If you’re looking for a way to get cool this summer and you’ve already been in the pool long enough for your toes to prune up, you might want to consider a day trip up into the hills to Asheville.
Of course, we mean “cool” in more than one way. Not only are the prevailing temperatures four or five degrees below those in Stephens Grove, but Asheville is widely regarded as one of the hippest places in the country.
Just Google it. This site sums it up nicely:
“Maybe it is reflective of our own dual nature, but we find the dichotomy in Asheville interesting. Made famous as much for the castle built by a Vanderbilt heir as by long-standing drum circles downtown, Asheville is a marriage of opposites. The happy result is architectural grandeur alongside an earthiness that just might tempt you to sit behind a pottery wheel. This lush mountain town provides many opportunities to commune with nature, whether it is strolling the manicured gardens or paddling down a meandering river. Either way, you’ll be well fed. While the farm-to-table movement didn’t originate here, you’d think it did.”
Just over two hours away from the Stephens Grove Clubhouse, you’ll find another world that will give you a nice break from the routine. Here are a few of the attractions that the local visitors bureau is particularly proud of this season:
- With four easy access points just minutes from downtown, the Blue Ridge Parkway offers breathtaking views of the highest ridgetops of the Blue Ridge Mountains and a wealth of adventure, from scenic drives to picnics to biking or hiking.
- The Western North Carolina Nature Center’s Prehistoric Appalachia Project comes to life with a new red panda exhibit. An ancient ancestor of the endangered animal, the Bristol’s Panda was once prevalent in the region.
- The Smoky Mountain Adventure Center is offering a two-day “Outdoor Adventure Package” that includes a half-day of gym climbing and a half-day of kayaking down the French Broad River. On the second day, a private guide will usher guests to Pisgah National Forest for a full day of outdoor rock climbing.
- Namaste in Nature offers public and private tours for folks wanting a deeper connection with the nature around them. These guided hikes include a waterfall or mountain-summit view and meditation and yoga instruction for all skill levels.
- Sit, stay and explore with the new Dog City Tour, starting at Asheville’s Dog Welcome Center (the first of its kind in the country) with stops at local shops and breweries catering to pups, plus a special dining experience for people and their canine companions.
While you’re there, hoist a cool one for us. The craft beer scene is legendary.