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Destination Trip Tips: Catalina Noreña

Destination Trip Tips: Catalina Noreña

Destination Trip Tips Discover the Best of Transylvania County with Trip Tips from Catalina Noreña  Catalina Noreña, Photo by Juan Diego Reyes.   Catalina Noreña is a hiker, camping enthusiast, and mountain biker and the leader of Club de Exploradores, a free, bi-lingual outreach program that recruits middle school aged students from the Hispanic communities of Transylvania County and surrounding areas to go on monthly, all-day adventures in Pisgah National Forest. Read on for her recommendations of notable spots to visit and tips for visiting Transylvania County.  Trip Tip Host: Catalina Noreña Outdoor Passion: Hiking, Camping, Mountain Biking North Carolina Location:  Pisgah Forest, NC Paved path at the Cradle of Forestry What’s one of the most overlooked areas to recreate? The Cradle of Forestry in Pisgah National Forest. It is a beautiful site full of fun educational programs for all ages. One thing I really like about it is the accessibility piece; it has paved trails with moderate inclines that take you to beautiful historical buildings and sites. Fun for the whole family and it’s right by the Pink Beds picnic area which is another one of my favorite places to visit with friends and family.  What’s your favorite season to recreate in NC and why?  I love all seasons here but I gotta say, there’s something very special about winter time in this area. The views are pretty spectacular without the foliage.   Catalina with Club de Exploradores, Photo by Juan Diego Reyes What level of experience is needed... Read More
Explore Responsibly: 8 Ways to Be a Mindful Traveler While Visiting Brevard and Transylvania County

Explore Responsibly: 8 Ways to Be a Mindful Traveler While Visiting Brevard and Transylvania County

Explore Responsibly 8 Ways to Be a Mindful Traveler While Visiting Brevard and Transylvania County As you plan your travels, have you thought about how you can journey with more intention? There are plenty of ways to reduce your footprint while amplifying your experience. We all carry the responsibility to explore with reverence— to look out for each other, and to cherish our lands. While you’re here, we invite you to explore responsibly using the guide below. Leave It Better Pick It Up. Bring a trash bag and pick up not just what you packed in, but all that you see.  Pitch In. For every 10 hours you spend in the great outdoors give one hour of service or make a donation to an organization that supports public lands. Prepare Yourself. Educate yourself on local rules, safety regulations, and trial policies before you visit public lands. Protect Habitats. Avoid disturbing any natural habitats or wildlife. Politeness, Please.  Be courteous and patient with others you may encounter on the trail with a focus on being a shining example of your user group. Preach What You Practice. Teach others to Leave It Better by being an advocate in person and on social media.   To learn more about Leave It Better, click here. Then, explore the 7 Outdoor NC Leave No Trace Principles here. Support Local Businesses Dine. Seek out local flavors and cuisine at restaurants, bakeries, and food trucks. Sip. Grab a drink at one of our cafes, breweries, taprooms,... Read More
The Ultimate Guide to Water Activities in Brevard & Transylvania County, NC

The Ultimate Guide to Water Activities in Brevard & Transylvania County, NC

The Ultimate Guide to Water Activities in Brevard & Transylvania County, NC Summer approaching means warmer temperatures and a corresponding urge to cool off. Luckily, there’s no shortage of ways to do just that in the Land of Waterfalls. The Adventurist invites you to discover the many ways you can paddle, fish, swim, tube, slide, and generally have the time of your life in our refreshing rivers, stocked streams, and alluring lakes. Read on to learn what it takes to go with the flow. Waterfall Hunting Waterfalls abound throughout the county thanks to numerous tributaries that flow down from some of the highest peaks east of the Rocky Mountains. Consider Pisgah National Forest, DuPont State Recreational Forest, and Gorges State Park as sensible starting points. For an overview of the most popular falls in each public land, click here. You can also pick up a copy of our Adventure Guide and Waterfall Map at the Visitor Center on 175 East Main Street in downtown Brevard, or access it here. And please remember while our waterfalls are beautiful, the areas around them can be dangerous. Protect yourself and your loved ones by learning how to Be Waterfall Wise. Paddling & Paddleboarding The French Broad, the third oldest river in the world, offers multiple ways to travel as far as your heart and paddle will take you and is the ideal place to build your paddling skills. Its consistent current and gentle rapids make for an ideal day on the water, whether you’re a... Read More
View From the Top

View From the Top

View From the Top View From The Top Transylvania County’s most notable Blue Ridge Parkway mileposts The Blue Ridge Parkway, a scenic ribbon of road that weaves through Virginia and North Carolina, has been providing drivers, cyclists, hikers, and lovers of panoramic views an unmissable destination for decades. It is called “America’s Favorite Drive,” and the 24 miles that run through Transylvania County are arguably among the most scenic. The Parkway can be easily accessed in Transylvania County two ways. The first is NC 215, along which you’ll also find two worthy stops: Forks of the River Taproom at Headwaters Outfitters and Pisgah Astronomical Research Institute. The other route is US 276 through Pisgah National Forest, which boasts iconic spots like Looking Glass Falls and Sliding Rock, as well as the birthplace of forest conservation, the Cradle of Forestry, located just four miles from the parkway. Here are a few of our favorite places on the Blue Ridge Parkway to stop, explore, relax, and take in the views. Photo provided courtesy of Pisgah Inn Best Spot for a Picnic You’ll find picnic tables at several of the overlooks along the Blue Ridge Parkway in Transylvania County.  One of our favorites is Mt. Pisgah at Milepost 408.6 with 50 picnic sites. In this general area you’ll also find a small grocery store and restrooms (open seasonally) with nearby trails. Best Views (and where to see magnificent sunsets/sunrises) There are twelve Blue Ridge Parkway overlooks in Transylvania County (between Mileposts 406.9 and 423.5) and each of them offers... Read More
Keeping History Alive: How Brevard Became a Pioneering Civil Rights Community

Keeping History Alive: How Brevard Became a Pioneering Civil Rights Community

Keeping History Alive: How Brevard Became a Pioneering Civil Rights Community We invite you to learn more about a landmark effort by Brevard and Transylvania County’s African American citizens who made history – and the extraordinary African American community that is sharing their history in exciting new ways.   Pictured: Edith Darity Sometimes change requires courage. And tenacity. And an unwavering belief in the American Dream. Those are the qualities that describe Brevard’s African American community in the early 60s. At the time, virtually every school in the South was still segregated, despite the 1954 Brown vs. Board of Education decision handed down by the Supreme Court that declared segregated schools unconstitutional. In Brevard and Transylvania County, high school age African American students were bussed 42 miles every day to attend an all-Black high school in Henderson County. Enter Reverend Samuel A. Raper, who encouraged local African Americans to form the Transylvania Citizens Improvement Organization in 1960. After twice being turned down by the local Board of Education, these citizens took their case to the Federal Courts – and won – helping Transylvania County become the first desegregated school system in North Carolina. Brevard resident Edith Darity lived that history. For the first three years of high school, she was bussed to Henderson County. But for her senior year, in 1963, she attended Brevard High School as part of the first fully integrated class – all thanks to the landmark efforts of the Transylvania Citizens Improvement Organization. “Everything was... Read More
Chills & Thrills in Transylvania County

Chills & Thrills in Transylvania County

Chills & Thrills in Transylvania County With the Halloween season almost upon us, the Adventurist thought you might enjoy hearing about some of the spooky legends of Transylvania County. As Halloween approaches, we recomend you share these local stories around a campfire deep in the woods. And be sure to rustle up some s’mores to comfort your jangly nerves as you ponder those mysterious shadows that seem to be dancing out there in the darkness, just beyond the light cast by the flickering flames… The Legend of Tommy Hodges Transylvania County’s most famous, still unsolved case involves a young forestry student at the old Biltmore School (now the Cradle of Forestry) by the name of Tommy Hodges. The young man went missing one night, under mysterious circumstances, and was never found again. Every year, the Cradle of Forestry in Pisgah National Forest recreates this tale with an interactive, theatrical experience that invites audiences to truly become part of the tale. To find out the facts on Tommy Hodges and develop your own theories about what happened to him, direct your investigation here. The Headless Man of Williamson Creek Sometime during the Civil War, a group of Union soldiers were discovered camping alongside Williamson Creek near Brevard. Nearby Confederate officers were sent to investigate, and upon seeing the men, killed them. One of the soldiers was decapitated and when the bodies were buried, they could not find the head. Not long after that, locals began reporting mysterious sounds and occasional... Read More
The Legacy of Indigenous People in Transylvania County

The Legacy of Indigenous People in Transylvania County

The Legacy of Indigenous People in Transylvania County North Carolina has the largest population of Indigenous people east of the Mississippi River and the eighth-largest Indigenous population in the United States. With their rich and diverse cultures, traditions, and histories, Indigenous people have made important contributions to our state and county. As we celebrate North Carolina’s “Year of the Trail,” we’re delighted to share an interview we had with Keith Parker, whose fascinating and varied life experiences have contributed to his knowledge and insights about Indigenous cultures, specifically the Cherokee in Transylvania County. Keith grew up in Dunn’s Rock with Cherokee neighbors, absorbing their stories and mythologies. He graduated from Brevard High School and went on to earn B.A., B.D., Ph.D., and Dipl. Analytical Psychology degrees from multiple institutions, including Berea College, Southern Seminary, and the C.G. Jung Institute in Zurich. Keith’s educational pursuits were interrupted by a stint as a frogman for the Navy, where he led the primary emergency team for NASA’s Mercury program (counting astronaut John Glenn as a friend). Later, he taught counseling and history at a theological seminary in Zurich for more than two decades. In addition to publishing numerous articles on history, church history, and psychology, he has written extensively about Transylvania County and Cherokee history. Most notably, Keith is the author of Seven Cherokee Myths: Creation, Fire, the Primordial Parents, the Nature of Evil, the Family, Universal Suffering, and Communal Obligation. Q&A Q&A: Keith, tell us a little about your connection to... Read More
Forest Bathing: How To Cleanse Your Spirit

Forest Bathing: How To Cleanse Your Spirit

Forest Bathing: How To Cleanse Your Spirit As a part of North Carolina’s Year of The Trail celebration, “Wellness and Trails” is the theme for August. In conjunction with that theme, this month’s blog is about Forest Bathing, which has become a popular activity for folks who love the outdoors. If you’re new to the concept, you’ll enjoy this fascinating interview we conducted with Dr. Mattie Decker, a certified Nature and Forest Therapy Guide, mindfulness teacher and a retired professor of education.   Q&A Q&A: Mattie, tell us a little about yourself. “I’m a lifelong educator who grew up in Savannah, Georgia. I got my teaching degree from Georgia State University and then went on to teach in rural Appalachia in northeast Georgia. Later, I spent ten years in Colorado. I’ve always had a deep connection with nature, and Colorado deepened that relationship. Ultimately, we moved to Arkansas where I finished my master’s thesis. I then went on to pursue my doctorate at the University of Memphis. Over the years, I’ve also spent a great amount of time in Finland, studying and researching their innovative teacher education program. In Norway, I became a certified Nature and Forest Therapy Guide.” Q&A Q&A: What is forest bathing and how long has it been around? “Forest bathing is derived from the Japanese practice shinrin-yoku, which means forest bath. It was developed in the 80’s when Japan was in the midst of their tech boom. People were dying from a wide range of diseases in unprecedented numbers.... Read More
Year of the Trail: Wheely Fun

Year of the Trail: Wheely Fun

Memorable Road Rides: Wheely Fun Transylvania County has earned a worldwide — and well-deserved — reputation for itsspectacular mountain biking. Yet the road cycling opportunities here are just as rich, variedand rewarding, whether you’re a beginner to the sport, a dedicated club rider or a trainingprofessional. Here are three routes (easy, intermediate and challenging) that provide anexcellent introduction to two-wheeled travel in Transylvania County and give you theopportunity to celebrate North Carolina’s “Year of The Trail.” For more road cycling trails,check out Pisgah Map Company’s “Ride Transylvania” map, available here. 1. Easy Name: Walnut Hollow & East Fork River ValleyDistance: 26 milesElevation Gain: 1,542 feetType: Paved RoadStart: Downtown Brevard, Visitors Center Map and Elevation Profile Description:  Are you short on time but want to get in a good workout? This popular route fits the bill. Leaving downtown Brevard, enjoy a pleasant six-mile warm up before encountering the legendary climb up Walnut Hollow. But take heart: from the top of thisone-mile climb (average 7.6% gradient), it’s an invigorating descent down to the East Fork of the French Broad River and a scenic valley ride to Rosman and back to Brevard. 2. Intermediate Name: Headwaters LoopLevel: Easy-IntermediateDistance: 20.4 milesElevation Gain: 1,815 feetType: RoadStart: Champion Park, Rosman Map and Elevation Profile Description: While short, this route in the western part of Transylvania County possesses all the qualities that make the “Land of Waterfalls” such a special place to tour. You’ll find convenient parking at Champion Park in Rosman where this ride begins. Along... Read More
Kidding Around: Seven Sensational Family-Friendly Suggestions

Kidding Around: Seven Sensational Family-Friendly Suggestions

Kidding Around: Seven Sensational Family-Friendly Suggestions As we celebrate the Year of the Trail, it’s helpful to remember that some trails just go with the flow.  From the 3rd oldest river in the world to numerous tributaries and streams, there are multiple ways to get on the water in Transylvania County. Here are four great ways to enjoy our storied waterways. As we celebrate the Year of the Trail, it’s helpful to remember that some trails just go with the flow.  From the 3rd oldest river in the world to numerous tributaries and streams, there are multiple ways to get on the water in Transylvania County. Here are four great ways to enjoy our storied waterways.   One of Brevard’s special qualities is its appeal to visitors of every age. This is especially true for kids. Watching a child discover the many wonders of the outdoors is a gratifying experience to which any parent can attest. In addition, Brevard’s summer camps have welcomed children for more than 100 years, introducing them to exciting outdoor adventures like hiking, camping, rock climbing, paddling and more. But even shorter visits with family to Brevard can yield all manner of unforgettable joys, from finding a rare specimen at a gem mine to discovering the secret that explains why we have the largest concentration of waterfalls in North America (some 250 in all). Here are seven sensational suggestions for family-friendly experiences in Brevard that will leave a smile on everyone’s face and memories to... Read More
7 Easy Ways To Be Waterfall Wise

7 Easy Ways To Be Waterfall Wise

7 Easy Ways To Be Waterfall Wise As beautiful as our waterfalls are, they also represent hidden dangers. Every year, there are serious injuries and yes, sometimes even fatalities, experienced at our waterfalls. When visiting North Carolina’s Land of Waterfalls, enjoy our beautiful waterfalls, but remember they can be dangerous. Take personal responsibility and don’t take unnecessary risks. Put safety before selfies and follow our recommended safety tips to “Be Waterfall Wise”. If you do this, you will have a great time with awesome memories to share with all your friends and family. Using these safety tips and other educational efforts, the Transylvania County Tourism Development Authority works to raise awareness about the dangers of waterfalls through our sustainability committee, Transylvania Always and its “Be Waterfall Wise” program. You’ll also find helpful information, including a short educational video on our “Be Waterfall Wise” page.   Since 2016, we’ve been working with key partners including forest managers and supervisors at Pisgah National Forest, Gorges State Park, DuPont State Recreational Forest, Transylvania County EMS, Local Fire and Rescue workers/volunteers, Mission Health, and Local Law Enforcement to educate visitors about safe behavior around waterfalls. As a result, serious injuries and fatalities have declined. But even one incident is too many.   We also invite you to find out more about another important Transylvania Always initiative, “Leave It Better.” Inspired by the principles introduced by the Leave No Trace Center for Outdoor Ethics, “Leave It Better” promotes six key principles that can help you be a responsible forest visitor.... Read More
Come to Your Senses

Come to Your Senses

Come to Your Senses When you venture into the woods to celebrate North Carolina’s Year of the Trail, we want you to have the richest and most rewarding experience possible. That’s why we’ve enlisted the help of Torry Nergart, conservation easement manager at Conserving Carolina, to give us some insights on how you can get the most from your time on Transylvania County’s treasured trails. ​ Q&A Q&A: Torry, why is it important to try and engage all five senses when you’re enjoying the outdoors? ​ “When I think about engaging the senses, I think about all five of them working together collectively. You could call that ‘mindfulness,’ and one of the easiest places to do that is in the forest. When we find natural connections, it gives us what we’re missing from modern living.” “Personally, I have to burn off a little energy before I can be more mindful. So, I do a trail run or bike a little bit. Both of these activities have a way of burning off a little of the busy-ness. It kind of rattles out the distractions. Then, I’m prepared to take a deep breath and engage all my senses.” Q&A Q&A: What are some plant and animal smells and scents we should be aware of when in the woods? ​ “It’s interesting.  When you’re trying to disconnect from the real world, you’re not turning anything off – you’re actually turning on your senses. And that’s especially true for the sense of smell.... Read More