Looking for a couple's getaway to keep you both happy? A surprisingly attractive option lies a reasonably short distance from the Asheville, N.C., airport. Home to world-class mountain bikers drawn to its extensive trail network and mild winters, nationally known fly fishermen and an internationally acclaimed music center, this rural getaway offers travel amenities, a publicly accessible NASA gem and an art district that's home to a Smithsonian exhibitor. Need more? There's also a blooming craft beer scene, and more waterfalls than you can shake a stick at. North Carolina's Transylvania County has much to offer lovers of music, mountain biking and Mother Nature.
Water: For travelers who enjoy chasing waterfall experiences, this mountain community can keep you entertained for your entire visit. In fact, vacationers can easily see up to 10 of them in a single day without being exhausted. Only have time to check out a couple? No problem. Dupont State Park offers access to two excellent options. Both Triple and Hooker Falls can be accessed with one parking stop and relatively light hiking efforts. Lake Toxaway also offers a sedate day on the water, if you prefer a softer adventure.
Itching for some time on one of the rivers? Fly fishing and paddling are both part of the Transylvania County travel equation. You can even fly fish from a paddle board, if that's your thing. With access to the French Broad Paddle Trail's 140 miles of scenery, you'll have plenty to experience. If you are planning an autumn visit, keep in mind that the month of November is when area fly fishing progresses from notably fine to truly phenomenal. New to the sport? No problem. There are opportunities for amateurs and enthusiasts alike, as well as experiences suited to those who consider it an extreme passion. According to J.E.B. Hall, author of "The Southern Appalachian Fly Guide" and professional guide for Davidson River Outfitters, "There are at least 10 well-known streams in the area, along with countless tributaries."
Amenities: In addition to the spectacular world-class summer concert performances available through the Brevard Music Center, the rustically hip Lumber Arts district offers event space, options for a quick drink or bite and studio space for a number of artists, including Smithsonian exhibitor George Peterson. Science geeks will want to head to the Pisgah Astronomical Research Institute for a day of exploration in a picture perfect picnic spot. Around since the country's early days of space exploration, the facility is now open to the public for outreach and dark sky enjoyment.
In addition to a number of boutique ethnic eateries, Transylvania County's craft beer scene is starting to blossom as well. There are several breweries of note, but my favorite is Oskar Blues. Offering both indoor and outdoor tasting rooms, food truck access and on-site concerts, their atmosphere and flavor selections are both too cool for school.
Trails: Many first-time visitors to the area are surprised to learn that a significant portion of the region is officially designated park land. Both Pisgah National Forest and Dupont State Park offer developed trail systems, which is part of the reason international biking athletes have come to consider this place such a mountain biking hub. Hikers are also fond of the extensive park resources.
The town of Pisgah Forest offers a nice spot to take a break for those wanting to check out both the national forest and state park in the same day, due to the fact it is so conveniently located between access points to each. Hoping to combine a little bending of the elbow with your trail gear shopping? Head over to D.D. Bullwinkle's in Brevard, where they have a tap room complete with maps so you can plan your route over a glass of suds before heading out onto the floor to pick out what you need.
For those interested in celebrating the county's name with a little autumn holiday fun, you can certainly join the locals for their Flight of the Vampire road race, the annual Halloween Fest in downtown Brevard or take a bike ride on BATS, the Brevard Area Trail System that takes you past area breweries and pubs as you enjoy a little fresh air. For an additional taste of the ghostly and unexpected, keep an eye out for the area's rare white squirrel population.
(Lifestyle and travel expert Myscha Theriault blends thrift and luxury to live well for less around the world. She has sold her home, all her furniture and most of her other belongings to travel the world full time with her husband. You can follow her adventures on Instagram via @MyschaTheriault.)
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