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Christie Kafka

Experience Camping and Boating Along the French Broad River Paddle Trail

French Broad River Paddle Trail

French Broad River Paddle TrailAsheville and Western North Carolina are home to a range of outdoor recreational activities, a large portion of them tied to the French Broad River. This 218-mile waterway is one of the oldest in the world, slicing through scenic stretches of North Carolina and Tennessee. One enchanting way to experience this popular river is via the French Broad River Paddle Trail.

The French Broad River Paddle Trail, created and operated by MountainTrue and RiverLink, offers access to a series of public campsites along the French Broad, connecting more than 140 miles of river, from the headwaters in Rosman, N.C., to Tennessee’s Douglas Lake. The recreational watercraft trail traverses everything from calm flat waters, perfect for beginners, to exhilarating whitewater, with a mix of class I, II and III rapids. The trail through Buncombe County is wider and shallower, offering mostly flat water through Asheville.

Tranquil settings

Campsites along the French Broad Paddle Trail are open year-round, and are spaced strategically to allow paddlers to reach sites within a single day, at the most. (The longest distance between campsites is 15 miles.) The campsites are paddle-in only, which offers a tranquil seclusion not typically experienced at car-camping sites. 

Campsites are $25 per night, and can be reserved at Three additional campsites by RiverLink are free and open to the public, without reservations.

You can learn more about access points, campsite amenities, trip suggestions and other logistical needs at

Environmental advocates for Western N.C.

The trail’s creators and operators have long advocated for the region’s environmental vitality. Through a focus on sensible land use, forest health, and water quality, MountainTrue champions policies that allow people and the environment to thrive in the Blue Ridge Mountains. Asheville-based RiverLink promotes the environmental and economic vibrancy of the French Broad River and its watershed, creating permanent public access to this important waterway through conservation and recreation easements, rehabbing contaminated lands for public use with the help of more than 1,000 volunteers annually.

For more information about properties near the French Broad River Paddle Trail, or anywhere in Asheville or Western North Carolina, contact us at, or call us anytime at 828-707-9556.

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Astronomy, Appalachian Art and Peak Pinnacles: Burnsville, N.C., Has It All

Burnsville NC Real Estate

Burnsville NC Real EstateLocated 35 miles northeast of Asheville, the charming town of Burnsville, N.C., is immersed in cultural richness and surrounded by the stately Blue Ridge Mountains. Burnsville is part of Yancey County, home to towering peaks including the famed Mount Mitchell. An artistic mountain vibe defines its quaint Main Street, which features interesting shops, restaurants, galleries and a lush town square. 

If you’re looking for a property in Burnsville, there are a number of options. Rustic mountain cabins, immaculate mansions, ranches amid rolling hills, and home lots with expansive acreage are all available in Burnsville.

Art abounds in Burnsville

Downtown Burnsville’s walkable Main Street is home to colorful murals, scores of art galleries, coffee shops and restaurants. Artist studios dot downtown, offering opportunities to tour, meet with creators and peruse unique wares of clay, glass, wood and other media. The annual Mount Mitchell Crafts Fair draws residents and visitors alike to Burnsville every August to enjoy demonstrations, music, food and one-of-a-kind handmade arts and crafts. 

Burnsville is home to nine quilt block trails, self-guided driving trails featuring colorful quilt blocks adorning barns, buildings and churches. The trails feature 150 blocks, designed, built and painted by volunteers and patterned after the colorful squares on traditional quilts. 

The peak of natural Blue Ridge beauty

Burnsville features 100 miles of hiking trails that are some of the highest in the eastern U.S. Among the most popular are the trails to Mount Mitchell, highest peak in the east at 6,684 feet. The trails range in length and difficulty: Balsam Nature Trail at the upper summit parking lot is an easy, 0.75-mile nature trail, while the Mount Mitchell Trail, which begins at the Black Mountain Campground and ends at the summit, is a strenuous, 6-mile trek to the top.

A number of stunning waterfalls offer picturesque spots to visit in and around Burnsville. Popular falls include the easily accessible Roaring Fork and Setrock Creek falls, as well as Crabtree Falls along the Blue Ridge Parkway.

Star attraction

Stargazing and earth sciences take center stage in Burnsville, thanks to local spots dedicated to astronomy and STEM education. The Bare Dark Sky Observatory, located at the Mayland Earth to Sky Park in Burnsville, provides visitors the opportunity to examine the night sky through the Southeast’s largest telescope dedicated to public use. The brand-new, 60-seat Arthur Planetarium, also located at the Earth to Sky Park, offers traditional astronomy shows as well as STEM-centric presentations under a 36-foot projection dome.

For information about real estate in Burnsville, or anywhere in Asheville or Western North Carolina, contact us at, or call us anytime at 828-707-9556. 

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Blue Ridge Beauty and Outdoor Adventure Meet in Mars Hill, N.C.

Mars Hill North Carolina

Mars Hill North CarolinaLooking for a picturesque Western North Carolina town with proximity to outdoor activities and eclectic amenities? Mars Hill, N.C., has this and more. Nestled in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Western North Carolina, the town of Mars Hill (pop. 2,000) in Madison County sits only 15 miles north of the city attractions of Asheville, and it’s mere minutes from the Blue Ridge Parkway and the Appalachian Trail.

Find your perfect Mars Hill home

Homes in Mars Hill offer a variety of styles and sizes to fit every taste and budget, from new green builds to established estates to easy-to-maintain condos. In addition, there are lots with plenty of acreage to create your dream mountain home.

There’s no shortage of outdoor activities in and around Mars Hill. Skiing, hiking, cycling, horseback riding and whitewater rafting are all popular pastimes in the area. National and state parks that are part of the Blue Ridge Mountains sit close to Mars Hill, making it easy to spend an afternoon immersed in nature.

Mars Hill, N.C. Homes for SaleEnjoy cultural offerings in Mars Hill

Mars Hill is also home to Mars Hill University, a private, co-ed, liberal-arts college. Mars Hill University, founded in 1856, is the oldest college or university in Western N.C., with a student body of around 1,500. With the town centered around the university, a great variety of cultural and intellectual events and entertainment is accessible to residents and visitors alike. Some events include: 

·     Southern Appalachian Repertory Theatre performances at Mars Hill University’s Owen Theatre

·     Monthly First Fridays, with food, music and art offerings from local downtown Mars Hill businesses

·     The Hot Doggett 100 Cycling Tour annual bike ride, with three distances to choose from (July)

·     The Mars Hill Heritage & Music Festival, celebrating mountain craft, music and dance (October)

For information about real estate in Mars Hill, or anywhere in Asheville or Western North Carolina, contact us at, or call us anytime at 828-707-9556. 

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Kick Your Road Cycling Into High Gear Around the Asheville Area

Road Cycling Western North Carolina

Western North Carolina is known as one of the country’s premier road-cycling regions, and for good reason. Plenty of scenic routes, featuring everything from strenuous altitude gains to winding, tree-shaded roads to flat, relaxing riverside rides, await road cyclists. Here are just a few of the scores of road-cycling options available in [...]

Western N.C.'s Etowah Intertwines Small-Town Feel With Big-Time Adventure

Etowah NC

Etowah NCNestled in a valley along the banks of the scenic French Broad River in Henderson County, Etowah, N.C., boasts a small-town feel big on natural beauty. It’s bordered to the north by Mills River and to the west by Transylvania County – which means outdoor adventure, including mountain biking, hiking and rafting, is just minutes away. 

Etowah, which sits 26 miles south of Asheville, has a population of around 7,000. Shopping for a home in the Etowah area? You’ll find everything from compact cottages to grand estates to residences in gated communities. Home lots with impressive acreage are also available, ready for your dream build to come to life.

Etowah’s in-town fun

For activities in the community, many people visit the Etowah Valley Golf Club and Lodge. The resort offers a 27-hole mountain golf course, tennis, restaurants, lodging and a heated swimming pool. Etowah park is another favorite destination, boasting bike and walking trails, ball fields, tennis and basketball courts, disc golf and a picnic area. 

Enjoy an afternoon of outdoor activity in town, then relax with a beverage at Sideways Farm & Brewery, one of only a handful of breweries in the country creating carbonation with local wildflower honey for its unfiltered, unpasteurized, naturally carbonated farmhouse ales, traditional lagers, and hard Jun kombucha (a fermented sweet tea). Sideways Farm sustainably grows flowers and ingredients for its beer, including hops, barley, fruits, vegetables, spices and herbs. You can also gather a bouquet from its U-Pick flower farm.

Etowah NC PropertiesEtowah is brimming with a wide range of nearby outdoor activities. The French Broad River offers an outlet for all manner of water adventures. Both Pisgah National Forest and DuPont State Forest are a short drive away, featuring waterfalls, hiking paths and mountain biking trails. The area also boasts renowned destinations like Sliding Rock and the Cradle of Forestry. 

Western N.C. day trips from Etowah

For a nearby day trip from Etowah, Hendersonville (8 miles east via US-64) can’t be beat. Filled with historic buildings and vibrant streetscapes, Hendersonville’s downtown – the largest in Western N.C. outside of Asheville’s – offers many dining options, as well as unique shops and galleries, along Main Street. Hendersonville also boasts the Cheers! Trail, showcasing 16 craft beverage producers, plus wineries and cideries in the area.

Brevard, 11 miles southwest of Etowah, is another popular day-trip destination. In addition to unique shops and restaurants along its quaint downtown streets, Brevard is home to the Brevard Music Center’s Summer Festival, which features everything from bluegrass to classical to operatic productions.

For more information about real estate in Etowah, Henderson County or anywhere in Asheville or Western N.C., contact us at, or call us anytime at 828-707-9556.

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Flat Rock Rolls History, Idyllic Excursions, and Western N.C. Adventure Into One

Flat Rock NC

Flat Rock NCSteeped in history, the village of Flat Rock – 30 miles south of Asheville – offers scenic landscapes and breathtaking vistas. It is home to the Carl Sandburg Home National Historic Site as well as the Flat Rock Playhouse, the State Theatre of North Carolina. Quaint local shops, galleries and restaurants dot its picturesque downtown.

Established in the early 1800s, Flat Rock is named for the granite rock formations found throughout the area. In its early years, Flat Rock was popular as a summertime retreat; today, many of the still-standing homes built during that era are on the National Register of Historic Places. The Henderson County village has a population of around 3,500.

History, shopping and outdoor adventure

Flat Rock’s downtown is home to a variety of shops and galleries, featuring everything from Southern folk art to vintage wares and antiques to locally made clothing. The Carl Sandburg Home National Historic Site allows visitors to experience the residence of the Pulitzer Prize-winning poet and writer, as well as its goat farm, pastures, gardens and hiking trails. The nonprofit Flat Rock Playhouse is famed for its professional productions of musicals, dramas and comedies.

Flat Rock NCOutdoor adventures around Flat Rock abound as well: Five miles away in the town of Laurel Park is Jump Off Rock atop Jump Off Mountain. This overlook provides a panorama of the Pisgah and Blue Ridge Mountains. Pisgah National Forest and DuPont State Forest, popular for their hiking and biking trails, waterfalls and stunning scenery, sit less than 30 minutes away from Flat Rock.

Array of activities in nearby Hendersonville

Just 4 miles from Flat Rock is the city of Hendersonville, offering an array of activities and destinations for an afternoon of entertainment. The Mineral and Lapidary Museum of Henderson County features giant geodes, minerals and dinosaur eggs; Hands On! Children’s museum boasts a fun learning experience; the Henderson County Heritage Museum, in the 1905 county courthouse downtown, features a gallery of regional Carolina history. 

North of Hendersonville’s Main Street is the Historic (1878) Johnson Farm, a preserved 19th-century tobacco farm on 15 acres open for tours and events. The Western North Carolina Air Museum, featuring vintage airplanes, is near the small Hendersonville Airport. Hendersonville, which sits in the heart of apple country, hosts the popular North Carolina Apple Festival every year, a four-day Labor Day weekend celebration that culminates in the Apple Parade.

For more information about properties in Flat Rock, or anywhere in Asheville or Western North Carolina, contact us at, or call us anytime at 828-707-9556.

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Barnardsville Boasts Beauty and Accessible Adventure in the Blue Ridge Mountains

Barnardsville NC

Barnardsville NCThe community of Barnardsville, N.C., 20 miles from Asheville, is a nature-lover’s dream, with close proximity to Pisgah National Forest and all the exhilarating fun for which the area is famed. Located on Ivy Creek, Barnardsville’s verdant landscape is ideal for farms, of which there is a range. 

Homes in Barnardsville perfectly encapsulate scenic mountain living, with a variety of sizes and designs available. Everything from compact cottages on easy-to-maintain lots, to stunning estates with mountain streams slicing through the grounds, dot the community. Barnardsville’s proximity to I-26 makes it easy to get to surrounding communities, outdoor destinations, and commercial conveniences.

Barnardsville, built on community

Anchoring Barnardsville is the Big Ivy Community Center, where residents and visitors alike can delight in a multi-faceted public space and facilities. The center boasts a library, basketball and volleyball courts, playground, horseshoe area and walking trails. A swimming pool, complete with concession stand and lifeguards, is open from May to August.

Many farms in the area are open to visitors year-round and feature an array of Western North Carolina bounty. Enjoy U-Pick flower farms, vegetable farms, and fruit orchards. Everything from specialty herb and spice farms to angora goat farms can be found in the Barnardsville area.

Outdoor adventure in Western North Carolina

Barnardsville is famed for plenty of outdoor adventure, offering everything from waterfall hikes to ziplining to camping. Nearby Walker Falls, a 45-foot roadside waterfall nestled in Big Ivy, can be enjoyed up close or from your car. Farther up the road, the 70-foot Douglas Falls drops from an overhanging cliff, offering the opportunity to walk behind the waterfall. The popular Navitat Canopy Adventures, located less than 2 miles from Barnardsville, features treetop and mountaintop tours.

For more information about properties in Barnardsville, or anywhere in Asheville or Western North Carolina, contact us at, or call us anytime at 828-707-9556.

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