It just doesn’t get more delicious than summertime in the Appalachian Mountains. The daytime temperatures are downright delightful, and after the sun dips below the peaks, it’s sweater weather.
In the middle of many good options, we’ve chosen Brevard for our next road trip because this charming mountain town has more ways to have fun than most areas can imagine, as well as a mindset that welcomes retirees and part-time residents into an event-filled, creative community fold.
As one resident shared, “The thing we love the most about Brevard is that there is literally something for everyone, whether you are looking for an active outdoor getaway or an excursion filled with arts and culture.”
Our advice? Take a couple of friends, and plan to spend several days. Here are some tips to get you started, helped along by Brevard friends who’ve enjoyed all these activities and more.
First, reserve early. There are dozens of inns, B&Bs, resorts, campgrounds, hotels and more. It’s hard to choose a favorite, but great to have choices.
The Inn at Brevard offers a unique experience in a charming European southern style mansion. It’s popular for weddings and romantic getaways, offering top quality dining and easy access to many of the attractions in the area.
Another good option would be to rent one of the mountain homes in Connestee Falls (800.537.2001). There, you can enjoy hiking the many private trails throughout the forests and along winding rivers and creeks. You’ll want to get lost in this idyllic setting and will smile at the special touches along the trails, announcing you’ve reached Grandparent’s Creek or delight in the signs educating you on the prolific flora of the area. You can also enjoy all the amenities of the community, including four private stocked lakes, perfect for swimming, canoeing, fishing or just floating. Then of course, tennis, pickleball heated pool and an 18-holes of mountain golf with breathtaking views.
Another possibility is the Red House Inn. The 1851 structure has been recently renovated and is both home and business to Daniel and Tracie Trusler and their daughter, Emily. Top quality bedding, an ideal location in downtown Brevard with shopping and dining nearby, and a short distance to all kinds of wonderful ways to spend your time make the Red House Inn a great option.
Safely housed, it’s time to let the fun begin. For this road trip, we’re going to offer a variety of possibilities. You choose what suits your family and friends.Afterwards, tell us how it went.
Wherever you go, watch for the area’s famous white squirrels. There are lots of stories about where they came from, but the folks here cherish these unusual creatures and even hold a festival to celebrate them, as well as a squirrel count to check on their wellbeing.
Brevard is nestled between the DuPont State Recreational Forest and Pisgah National Forest, with hundreds of paths through wooden forests for the avid biker, hiker and horse rider, each leading to hidden waterfalls and breathtaking mountain views.
The DuPont State Recreational Forest offers every level trail to accommodate the novice hiker and the hardcore mountain biker. There are great detailed maps available of the area and good parking facilities depending on which trail you choose.
Corn Mill Shoals is a good choice for bikers who relish nice scenery with a solid workout.
Families will enjoy a good hike up to Triple Falls – it is a steep climb, but the views are definitely worth the effort. There are great locations along the water to sit, spread out a picnic, and catch your breath before continuing on to Bridal Veil Falls, and then looping back around through more striking landscapes.You’re allowed to swim or wade in areas below the waterfalls which is a great way to cool down after a long hike. It is not surprising that The Last of the Mohicans and The Hunger Games were both filmed around these falls as there are many photo opportunities along the way.
Hooker Falls is an easy hike although it can get a bit crowded. With its large swimming area, it’s an absolute hit with all ages.
Another great destination for outdoor activities is the Pisgah National Forest, also filled with endless trails and activities. It is well worth taking a drive through the forest and stopping to look at Glassy Falls before stopping at the ranger’s station where you can collect all sorts of information about activities in the area. But don’t leave the ranger’s station without going around back to the Andy Cove Track which is a small but pretty hike, complete with swinging bridge – great for young kids.
Pisgah is probably best known for sliding rock and you simply have to experience the exhilaration of going down the large natural slide before plunging into icy mountain water.
For a more relaxing activity, Pisgah also offers tubing down the river, as well as trout fishing. Even if you don’t fish, it’s well worth a visit to the Trout Hatchery there, where you can learn more about the fish and there are little trout food dispensers which are a big hit with the kids.
Brevard is also home to the French Broad River which provides excellent rafting and kayaking.
For equestrian enthusiasts, One possibility to exercise your passion is Pisgah Forest Riding Stables. They offer one-hour, two-hour and three-hour rides. (For three hours, you’ll have to choose between riding past waterfalls, or up to the mountain top. Decisions, decisions.)
There are some requirements, so check the website. And, reservations are recommended. Hint: See if Blitz (grey mare), Apache (white gelding) and Strawberry (big and brown) are available if you’ve got youngsters older than seven. They’re particularly good with the little ones.
DuPont Forest Trail Rides offers more horsey-adventure possibilities, with personalized rides and the possibility of a swim after lunch. And, Free Rein Center for Therapeutic Riding and Education offers horseback riding for special needs children and adults. Their animals are very gentle.
Want to skip the steeds, but see the falls? Try Miller’s Land of Waterfall Tours.Craig Miller offers to show you the falls that are off the maps, and he’s been exploring these parts for more than two decades.
And then there’s fishing – lots of fishing. Davidson River Outfitters is an excellent resource, with champion guides who know these streams like you know your backyard. They specialize in wading for trophy mountain trout and drift boat fishing for trout and smallmouth bass. Ask about their six miles of privately managed, limited access trout streams, plus the national forests and state parks. What a way to introduce a grandchild to a really thrilling experience!
Now, for those who prefer to get their exercise lifting a credit card, the opportunities are just as good. Maybe it’s the air, the views, or simply good luck, but artists flock to this area, where they are appreciated by locals, transplants and visitors.
There are lots of talented artisans and artists living in the area and you can find many examples of their work in various galleries in the center of Brevard. Some of our insider’s favorite local artists exhibit their work at the Red Wolf Gallery or throughout many of the other small shops in the city center. If you are lucky enough to plan your stay during one of the many festivals celebrated in Brevard then you will be spoiled for choice as many talented artists display their work. Our favorite festivals include the White Squirrel Festival andFourth of July celebrations.
The Brevard Music center is not only a beautiful setting but they put on amazing shows with young talent as well as seasoned professionals.
If city living is your thing, Brevard is filled with great quality shops and old time charm. There are fabulous finds for women’s clothing at places like Theophilus.
Also located down town, the Crystal Market Mining Company is a real “Gem.” We love to spend time looking through all their unique stones while the kids are happy scooping dirt and digging for treasures.
And of course kids of all ages cannot resist a visit to O.P. Taylor’s toy store with 6,000 square feet, bursting with every toy imaginable.
Gravy is a gallery located in downtown Brevard that features the work of local artists (828.862.4900). Some of their work benefits the Boys & Girls Club of Transylvania County. Glass Feather Studio is filled with kiln-fired art glass and fine photography.
Number 7 Arts is a fine arts and crafts cooperative outreach program of the Transylvania County Arts Council. (Don’t stop with these. There are dozens of art galleries and potters’ studios with the fruits of creative labor available for your visual enjoyment and probable purchase. Some offer classes, so don’t ignore your inner artist if you start wanting to play with mud.)
In fact, there’s a Crafter’s Corridor, US 276 between Brevard and the South Carolina line. A brochure is available at the Brevard Visitor’s Center.
For those who love the thrill of the hunt, Brevard Antique Mall offers a variety of quality pieces … it’s a fun destination in which to explore and find hidden treasures.
DINING IN BREVARD
Somewhere along the way you’ll get hungry.
The Soda Shop is a must for easy diner food. Everyone will quickly discover their favorite, including the hearty pastrami sandwiches, hotdogs with everything on them and burgers that will leave you wanting more. Of course no soda shop would be complete without a full ice-cream counter and sweet shop. And if your kids never want to leave the Soda shop, Mom and Dad can simply pop over next door to the DD Bullwinkel’s general store filled with unique clothing, gifts and more.
Brevard offers food temptations for a variety of palates. In addition to the good old fashion favorites at the Soda Shop, there’s gourmet pizzas at Marco Trattoria, and big city dining at Hobnob. All dining experiences are made even more memorable by family friendly staff and comfortable ambiance. You are sure to find something for every taste and occasion. And if you are worried about missing your favorite sports team then you can always pop into Dugan’sPub and sports bar.
The Jordan Street Café gets mostly great reviews from locals and visitors, with a special nod for the Blackberry Streusel Tart.
When we’re there, we always include an afternoon or evening visit to Kiwi Gelato. Italian frozen desserts with a New Zealand flair.
There are others, of course, from fine dining to fish camps and home-style cooking. Local magazines and a very helpful Visitor’s Center will answer your questions and fill your hands with brochures.
ENJOY THE ARTS
But as you make your plans, don’t forget the arts and culture that keep transplants sure that they made the best possible relocation decision. A favorite is the Brevard Music Center, which presents almost 100 performances during their summer season.
The Porter Center for Performing Arts is a product of Brevard College, which is known for its fine arts curriculum. Their season kicks off in October, so if you’re there for leaf season, check ‘em out. And, don’t forget the local musicians. You may hear old-fashioned mountain music at the Courthouse gazebo, or other locations. You can’t plan for a spontaneous music eruption. Just hope you’re there when it occurs (and ask the Visitor’s Center for advice).
They’re not spontaneous, but are loads of fun. Street dances on Tuesday evening are great. The fourth Friday gallery walk downtown is excellent.
Tired? We’ll bet you are. It’s been quite a day (or two). Rest easy back at your accommodations. Remember, there’s always tomorrow … and the next day.
P.S. On your way to more adventure, indulge yourselves at the Blue Ridge Bakery which garners rave reviews from just about everyone. The Hummingbird Cake is said to be outstanding, but locals suggest a sampler of cupcakes to get a real feel for the frosting and baking expertise of these folks.
Intrigued? Learn more through the Brevard Visitor’s Center.
Thanks to Christine and Brendan Stone for their great advice and insights about Brevard – their getaway from the dazzling lifestyle of Charlotte.
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