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Archive for the ‘Outdoor Activities in the Asheville Area’ Category

A Bed of Roses Premier Blue Ridge Hiking Package

March 31st, 2014 by abedofroses

The Blue Ridge Parkway just North of Asheville

The Blue Ridge Parkway just North of Asheville

The Blue Ridge Parkway and Western North Carolina have abundant and incredibly scenic hiking trails complete with stunning waterfalls and mountain views and we can help you discover them!

Stay at A Bed of Roses B&B and get off to a great start to your adventures with a healthy and delicious 2-course gourmet breakfast.

We will provide you with your choice of definitive trail guides from Pisgah Map Company, now featuring elevation profiles. Choose either the South Pisgah Ranger District guide, including Bent Creek or the DuPont State Recreational Forest guide. These are gorgeously produced by a local company with local knowledge and include clearly labeled trail names, must-see waterfalls and descriptions of popular mountain bike rides.

DOUGH- chef owned bakery/market/eatery

DOUGH- chef owned bakery/market/eatery

For lunch on the trail we will provide a choice of boxed lunches from DOUGH, an innovative chef-owned market, bakery, eatery and cooking school located right here in North Asheville. Choices include wraps or hoagies, including vegetarian or gluten free options with fruit and one of 3 varieties of Route 66 chips.

Your goody bag also comes complete with a survival bracelet. This is not just an attractive piece of jewelry, it can be deployed to help you in case of emergencies.

Survival Bracelets- not just  jewelry!

Survival Bracelets- not just jewelry!

Each bracelet contains 10-12 feet of MIL-Spec 550 Paracord when unraveled. Paraviral produces these bracelets and gives directions and suggestions for using them for tent repair, fishing, construction of an emergency shelter or hauling up to 550 lbs.

After your day of hiking look forward to a relaxing warm soak in one of our jetted tubs. Wrap yourself in a luxurious robe and enjoy a cup of tea with our delicious home baked cookies.

This package is available with a stay in any of our unique guest rooms for $50.

Book this package with your room reservation >>

The Best Waterfalls at DuPont State Forest

September 9th, 2013 by abedofroses

High Falls at DuPont State Forest

High Falls at DuPont State Forest

Right now is the perfect time to tour the waterfalls of Western North Carolina. This summer’s wet weather has cleared so we’re having sunny warm days and cool nights, yet the water levels are still high enough to give us a great show cascading over the rocks. And everything is lush and green! Labor Day is over so the crowds have thinned as well. DuPont State Forest, usually very popular, was not very busy at all the other day and offers the most spectacular waterfalls just a short hike from the parking areas. Scenes from The Hunger Games were filmed here and several of the waterfalls were featured in the movie The Last of the Mohicans. You’ll see what attracts film-makers to this beautiful place!

New Pedestrian Bridge over the Little River

New Pedestrian Bridge over the Little River

The park has made several improvements this year. The High Falls Access Area is now home to the new Aleen Steinberg Visitors Center and new restroom facilities. A pretty new Pedestrian Bridge spanning the Little River now leads from the expanded Hooker Falls Parking area to the Hooker Falls and Triple Falls trails.

Main access is at the High Falls Access Area but if you park at the Hooker Falls lot you can take an easy hike that includes three waterfalls, Hooker Falls, Triple Falls and High Falls. Hooker Falls is only 15 feet high but pretty and is a short walk from the parking area.

Triple Falls

Triple Falls

Returning to the pedestrian bridge you can then hike about a half mile to Triple Falls for much more spectacular views. There are some great vantage points from the trail and from the picnic area above but you can also walk down the steps to the base of the middle falls. I think I counted 111 steps but it’s well worth it and the folks at Western Piedmont Community College, who build the steps along with DuPont Staff, mercifully built in benches along the way to rest on your way back up!

The full view of High Falls

The full view of High Falls

The trail continues to High Falls which is 150 feet high and almost as wide. This section of the trail is fairly level and it surprised me to see how calm the Little River is between these two large waterfalls. By the time you can hear the falls you’re almost there. There are good views from the trail and beyond the overlook is a set of stairs and an uphill path to another picnic shelter with views.

If you have more energy than we did that day, or if you access High Falls from the High Falls Access area and it’s new trail connector you can continue to the covered bridge above High Falls with a view of the water spilling over the falls. At the other side of the bridge is the way to Grassy Creek Falls via Buck Forest Road and the Lake Imaging trail. Lake Denise is beyond that with crystal clear waters and swimming allowed.

Bridal Veil Falls from the back on ncwaterfalls.com

Bridal Veil Falls from the back on ncwaterfalls.com

We didn’t make it to Bridal Veil Falls but it’s one of the few waterfalls that you can walk underneath and view from behind the water! The Last of the Mohicans showed the falls from this perspective. Bridal Veil Falls is the first of the waterfalls on the Little River.

The DuPont State Forest is a short drive from Asheville occupying over 10,000 gorgeous acres between Brevard and Hendersonville. For more information go to their website http://www.dupontforest.com. Don’t miss information on the Tour De Falls coming up October 12th and 13th.

For more photos of Waterfalls in the Asheville area go to our Photo Gallery!

 

 

Autumn Colors in Asheville – Saying Goodbye to October in the Mountains of Western North Carolina

November 5th, 2012 by abedofroses

Autumn Leaves on the Blue Ridge Parkway

Late Autumn Leaves on the Blue Ridge Parkway

The colors have become more muted around Asheville, with tones or rust and gold, but the mountains never cease to be breathtaking. As innkeepers, we are often too busy in October to get out to see the peak fall colors, but we managed to get away last week to the Blue Ridge Parkway and Mount Pisgah to see the last colors before the leaves fall and we begin to busy ourselves with Thanksgiving and Christmas preparations. We began the drive with the Folk Art Center. We can never resist a stroll through the galleries of traditional and modern local crafts and fine art. From there we headed south, where the colors brightened.

The French Broad River in late Fall

The French Broad River

Late autumn has it’s own charms. The woods are less impenetrable with fewer leaves allowing you to see deep into them and appreciate the topography of the land. As we climbed we first were treated to views of the French Broad River and then overlook after overlook of mountain views and rich color. A partly cloudy day is often a more interesting time to visit the mountains than a sunny one. The skies and the hillsides become more dramatic.

Late Fall Foliage in the Mountains

Climbing toward Mt. Pisgah

As we got to the top of Mount Pisgah we found ourselves in the clouds winding through the tunnels as the fog rolled around us. At that elevation with the cold snap we were having last week I was a little nervous about snow, but we were lucky and the sun shone as we descended the other side. We circled around through the Pisgah National Forest past the Cradle of Forestry and stopped at Looking Glass Falls before heading home. It was a lovely afternoon.

Looking Glass Falls

Looking Glass Falls

So now the pumpkin has been carved, the trick-or treaters (169 of them!) have come and gone and Thanksgiving is almost here.

The temperature has warmed up again in the afternoons dipping down to the high 30s at night and the leaves are holding their own. It’s not quite time to say goodbye to them yet! By then Christmas will almost be here. The Biltmore Estate has already put up the 35 foot Christmas Tree and their Candlelight Evening tours start in just a few days!

 

How to Beat the Heat – A Scenic Picnic on Mount Mitchell

July 28th, 2012 by abedofroses

Riding along the Blue Ridge Parkway

Mountains along the Blue Ridge Parkway

The highest mountain peak this side of the Mississippi is a quick drive from Asheville. On a fun day-trip the other day the temperature dropped from an unusually steamy 88° in Asheville to a pleasant 66° on the mountaintop. The scenic “slow” route up the Blue Ridge Parkway takes about an hour with spectacular views, woods and scenic overlooks along the way.

Craggy Gardensare definitely worth a stop with scenic trails, picnic areas and a Visitor’s Center. In June and July the rhododendrons are blooming and form a blazing tunnel of flowers along the Craggy Pinnacle trail. The gnarly trees are sweet birch I think- striking in the wintertime.

View from Craggy Gardens Visitor Center

The view from Craggy Gardens Visitor Center

Mount Mitchellis not that far beyond Craggy Gardens. A left on NC Highway 128 from the Parkway takes you right to the summit. Well not exactly. From the parking lot there is a steep little hike along a paved trail to the observation deck, so you can truly say you “climbed Mount Mitchell”! The views from the observation deck are well worth the little climb. At 6,684 feet above sea level you’re likely to see clouds below you and weather forming miles away. The climate at the peak is more like Canada than North Carolina and the vegetation and even the birds are different than just 35 miles away in Asheville.

Climbing to the summit of Mount Mitchell

Climbing the path to the summit of Mount Mitchell

A shaded picnic area at the lower summit parking area was a lovely place to have lunch. There were shelters there as well as picnic tables and grills.

Originally it was thought that Grandfather Mountainwas the highest peak in the area, but in 1835 Dr. Elisha Mitchell, a professor at University of North Carolina calculated the elevation using barometric pressure readings and mathematical formulas to prove that the Black Mountains, the range that Mount Mitchell is a part of, were higher.

Coud moving in over the mountain

A cloud creeps in over the mountain

Of course there was controversy and on a subsequent visit to verify his measurements in 1857 Dr. Mitchell fell from a cliff above a 40 ft waterfall and drowned in the water below. The peak was named in honor of his work in 1858 and he was reburied on top of Mount Mitchell a year after his death.

Until this time the Black Mountain Range was referred to as a single mountain since it’s ridgeline has such an even elevation. Although the elevation of the range is higher, its length is just 15 miles, much smaller than the Blue Ridge Mountains or the Great Smokies. As early as 1787 botanists prized the area for it’s diverse specimens of trees, shrubs and plants. They would bring samples back to Europe to cultivate on royal plantations.

View from Mount Mitchell

View from the summit of Mount Mitchell

The Fraser Fir is named after one such explorer, Englishman John Fraser. The Fraser fir is the most abundant tree along the mountain crest and unfortunately, it has been hit hard by the Wooly Adelgids. An unwelcome visitor that made the trip to the US from Europe around 1900, this tiny insect has destroyed forests throughout the east as well as the northwest. Mount Mitchell was the first place in the southern Appalachians to be invaded by the pest beginning back in 1957, probably because of the high elevation.

Luckily for us the views are still pristine in spite of the Adelgids and the woods are filled with a great variety of trees and shrubs as well as wildflowers. We returned to Asheville refreshed, full from our picnic and a whole lot cooler.

See our Photo Gallery for more pictures!

A Halloween Stroll Through the Historic Riverside Cemetery

October 30th, 2011 by abedofroses

Riverside Cemetery View

The rolling hills of the Riverside Cemetery

In the heart of the Montford Historic District is 87 acres of rolling hills and parkland dotted with monuments to Asheville’s most illustrious residents.  What more fitting place to take a walk on this Halloween weekend than a cemetery! This easy hike through the tombstones is anything but scary, though! The hillsides are filled with beautiful trees and shrubs, lovely views and grave markers and mausoleums that are beautiful and fascinating sculptures as well as tributes to the dead. The historic Riverside Cemetery was established in the summer of 1885 and remains an active cemetery run by the city of Asheville since the 1950s.

The list of notable residents of the cemetery is long and includes famous authors Thomas Wolfe and William Sydney Porter, known by his pen name O. Henry, as well as a bodyguard to Abraham Lincoln, James H. Posey and Queen Carson, Asheville’s first female public school principal. They share the lovely shaded hills with Confederate generals and prominent citizens. Oliver Davis Revell, the entrepreneur who built the Queen Anne Victorian that is now A Bed of Roses B&B, occupies a prominent spot accompanied by his wife the former Caroline Gray.

Even though the cemetery was started in the Victorian period, the oldest tombstone is dated 1814 and marks the grave of John Lyon, a famous English botanist who lived here for many years and collected rare plants to ship to English gardens. His grave was moved three times until finding it’s final resting place in Riverside Cemetery. Several other graves were removed from previous burial grounds and reinterred at Riverside.

Stained glass window in mausoleum

The stained glass inside a mausoleum

On a recent beautiful fall day I took a walk there with my camera. The photos can be seen in our photo gallery. I’ve always been particularly fascinated with mausoleums and there are several impressive ones at Riverside. Peering through their gates you can see the intricate stained glass windows designed to be illuminated from the outside and viewed only by the mausoleum’s inhabitants.

Detail of a carved mausoleum door

Detail of a carving on a mausoleum door

The door of one notable mausoleum is a striking and elegant sculpture in itself. The Green mausoleum, made entirely of marble is the work of a craftsman involved in the construction of the Biltmore Estate. A stone carver for the Biltmore, Fred Miles, carved the Buchanan family’s angel from limestone left over from the construction of the Biltmore Estate.

Audio tours of the historic cemetery are available on CD at the Asheville Visitors center or the Pack Place Information Desk on Pack Square. Asheville Historic Tours has also released an iPhone ap to allow visitors to tour the cemetery guided by their iPhones! It is available at the App Store or iTunes. The virtual tour can also be downloaded as an MP3 file at www.history-at-hand.com.

The Waterfalls of Western North Carolina: First of a Series

September 24th, 2011 by abedofroses

Chimney Rock Hickory Nut Falls

Hickory Nut Falls at Chimney Rock

The Tour de Falls is today and tomorrow, September 24th and 25th!  Western North Carolina’s geography makes it treasure trove of awe-inspiring waterfalls and this tour looks like a good start to appreciating them all. The Tour de Falls is a 12 mile shuttle bus tour of DuPont Forest’s most popular falls. They will tour Triple Falls, High Falls, Bridal Veil Falls and Lake Julia. Friends of DuPont Forest are putting this on and no reservations are required. Just show up in the parking area near 1300 Staton Road, Cedar Mountain, NC. Buses will leave at regular intervals between 9AM and 2:30PM. There’s still time to catch the tour tomorrow!

But the Tour de Falls highlights are just the beginning of the waterfalls our area has to offer! Transylvania County, the “Land of Waterfalls”, is a short drive from Asheville. Within the county waterfalls can be found in the Pisgah National Forest, DuPont State Forest and Gorges State Park. Chimney Rock, 25 miles from Asheville in Rutherford County is also home to 404-foot Hickory Nut Falls.

Hickory Nut Falls from below

Hickory Nut Falls from below

Bill and I are on a quest to visit them all and we’ll be sharing our photos with you! We started our quest at Chimney Rock a few weeks ago, a short day trip from Asheville. The hike to Hickory Nut Falls was an easy walk through the woods, with lots of interesting exposed tree roots along the way, the result of natural erosion. You can hear the falls long before you can see them, heightening your anticipation. Our visit came at the end of a dry, hot summer and when we finally got to our destination the volume of water coming over the rocks was less than expected, but the falls were still very impressive. There is something so peaceful about the sounds of a waterfall. Portions of the movie “Last of the Mohicans” were filmed at Chimney Rock and you may recognize this lovely spot from the movie.

Chimney Rock

Chimney Rock

The added bonus of coming to see this waterfall is that you get to see Chimney Rock itself and the spectacular views of Hickory Nut Gorge and Lake Lure from the top. The elevator is temporarily out of service, so be forewarned, there are about 500 steps to get to the top of the rock! We preferred to hike the trails and enjoy the views from the base of the rock.

Last week we continued the search in the Pisgah National Forest with a short stop in nearby Brevard. Our next in the Waterfall series will highlight the Falls there!

See our Photo Gallery for more photos of Chimney Rock and Hickory Nut Falls.

A Perfect Day for a Stroll in the North Carolina Arboretum

August 24th, 2011 by abedofroses

North Carolina Arboretum LogoThe weather has been gorgeous this week and we took advantage of the sunny skies and warm, dry temperatures to hike some of the woodland trails at the North Carolina Arboretum. It’s been just cool enough to make a hike perfectly pleasant.

Tree lined trail

Tree lined trails

The Arboretum is celebrating 25 years of serving as a resource for natural beauty and connection with the outdoors in western North Carolina. The dream of an arboretum here in Asheville started with Frederick Law Olmsted in the late 1800s. He had intended to establish an arboretum on the grounds of the Biltmore Estate, his last major landscaping project. For many years we were lucky enough to enjoy the Arnold Arboretum in Boston that Olmsted designed in 1872, so when the Arboretum was established here in the 1980s, inspired by Olmsted’s work, we made sure to make a visit there a part of every family visit we made to Asheville.

Potted plants at building entrance

Flowers near the Exhibit Center

Usually those trips would involve exploring the beautiful gardens and exhibits. Now that we live here we’re getting to explore even more of the trails and gardens than ever! Walking along the well marked and intelligently designed trails it is easy to let go of the noise and stress of everyday life and just let the quiet and the beauty of nature envelope you.

Bent Brook

Trickling Bent Brook

Bent Creek flows gently through the trees and the shaded paths take you through a mix of hardwood, pines, ferns and wildflowers. The trails go from pedestrian only paths to naturally surfaced roads that allow bicycle traffic.

The mission of The North Carolina Arboretum includes promoting the stewardship and enjoyment of the wealth of plant life within the Southern Appalachians through their world-renowned gardens as well as demonstrating cultivated and natural landscapes. It provides an easy mix of trails and gardens, well marked with educational information.  Several gardens provide inspiration as well as enjoyment. We’re so lucky to have this resource available and a beautiful late August day to enjoy it!

Mountain through the trees

A glimpse of the mountains through the trees

 

 

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