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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
Top Hiking Trails to Explore near Brevard, NC

Top Hiking Trails to Explore near Brevard, NC

Top Hiking Trails to Explore near Brevard, NC Transylvania County is a hiker’s paradise. Fortunately, each seasons offers wonderful reasons to get out on the trail. Winter’s long range views. Spring’s wildflowers. Summer’s dense green canopy. And autumn’s spectacular color. We’ve compiled a few of our favorite hikes for your next adventure. Since these are our favorites, they also happen to be the favorites of a few other folks as well, which means they can get busy. We recommend tackling these trails in the early morning or late afternoon to avoid the crowds and enhance your enjoyment. To help you decide, we’ve broken them out by category. Some of these trails have the added benefit of taking you to some of our spectacular waterfalls. While everyone loves our famous cascades, they can also be dangerous. We’ve put together a list of easy tips to follow that will help you be Waterfall Wise. And don’t forget to learn how you can Be like Trashsquatch and Leave it Better. All of us here in Transylvania County are passionate about protecting our woods and water. When you practice  Leave It Better principles, you’re doing your part to ensure that these special places are here to enjoy for future generations. Kid Friendly Andy Cove Trail: This gem of a trail winds its way back into scenic Andy Cove via a footpath and several cantilevered board walks. Mid-way, you reach a cool 30-foot suspension bridge. You’ll also encounter two small streams while looping back... Read More
Escape the Ordinary: Unusual Outdoor Experiences and Stays

Escape the Ordinary: Unusual Outdoor Experiences and Stays

Escape the Ordinary: Unusual Outdoor Experiences and Stays Adventure opportunities of every kind abound in Brevard and Transylvania County. But there is a whole host of under-the-radar experiences awaiting your discovery. Here are some exciting ways to create new memories in North Carolina’s Land of Waterfalls. Dive into a new adventure Oxbow River Snorkling offers a different way of seeing the natural world: an underwater tour of our mountain rivers and streams. Best of all, you’ll be guided by a freshwater biologist who will help you identify a fascinating variety of native species, including the Eastern Hellbender Salamander. This unique aquatic adventure is best experienced during the spring, summer, and fall. Escape the daily grind If you love coffee and you love hiking, Nero Coffee’s Guided Coffee Hikes might be just the thing. This Brevard-based business offers four different hikes and all of them end with a freshly brewed cup of joe perked up especially for you right beside a waterfall. Hungering for an even more satisfying experience? Nero Coffee Hikes has also partnered up with Food for Adventures to offer meals cooked by a waterfall.  Book a llama, mañana Looking for something truly unique? Then try a llama hike offered by Earthshine Lodge. Their experienced guides will match you and you group up with friendly llamas that you can lead on a 1 ½ hour excursion in the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains. Star light, star bright Transylvania County is renowned for the dark sky conditions that make star gazing here an... 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
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
“Leave It Better” And Be Like Trashsquatch

“Leave It Better” And Be Like Trashsquatch

“Leave It Better” And Be Like Trashsquatch We love Brevard and Transylvania County. And we know that you do, too. That’s why we introduced our “Leave It Better” initiative several years ago. It has been the Transylvania County Tourism Development Authority’s (TCTDA) most ambitious and wide-ranging effort to make a profound difference when it comes to protecting the natural resources that bring so much joy and relaxation to visitors. The TCTDA sustainability committee, Transylvania Always, inspired by the “Leave No Trace” principles, developed the “Leave It Better” campaign. Each year, millions of pounds of garbage are left behind in America’s forests, streams and rivers as visitors enjoy public lands. The “Leave It Better” initiative is designed to educate and encourage people to take responsibility for protecting and preserving these fragile natural assets. Transylvania County is over 50% public land, and is home to Pisgah National Forest, DuPont State Recreational Forest, Headwaters State Forest, and Gorges State Park. With the Transylvania Always “Leave It Better” campaign, the TCTDA hopes the public continues to help keep these public lands beautiful and accessible to everyone for years to come.   TS TS MEET TRASHSQUATCH The TCTDA’s Transylvania Always committee has its very own forest steward roaming our county. Trashsquatch, a mythical forest dweller, developed out of litter left by visitors to his home, asks public land users to “Leave It Better” and make trash as difficult to find as he is. While you may not see him in the woods, Trashsquatch has... Read More
Veterans History Museum of the Carolinas

Veterans History Museum of the Carolinas

Veterans History Museum of the Carolinas In 2017, the Veterans History Museum of the Carolinas opened in downtown Brevard. The museum is dedicated to honoring the veterans of our armed services from World War I to the present. In the six years since its opening, the museum has grown from a modest initiative to a truly impressive and ever-growing collection of valuable and meaningful military artifacts – from uniforms, medals and citations to a restored 1943 Willy’s Army jeep set against the backdrop of a military APO (American Post Office). We recently caught up with Emmett Casciato, founder and curator of the Veterans History Museum of the Carolinas for an insightful Q & A. Q&A Q&A: Emmett, how did you become interested in collecting military memorabilia? I’ve always been engrossed with military history, but I started collecting in 2000. I was teaching school in Florida and my daughter was in the Junior ROTC. I never served a day in my life. It was one of my major regrets. My dad served in WWII and my daughter served in Afghanistan after graduating from West Point. My son-in-law was a Blackhawk helicopter pilot. I said to myself, ‘If I didn’t serve, at least I can serve now in some way. Q&A Q&A: When did you make the decision to open a museum? It was about three years after I started collecting. My house had already become almost like a museum. One of my buddies, his father had served in the China-Burma-India... Read More
Ask a Ranger

Ask a Ranger

Ask a Ranger Kevin Bischof, Gorges State Park This month, the Adventurist had a chance to sit down with Kevin Bischof, superintendent of Gorges State Park. Located in the southwest corner of Transylvania County, Gorges is considered by many to be one of the crown jewels of North Carolina’s state park system. A native of Cincinnati, Ohio, Kevin earned a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology from the University of Cincinnati before receiving a Master of Science in Outdoor Education (with a focus on environmental education) at Indiana University. We caught up with Kevin on an early spring day at the park’s beautiful Visitor Center. Q&A Q&A: Tell us a little about your background, Kevin, and how you came to North Carolina. “After I finished grad school I applied for every federal job and every park job in states where I had visited and wanted to live. I had a seasonal job in Oregon lined up, but I got a call from Jordan Lake State Recreation Area (near Raleigh), and they offered me a permanent job.” “After that, I went to Goose Creek State Park which is out on the coast for a couple of years, then came here to Gorges as a ranger for two years, from 2011-13. Then I went to Lake James State Park for 5 ½ years. I took my first superintendent’s job at Mt. Mitchell State Park in 2018 and was there for 2 ½ years. Then I transferred over to Grandfather before becoming the... Read More
Wildflower Walks

Wildflower Walks

Wildflower Walks Some hiking trails offer big surprises – like hidden waterfalls or dramatic vistas – but some offer smaller, more intimate experiences that can be equally satisfying. Throughout the Blue Ridge Mountains, and specifically in Transylvania County, a wide variety of wildflowers lend vibrant color to our coves and hollows from early spring to late autumn. We talked to two wildflower experts, Rosemarie Shannon Knoll and Marianne Weaver to come up with four outstanding wildflower hikes for you to enjoy. It’s a great way to admire Mother Nature in her role as landscape artist, nonpariel. Art Loeb Trail, Pisgah National Forest DESCRIPTIONAn easy out and back walk of two miles, this spring wildflower walk is close to the entrance of Pisgah National Forest near the Davidson River Campground. The path follows the Art Loeb Trail along the Davidson River. WHAT MAKES IT SPECIALAccording to Rosemarie: “This easy to walk trail is covered with a beautiful carpet of wildflowers in April and May including Trillium, Bloodroot, Toothwort, and a variety of Violets. You will also see Mayapple, Trout Lily, Little Brown Jug, and Foamflower. The Art Loeb Trail connects with the Estatoe Trail for those who want to walk further along the river. The Estatoe Trail is known for its rock walls covered with mosses and lichens. DIRECTIONS TO TRAILHEADFrom the entrance of Pisgah National Forest drive one mile on US276. Turn left towards the Davidson River Campground and take an immediate left into the Art Loeb Trailhead parking lot.... Read More
Taps & Trails

Taps & Trails

Taps & Trails Brevard and Transylvania County serve up incredible mountain biking and amazing craft beers. So, what better way to ring in North Carolina’s Year of the Trail than with a “Taps and Trails” pairing.  We’ve picked five trails and matched them with five brews that share similar characteristics. We called on avid mountain biker and in-the-know beer connoisseur Ben Hardy to help us out. 1 1 Pairing #1 Brewery: Brevard Brewing CompanyBeer: Bohemian Pilsner, 4.9% ABVTrail: Ridgeline, DuPont State Recreational Forest Why they go well together:“Ridgeline is a classic local trail in DuPont. It’s probably on the top five list of anyone who’s ever ridden around Brevard, and you’ll quickly understand why. Ridgeline is all fun and flow. Riders of any skill level should find plenty of enjoyment. The trail has enough whoops and berms to keep it exciting, but it’s smooth and gentle all the way down.” “BBC’s Bohemian Pilsner is a classic style brewed with respect to tradition. It’s the perfect refresher after a day of riding, guaranteed to keep the fun rolling. Just like Ridgeline, this beer is a smooth character, packed with flavor, but not over the top. You’ll want to keep it flowin’.” About Ridgeline About Brevard Brewing Company: Opened in 2012, BBC holds the distinction of being Brevard’s first craft brewery. It’s also notable for the dedication and passion owner and brew master Kyle Williams brings to all his creations. He has a special soft spot for German lagers and pilsners... Read More
Headwaters State Forest: Go Wild

Headwaters State Forest: Go Wild

Headwaters State Forest: Go Wild ​Headwaters State Forest A Conservation Laboratory North Carolina’s newest state forest was founded in 2018 and represents another iconic destination in Transylvania County. In terms of beauty and features, it’s on par with Pisgah, DuPont and Gorges. However, its remote location and limited access make it a more appropriate destination for adventurers with good wilderness and map-reading skills. We caught up with Assistant Regional Forester Michael Cheek, who oversees this 6,730 acre mountain wonderland for the North Carolina Forest Service to help us understand the importance of Headwaters and the opportunities for visitors to enjoy its unique topography and features. Q&A Q&A: Michael, what’s distinctive about Headwaters? “Headwaters is located right along the edge of the Blue Ridge Escarpment and the South Carolina border.  It’s very remote and has a very “back country” feel to it. You’ll find plenty of trails and lots of solitude.” Q&A Q&A: What’s the key mission of Headwaters State Forest? “Certainly, recreation is a part of it, but our primary focus is on the conservation of the headwater streams that feed into the East Fork of the French Broad River. There are over a dozen named streams feeding into the East Fork, totaling some 50 miles. That’s where our clean drinking water comes from, and these headwater streams are key to that. Part of our mission is also to demonstrate good forestry practices – to show the public the best way to manage this important resource. This land has... Read More