Load your suitcase with cozy sweaters and head to Beech Mountain, North Carolina.
Advertisement

Write this down: Southern ski resorts in the off-season make great getaways. For one thing, they aren't crowded with, well, skiers. Also, they have a tendency to be gorgeous because of the mountain scenery. For instance, Beech Mountain, North Carolina, is notorious for incredible autumn views of the Tarheel State, as well as Virginia and Tennessee. It's cool during the daytime, with serious fireplace weather at night, so you can finally wear all those sweaters you were dreaming about when it was 90 in the shade.

The Upside of Altitude

The village on top of the mountain bills itself as "the highest town in Eastern America" (so if there are any Southeastern burgs out there higher than 5,506 feet, speak now or forever hold your peace). You'll find an assortment of lodging on the mountain, from inns to chalets. Get the scoop on Beech Mountain Resort and a variety of accommodations here.

Banner Elk is a short drive away, and you can get to cool neighboring towns like Boone and Blowing Rock in about an hour. If you want to invest just a little more time in a day trip, Asheville can be reached in about two hours. That said, there are a multitude of reasons why you need not leave Beech Mountain during your visit.

One of the reasons to linger, especially in the fall, are the brilliant turning of the leaves. The colors typically extend for weeks, peaking in the first week of October. Each excursion into the outdoors will present revelatory sights and smells. Imagine brisk mountain air tinged with rich reds and yellows in full surround, while you stop at the roadside stands that offer seasonal produce.

Find Outdoor Pleasure in Beech Mountain, NC

There are 28 miles of trails here, from lollygag pace to challenging. Among them is Beech Mountain's Emerald Outback, a big draw for mountain bikers, given 7 miles of trails with elevation ranging from 4700 to 5400 feet. This time of year, you can book a hiking and mountain biking package that includes two nights' lodging, trail maps, and two day passes to the 23,000-square-foot Buckeye Recreation Center. Visit emeraldoutback.com for details.

There are a number of wineries in this part of North Carolina, to include Banner Elk Winery and Grandfather Vineyard. Both of these viticulture properties feature outdoor events that include live music, wine tastings, and other seasonally themed draws that will satisfy. Visit their websites to stay on top of the event calendars.

Cast Into High Mountain Waters

Fish Buckeye Lake (open for line-dipping year-round) or Lake Coffee, where you can fish from early April through February. Buy a three-day license for just five bucks and enjoy the Mountain Heritage Trout Water program, which includes Buckeye Creek and Pond Creek on Beech Mountain. Call 828-387-9283 for a free guide or 888-248-6834 to buy your three-day license. (Locals who already have a North Carolina statewide license don't need to buy an additional one.)

Not much for angling? Take advantage of indoor tennis and pickle ball courts, a gymnasium, and a fitness area in the Buckeye Rec Center. But once those mountain views start calling, it'll be game-set-match for indoor fun. Crisp fall air awaits. So do those cozy sweaters.

Escape to North Carolina

We're alwasy looking for beautiful landscapes, towns loaded with charm and character, good food and drink, and plenty to see and do. You are too, right?