A small town not far from Asheville, and only 11 miles (17.7 kilometers) from the Tennessee border, Mars Hill is a centerpiece of music and art culture that also offers a variety of seasonal outdoor activities. Known for its autumn Heritage Festival, which is all about mountain arts—including clog dancing—this picturesque southern town makes for an idyllic getaway.
1. Explore Pisgah National Forest
You may have never heard of this forest, but it’s actually over 500,000 acres (202,342 hectares); it’s so large that it’s divided into three separate districts - Grandfather, Appalachian, and Pisgah - and intersects with the Appalachian Trail. There are short trails, long trails, trails full of wilderness, rhododendron blooms, waterfalls, and mountains; you could hike for thousands of miles! And as a bonus, you could visit Cold Mountain (the mountain after which Charles Frazier’s Cold Mountain is named), and of course Mt. Pisgah, from which the forest is named. There are plenty of recreational activities, from hiking and rock climbing, to fishing and full service camping/RV-ing.
Pisgah National Forest (Pisgah Ranger District)
Address: 1001 Pisgah Highway, Pisgah Forest, NC 28768
Price: None to enter
Opening Hours: Pisgah District Ranger Station Visitor Center: Monday - Friday 8:00am - 5:00pm, holidays and Saturdays 9:00am - 5:00pm, Sundays noon - 5:00pm
Contact: +1 8288773350 or +1 8288773265
Note: See site for contact information of other districts.
2. Ski at the Wolf Ridge Ski Resort
It was a beautiful day on the slopes yesterday! Tonight is College Night. Night lift tickets are only $15 with a valid college id!Posted by Wolf Ridge Resort on Thursday, 7 January 2016
If you like skiing, snowboarding, or tubing, you should check out the Wolf Ridge Ski Resort when winter rolls around. Wolf Ridge boasts, “Whether you are a beginner or expert, long-time regular or first-time visitor, you are certain to find exactly what you are looking for at North Carolina’s premier snow sport facility!” They have a total of 15 ski runs, and they even have town home rentals available.
Wolf Ridge Ski Resort
Address: 578 Valley View Circle, Mars Hill, NC 28754
Price: from 28 USD for a half-day pass for adults 18-64; prices vary - please see site for more information.
Opening Hours: Projected Season: Thanksgiving to mid March (weather permitting) Hours Of Operation: Open Sunday 9am - 4:30pm, Monday - Saturday 9am - 10pm. Open Sunday nights December 18th, January 15th, February 19th. Slopes are closed between 4:30 pm & 6:00 pm each evening. Christmas Holiday Hours: Christmas Eve hours are 9:00 am - 4:30 pm. Closed Christmas Day.
Contact: +1 8008174111 or +1 8286894111
Website: Wolf Ridge Ski Resort
http://asheville.littlethings.com/tiny-house-micro-castle-hobbit-western-north-carolina/Posted by A Room With A View on Thursday, 11 August 2016
If you’re looking for a truly unique experience, then why not stay somewhere awesome? You could rent a pioneer cabin in the Blue Ridge Mountains, staying on site with the owners and touring the land. Or, you could stay in the Hobbit House Micro Castle! This 850 square foot (79 sq. m), three story castle inspired by Lord of the Rings can only be rented through HomeAway or Carolina Mornings, and features stunning views, remarkable craftsmanship, and a cozy, rustic atmosphere - all 4,000 feet (1,219 m) above sea level in the Blue Ridge Mountains. There’s even a tower loft, a fully equipped kitchen, and a hot tub. You can also bring pets for an extra fee. It certainly gets my vote! (P.S. Check out the booking page for some really cool pictures.)
Hobbit House Micro Castle
Address: 160 Mystic Ridge Drive
Price: from 251-286 USD
Number of Guests: sleeps 6
Contact: +1 8553980712
4. Hike to Big Bald
Known for its grassy peak and lofty panoramic views, Big Bald is actually “located along the Appalachian Trail on the border of Tennessee and North Carolina,” and “offers 360-degree panoramic views of the Smokies, Mount Mitchell, and Unaka Mountain.” Its summit is 5,516 feet (1,681 m), the views are truly endless. It’s a sight you won’t want to miss.
Big Bald Mountain
Opening Hours: Daylight hours, year-round
Access: “From Asheville, NC or Erwin, TN take I-26 to NC exit 3 and follow the signs to Wolf Laurel Ski Resort. Check in with security at the Wolf Laurel gate, then proceed straight on Wolf Laurel Road for 1.7 miles (2.7 km). Turn left on Big Bald Road and continue up the mountain for two more miles (the last 1.3 miles will be gravel). Park in the cul-de-sac at the gate and proceed on foot past the gate for ¼ mile where the gravel road will intersect with the AT. Big Stamp is on the right and Big Bald is on the left.” Always hike the trailhead.
Website: Big Bald
5. Stop by Mars Hill College
No matter what your age, this quaint college is worth a visit; even if you just walk around campus, admiring the buildings. You can attend a show if there’s one going on, or stop by the library or Rural Heritage Museum.
Rural Heritage Museum
Address: P.O. Box 6705, Mars Hill, NC 28754
Opening Hours: 11:00am - 5:00pm Tuesday through Sunday; closed Mondays, and open all year except Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Day, New Years Day, Good Friday, and Easter
Contact: +1 8286891400
Website: Mars Hill College/University
6. Bike in the Bailey Mountain Bike Park
Come ride with us this weekend! Plenty of space available. Some bike rentals still available. New T-shirts are in...Posted by Bailey Mountain Bike Park on Thursday, 14 July 2016
The land of this park is specifically constructed for downhill mountain biking, and “features over 1000 vertical feet of elevation otherwise unheard of in the Southeast. Loaded with a multitude of hardwood trees and giant boulders […] the natural landscape will appeal to the rider and spectator alike.” The park recommends that you make a reservation before riding; they also highly recommend that you wear a full-face helmet and other protective gear, and bring food and water. Visit their site for other information and details about races.
Bailey Mountain Bike Park
Address: 1370 Bone Camp Road, Marshall, NC 28753
Price: from 35 USD for a park pass; see site for rental information
Opening Hours: Saturday & Sunday 11:00am - 5:00pm
Contact: +1 8557433962
Website: Bailey Mountain Bike Park
7. See a show by The Southern Appalachian Repertory Theatre
Ever doubt the magic our shop crew can produce?! Look at the beginning of the Gypsy set they assembled last night! Let us entertain you with this classic musical starting Wednesday!Posted by Southern Appalachian Repertory Theatre on Monday, 1 July 2013
If you’re in town anytime from May through August, be sure to catch a show performed by the Southern Appalachian Repertory Theatre (SART), which has been around for 42 seasons. They are “supported by the North Carolina Arts Council, with funding from the state of North Carolina and the National Endowment for the Arts.” Visit their website for shows, showtimes, and dates.
Southern Appalachian Repertory Theatre
Address: P.O.Box 1720 / 44 College Street , Mars Hill, NC 28754
Tickets: from 15 - 25 USD
Showtimes: 7:30pm; 2:30pm matinee
Contact: Business Office: +1 8286891384; Box Office: +1 8286891239
8. Visit the Wolf Laurel Country Club
You can find accommodations here, you can golf here (or take golf lessons), and if you’re a member, there’s a plethora of other activities. The golf course is a challenging 18 holes, and is surrounded by forest and mountain views, making for a scenic golf game. “Designed in 1965 by W.B. Lewis, the course rises and falls from 3,600 feet (1,097 m) to 4,800 feet (1,463 m) in elevation,” you can play here almost year-round (just not in the winter). They also have stables in The Preserves where you can take a guided horseback ride or riding lessons. Plus, its ideal location makes it a nice distance from other area attractions, such as the Blue Ridge Parkway, the Biltmore Estate, the Wolf Ridge Ski Resort, and more.
Wolf Laurel Country Club
Address: 2607 Wolf Laurel Road, Mars Hill, NC 28754
Contact: +1 8286809771
Website: Wolf Laurel Country Club
Wolf Laurel Stables
Address: 5860 Bald Mountain Road, Burnsville, NC 28714
Price: from 38 USD for 1 hour (price goes down if you add more hours)
Duration: 1 - 4 hour rides
Contact: +1 8286789370 (Call for reservation)
Website: Wolf Laurel Stables
A heritage to remember
Whether you want enjoy all that North Carolina’s nature has to offer, try your hand at a new outdoor activity, stay somewhere unique, or immerse yourself in arts and music, the town of Mars Hill truly has something for everyone. Plus, its easy access to Asheville and other small towns make it the perfect place to enjoy yourself.
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