What a delight to spend the night in the Blue Ridge Mountains--there are so many great places to stay up here that it's hard to make a choice. Check out some of our favorite places to check in.
Balsam Mountain Inn, Dillsboro/ Balsam
The Balsam Mountain Inn, set about 35 miles southwest of Asheville in the community of Balsam, charms visitors with rustic grace and sweet simplicity. Similar to Sourwood Inn (see next page), this 50-room lodge lies close to the Blue Ridge Parkway. The weather-worn patina of age makes up a big part of the atmosphere. The inn dates back to 1908, when it first welcomed guests escaping to the mountains.
The inn's delightful owner, Merrily Teasley, put a tremendous amount of sweat equity into fixing up the building yet keeping the improvements true to its plain and beautiful ambience. Wood floors groan, and rocking chairs call out my name from the front porch.
As a result of Merrily's efforts, the place is just eaten up with character. It's probably eaten up with a few other things too. But that's the authentic mountains for you--just at the woods' edge of wild--and precisely what endears the Balsam Mountain Inn to a lot of people.
The restaurant is fabulous--softly lighted, with warm wood tones. It gets an "A" for atmosphere and cuisine, especially the mountain trout. A sumptuous breakfast awaits me in the morning.
Balsam Mountain Inn: P.O. Box 40, Balsam, NC 28707; 1-800-224-9498 or www.balsaminn.com. Rates: $115-$170, including breakfast.