. We’d be done before dark and home in time for a late dinner. But adventure always throws a curve. Th e urban section of the French Broad is almost as calm as an old fi shin’ pond. It’s got riffl es instead of rapids, and long, Huck Finn-slow stretches where the river barely seems to move through a landscape of muddy banks, hints of warehouses, parks and more beyond the trees. It’s what experienced kayakers call a Class I, maybe a Class II. A beginner’s ride. A big step up in the whitewater ratings are Class III (intermediate) and Class IV (diffi cult, maybe even very diffi cult). Parts of the French Broad and Big Laurel Creek near Hot Springs provide such challenges, as does a 7-mile stretch of the Nolichucky River near Erwin, Tenn., and Wilson Creek Gorge north of Morganton, N.C. — routes best done with a guide for beginners like me. Class V is “hardcore and expert; otherwise you’re going to die for sure!” my kayaking coworker Jeff Tallman joked. Th e “Narrows” comes to mind — a section of the Green River near Saluda that’s wicked, even for experts. One particularly challenging section is called “Gorilla” for the thumping that the 11-foot vertical drop gives paddlers. By comparison, the frothy waterfall at the end of a popular section of Nantahala River is a mere Class III, although it surprises many a paddler who’s run the otherwise fairly calm (and kid-friendly) 9-mile route that precedes it.


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As for Class VI, such falls can’t be run, “but people try it anyway,” my guide said. In August 2010, a paddler went down the 70-foot Linville Falls and lived to tell about it, but such adventures aren’t for ordinary folks. So consider your skill level before you explore what the season has in store for you. Hardcore kayakers love fall, when many dams are released, creating lots of whitewater. Within a hour or two of Asheville there are good choices for both beginners and experts. The lower Green River, for example, is suitable for newbies, and even the Chattooga — made famous by the movie Deliverance — has 11 miles of fairly easy Class II. In any case, there’s no better place to launch your river getaway than with some of the area’s expert outfitters and guides listed on the next page. But back to my getaway choice: The French Broad is one of the oldest rivers in the world, after the Nile in Egypt and the New River that passes through northeast North Carolina, Virginia and West Virginia. The French Broad’s waters are warmer than many in the Blue Ridge Mountains, which helps when fall’s cool weather arrives. And that was a good thing: Fewer than 30 minutes into my adventure, I flipped my kayak. I had the reassuring thought that Tallman, who seems more at home in a boat than anywhere else I’ve seen him, was nearby; I was going to be all right. Nonetheless, adrenaline kicked in, I made my “wet exit” from the kayak, and I popped up for air just as he got to me. Getting back in the kayak was no graceful matter, but at least when we climbed up the bank a few hours later, Tallman didn’t enforce the usual christening reserved for those who take an unplanned swim: I didn’t have to drink beer out of my soggy river shoes. X Margaret Williams can be reached at 251-1333, ext. 152, or at

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Pa D D l e P o I n T s adventures unlimited

Headwaters outfitters

full-service “adventure resort” foA cused on the Ocoee and Hiawassee rivers 522 Highway 64, Ocoee, Tenn. (423) 334-0927

anoeing, kayaking and tubing C US Highway 64 and NC Highway 215 near Brevard, NC (828) 877-3106

asheville outdoor Center ocated near Carrier Park in AsheL ville; off ers guided trips and rentals — including paddleboards and tubes 521 Amboy Road, Asheville, NC (828) 232-1970

biltmore estate outdoor Center uided raft trips and kayak rentG als on the French Broad River as it winds through the estate ( Estate admission or Explorer pass required) 1 Lodge Street, Asheville, NC b float_trips.asp (800) 411-3812

Carolina outfitters Rafting ater adventures on the Nantahala W and Ocoee Rivers, as well as combo adventures like “paddle and saddle” and “rafting and railroad” 715 US Hwy 19, Topton, NC (800) 468-7238

Diamond brand quipment rentals, sales and expert E staff 2623 Hendersonville Road Arden, NC (800) 459-6262

french broad Rafting expeditions ff ers a variety of guided adventures O and rentals on one of the world’s oldest rivers, the French Broad 9800 US Hwy 25-70, Marshall, NC 800-570-RAFT (7238)


Huck finn Rafting adventures amily-owned-and-operated guide F service in Hot Springs, NC 158 Bridge St., Hot Springs, NC (800) 303-RAFT (7238)

nantahala outdoor Center ultiple locations for the French M Broad, Nantahala, Ocoee, Chattooga and Pigeon rivers (888) 905-7238

River & earth adventures hitewater adventures in the High W Country (Boone, NC) and parts of east Tennessee (Elizabethton), plus “eco-education,” cave exploration and gem mining 1655 Highway 105, Boone, NC (866) 411-7238

usa Raft & Mountain adventure Guides ultiple locations that serve the M French Broad, Nolichucky, Nantahala and Watauga rivers 13490 US 25/70, Marshall, NC (866) 813-5210 (866-USA-RAFT)

Watauga kayak Tours & outfitters hitewater rafting, kayaking and W tubing; rivers and lakes in east Tennessee and the NC High Country 1409 Broad St., Elizabethton, Tenn. (423) 542-6777

Wildwater afting and zipline canopy tour adR venture packages Four adventure centers in NC, SC and Tenn. (800) 451-9975

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SOOTHING SANCTUARIES Spooky spas and retreats near Asheville

Get pampered at Grove Park Inn Resort & Spa. PHOTO COURTESY OF THE GROVE PARK INN RESORT & SPA

BY MACKENSY LUNSFORD Anyone can pull off a typical spa retreat, especially within an hour or so of Asheville. In this mostly mountainous region, hot springs and beautiful scenery naturally conjure up feelings of calm and serenity. But suppose you’re the type who would prefer to explore uncharted territory rather than lounge in a steam room. Getaway knows just where you can get a little R&R — while hunting ghosts and exploring unexplained phenomena. Located about 35 miles north of Asheville, Mountain Light Sanctuary is a mini Shangri-La, starting with the fact that you have to call for directions. Cascading creeks rush through the expansive property, which sits on the edge of the Pisgah National Forest near Barnardsville, N.C., ringed by some of the highest and oldest mountains in the Eastern United States. Known as a progressive and spiritual retreat, it’s also said to attract a bit of the unexplained: Strange “orbs of light” have shown up in pictures taken of the property, and an occasional guest has claimed to hear drums and Native American chanting. In any case, Mountain Light also offers wedding ceremonies and other lifetime commitment rituals. When it comes to orbs of light, Graystone Cabins in Barnardsville is best known for its soothing grounds, crisscrossed by streams and dotted with lakes stocked with fish. The cabins offer a place to commune with nature in silence broken only by the twittering of birds.


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But according to L.E.M.U.R. (short for the Asheville-based League of Energy Materialization and Unexplained phenomena Research), it’s also the perfect place to commune with the paranormal. It’s not uncommon to hear reports of ghosts, spheres of light in the woods and huge hairy people roaming the mountains. L.E.M.U.R.’s paranormal team spent an evening there, photographing roaming orbs. Th ey also may have gone fi shing, too — hey, even ghost-hunters need a retreat from time to time. For a more formal retreat, look no further than the historic Grove Park Inn Resort & Spa. Perched on a hill above downtown Asheville, it boasts a 43,000-square-foot world-renowned spa that features everything from mud wraps to relaxing swims in freshwater pools, where music is piped through underwater speakers. But that’s not all that guests claim to hear at the old inn. Th e voice of an apparition that’s been dubbed the Pink Lady sometimes echoes through room 545, guests and hotel workers claim. Supposedly, the Pink Lady fell from a balcony outside of that room and frequently appears as a mist that chills the skin — or maybe that’s just another spa treatment. Deep in the mountains of nearby Madison County, meanwhile, Hot Springs off ers earth-warmed waters that are mineral-rich and therapeutic. Th at was why the land there was sacred to the Cherokee, and it’s said that one particular individual lingers in the area in ghostly form. Tub No. 9 at Hot Springs Resort and Spa off ers a rather secluded soak, and is said to be where most spot the apparition. Perhaps he’s simply waiting his turn for a tub. X Mackensy Lunsford can be reached at

a s Pa a D aY ballantyne Hotel & lodge 1 0000 Ballantyne Commons Parkway, Charlotte, NC Spa packages, AAA Four Diamond accommodations, fi ne dining & golf (704) 248-4000

Carnegie Hotel & spa 1 216 W. State of Franklin Road, Johnson City, Tenn. Spa packages, fi ne dining & AAA Four Diamond accommodations (423) 979-6400

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a s Pa a D aY


Chetola Resort orth Main Street, Blowing Rock, NC N Spa services, hiking, tennis & fi shing (800) 243-8652

Graystone Cabins 3 08 Town Branch Road, Barnardsville, NC Secluded retreat in the heart of the Pisgah National Forest (828) 626-2749

The Greystone Inn reystone Lane, Lake Toxaway, NC G Spa treatments, tennis, croquet, golf & lake activities (800) 824-5766

Grove Park Inn 2 90 Macon Ave., Asheville, NC Spa packages, fi tness center, golf & fi ne dining (800) 438-5800

Hot springs spa 3 15 Bridge Street, Hot Springs, NC Natural hot springs on the banks of the French Broad River (828) 622-7676

lakeview at fontana akeview Lodge Drive, Bryson City, NC L Yoga retreats, spa packages & nature hikes (800) 742-6492

Mountain laurel Creek Inn & spa 2 02 Talmer Grizzle Road Dahlonega, GA Winery tours and spa packages (706) 867-8134

Mountain light sanctuary ear Barnardsville, NC N Five-day retreats focused on the Law of Attraction (828) 626-3966

Rumbling bald Resort 1 12 Mountains Blvd., Lake Lure, NC Golf, massage, lake & water activities (800) 419-3854

shoji Retreat 9 6 Avondale Heights Road Asheville, NC Japanese massage and other spa treatments, hot tubs and a cold plunge (828) 299-0999

Waynesville Inn Golf Resort & spa 1 76 Country Club Drive Waynesville, NC Spa packages, golf and fi ne dining (800) 627-6250

Mystery Hill is a family oriented amusement science center that offers fun for children ages 2 to 102. We welcome you to join us at any time of the year.

Come see where gravity defies the laws of nature Gift Shop • Old Time Photo Studio • Mystery House • Hall of Mystery American Heritage Museum • Native Artifacts Museum


www.mysteryhill-nC.Com • info@mysteryhill-nC.Com 

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“Splendidly authentic.”

– Wall Street Journal

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FALL FOR THE LEAVES Autumn scenery delivers the wows

A Blue Ridge Parkway trail beckons. PHOTO BY JONATHAN WELCH

BY MARY CAITLIN BYRD Th ere’s no need to climb a mountain or pay an admission fee to fi nd sweeping views of the Blue Ridge’s brilliant fall colors. Of course, you can strap on some comfortable shoes (no sandals, unless you’re an extra in Braveheart 2 ), grab a water bottle and hit the trail, but there are so many roadside promontories and scenic pulloff s that all you have to do is roll down the window. Keep in mind that there’s a mystery to fall colors — a combination of spring-and-summer rainfall and temperatures determines how spectacular it will be. In any case, the season begins at the high elevations and works its way down to the lower elevations. Here are some of our favorite, close-to-town, real-life postcards (and fi nd more at Don’t forget the camera.

Graveyard Fields

It’s not as scary as it sounds. Th e only “bones” underground at Graveyard Fields (elevation 5,120 feet) are dead roots from a windstorm hundreds of years ago and a fi re in 1925 that uprooted the spruce forest and left behind stumps that resemble a graveyard. At least that’s the offi cial story. Take the Graveyard Fields Loop (a 3.2-mile hike) and you’ll stroll along

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“One of the most beautiful outdoor venues in the state.” Fall/Winter 2011 • The amazing beauty of the Swannanoa Valley • Base packages that include everything you need: tents, tables, chairs, linens, dishes, dance floor, DJ, sound system, event coordination, horse/carriage, golf cart/driver, ice chests, lighting packages, etc. (You are saving over $5000 by not having to rent these items yourself.) • Tasteful and affordable on-site lodging for your guests • Shuttle transportation available for guests when off-site accommodations are booked through Hidden River • Excellent preferred vendors who give you 15-40% discounts when you book them through Hidden River 828-333-3401

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Yellowstone Prong and (depending on your exact route) encounter three waterfalls. Pay close attention to the bushes: Come next summer, you can add wild-blueberry picking to your exploration of this popular area. And the largest waterfall offers an ice-cold swimming hole even in the hottest summers. Milepost 418 on the Blue Ridge Parkway.

Black Balsam Knob

Just down the road, nestled between Graveyard Fields and Devil’s Courthouse (another spot you should visit, at milepost 422.4) is another gem worth checking out in the search for fall foliage. Unlike other hikes in the area, the ridgeline at Black Balsam (elevation 6,214 feet) has almost no trees, which means you get unobstructed mountain views. Wait for a clear day and you’ll be able to see up to 70 miles away. Milepost 420 on the Blue Ridge Parkway.

Looking Glass Rock

If you’ve ever driven on the Blue Ridge Parkway, you’ve probably seen this iconic rock (keep your eyes on the road, though). But why just look at it when you can sit on it? If you want to tackle the short but steep and switchbacked trail to the top (elevation 3,969 feet), give yourself a few hours. Access is on the backside of the big pluton — unless you’re a rock-climbing fiend. Parts of the path will take you through tunnels of rhododendron, perfect for those who’ve always wanted to act out a scene from The Wind in the Willows. Be sure to watch your step for ice. Get on US Highway 276 and turn left onto FS Road 475. The trailhead is on the right after about half a mile. Parking is available for 15 vehicles in a paved lot.

Hickory Nut Gorge to Black Mountain

Tired from that trek to Looking Glass? For lower-elevation, late-fall scenery, the views don’t have to end if you don’t feel like hiking: Get in the car and head down I-26 South to US 64 East and into Hickory Nut Gorge. Continue to Chimney Rock Park (elevation 2,280 feet). Enjoy views of Lake Lure, one of the locations used in the film Dirty Dancing and the spot you can use to re-enact scenes from the same. Then, head to Bat Cave and pick up NC 9, but we just call it No. 9. Wind through Black Mountain and take US 70 through the Swannanoa Valley back to Asheville. X Mary Caitlin Byrd is a UNCA journalism student.

“Night Vision Adventure” Our goal is to provide you with a unique opportunity to view the sky as never before! Using our Alpha Generation 3 militaryissue night vision gogles, you will

be able to search the heavens for constellations, shooting stars, satellites, experimental aircraft, and unidentified flying objects.

The Ultimate Star Gazing Experience • 828-989-0015 26

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300 Years of History on Display Located at the East Tennessee History Center 601 South Gay Street | Downtown Knoxville | 865-215-8830

Open Seven Days a Week! Mon-Fri 9-4 | Sat 10-4 | Sun 1-5

Free Admission on Sundays

Reserve your space now for the Spring/Summer Getaway Guide

Your guide to the regionâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s best escapes â&#x20AC;˘Glossy, full-color 4x9 guide â&#x20AC;˘50,000 copies â&#x20AC;˘Inserted in over 28,000 copies of Mountain Xpress

Coming in March 2012 828-251-1333 or email

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“A” IS FOR APPLES Henderson County’s Appalachian bounty

Fall harvest from Grandad’s Orchard. PHOTO BY ERIC CREWS

B Y M A RY CA I T L I N B Y R D If you want to get to the core of Southern Appalachian apple country, head south of Asheville about 30 miles and you’re there. With at least 5,000 acres and some 200 growers, Henderson County is the largest apple-producing area in North Carolina. There are so many farms, orchards and produce stands, it seems that, in Henderson County, all roads lead to Rome — the apple, not the empire (although Empire is another kind of apple). Here is a partial list of some of Getaway’s favorite destination groves. Remember, if you’re picking your own apples: Twist, don’t tug.

J.H. S t e p p Fa r m ’s Hillcrest Orchard 221 Stepp Orchard Drive, Hendersonville, NC It’s the season for pick-your-own apples at this celebrated Henderson County farm, which started small in the early 1970s when “U-pick” wasn’t quite a pastime. The orchard started on rented acreage, with family “working out of a car until an 8-by-8 stand was built.” But there’s more to this place than history: 40 acres with 22 apple varieties. When J.H. and Yvonne Stepp opened the orchard, they depended on word of mouth from friends and neighbors. That approach continues today, although word has traveled to some unlikely places. The Duggars, from TLC’s TV show 19 Kids and Counting, visited the orchard for an episode. So, obviously, you can bring the kids.


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The O rch a rd a t A ltapass Orchard Road, Milepost 328.3 on The Blue Ridge Parkway The trees grow right along the crest of the Blue Ridge Parkway at Altapass, a 103-year-old orchard that’s as flush with history as it is with unique, regal-sounding cultivars — Rome Beauty, King Luscious, York Imperial. Altapass is a nonprofit historic farm in Little Switzerland, N.C., offering “family fun by the bushels,” which translates to hayrides, live mountain music, a monarch butterfly conservation center, an on-site food wagon and even locally made ice cream. National Geographic included the orchard in its map guide to Appalachia for a reason. Altapass, nestled in McKinney Gap, takes its name from the railroad industry of the early 20th century: “alta,” high, and “pass,” for McKinney Gap.

Cre a s m a n Fa r m s 280 Bent Arrow Lane, Hendersonville, NC You can try, but you may not find heirloom apples at the grocery store. Thankfully, there’s Creasman Farms. These third-generation apple farmers specialize in more obscure apple varieties (Hoover and Limbertwig) while still growing the standbys, such as Macoun and Pink Lady.

Gra n d a d ’s O rch a rd 2951 Chimney Rock Road Hendersonville, NC Put on your grownup OshKosh overalls when you head to Grandad’s. There are 20 varieties of apples and you’ll need the extra pockets. Plus, there’s a corn maze and a cow train. Wait … what in the name of Johnny Appleseed is a cow train? It’s simple, say the Grandad’s folks: “The cow train is made from barrels painted to look like cows.” There’s also a tractor on top of a silo. Sounds like 70 acres of rural fun. X

MB?PCFF?_MQ;L>5CHHCHA 4;=;NCIH0?HN;F!IGJ;HS w w w. c a r o l To l l F r e e: 866.856.7712 W W W. M O U N T A I N X . C O M / G E T A W A Y


SLIP-SLIDING AWAY Snow and ice lead to wintry adventures

Get ready to sled yourself silly. PHOTO BY JAKE FRANKEL

BY JAKE FRANKEL Whether it’s on skis, snowboards, sleds or skates, there’s nothing like the thrill of sliding in the ice and snow. And for an area so far south of the Mason–Dixon Line, Western North Carolina and adjacent regions off er a wealth of opportunities for such outdoor winter adventures. Th e city of Asheville only receives about 16 inches of snow a year. But with the right attitude and just a dusting of frozen stuff , even yards and neighborhood parks in town can become sledding-and-riding havens. Meanwhile, the higher peaks outside of town receive upward of 70 inches of natural powder a year, often transforming the balds and wooded trails of the upper ridges into winter wonderlands. A particularly special spot for cross-country skiing and other backcountry pursuits is Roan Mountain, about a two-hour drive from town. It stays accessible by fourwheel-drive vehicles in all but the harshest weather. Closer to town, the Blue Ridge Parkway, which is often closed to motor vehicles during the winter months, can make for great cross-country outings. Th e region also off ers several resorts: Just 35 minutes north of town, Wolf Ridge in Mars Hill is the most convenient escape to the slopes, and it frequently off ers special rates during the week. Sugar Mountain Resort in Banner Elk is a longer haul, but its more varied terrain and lift system are worth it for extended stays. For those who have never skied or snowboarded before, check out Appalachian Ski Mountain in Blowing Rock, which is nationally renowned for the quality of its instructors and rental equipment. If you’re aiming to stay close to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, shopping areas like Pigeon Forge or amusement parks like Dollywood, try Ober Gatlinburg in Tennessee. And if you prefer to slide sitting down, these resorts all have opened popular new tubing runs.


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Or maybe gliding down slippery slopes just isn’t your thing. So try climbing up them — with the help of one of the many area guide services available to teach you the art of ice climbing. During cold snaps, the mountains glitter with frozen waterfalls and challenging technical ascents. So next time the snowfl akes fall and the thermometer dips below freezing, don’t let it get you down. Go outside and melt some snow with your excitement (but not too much). X Jake Frankel can be reached at 251-1333, ext. 115, or

W H e R e T o H I T THe sloPes appalachian ski Mountain

e smallest of WNC’s major reTh sorts, Appalachian is best suited for beginners (with 27 acres of skiing, a top elevation of 4,000 feet and a 365foot vertical drop); more recently, it’s built a reputation for some of the region’s best snowboard terrain. 940 Ski Mountain Road, Blowing Rock, NC Open 9–4:30; 6–10 daily (828) 295-7828

beech Mountain Resort e highest ski area in the East at Th 5,506 feet, Beech receives the most natural snow (averaging 80 inches) of any WNC ski area and boasts 95 acres for skiing and an 830-foot vertical drop; it also off ers a charming alpine village with shops and one of the state’s most picturesque skating rinks. 1007 Beech Mountain Parkway, Beech Mountain, NC Open 9–4:30; 6–10 daily (800) 438-2093

Cataloochee ski area ataloochee boasts 16 well-groomed C slopes that are particularly well suited to beginners and intermediate skiers: 50 acres for skiing, a top elevation of 5,400 feet and a 740-foot vertical drop. Th e resort’s huge snowmaking capacity makes for one of the longest seasons in the Southeast. 1080 Ski Lodge Road, Maggie Valley, NC Open 9–4:30; 6–10 daily (800) 768-0285

ober Gatlinburg irst opened in 1961 (the Aerial F Tramway came later, in 1973), this resort provides year-round fun and includes a state-of-the-art snowtubing park. Gatlinburg, Tenn. (856) 436-5423

Roan Mountain state Park estled at the base of 6,285-foot N Roan Mountain, this state park in eastern Tennessee encompasses 2,006 acres of hardwood forests and trails, as well as campgrounds and rustic cabins; just up a road that stays plowed in all but the harshest weather are the Roan Highlands, a 12-mile stretch of beautiful ridgelines that are perfect for all manner of backcountry winter adventures. 1015 Highway 143 Roan Mountain, Tenn. Open 8–4:30, year round (800) 250-8620

sugar Mountain Resort ugar is the biggest, baddest ski area S in the state, with the longest slopes, the most extensive lift systems and most varied terrain (115 acres for skiing, a top elevation of 5,300 feet and a 1,200-foot vertical drop). 1009 Sugar Mountain Drive, Sugar Mountain, NC Open 9–4:30; 6–10 daily (828) 898-4521

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Wolf Ridge ski Resort e closest ski resort to Asheville, Th Wolf Ridge, formerly Wolf Laurel, boasts some of the region’s most varied terrain (82 acres for skiing, with

a top elevation of 4,700 feet and a 700-foot vertical drop). 578 Valley View Circle, Mars Hill, NC Open 9–4:30; 6–10 daily (800) 817-4111

CR o s s - C o u n T RY ouTfITTeRs black Dome Mountain sports 1 40 Tunnel Road, Asheville, NC (828) 251-2001 or (800) 678-2367

Pineola Inn & ski shop ox 53, Highway 221, Pineola, NC B (828) 733-4979

ICe-ClIMbInG GuIDes & ouTfITTeRs fox Mountain Guides and Climbing school

Diamond brand outdoors

3 228 Asheville Highway Pisgah Forest, NC (888) 284-8433

2 623 Hendersonville Road Arden, NC (800) 459-6262

Be sure to visit Getaway online at for videos, updated events and more.

Ober Gatlinburg is the place for year round family fun!

Ride the 120 passenger Aerial Tramway from downtown up to Ober Gatlinburg

Weeknight 6-10 pm - Lift ticket only $20 (non-holiday periods only)

• 9 Slopes for all abilities • Ski, Snowboard and Clothing Rentals • Terrain Park • Snow Tubing • Indoor Ice Rink • Restaurant & Lounge

1001 Parkway at Light #9 Gatlinburg, TN

865-436-5423 • W W W. M O U N T A I N X . C O M / G E T A W A Y

GO WHERE THE WILD THINGS ARE Zoos, nature centers and more


BY MELANIE MCGEE BIANCHI While it’s not uncommon to spot a wild bear around these parts, if you’re looking for such once-native creatures to our region as cougars, you’ll have to visit a zoo. In Asheville, that’s the WNC Nature Center , which specializes in caring for animals who can’t live in or be returned to the wild. In April 2011, the center welcomed a pair of orphaned cougar cubs that had been found in Oregon. A bioregional facility accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums, the Nature Center “introduces thousands of people to more than 60 species,” says staff education specialist Dan Clere. “We also maintain a contact yard of rare and endangered farm animals that people can touch and interact with.” In addition to creating a new space for the cougar cubs, the Nature Center recently renovated its North American River Otter exhibit and turtle pond, and made improvements to the Red Wolf habitat. “We provide an opportunity for guests to observe and better understand the creatures who share our space,” Clere explains. As much as any human who dwells near your own four-walled habitat, these animals are also your neighbors, the educator points out. So “come out and get to know them.” Many other regional wildlife sanctuaries and hands-on farms also provide care and education: Respectively one, two and three hours away from Asheville are high-quality zoological parks in Greenville (S.C.),

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Who can resist an otter? Knoxville (Tenn.) and Columbia (S.C.). Each showcases rare global species in recreated natural habitats. However, in everything from lagers to letterpresses, local is the new exotic. Not far from Asheville are some walking, grass-munching history books — the plentiful dairy goats at the Carl Sandburg Home National Historic Site (aka Connemara). Th e Connemara goats are descended from the original champion herd owned by “Paula” (Lilian Steichen), the wife of the late, iconic American poet. Certain other lucky critters roam free — elk have been successfully reintroduced into the Great Smoky Mountains National Park but are viewable only from a respectful distance. Llamas make their home at various farms in WNC and the surrounding region, and horseback-riding opportunities are too numerous to fully list (see links). A general rule for any local wildlife foray: Stay awed, and tread softly. X Melanie McGee Bianchi is a contributing editor at Carolina Home + Garden. Western North Carolina Nature Center 75 Gashes Creek Rd - Asheville, NC (828) 298-5600 Open daily 10:00 - 5:00

Visit over 150 animals including cougars, black bear, otters, wolves, birds of prey, reptiles and the NC Farm

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Wa l k W I T H T H e anIMals Connemara

(Carl sandburg Home national Historic site)

njoy the thriving dairy-goat herd E descended from the original champion stock farmed by Carl Sandburg’s wife, “Paula” (Lilian Steichen) 81 Carl Sandburg Lane Flat Rock, NC (828) 693-4178

The elk of Cataloochee valley en years ago, elk were reintroduced T into Cataloochee Valley. Long-distance viewing (through binoculars) is encouraged. Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Genesis Wildlife sanctuary

roups (of all kinds) and children G are especially encouraged to visit this rehabilitation center that houses injured, orphaned and abused wildlife. 210 Grassy Gap Road Beech Mountain, NC (828) 387-2979

Grandfather Mountain Wildlife Habitats even environmental wildlife habiS tats (including sanctuaries for black bears, river otters, cougars, eagles and white-tailed deer) are part of this 720-acre state park, which encompasses the highest peak on the eastern escarpment of the Blue Ridge Mountains. US 221, Linville, NC (828) 733-4337

Greenville Zoo ourteen acres of exotic animals in F natural habitats, including the very rare red panda. 150 Cleveland Park Drive Greenville, SC (864) 467-4300

Hickory nut Gap farm ots of fall farm fun, including pony L rides, holding baby chicks, and visits to all the resident animals. New: a

shelter for fall birthday parties. 57 Sugar Hollow Road Fairview, NC (828) 628-1027

knoxville Zoological Gardens ed pandas, meerkats, and 800-some R other species of mammals, birds and reptiles inhabit this extensive, conservation-minded zoo. 3500 Knoxville Zoo Drive Knoxville, Tenn. (865) 637-5331

north Carolina arboretum ixty-fi ve acres of cultivated gardens S and 10 acres of hiking and biking trails are part of this 434-acre mountain preserve. Ongoing educational programs for adults and children explore the Arboretum’s resident mammals, birds, reptiles and aquatic life. 100 Frederick Law Olmsted Way Asheville, NC (828) 665-2492

Randall Glen ocated at a 3600-foot elevation L in the undeveloped community of Big Sandy Mush, this mountain resort off ers farm vacations including horseback and covered-wagon riding, trout fi shing and hands-on time with the resident barn animals. 96 Randall Cove Road, Leicester, NC (828) 683-5758

Ripley’s aquarium of the smokies ouch a ray, gaze at a coral reef, T cheer for dive shows or just enjoy the 10,000 sea creatures representing 350 worldwide species. 88 River Road, Gatlinburg, Tenn. (888) 240-1358

Riverbanks Zoo and Garden isted on the National Register L of Historic Places, this stunningly landscaped conservation park and botanical gardens feature hundreds

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of species of exotic animals, including many interactive exhibits. 500 Wildlife Pkwy Columbia, SC (803) 779-8717

skytop orchard kytop is best known for panoramic S views and a wealth of family-friendly accommodations, including an animal park with farm critters. 3403 Greenville Hwy./Pinnacle Mountain Road, Flat Rock, NC (828) 692-7930

WnC nature Center conservation center and wild- and A domestic-animal preserve focused on environmental stewardship of the Southern Appalachians. Dozens of species of native animals are represented. 75 Gashes Creek Road, Asheville, NC (828) 298-5600

ll a M a s a n D H oRses an D P e T T I n G Z oos, oH MY! Wellspring farm

Hawkesdene House llama Treks

english Mountain llama Treks

In the blue Ridge Mountains blueridgeonline/horsebackriding

Petting zoos in the Great smoky Mountains


RiverRocks is a fun-filled, family-friendly, environmentally-conscious event that celebrates the Tennessee Valleyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s incomparable natural resources, the health benefits of an active, outdoor lifestyle and Chattanoogaâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s commitment to environmental stewardship and land conservation. Events and activities include rock climbing, trail running, kayaking, rowing, cycling, off-road biking, hiking and hang gliding for both expert and novice competitors. W W W. M O U N T A I N X . C O M / G E T A W A Y

FIELD GUIDE Resources for planning your getaway

Contra dancers cut the rug at LEAF. PHOTO BY JONATHAN WELCH

When you’re setting off on an adventure — even one that’s relatively close to home — it pays to have a fi eld guide handy. Here’s a colorful sampling of the multitude of fall and early-winter festivals within easy driving distance of Asheville, plus listings for state and national parks in the area as well as major visitor and tourism centers in the region. Be sure to check out Getaway’s online listings ( for even more information. Now get ready to explore those mountains, sample that barbecue and plug into our local culture.

aR e a f e s T I va l s autumn leaves festival Head to the home of Andy Griffi th and Mayberry for a festival begun more than 40 years ago to celebrate the tobacco and apple harvest. Th ese days, it’s all about showcasing the area’s musical heritage and local foods as well as arts and crafts. Main Street and surrounding areas, Mount Airy, NC Open Oct. 14-16 Admission Free (800) 948-0949

28th annual barbecue festival Barbecue Festival organizers boast that Lexington, NC, is the “barbecue capital of the world.” Titles aside, it’s certainly a fi ne place to taste-test that superlative ‘cue, plus sample a day’s worth of entertainment and musical acts.

Scan the Square to check out even more Getaway info online.

ptown Lexington, NC U Open 8:30 a.m.-6 p.m. Oct. 22 Admission Free

biltmore village Dickens festival e Montford Park players act out scenes Th from beloved Charles Dickens classic A Christmas Carol while musicians, choral groups, singers and dancers perform in the streets. Shops stay open late, shopkeepers dress up in Victorian costumes, and buildings are bedecked in lights. Biltmore Village, Asheville, NC Open Dec. 2-4 Admission Free htm (828) 274-8788

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are a F e s t i vals


Bristol Rhythm & Roots Reunion The Bristol Rhythm & Roots Reunion is bursting with some 22 stages, a dance tent, childrenâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s artists and headliners like Robert Randolph & the Family Band, Railroad Earth and Marty Stuart and his Fabulous Superlatives. State Street, Bristol, Tenn. Open Sept. 16-18 Admission $42 (423) 573-4898

Carolina Renaissance Festival & Artisan Marketplace Step back into the 16th century for a day of European Renaissance-style music, art, games, jousting, knights, fairies and royals, plus an artisan market. 16445 Poplar Tent Road Huntersville, NC Open 10 a.m.-5:30 p.m. weekends Oct. 8-Nov. 20 Admission $19/adults, $9/children at Harris Teeter stores; $20/adults, $18/seniors and military personnel, $10/ children online and at the gate (877) 896-5544

Cherokee Indian Fair This year marks the 99th anniversary of the Eastern Band of Cherokeeâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s annual fair, which includes carnival rides and games, Cherokee foods and an exhibit hall. There are also bands each night and a fireworks show.

Cherokee Fair Grounds 512 Tsali Boulevard Cherokee, NC Open 10 a.m. Oct. 4-8 Admission $10, kids 6-and-under free

Dirty Dancing Festival at Lake Lure Perfect your mashed potato while reliving the romance of Baby and Johnny at Lake Lure, where much of the film Dirty Dancing was filmed. Highlights include dance lessons, film screenings and watermelon-carrying contests. Venues around Lake Lure, NC Open Sept. 16-18 Admission Free to $120, depending on the event

First Night Charlotte The family-friendly, alcohol-free New Yearâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Eve event includes music, dancing and art. Entertainment includes aerial and contemporary dancers Caroline Calouche & Co., kid-hop artist Secret Agent 23 Skidoo, hip-hop violinist Daniel D, the band Simply Irresistible and a countdown to midnight. Indoor and outdoor venues throughout uptown Charlotte, NC Open Kidsâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; stuff, 3 p.m.-7:45 p.m.; evening events, 8 p.m.-past midnight Dec. 31 Admission $10/adults, $5/kids 7-12

Everyoneâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s talking about itâ&#x20AC;Ś FT[^eT^dabT[eTbb^\dRWfTcWX]Zh^d½[[[^eTdbc^^ If itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s true that Asheville is the Paris of the South, then Marshall is more akin to a small town in the South of France, with its picturesque landscape, close-knit community, and laid-back quality of living. â&#x20AC;&#x201C; Mountain Xpress Aug. 26, 2009

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Great Grapes! Wine, Arts & Food Festival Sample hundreds of vinos while enjoying food, crafts and music. There are kids’ activities as well. Symphony Park, Charlotte, NC Open 11 a.m.-7 p.m. Oct. 1 Admission $20/advance, $25/on-site, $15/designated driver advance, $20/designated driver on-site, 12-under free

Lake Eden Arts Festival This biannual event features eclectic music, cultural and healing arts, dancing, drumming, morning yoga, late-night parties and tons of family-friendly activities. Fall headliners include Sweet Honey in the Rock, Leo Kottke and Wanda Jackson. 377 Lake Eden Road, Black Mountain, NC Open Oct. 20-23 Admission Weekend passes are $151/ adults, $124/kids; weekend plus Thursday $174/$144. Community tickets are $99/$84 Friday-Sunday, $42/$34 Friday or Sunday, $52/$45 Saturday. (828) 686-8742

Mountain Heritage Day The 37th annual Mountain Heritage Day, held on the campus of Western Carolina University, is part old-time mountain fair and part Southern Appalachian showcase. WCU, Cullowhee, NC Open 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Sept. 24 Admission Free (828) 227-7129

23rd Annual NASCAR Day Festival Spanning a mile of downtown Randleman, the festival celebrates the heritage and tradition of NASCAR and NCborn racing champion Richard Petty, running concurrently with the Richard Petty Fan Club Convention. Petty himself signs autographs. Downtown Randleman, NC Open 9 a.m.-7 p.m. Oct. 29 Admission Free

National Gingerbread House Competition & Display Bakers (both novice and professional) from across the country try their hand at creating award-winning edible architecture from traditional icing-andgumdrop-trimmed gingerbread cottages

to fanciful culinary feats, like Hogwarts Castle and Noah’s Ark. The Grove Park Inn Resort & Spa Asheville, NC Open Nov. 16-Jan. 1 Admission Free to view (800) 438-5800

Olde South Christmas Ball An “old-fashioned War Between the States Christmas ball” features a full Southern supper, a dance with a silent auction and a handicraft gift bazaar. Greenville Marriott, Greenville, SC Open 5:30-11:30 p.m. Dec. 10 Admission $60/person (early bird), $65/ person general admission, $45/single gentlemen (864) 244-2732

41st Annual Revolutionary War Field Days Reenactors interpret life on the Southern Campaign trail, part of South Carolina Revolutionary War history, where redcoats and patriots relive the Battle of Camden. Toss in a period fashion show and demonstrations of Revolutionary War-era trades and civilian life. South Broad Street, Camden, SC Open 10 a.m.-5 p.m., Nov. 5-6 Admission $10/adults, $8/seniors $4/children (803) 432-9841

Rowan Blues and Jazz Festival This year’s festivities include a storyteller’s tribute to the late Jackie Torrence as well as blues and jazz bands led by women performers, including Eden Brent, Brenda Morie and Beverly “Guitar” Watkins. 200 W. Fisher St. at Church St. Salisbury, NC Open Oct. 15 Admission $15

Statesville Pumpkin Fest This year’s event features a biggest pumpkin contest, pumpkin bowling, pumpkin painting, pumpkin smashing and (perhaps the most popular) a pumpkin pie-eating contest. Add games and rides, craft exhibitors, three entertainment stages and a 5K race (to work off all that pie). Downtown Statesville, NC Open 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Nov. 5 Admission Free (704) 878-3436

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Stat e & Nati o nal Pa rks The Appalachian Trail

The Appalachian Trail is a 2,175-milelong public footpath that winds its way along the crest of some of Western North Carolina’s most beautiful mountains. The trailhead at Bridge Street in downtown Hot Springs offers the closest access from Asheville Open Year-round Admission Free (304) 535-6278

Blue Ridge Parkway The Blue Ridge Parkway is designed to offer a slow-paced and relaxing drive, revealing the natural and cultural history here in the Southern mountains. Connecting Shenandoah National Park with the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, it also provides access to a wide variety of hiking trails and scenic attractions. Several entrances around Asheville provide access to the Parkway; headquarters is at 199 Hemphill Knob Road, Asheville, NC Open Through the end of October for many campgrounds, picnic areas and visitors centers; in winter, road conditions prompt sections of the Parkway to close Admission Free (828) 298-0398 (recorded park info); (828) 271-4779 (park headquarters)

Gorges State Park Filled with waterfalls galore, this rugged area has one of the greatest concentrations of rare and unique plant and animal species in the Eastern United States. Extensive hiking trails, backpack camping, river and lake fishing are all available. Transylvania County, where two entrances provide access; the interim park office is in the same building as the Sapphire Post Office on NC 281 South, Sapphire, NC Open 8-8 September-October, 8-6 November-February, 8-8 March-April 8-9 May-August; closed Christmas Day Admission Free

Grandfather Mountain State Park This new state park holds 2,700 acres of rugged backcountry trails and campsites, including some of Northwestern North Carolina’s most spectacular scenery and natural attractions. You can also drive to the top of Linville Peak to walk across the wind-swept “Mile High Swinging Bridge.” U.S. 221, Linville, NC Open 8-6 spring, 8-7 summer, 8-6 fall, 9-5 winter Admission $15/adults, $13/seniors, $7 for kids ages 4-12 (800) 468-7325

Great Smoky Mountains National Park World renowned for its plant and animal diversity, the beauty of its ancient mountains, and its well-preserved remnants of Southern Appalachian mountain culture, this is America’s most visited national park. Straddles the North Carolina/Tennessee state line, with the main North Carolina entrance in Cherokee; the park headquarters is at 107 Park Headquarters Road, Gatlinburg, Tenn. Open Daily, though some secondary roads, campgrounds and facilities close in the winter Admission Free (865) 436-1200

Lake James State Park This park in Burke and McDowell counties features scenic vistas of surrounding mountains that overlook the man-made 6,510-acre lake. It includes two boat ramp areas, canoe rentals, fishing, swimming and camping areas. Five miles northeast of Marion on NC 126 Open Lifeguards on duty in the Paddy Creek area Thursday-Monday, 10–6 Admission $5/adults, $4/children main.php (828) 584-7728

(828) 966-9099

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Fall is the ideal time to take in Blue Ridge scenery. PHOTO BY CHRIS WOOD

Mount Mitchell state Park

south Mountains state Park

At 6,684 feet, Mount Mitchell is the highest peak east of the Mississippi. North Carolinaâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s fi rst state park includes great hiking trails and camping, as well as an exhibit hall, restaurant and gift shop. Yancey County, 33 miles north of Asheville on NC 128, just off the Blue Ridge Parkway at mile marker 355 Open 8-8 September-October, 8-6 November-February, 8-8 March-April and 8-9 May-August; closed Christmas Day. Th e exhibit hall and gift shop are open 10-6 May-October; the restaurant closes one hour before park closing May-October. Admission Free main.php (828) 675-4611

e state park features an 80-foot Th waterfall as well as 40 miles of hiking trails and an 18-mile bicycling trail. Burke County, 20 miles south of Morganton on South Mountains Park Avenue Open 8-8 September-October, 8-6 November-February, 8-8 MarchApril, 8-9 May-August; closed Christmas Day Admission Free main.php (828) 433-4772

new River state Park Believed to be the oldest river in North America, the New River winds past scenic rock outcrops, farmlands and woodlands, making it perfect for canoeing; the park also includes trails, camping and a picnic shelter. Ashe and Alleghany counties on US 221 near Jefferson Open 8-8 September-October, 8-6 November-February, 8-8 MarchApril, 8-9 May-August; closed Christmas Day Admission Free (336) 982-2587

stone Mountain state Park e main attraction is a granite dome Th rising 600 feet above the valley fl oor, holding amazing views for those who hike it. At the base, there are historic sites, exhibits, and interpretive programs, as well as tent and trailer camping. Wilkes and Alleghany counties, six miles southwest of Roaring Gap on John P. Frank Parkway Open 8-8 September-October, 8-6 November-February, 8-8 MarchApril, 8-9 May-August; closed Christmas Day Admission Free main.php (336) 957-8185

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Vis it o r & T o uri s m Cen te rs Asheville Visitor Center

Get information, directions and the latest news. Features public restrooms, maps, brochures and Wi-Fi. Purchase tickets here for Biltmore Estate, the trolley tours and golf coupon books. In the Asheville Chamber of Commerce, 36 Montford Ave., downtown Asheville (exit 4C on I-240) Open Year-round, 8:30-5:30 MondayFriday, 9-5 weekends, closed on major holidays Admission Free visit/visitor-center (828) 258-6129

Black Mountain Chamber of Commerce (800) 669-2301

Blowing Rock Visitors Center (877) 750-4636


Blue Ridge Parkway Visitor Center Inside this LEED-certified “green” building, explore the 22-foot interactive map that offers multimedia information on the entire 469-mile Parkway. You can also check out the seasonal exhibits and educational movies. Milepost 384 on the Blue Ridge Parkway (195 Hemphill Knob Road) Open 9-5 daily, closed Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s Day Admission Free (828) 298-5330

Columbia Regional Visitors Center Located in the capital city’s historic Congaree district, this spacious downtown facility offers information about local accommodations and attractions. 1101 Lincoln St., Columbia, SC Open 8-6 Monday-Friday, 10-4 Saturday, 1-5 Sunday; closed certain holidays Admission Free (800) 264-4884

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Craggy Gardens Visitor Center Craggy Gardens is known for its pageantry of early-summer rhododendrons, great hikes and super-scenic picnic spots. The Visitor Center is stocked with souvenirs and staffed by knowledgeable guides. Milepost 364.5 on the Blue Ridge Parkway Open Memorial Day through October Admission Free craggygardens.php

First Peak of the Blue Ridge Visitor Center This venue welcomes visitors to three charming and history-filled foothills towns – Tryon (home to the six-decades-running Block House Steeple-

chase), Saluda and Columbus. 20 E. Mill St., Columbus, NC Open 9-5 Monday-Friday, 10-2 Saturday Admission Free (800) 440-7848

Great Smoky Mountains National Park These four worthwhile centers, all in the boundaries of the Park, feature rangerled educational exhibits. Oconaluftee Visitors Center in Cherokee has the added attraction of a working pioneerreplica farm. For seasonal information see Cades Cove Visitors Center Midpoint of Cades Cove Loop Road Clingmans Dome Visitors Center At the Clingmans Dome trailhead, 7 miles off US 441 on Clingmans Dome Road

Coffee & Cookie company



Join us for great food, attentive service & nightly live local entertainment! Blue Mountain Pizza • 55 N Main Street • Weaverville NC 28787 828.658.8778 • W W W. M O U N T A I N X . C O M / G E T A W A Y


Vis i t o r & T o u rism Centers Oconaluftee Visitors Center Two miles north of Cherokee Sugarlands Visitors Center Two miles south of Gatlinburg on US 441

Greenville Convention & Visitors Bureau Upstate South Carolina’s largest city welcomes visitors with maps, multiple high-tech sources of information and an auxiliary meeting/convention facility. 206 S. Main St., Greenville, SC Admission Free (800) 717-0023

Haywood County Several centers offer information and directions, the better to explore this history-rich, scenic Western North Carolina county (the real-life setting of the book Cold Mountain). See for seasonal information and locations. Balsam Visitors Center 20525 Great Smoky Mountain Expressway, Waynesville, NC Canton Visitors Center 761 Champion Drive, Canton, NC Haywood County Chamber of Commerce 591 N. Main St., Waynesville, NC Maggie Valley Area Visitors Bureau and Chamber of Commerce 2511 Soco Road, Maggie Valley, NC

Henderson County Visitors Information Center Henderson County is home to the four-day North Carolina Apple Festival each Labor Day weekend, as well as the Carl Sandburg Home National Historic Site (Connemara) 201 S. Main St., Hendersonville, NC Open Year-round, 9-5 Monday-Friday, 10-5 weekends, 10-5 certain holidays; closed Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s Day Admission Free (800) 828-4244


High Country Host 1700 Blowing Rock Road, Boone, NC Open 9-5 Monday-Saturday, 9-3 Sunday (800) 438-7500

Highlands Visitor Center (866) 526-5841

Knoxville Visitor Center Home to the University of Tennessee, Knoxville boasts a culturally rich visitors center. Besides free Wi-Fi and a staffed information desk, there’s a café (“The Parlor”), local crafts for sale and daily live music sponsored by Americana station WDVX. 301 S. Gay St., Knoxville, Tenn. Open 8:30-6 Monday-Friday, 9-5 Saturday, noon-4 Sunday Admission Free (865) 523-7263

Madison County Chamber of Commerce (877) 2-MADISON

Transylvania County Tourism Development Authority (800) 648-4523

Wilkes County Chamber of Commerce (336) 838-8662

WNC Visitors Center

WNC, other locations For a complete list, see blueridgeheritage. com/attractions-destinations/morevisitor-information.

Just scan the square to see more of Getaway online at


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MILD TO WILD Whitewater Rafting on the Nantahala, French Broad, Nolichucky and Watauga Rivers

Caving trips, campground and riverside bunkhouse.


Getaway Guide: Fall/Winter 2011 - 2012  

Asheville's field guide to regional escapes!

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