GOOD-BYE WINTER DOLDRUMS - HELLO COZY WINTER GETAWAYS
Oh, the start of a new year! The resolutions, the goals, the plans! How about a cozy wintertime getaway in Pisgah National Forest surrounding McDowell County? Resolve to make more time to enjoy life, with the goal of fun and relaxation, and as for the plans, well, here’s a start to help you make some more of your own.
Linville Falls is a popular spot in warm weather months, probably the most famous waterfall in the Blue Ridge, and is still breathtakingly gorgeous in the cooler months, and less crowded - bonus. Bring the cold weather gear and your wild side and explore some of the Linville Gorge Wilderness, the deepest cut in the Earth’s surface east of the Grand Canyon. Smells like adventure!
A room or cabin at the Linville Falls Lodge and Cottages is within walking distance to the trail to Linville Falls and adjacent to the Linville Gorge WIlderness - how is that for convenience! The Inn offers Queen and King rooms, plus cottages for couples and groups of 4. The grounds include a community garden and stone firepit for gathering. All rooms and cottages have decks for viewing the surrounding mountains, toasting, and dreaming up new ideas.
All of this hiking and dreaming is bound to make a person thirsty, so it’s advantageous that the Linville Falls Winery is so close by at mile marker 317 on the Blue Ridge Parkway. This family owned and operated vineyard and winery grows happy grapes which are turned into delicious wine. Share a wine flight and sample several - live large in small doses! Maybe you’ll even catch some live music or a Barn Dance?
When visiting a small town, why not stay right smack-dab in the middle of it? You can at Mountain Appalachian Inn in Old Fort. This quirky Victorian-Era Bed and Breakfast offers 4 rooms, all named after an area mountain, in a mix of original charm, cheerful colors and modern amenities, plus the owners are *Superhosts. After a soak in the hot tub to look at the stars and a hearty homemade breakfast, make your way to the Old Fort Gateway Trail for a day of moving at your own pace.
The Old Fort Mountain Gateway Trail system is currently 6 miles, and phase 1, of the 42 planned miles of this multi-use trail system. It is some of the most accessible and user-friendly trails in the Pisgah National Forest. It welcomes walkers, runners, hikers, bikers and equestrians. If you have a fishing license, there are plenty of fishing holes along Curtis Creek, as well.
After working up a healthy thirst and appetite, Hillman Beer can quench both with its 32+ taps and full menu. The Mill Creek views and indoor and outdoor seating just add to the friendly, relaxed atmosphere. And well-behaved doggos are more than welcome.
Waking up to a light snow, or heavy frost, is a beautiful winter sight and likely to happen while staying at the Catawba River Inn in Marion, NC, just minutes off of the Blue Ridge Parkway at the Linville Falls exit. Gas log fireplaces in each room, and all overlooking the North Fork of the Catawba River, create quite the true mountain getaway feel. The outside fire pits are a terrific place to stargaze, too.
For daytime activities, a stroll along the Joseph McDowell Historical Catawba Greenway is an easy and relaxing way to spend some of the day and enjoy the park and river and quality time with your person. Check out one of these coffee shops for the after-walk warm up and energy spike to get you through to dinner, where you may want to enjoy fresh sustainable seafood, hand cut steak and full bar at Crabby Abby’s where great taste and good times await.