Smithmore Castle In North Carolina Is The Stuff Of Sugar Plum Fairy Dreams

Complete with hiking paths, caves, archery, and more.

Smithmore Castle in snow

You know what sounds pretty dreamy for the holidays? A snow-draped castle nestled in the woods with panoramic mountain views. If it seems like the stuff of fairy tales, think again. That vacation can become your reality if you book a stay at Smithmore Castle on English Knob Mountain in Spruce Pine, North Carolina.

The 100-acre property is the stuff of dreams, or, more accurately, dreams come true. The Smithmore website locates the castle "5 minutes from downtown Spruce Pine, 10 minutes from the Blue Ridge Parkway, 40 minutes from Beech and Sugar Mountain ski resorts and 45 minutes from Asheville," making it a convenient home base for exploring Western North Carolina. Due to its surroundings, however, it feels continents away.

In 2008, Rob Smith bought the almost 50-year-old castle and refurbished it alongside his family. He opened the property to events in 2017 and eventually listed it on VRBO and Airbnb in 2019. "We loved it so much that we wanted to open it up to other people," Smith says.

The only thing more jaw-dropping than an up-close-and-personal perspective of the property is a bird's-eye view. It is surrounded by rolling hills and forests, which are verdant in spring and summer, vivid in autumn, and snow-capped in winter. Hiking paths dotted with Old English riddles, three caves, archery lessons, a Scottish-themed bar, gourmet dining in the original castle hall, multiple European-themed guest suites, and much more await at this straight-out-of-a-fairy-tale stay.

Formerly called the "Castle Inn," Smith renamed the property with nods to both his last name and the idyllic mountain surroundings. "Our view is the Eastern Continental Divide, the Toe River Valley, Black Mountain, and Mount Mitchell, which is the highest point on the East Coast," Smith says, "so we have this spectacular view. The word 'more' from Old English also means 'upland, rolling hills,' so it just fit."

Smithmore Castle can host up to 20 guests at a time. Guests have the option to book the whole castle or any number of the available suites, which are decorated with French wallpaper that's original to the castle. Some of the suites also feature hot tubs and balconies that look out from the castle's turrets. There are also guided hikes and cooking classes on offer, and a number of fine dining experiences are available by reservation only.

Smithmore Castle is also serious about the holidays. Each December, you'll find that the already-stunning setting gets a bit more magical with the addition of towering Christmas trees, garlands, wreaths, a roaring fire, and a visit from Santa. But it's not just visitors who are invited to the festivities. Anyone can book a ticket to visit Santa via the Smithmore website.

Ready to make your dreamiest holiday wishes come true? Book a suite, start packing, and get ready for an adventure in the mountains.

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