Tag Archive for: 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.

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.

Hiking Asheville NC With Your Android Phone

By the Reynolds Mansion, Asheville Bed and Breakfast Inn

One of the most well liked sports today that can be enjoyed alone or with family is hiking. It is cheap and doesn’t require any special equipment except a good solid pair of trainers, comfortable attire and most significantly, a map. It is always useful to carry terrain maps of maintained tracks and to take a break continually to test the area. Map-reading is more significant when one ventures off a well trodden path. On adventure walks, plotting a course becomes much more crucial and significantly complicated. Hiking on a deserted natural area alone and without a map is inviting catastrophe as the prospect of getting lost is high. The introduction of GPS-enabled devices changed the way we all travel.

Since the launch of GPS-enabled Android cell phones, the mobile market has gone through a gigantic transition. Among various features of an Android phone, the most valuable is its capacity to function as a navigation device. Android phones have already made a contribution to the amazing transition in the way folk hike. The Android GPS can receive location from GPS satellites with no regard for the location. If you’re in areas with no signal your GPS will work, but you will need a program that stores maps on the phone to utilize it. With an ideal Android hiking app to read pre-downloaded maps even without network coverage, an Android phone turns into a able out of doors GPS machine.

One of the best and must have Android hiking app is the kind that can let you store hiking maps and aerial pictures to your storage card and use it while out of doors even without network coverage. With the use of GPS for navigating, you can see the hiking terrain and your location on those maps. Support for radio-based connectivity is also one of the serious traits of a good Android hiking app. It must enable the user to download GPS maps and info on the go and must also have the capability of storing custom way points. Another critical feature that a good Android app must possess is access to topo maps of USA and Canada among the selection of map sources because all of these maps are free or public domain.

Nevertheless if you download maps using your cellular phone, the correspondent information transference charges incurred will be billed by your service supplier. An Android hiking app with wi-fi capacity is another feature that everyone should look for. This can give users an opportunity to download maps when hooked up to wi-fi hot spots away from home, store it, and then view it through through the same hiking app even in areas without network coverage. Having a GPS-enabled Android telephone together with a good hiking app is really helpful when you go for a hike especially if you’re not familiar with the place. A good hiking app must support current and future Android powered telephones with GPS capacities.

One of the best hiking applications for Android can be purchased and downloaded from the Android Market. An Android phone and a trusty Android hiking app is an ideal pair for hiking fans. It not only guides them with their exact location and point of direction, it also shows them other places which they can add to their list of future walks.

Stay with us at the Reynolds Mansion, your top rated Asheville bed and breakfast.  See our special Asheville b&b package deals.

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!

Biking and Hiking the Blue Ridge Mountains

One man’s account of a motorcycle tour in the Blue Ridge Mountains

One hot, sweltering day last summer in the flat lands of North Carolina, me and my biker buddy believed that it was time to plan for a weekend trip. Not wanting to spend too much time getting there, but definitely needing a change of views and to flee the stifling summer heat, we made a decision to try the Granddad Mountain area in the North Carolina Blue Ridge Mountains, just roughly an hour and half drive from home in Mooresville N.C. That Friday we took off work two hours early, packed our saddlebags and jumped on our hogs heading up 77 to I 40, destination Banner Elk, North Carolina. We turned off the Interstate in the foothills at Morganton, and after some cruising thru the little Mayberry like town, shortly found ourselves leaning into the curves, past Table Rock and numerous mountain vistas, the summer heat already melting away. Now and then getting trapped behind a local, never in a rush to get anywhere, we soon faced a brief lane and sped on our way. We got on 105 in Linville and we knew we were just about there. Cruising the subsequent seven miles in the shadow of Granddad Mountain, we turned up at the stone buildings of Tynecastle, turned left heading down the valley past Sugar Mountain and into the city of Banner Elk. Being the cocktail hour, we stretched our legs with a pleasant cool walk into city and visited some local bistros, then crossed the street and headed to Stonewalls were we enjoyed a good steak dinner.

Saturday was to be a day to cruise the area. After a good breakfast at the Inn, we saddled up and headed back to Linville Falls, were we caught up with the Blue Ridge Parkway. Heading north towards Blowing Rock, the Blue Ridge Parkway is chocked full of twisting roads and stunning mountain perspectives, one of the finest methods to tour the mountains of North Carolina. Right after hitting the Parkway we came upon the Linn Cove Viaduct.

An engineering wonder, the viaduct is an elevated bridge that wraps around Granddad Mountain for some eight miles, and has some of the finest mountain perspectives on the Parkway. Built to mix in, the bridge is a good example of Mother Nature and the man made coexisting. We stopped to take a walk on the trail that goes under the Linn Cove Viaduct to get a better view of some truly provoking architecture. Julian Price Park was the next stop on the Parkway, with a primitive campground and a beautiful lake that offers some wonderful trout fishing. The park covers over four thousand acres and has twenty-five miles of hiking trails. An amphitheater, picnic grounds, and canoe rentals make Julian Price a brilliant place to spend the day. We spent a couple of hours, then moved on towards Blowing Rock.

We exited the Blue Ridge Parkway at the Moses Cone Memorial Park, checked out the Crafts Center, and moved on to Blowing Rock for lunch. On the way back, we took the road to Boone, home of Appalachian State Varsity, and turned up 105 back to Banner Elk. Back at the Hotel, there had been masses of daylight left so we took a little break, hopped back on our bikes and headed up the mountain to Valle Crucis. A very fun narrow winding mountain road with one truly mean switchback at the top, the ride down the mountain had some great mountain perspectives as we passed farm homes, retreats, pony farms, and some quaint small bed and breakfasts tucked away in there own mountain nooks.

Valle Crucis is a very agricultural community, its heart being the Mast General Store were we stopped for a look see.  Here’s where you come when you really want to run away from it all. A mountain retreat with two quality horse farms for those that like to ride. On the way back to Banner Elk via 105, we were having so much fun on these tight small roads that we made a decision to head on up to 7 Devils, a holiday resort area with the Hawksnest Ski Resort and Golf Coarse at the top of the mountain. After a full day of riding, back in Banner Elk we headed to cheap cocktails hour at the Bayou Smokehouse and Griddle and stayed all night, scarfing down brewskis, Texas style Bar-B-Que, and some great Louisiana Cajun Cuisine. Sunday was the day to conquer the gigantic daddy of all of them, Grandfather Mountain.

Having been on the road all day Saturday, today we were about to do some major hiking. With the tallest top in the Blue Ridge Mountains, Grandfather Mountain sits on the eastern continental divide and hosts the once a year gathering of Scottish clans, and the Highland Games. We passed McRae Meadows and paid the $14 per individual to enter the privately owned mountain. We parked momentarily at the nature museum and took a quick tour of the wildlife habitat, which features animals native to the region on display in their natural habitat. As we headed up to the mile high swinging bridge, we could see the clouds racing through the spaces between the tops.

It was a cool, foggy cloudy sort of day as it so regularly is in the mountains of North Carolina, and visibility was patchy at the very best. But we were here for a hike, and hiking is what we did. We started the trek towards Calloway Top, and being in the middle of the summer, we had plenty of company. The well marked trail led us thru some straightforward to difficult terrain with ropes and wooden ladders to aid us in ascending the rock faces, and several open vistas where we could recognize Mt. Mitchell on the horizon, and the Sugar Top apartments at Sugar Mountain as we viewed the cloud cover below us. We never made it to the very top of Calloway Top, the higher you go the harder it gets, but we did wind up getting a good workout, and the hike down was just about as tough as going up. We received back to the swinging bridge carpark, caught our breath, then mounted our bikes for the trip back home.

It was good to have the vibration of the road under us again, and by the time we left the foothills of Morganton, the cool mountain breezes were already becoming a enjoyable memory. Whether by motorbike, car, or lorry, a trip to the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina is a way to beat the heat. The area surrounding Banner Elk and Grandfather Mountain is peppered with vacation homes of people from every area of the south east, a large proportion escaping the hot, damp summers of Florida. Out of doors activities abound all year with skiing and snow-boarding in winter, and hiking, fishing, kayaking, white water rafting, tennis and golf, camping, or merely plain cruising the roads in the spring, summer and fall.

No matter what your pleasure, Banner Elk and Grandfather Mountain in the Blue Ridge Mountains is a great destination for the great American road trip.

Also, visit us here in Asheville, NC at the Reynolds Mansion, your gateway to the Biltmore Mansion and the Blue Ridge Parkway.