blue ridge mountains

Asheville, NC: Gateway to the Appalachian Mountains

By the Reynolds Mansion B&B in Asheville, NC

Henry David Thoreau once related, “In wilderness is the preservation of the world.” There is not any larger example of this than the North Carolina Mountains. Western North Carolina (WNC) offers residents some of the most diverse climates, trees and wildlife in the world. It’s a place full of breathtaking, spellbinding, naturally occurring phenomenon including forests, mountaintop vistas, waterfalls and riverside. Over the years, people, local communities, state officers and the central government have worked to preserve the pretty landscape in Western North Carolina, along with the animals and plants that live there. This effort continues today and every year.

And, as new folks relocate to the area looking for a better standard of living, they discover an ancient mountain.

The Mountains in North Carolina Tell Their Story: Appalachian Mountain Facts

The Appalachian Mountains are a record of Earth’s history. According to the U.S. Geological Survey:  The Appalachians are old. A look at rocks exposed in the present day’s Appalachian Mountains exposes lengthened belts of folded and thrust faulted sea sedimentary rocks, volcanic rocks and slivers of ancient ocean floor.

Robust proof [shows] that these rocks were deformed during plate collision. The birth of the Appalachian ranges, some 480 million years back, marks the first of several mountain building plate collisions that ended in the construction of the supercontinent Pangea with the Appalachians close to the center.

The start of the Appalachian Mountains led on to many millions of years of Earth changes. Ultimately, approximately 60 million years back, the Appalachians we all know today began to take shape. The exact boundaries of the Appalachian Mountains are debatable, but most professionals agree the range extends over 1,500 North to South miles from Canada to Georgia. As a system of ridges split into several distinct ranges, the Appalachian Mountains span two nations and 15 states : Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Virginia, West Virginia, Ohio, Kentucky, Tennessee, North Carolina, South Carolina and Georgia. Perhaps the most famed attraction is the 2,100-mile Appalachian Trail (AT) that runs from Springer Mountain in Northern Georgia to Mount Katahdin in Maine.

Access to the AT is easily found in Western North Carolina agricultural areas like Hot Springs, Max Patch, a well known bald, or on the Blue Ridge Parkway, just outside of Asheville, wherein you will also find the Reynolds Mansion B&B.

The Magic of the Blue Ridge Mountains

One of the most well known provinces in the Appalachian Mountains is the Blue Ridge. The Blue Ridge Mountains stretch through Pennsylvania, Maryland, Virginia, Tennessee, North Carolina and Georgia.

They are home to the highest peaks in Eastern Northern America, the highest being Mount Mitchell in Western North Carolina at 6,684 feet. The trees are what give the Blue Ridge its name. According to the Nation’s Park Service, hydrocarbons released into the atmosphere by the trees create their signature color. The Blue Ridge offers a range of natural attractions including 2 countrywide parks : the Shenandoah in the North and the Great Smokies in the South. The Blue Ridge Parkway, a 496-mile scenic road that connects the 2 parks, provides amazing mountain lookouts and access to hundreds of hiking trails. The Great Hazy Mountains : A Union of Forest Preservation and Land Conservation The Great Hazy Mountains cover the border between North Carolina and Tennessee. The Great Hazy Mountains Countrywide Park is one of the biggest forest preservation areas in the Eastern United States.

According to StateParks the park was once part of Cherokee homeland and now pulls over nine million visitors every year. There are over 800 miles of hiking trails that range all the way from straightforward to difficult including seventy miles of the Appalachian Trail. In the summer, weather in the park consists generally of abundant rainfall and high humidity, making healthy growing conditions. Overall, Western North Carolina climate and Asheville weather brings four balanced seasons.

Winters and summers are moderate compared with other regions. Native trees, plants and flowers bloom during 3 seasons, and in the winter, snow-peaked mountain views peek thru barren, forest trees. StatePark reports that, “some 100 species of local trees find homes in the Smokies, more than any other Northern US state park.” The site adds that “almost 95% of the park is forested, and about 25% of that area is old growth forest — one of the biggest blocks of deciduous, temperate, old-growth forest remaining in North America.” The Nation’s Park Service explains that no other area of equal size in a gentle climate can match the park’s superb variety of plants, animals, and invertebrates. Over 10,000 species have been documented. The mountains in North Carolina, surrounding Asheville, are a place where the mountains, rivers, trees and animals tell an ancient story.

Be still and listen and you’ll hear the voice of the land.

Come enjoy the splendor of the Blue Ridge Mountains and the Appalachian Trail, and stay with us at the Reynolds Mansion B&B in Asheville, NC.

Blue Ridge Mountain Hiking On The Appalachian Trail

Your Gateway to the Blue Ridge Mountains, the Reynolds Mansion Bed and Breakfast Inn, Asheville NC

The passing of the Blue Ridge Parkway and The Appalachian Trail through the Blue Ridge Mountain Host Area provides 2 different types of access to this beautiful destination. The Parkway makes it easy for motorists to explore all that this area of the Blue Ridge Mountains has to offer . For the adventurist, there is The Appalachian Trail. The “A.T.,” as it is called by hikers, is much more than merely a path thru the woods. It’s a countrywide pretty trail, part of the same national park system that includes Yellowstone, Yosemite, and the Great Hazy Mountains. Its official name is the Appalachian State Breathtaking Trail. However unlike those famous parks, it is not a concentrated preserve, with campgrounds and paths within its bounds.

As the longest, skinniest part of America’s national park system, the A.T. Stretches over fourteen different states and passes through more than 60 Fed, state, and local parks and forests. Hundreds of roads cross it. In some pieces, the Trail “corridor” is only a few hundred feet wide. In the Blue Ridge Mountain Host area, The Appalachian Trail passes from one end of Madison County to the other with many access points, giving day hikers a great opportunity to walk short segments of the trail. As it winds itself thru Madison County it passes through the picturesque town of Hot Springs, home of Hot Springs Resort and Spa. Visitors can pick up the A.T. Here and hike north or south for as far as they would like – and then return to this relaxed hamlet to unwind under the stars with a calming mineral bath along the banks of the French Broad River.

A popular destination on the Appalachian Trail near Hot Springs is Max Patch Mountain, a 350-acre tract of open land on a high knob with 360-degree perspectives. On a clear day visitors can see to Mt. Mitchell on the east, and to the Great Hazy Mountains on the south. A perfect place for a picnic, flying a kite, star gazing and enjoying wildflowers.

In addition to hiking the Appalachian Trail, the Hot Springs area offers other outside activities like whitewater rafting. In and around Hot Springs are “put-ins” and “take-outs” for the French Broad River. Outfitters like French Broad Rafting Expeditions, Huck Finn Rafting Journeys, Nantahala Outdoor Center and USA Raft offer guided brook trips and outfitter buying the out of doors experience. After a day of adventure, visitors can turn in at one of many camping sites, cabins, cottages, or bed and breakfast inns the area has to offer.

Book your stay at the Reynolds Mansion, a top visitor-ranked bed and breakfast in Asheville, NC.

Hiking Asheville NC: Advantages of a Waist Pack

By Your Friends at the Reynolds Mansion Bed and Breakfast in Asheville, NC

Hiking Asheville, NC is an activity that virtually anyone can do and enjoy. Of course there are several levels of the activity but overall, it’s really a satisfying experience when done correctly. If you are going hiking for the 1st time, you will notice other hikers and what they are using and carrying to make their hikes more pleasurable.

The options are many when hiking the Blue Ridge Mountains. Should you wear a hat? Should you use hiking poles? And one particularly crucial consideration is what type of pack should you carry. When piled high with weight, a back pack that’s supported on the shoulders can cause you to feel just like leaning forward even if you don’t realize it. It is a delicate effect, like carrying a purse on your left shoulder all your life and then one day realizing that you are leaning to the right to support it. And that happens irrespective of how much weight.

So try and imagine how a backpack with heavy weight in it can have an effect on your balance. Hiking trails aren’t the same as a paved walking path. They can be rough, rocky, steep, or sandy and greasy. So of course, proper footwear is important, but so is your pack. A waist backpack, or lumbar pack as it’s often called, puts the weight precisely on your hips, uniformly balanced by the huge muscles of the legs where weight is supposed to be supported. You will not find yourself leaning forward or backward but rather walking along as though there is no pull in any direction aside from the pull of gravity your usually feel when walking. Waist backpacks offer the most stable and balanced solution for carrying weight, including water, which you’ll need lots of. A waist pack which has two water bottles, one on each side is ideal for balance.

And access to the water is simple and convenient, so you are not running the risk of shoulder strain by taking a shoulder strap back-pack on and off. Often when you are hiking long distances or hiking in bad weather, you will need to carry a pack that’s larger than a waist style pack. A good choice for this sort of pack will be one with a waist or lumbar belt to support at least some of the weight on your hips. So how do you select a great waist backpack for your walks? First consider size. How long will you hike? Buy one that is adequate in volume, but no need to get one that’s too big if you’re only hiking brief distances.

Buy one of very high quality materials and if possible get one made in the USA because it’s going to be made well and last an entire lifetime. Stay balanced using a waist backpack and you will enjoy hiking for years!

Planning on Hiking Asheville, NC on your next vacation?  Visit us at the Reynolds Mansion Bed and Breakfast, your gateway to the Blue Ridge Mountains.  Book today!

What to See in the Blue Ridge Mountains and Asheville NC

By Top Rated Asheville NC Bed and Breakfast, the Reynolds Mansion

The Blue Ridge Mountains, a strand of the Appalachian Mountains, contain the highest mountain elevations in the eastern United States and occasionally called the “Rocky Mountains of the East.” Through big changes, each generation has cherished their Blue Ridge Mountain culture and kept their mountain practices alive thru their music, story telling, folks art, and way of life. On your travels through the Blue Ridge Mountains, one area to think about visiting is Ashe County. Located in the heart of the Blue Ridge and the most northwestern county of North Carolina, a paradise for nature lovers, Ashe contains tons of acres of preserved state and Fed parks. Here you’ll find one of the planet’s oldest streams, the New Stream, great for canoeing, the famous Blue Ridge Parkway, many hiking trails, local trout streams, and scenic perspectives of the Blue Ridge Mountains, backcountry roads to explore, barn art across the county, tiny family farms and some of the friendliest folk in the world. Within Ashe County, there are 3 tiny towns.

West Jefferson, a flourishing tiny mountain town, being the biggest and most active of Ashe County’s 3, is a favorite High Country destination. The city lies in a valley, with the mountains surrounding the city. Mount Jefferson State Park, with 539 acres of natural area and elevations up to five thousand feet rise way up above the city. Magnificent from a distance, the mountain it is best appreciated from the top offering amazing long-range perspectives into Virginia and Tennessee. There you will find hiking trails, picnic areas and bird watching venues. The charm and personality of downtown West Jefferson include an arts district, with art galleries and outside murals, unique shops, a town park and wonderful eateries. During summer weekends, you’ll find mountain music in the park, street dancing, gallery crawls, festivals and folk gathering to look at cheese made at the Ashe County Cheese Factory, partaking a pitcher of New River Winery’s famous blueberry wine, or shopping at the back street farmers market.

There is something for everybody in central West Jefferson. Take a short drive to the community of Glendale Springs, to the Holy Trinity Episcopal Church where world-renowned Ben Long, painted his first frescoes. At Glendale Springs, an exit from the Blue Ridge Parkway, you’ll find the famous Glendale Springs Hotel, Silver Designs, The Northwest Trading Post, Blue Ridge Bakery and Cafeacute, and The Paul and Florence Thomas Memorial Art College.

During your travels through the Blue Ridge Mountains, you will find many engaging things to do and see in the North Carolina High Country. A few of these attractions include a trip to Grandfather Mountain, the Biltmore House in Asheville, the Mast General Store, Tweetsie Railroad, Emerald Village, and Lineville Caves. These attractions along with the elegance of the Blue Ridge make the North Carolina High Country a good spot to visit or to spend a whole life.

Be sure to visit us at the Reynolds Mansion, top ranked Asheville NC Bed and Breakfast on Trip Advisor.

Survival Gear: The Top Ten Things To Have To Be Safe On A Hiking Trip

Your Guide to Safety When Hiking the Blue Ridge Mountains in Asheville, NC

Hiking is the ultimate method to get out into nature and experience the world, it is also an incredible technique to get some exercise and stay physically fit. Sadly, it can be deadly if you don’t take the right precautions. You will be out away from civilization, moving through the unpredictable wilderness. The following is the top ten things you should have to make sure you are safe.

1. A Radio or Cellphone – One of the best pieces of field and survival gear you may have is a way to quickly communicate with the external world. A cellular telephone is excellent so long as you have telephone coverage.

2. A GPS – This should work wherever you are so long as the batteries hold out, and you can keep from ever becoming lost.

3. A Knife – You need to use these to clean fish if you need to eat or to build a lean-to out of tiny tress and branches.

4. An Emergency Medical Kit – This may give you a basic way to fix minor injuries. You won’t be able put a cast on a damaged leg, but you can confirm a minor injury doesn’t lead directly to major difficulties.

5. Additional Water – Folk are often thinking so hard about what tactical gear they require that they forget the fundamentals. You’ve got to have water to stop dehydration and heat exhaustion on your Blue Ridge Mountains hike.

6. Food That Lasts – Along similar lines, some of the best survivalist kit you can have is also the most obvious.  You need to have food that is in packaging and can be rationed out for a long time if you are lost.

7. Something To Build A Shelter – As discussed, a knife can be beneficial in this process. It’s also a great idea to have a poncho or some other kind of garment you can use to keep off the rain.

8. Layers Of Clothes – You want to have thin clothes for hiking under the sun and thicker layers for staying warm at night. Clothing to repel the rain, for example caps and hats, is also a smart idea. Having the layers gives you the power to adjust what you are wearing for whatever the weather is doing.

9. Boots – Having the right footwear is crucial.  You are going to be hiking for a long distance and you need your feet to be well placed to take the abuse. This is particularly true if you become lost because it is so hard to hike your way out of the woods if your feet are wounded.

10. A Flashlight – This can literally save your life at night. If you’re lost, hiking at night can be exceedingly perilous — this is true also regardless of if you know where you are. A torch can permit you to see pitfalls and hazards before you stumble on them in the dark.

Need a home base for hiking the Blue Ridge Mountains?  Stay at the Reynolds Mansion Asheville Bed and Breakfast Inn.  See our deals and packages for your stay in Asheville, NC.

See the Colors of Fall in the Blue Ridge Mountains

By the Reynolds Mansion, Top Ranked Asheville B&B

“When should I come to see the peak colors?” This question causes the telephones of many B&Bs in Asheville, NC to ring off the hook as the days get shorter and the temperatures cooler. Naturally, what they are talking about is the lovely fall foliage that is so popular in the Blue Ridge Mountains. These callers are told that peak doesn’t occur on a certain day, and even varies greatly within a geographical region. The right way to see brilliant fall foliage is to stay in the mountains for several days during the “typical” season, and spend that time driving throughout the area, exploring differing terrain. It’d be nice if the date may be pinned down exactly, but sadly, many things affect when the peak actually happens. To grasp the brilliant colors of fall, it is helpful first to gain a knowledge of what causes these brilliant colors. Trees and other foliage perform a chemical process called photosynthesis.

This process, very simply, is taking water and carbon-dioxide, and turning them into oxygen and sugar. Chlorophyll is the substance that causes this process to happen. In the spring and summer, when the days are long and warm, chlorophyll, which is green in color, is terribly abundant in the leaves. But when the days become shorter the trees begin shutting down for the winter. Photosynthesis stops, chlorophyll vanishes, and the trees enter into a season of rest.

As the chlorophyll vanishes, the yellows and oranges, which have been present in the leaves all along, become apparent. The reds and the purples that may be seen in some trees is made in the autumn from the glucose that is encircled in the leaves, as daylight and cooler nights turn this into a bright red color. The differing species produce a kaleidoscope of colors. Of course, everyone recognizes the brilliant maples, which can sometimes be any color from scarlet to orange-red to yellow, dependent on the exact species.

The Sourwoods and Black Tupelos develop a deep crimson. Beech trees produce a light tan, while Aspens and Poplars show off a brilliant yellow. Hickories will turn into a golden bronze, and the oaks can be red, brown or russet. Many factors have an impact on the timing of the peak colors. It has been discussed how differing species produce different colors, but timing varies with species also.

Elevation also plays a significant role in timing. The higher up, the earlier the change. Also affecting the timing of top are the direction of the slope, the quantity of rain leading up to the fall, and the temperature. The most spectacular colors develop when there is a series of warm bright days followed by cool and crisp, though not freezing, nights. So with all this doubt of when top really is, how do you go about partaking of the copious display of fall foliage colors? The simplest way is to visit the field of interest for a few days during what is generally the peak season, and come stay at a cozy B&B in Asheville to scout out the best vantage points.

During those several days, passing time in the car covering masses of terrain will supply the best reward, as it provides opportunity to see many various species, at many various elevation levels, and on many different-facing slopes.

Here at the Reynolds Mansion B&B in Asheville, NC, we offer a luxurious and cozy home base while you enjoy the beauty of the Blue Ridge Mountains and changing Fall colors.  The best times to book your Asheville B&B stay are October and November for the most spectacular foliage viewing.

See the Splendors of the Blue Ridge Mountain Host Region Near Asheville

By Your Friends at the Reynolds Mansion, Top Ranked Bed and Breakfast in Asheville, NC

The Blue Ridge Parkway is a gateway to the mountain splendor and foothills fun of Rutherford County in the Blue Ridge Mountain Host Region. Off of the Parkway, exit close to the Blue Ridge Parkway Visitor Center between mileposts 384 and 385 and head East on Highway 74-A. Be sure to stop in Chimney Rock Village, where visitors can make a brisk tubing run down the roaring Rocky Broad Brook. Then visit Chimney Rock State Park, lately preserved as North Carolina’s most recent state park.

Perched high on top of Chimney Rock, capture a spectacular view of Hickory Nut Gorge and 720-acre Lake Lure. Visitors can also see Hickory Nut Falls, distinguishable landscape from the final dramatic scenes of “Last of the Mohicans,” filmed here in the early ’90s. Other outdoor activities range all the way from dinner cruises, fishing and water skiing on Lake Lure, to play golf, horse riding and hiking. The town of Lake Lure, NC has long drawn visitors with its inviting lake, beach, golf courses and other recreational prospects. Lake Lure, which covers 720 acres and has a shoreline of roughly 27 miles, is the town’s gem, ringed by mountains in a sparkling setting.

Lake Lure was originally formed by making a dam on the Rocky Broad Stream. It now draws folk to frolic on the beach, swim, boat and fish. On ship tours of the lake, you’ll learn all about the cultural and natural history of Lake Lure, NC, and see some of the locations employed in filming the movie “Dirty Dancing.” Lake Lure hotels, hotels and other accommodations offer a profusion of experiences for the weary traveler. Whether or not it’s a room just steps away from a plunge in the Rocky Broad River, a mountain cabin on a gravel road, a stunning historic hotel, a resort besieged by golf courses and other facilities, a vacation rental on the lake that sleeps fifteen guests, a convention hotel, or a notable camping experience, decisions abound.  And be sure to check out the amazing bed and breakfasts in Asheville, too.

For the foothills piece of your journey thru Rutherford County, stop by the fascinating boroughs of Rutherfordton, Forest City and Spindale – classic American small towns, each with a proud history. Walking the sidewalks of Rutherfordton is like stepping back to a time when things were better… Easier. There are quaint shops and genial restaurants and even an interactive museum for the youngsters.

On Forest City’s Main Street you can enjoy the seasonal flowers, relax by the fountain or take the short drive to the Rutherford County Farm Museum for a taste of standard rustic life in the foothills. When you head up the way to Spindale you can check out the melons at the Rutherford County Farmer’s Market or cool off with a to-die-for milk shake at the vintage pharmacy.

Of course, be sure to journey on to nearby Asheville and stay with us at the Reynolds Mansion, one of the top rated bed and breakfasts in Asheville, NC.

Buying the Right Kind of Boots for Hiking in the Blue Ridge Mountains

Planning to go hiking in the Blue Ridge Mountains when you visit Asheville, NC?  It’s a popular destination, and for good reason, since we have some of the best views and scenic outlooks in the country!  Just make sure you come prepared.  Here’s how to select the right hiking boots for your excursion:

For the everyday outdoorsman, you may have experienced hits and misses with the gear you purchase. Some gear may prove advanced for your talents and some gear may speedily become insufficient. One gear purchase nonetheless, customarily leads the pack in ‘regret potential’, and that’s the hiking boot. Sadly when many individuals realize their boots don’t fit, or offer the right support, they’re a couple of days’ hike from civilization and in a lot of agony.

However, even an amateur walker can avoid these missteps if they just follow some easy rules. When buying hiking boots, make sure the base of the boots have good friction with ground even in mud and rain. For those walkers who like heading out onto rocky trails, the best hill-climbing boots for that sort of ground is a heavy usage pair.  These are great for those rugged paths you will be hiking in the Blue Ridge Mountains.

Many of these sorts of boots are waterproof and have higher rise up the side of the ankle for foot steadiness and protection. This will help to avoid any formation of blisters and also won’t permit any type of moisture to come into contact with your feet. One other thing to consider is wearing double socks with your mountain-climbing boots.

After you put on both boots be certain to move around in them for a minute or two to be certain they fit fine. Almost all of the shoe stores will have some variety of angled walking surface to let you experience natural hiking movement.

Taking some time to find the best fitting boots for your hiking trip will save you lots of blisters and pain later, so make sure you get the right ones for your feet and enjoy your vacation hiking in the Blue Ridge Mountains!

For more activities for your vacation, see our list of Things to Do in Asheville.  And be sure to make your reservations at the Reynolds Mansion, rated one of the best bed and breakfasts in Asheville!