Sourwood Inn, Asheville
Surely they can't have placed a charming 12-room lodge in deep woods just off the Blue Ridge Parkway, 20 minutes north of Asheville. But they did, and that makes it all the better.
You're likely to be welcomed by the resident Labrador retrievers. On my visit, I was escorted by two canine companions for a walk in the woods. How can I top this: two dogs by my side as I stroll through the forest, with a breeze slipping through the trees.
I can't top it, but I sure can add to the joy. I'll dine tonight under the stars on Sourwood's patio as crickets and katydids serenade me. Nights are cool and invigorating; I'm glad I packed a pullover sweater. After dinner, I'll retire to my room, start a fire, open the French doors to the balcony, and let the mountain music sing me to sleep.
Sourwood Inn: 810 Elk Mountain Scenic Highway, Asheville, NC 28804; (828) 255-0690 or www.sourwoodinn.com. Rates: $140-$170, double occupancy.