travel guide

North Carolina Top Attractions: Discover The “Tar Heel” State

By the Reynolds Mansion B&B, your gateway to Asheville, NC and the Biltmore Estate

Explore the monumental beauty of the “Tar Heel” state. From soft sand beaches to gorgeous mountain ranges, cityscapes to country roads, whatever you want, you will find it here in spades.

Of course, with so much to see and do in this unique Southern state, it isn’t difficult to get overwhelmed – so instead of planning to see “everything,” just book a few nights at a selection of North Carolina B&Bs near some of the nation’s top attractions and hit the road!

Not sure what the top attractions are? No problem! According to the North Carolina Department of Commerce, Division of Tourism, Film and Sports Development, the state’s top have-to see sights include:

1. Historic Ocracoke – Ocracoke, NC. Listed on the Nation’s Register of Historic Places, this little barrier island community features a significant district made from more than 200 homes and buildings, including the Ocracoke Lighthouse, which was built in 1823 and is the oldest continuously operating light on the eastern seaboard.

2. Biltmore Estate – Asheville, NC. After breakfast at your North Carolina hotel, make your way to the shocking 250-room Biltmore House.  Set on 8,000-acres, you can spend the day doing everything from horse riding to rafting, and wine tasting to shopping.

3. Chimney Rock at Chimney Rock State Park – Chimney Rock, NC. Whether you’re up to the challenge of a led rock climbing session or simply searching for a breathtaking place for a relaxed stroll, Chimney Rock State Park’s 75 miles of trails makes it all practical. You can also take a lift built within the mountain twenty-six stories into the sky for a scenic view you will not find any place else.  (Handily located just twenty-five miles southeast of Asheville’s North Carolina hotels, you can easily combine this attraction with a trip to the Biltmore Estate).

4. Old Salem Museums and Gardens – Winston-Salem, NC. Explore the lives of those who lived and worked in the early South at Old Salem Museums amp, Gardens. Made up of 3 museums, including the Significant Town of Salem, the Museum of Early Southern Decorative Humanities (MESDA), and the Old Salem Toy Museum, it is a perfect destination for history buffs.

Grandfather Mountain – Linville, NC. As one of the planet’s most environmentally various nature preserves and a United Countries World Ecosphere Reserve, this one-off destination is a delight for out of doors enthusiasts of every age.

5. Hanging Rock State Park – Danbury, NC. This 6,968-acre state park features more than 18 miles of trails, which lead to gorgeous vistas, waterfalls, sparkling streams, and a 12-acre lake where you can spend the day fishing, cruising and swimming.

6. Jordan Lake State Recreation Area – Pittsboro, NC. Fishing, swimming, hiking and boating are all in a day’s fun at this 14,000-acre state recreation area – which is simply a brief drive from many North Carolina hostels in the Raleigh-Durham area.

7. Lake Lure – Lake Lure, NC. Named “one of the most beautiful man-made lakes in the world” by State Geographic, this lovely spot offers everything from sailing and fishing to dinner cruises and days spent basking on the beach. (And for you “Dirty Dancing” fans, you’ll want to take a guided cruise, in which your captain will mention some of the locations featured in the film.)

8. Battleship North Carolina – Wilmington, NC. Learn about the battles fought by this ship’s brave crew during WWII, as you walk the decks and explore the belly of the North Carolina.

9. Carolina Beach State Park – Carolina Beach, NC. With fishing and sailing, and miles of hiking trails (where you may encounter the rare Venus flytrap) and golden beaches, this shocking park is a coastal paradise.

Whether you opt to explore one attraction or one or two, North Carolina has many great B&Bs to select from. And with a knowledgeable concierge staff to help you during your stay, you can make the maximum of your time at every destination.

Visit us at the Reynolds Mansion, #1 ranked Asheville B&B, offering specials and packages for the Biltmore Estate.

Visiting North Carolina on Your Next Trip

By the Reynolds Mansion Bed and Breakfast in Asheville, NC

North Carolina’s landscape just keeps on rolling and changing – from granite domes, bubbling streams and falling waterfalls to Piedmont’s storied foothills and then out to sea on Atlantic barrier islands. On the western edge of North Carolina and across the border into near by Tennessee, Great Hazy Mountains National Park has its Carolina HQ at the Oconaluftee Visitor Center near Cherokee. The Smokies contain some of North America’s tallest mountain tops. And with spruce, fir and conifer forests, dogwoods, rhododendron, azaleas and various wildflowers, this state preserve is a botanic wonderland. Plenty of miles of guided nature trails, paved back roads and streams induce visitors to explore the park’s lands and waters, either on foot, on horseback, by RV, or simply on a leisurely floating tube.

Besides Great Smoky’s annual attendance of 9,000,000 human visitors, the park is inhabited by the likes of woodchucks, coyotes, red foxes, a big population of black bears and more than two hundred various species of birds. Trivia Time: twenty-seven resident salamander species confirm the Smokies as the salamander capital of the world.

The Blue Ridge Parkway goes from Virginia’s Shenandoah National Park along the Appalachian Blue Ridge and Black Mountains, on through the Craggies, Pisgahs and Balsams and into North Carolina’s Great Smokies. North Carolina contains 262 miles of this 469-mile-long beautiful byway, including awe-inspiring views of multiple mountain tops, spring wildflower shows of purple rhododendron and flame azalea, summer greenery, forests ablaze with vibrant autumn leaves, and a wealth of local wildlife. Parkway nature trails, designed for hikers and horses, twist thru sundry landscapes with natural water features like pools, meadows, streams and tumbling cascades.

Along the Blue Ridge Parkway lies Asheville, a charming town full of arts, culture and things to see and do, including the famous Biltmore Estate, the largest working estate still in existence.  Asheville features many cozy bed and breakfasts, like the Reynolds Mansion, a historic home featuring 13 bedrooms and rated #1 on TripAdvisor.com.

Located in the central heartland, Lake Norman State Park in Troutman is located on the coasts of North Carolina’s biggest synthetic lake or “inland sea.” Besides easy accessibility to the 32,510-acre Lake Norman, this park also offers a second, 33-acre lake that deals with swimmers, boaters, canoeists and anglers.

While Lake Norman fishermen catch their equal share of striped bass, crappie and yellow perch, other sports like sailing, waterskiing and windsailing are widely available thru the park’s public boat launch. However, visitors don’t need to dip into the water to experience the benefits of Lake Norman State Park. Those who’d rather stay on land can enjoy a leisurely picnic or take a walking tour on the Lakeshore or Alder Trails. Also in the center of the state, at Chapel Hill’s U.N.C. Campus, the North Carolina Floral Gardens is a veritable patchwork quilt of regional plant life. 4 distinct areas of the gardens showcase representative species from the Carolina plant kingdom and from all parts of the globe. The shady Piedmont Nature Trails loop through oak and hickory woods, past streams and stands of evergreens, dogwoods, trilliums and redbuds.

The Seaside Plain and Sandhills Habitats represent the ecology of eastern Carolina, including rolling mounds of sand with longleaf pines, myrtles and meat eating Venus flytraps. (Do not make it angry) A Mountain Habitat Garden features southern Appalachian wildflowers like bluebells and mountain laurels and ferns, hemlocks and tulip trees. Eventually, the Mercer Reeves Hubbard Herb Garden presents medical and culinary applications of plants and herbs and a continual project that focuses on the National Rosemary Collection. In North Carolina’s eastern seaside region is the feted Outer Banks. This 130-mile necklace of barrier islands along North Carolina’s northern coast offers untamed beaches, impressive scenery and North Carolina hospitality.

The Cape Fear Coast is an area of amazing natural beauty, and embodies the city of Wilmington and the island communities of Carolina Beach, Kure Beach and Wrightsville Beach. This area is home to unspoiled beaches and is a nirvana for beachcombers and out of doors lovers. Cape Hatteras National Seashore consists of more than 70 pretty miles of barrier islands. With its breathtaking vistas and fascinating history, the Cape is ideal for an RV vacation. Enjoy offshore shipwreck sites and onshore lighthouses. And for those keen on birdwatching, these islands are the ideal spot as they serve as a very important wintering migration area for waterfowl. Found in the town of Nags Head, Jockey’s Ridge State Park is the location of the Atlantic seaboard’s tallest natural sand dune.

At this 426-acre preserve, desert-style walks, hang-gliding and shorebird sightings amuse one million visitors every year. Jockey’s Ridge’s centerpiece dune currently measures between eighty and a hundred feet tall, depending on which way the wind blows. The dune formation endures because of swapping airstreams, which serve to equalize one another by blowing sand backwards and forwards. A trek to the dune’s summit affords a seabird’s viewpoint of Nags Head and surrounding islands. Hikers should permit an hour or so to walk the round-trip loop from the parking lot to the sandy crest of the ridge. From a perch on the top of the big, golden dune it’s fun to imagine how local heroes, Orville and Wilbur Wright, were stirred to fly like birds over the blustery sandscape of North Carolina’s Outer Banks. Cape Hatteras National Seashore consists of more than 70 gorgeous miles of barrier islands.

Another winning natural attraction in North Carolina’s coastal region is Croatan National Forest in New Bern. The most coastal Fed. Forest in the eastern US offers something for every ecotourist. Besides Bogue Sound, there are beaches, woods, streams, salt marshes, freshwater lakes and evergreen pocosins, unique raised bogs that were aptly described by Native Americans as swamps on hills. Croatan’s wide variety of habitats provides houses for lots of species, from herons, ospreys and nuthatches to turtles, alligators, bears and deer.

Croatan’s guests can go cruising, canoeing, fishing and hunting or they can select from a wide-ranging trio of wooded nature trails.

When you are next touring North Carolina, be sure to stay with us at the Reynolds Mansion Bed and Breakfast in Asheville, NC for cozy accommodations and lots of Southern charm.

North Carolina: A Hot Spot For Travellers

By the #1 Rated Reynolds Mansion B&B in Asheville, NC

North Carolina ranks as the state’s 28th biggest state, while remaining the tenth biggest apropos population. The reason for such a giant population is the vast quantity of terrain and climates North Carolina has to offer . The state features the Atlantic Ocean as an eastern border, and the Appalachian and Smokey Mountain ranges along its western border.

The Outer Banks also make their home in the state of North Carolina as the biggest string of islands detached from the mainland in the United States. North Carolina is also home to a bunch of huge towns that play host to professional and college sports groups. With all of these areas to explore it is no surprise why North Carolina travel is so preferred. North Carolina’s Atlantic coast covers around 45 percent of the country’s climate and geographic breakdown. Deep Sea fishing charters, scuba and snorkeling and assorted powerboat activities are just a few of the options couples and families have when they visit North Carolina’s Atlantic coast. Due to the formation of the Outer Banks along the shore, the beaches along the mainland are found on the sound meaning less intense waves and a less deep depth, excellent for families with little ‘uns. The Appalachian and Smokey Mountain ranges run along the western border of the state.

The mountain ranges feature a considerable number of activities for those interested in another side of North Carolina travel. Mount Mitchell is the tallest mountain in the state at a towering 6,684 feet. Not only will this make it a tallest mountain in the state of North Carolina, but it’s also the tallest mountain on the eastern coast of the US. The mountain ranges in North Carolina offer year-round fun for the entire family, everything from camping and hiking in the summertime to downhill skiing and snowboarding in the winter. The Appalachian Mountain range can deliver fun during your travels thru North Carolina.

The Blue Ridge Parkway that runs through Asheville, NC is a wonderful gateway to the Appalachians.  Asheville offers lots of Southern charm, culture and arts, with a host of elegant B&Bs like the Reynolds Mansion Bed and Breakfast Inn, a cozy historic getaway.

The Outer Banks, located along the eastern Atlantic coast, are a chain of islands that stretch along the entire coastline of the state. The frail islands are made up of only sand that was built up over time making separate islands that are detached from the mainland and only hooked up to the remainder of the state by State Highway 12. The Outer Banks themselves feature 130 miles of pretty golden beaches. The islands are composed of mainly hotels and beachfront rental property. With a bunch of islands and beaches, North Carolina travel has never been simpler. Charlotte and Raleigh are the 2 largest cities in North Carolina. Both of the cities feature a vibrant night life and a number of professional sports groups where you can catch a game while exploring the city.

Charlotte is home to the NBA’s Bobcats and the NFL’s Panthers. Raleigh, on the other hand, is home to NHL’s Hurricanes. Along with professional sports teams, the state of North Carolina is home to one of the fiercest rivalries in all of college basketball. The College of North Carolina Tar Heels and the University of Duke Blue Demons have been playing each other for nearly one hundred years. Their games solidly feature among the most well liked games of the regular season due to their deciding thing on a number of ACC championships. With so much to do and see in the Tar Heel State, it’s no ask why North Carolina travel is so preferred among partners and families from all over the US.

Come stay with us at the Reynolds Mansion Bed and Breakfast Inn, ranked the #1 B&B in Asheville, NC.

What to Do in Asheville, NC: 10 Things You Must Try When You Visit

By the Reynolds Mansion B&B in Asheville NC

Asheville has long been a popular stop for visitors to North Carolina.  Along with its breathtaking natural setting, Asheville is a center of arts and culture.  Located between the streets of downtown you will find the most elegant gourmet restaurants, a vibrant arts scene and eclectic shops not seen anywhere else in the state. One thing is certain, Asheville is sure to make an impression on you.  Here are the 10 things you must do in Asheville, NC when you visit next!

1. Biltmore Estate was built in 1895, is the most famous symbol of Asheville, and must be seen!

2. Blue Ridge Parkway winds south of the city and offers panoramic views of the Smoky Mountains.

3. Asheville is prized for its non-chain establishments downtown, as shown by the sign in each window that says Go Local. Support Asheville businesses and buy local products.

4. Take a tour. Visit the Chamber of Commerce.  Segway tours run daily.

5. Grove Park Inn Spa luxury at its best in the historic Grove Park. The spa is considered one of the best 10 in the U.S. The main building, with its stone facade resembles the early 1900 lodges.

6. Stay at a world-class bed and breakfast and be pampered.  At the top of the list is the Reynolds Mansion B&B in Asheville, NC, ranked #1 on TripAdvisor.com.

7. Gallery crawl.  Downtown is full of art galleries, and you can find many artist studios in the River Arts District.

8. Visit some great microbreweries: Highland Brewing, French Broad Brewery, Asheville Pizza and Brewing.

9. Eat! The wide variety of options can overwhelm you, but some sites are remarkable, including Zambra on Walnut St. (Spanish tapas).

10. Biltmore Village is a planned community over 100 years old filled with stores, restaurants and galleries.

For more ideas on what to do in Asheville, NC when you visit, see DowntownAsheville.com.

Looking for a place to stay on your visit?  Book with us at the Reynolds Mansion B&B in Asheville.

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.

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.

What to Do in Asheville: A Sampler Platter of Things to Do During Your Stay

By the Reynolds Mansion Bed and Breakfast in Asheville, NC

With an abundance of natural resources, historic and scenic, Asheville has always been one of the most interesting for tourists. It contains the beautiful atmosphere of the Great Smokie Mountain and Pisgah National Forest. Asheville is located at the meeting point of two rivers in the mountains. The exact location is in the western part of North Carolina at the intersection of the Interstates 24 and 240. This historic city is famous for the scenic route of the Blue Ridge Parkway. Its breathtaking beauty has attracted many important artists such as painters, potters and musicians. Mountain Asheville land is blessed with a fairly precise combination of traditional and modern lifestyles – this is what makes this place worth visiting and worth living.

City of Asheville NC is a witness to many literary greats such as Thomas Wolfe, Carl Sandburg and O. Henry. Visitors have the rare opportunity to see the castle as a private mansion built by millionaire George W. Vanderbilt to stay in Asheville. It offers fantastic opportunities for lovers of Art Deco architecture to Tudor-style homes. Lodging is not a problem in the city. Affordable and charming bed and breakfasts in Asheville are accessible through all seasons.

The city has plenty of attractions, nature and art to catch the eyes of tourists looking for what to do in Asheville. The Biltmore House, the largest home in America, is a hugely popular place to visit. And the University of North Carolina is a thriving institution for academics and students. Asheville is the place for diverse cultures and festivals. Tourists find many places for shopping and satisfy their taste buds with delicious food. This city has the honor of having many craft galleries, too.  No matter what you do in Asheville during your stay, you are sure to find something to write home about.

Looking for Asheville NC accommodations?  The Reynolds Mansion Bed and Breakfast in Asheville is ranked in the top B&Bs on Trip Advisor by our visitors.  Reserve your room today.

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.