When it comes to an active winter oasis, things don’t get much better than Beech Mountain, North Carolina. Just shy of eight hours from the Hostess City and only a few miles from Boone and Roan Mountain, this slope-side town boasts killer, Western-style slopes with the convenient and cost-effective lures of the South. Highlighted by cozy inns, belly-warming foods and the enthralling majesty of the Blue Ridge Mountains, this small Appalachian town sits well with adventurous souls.
Spend every waking moment soaring over mountaintops while you’re at the highest point in the South (the town of Beech Mountain is at 5,506 feet). Rent a set of skis, then hit the slopes at Ski Beech Mountain Resort. This resort’s claim to fame comes twofold: as the highest ski resort in eastern North America and as the only resort in North Carolina equipped with both a high-speed quad lift and a panoramic view. Take a group lesson with your travel buddies ($20 for one hour) and get back into your skier’s groove, or opt for snow boarding or ice-skating instead. Ski rentals start at $16 with snowboard rentals starting at $25. Passes run $30 for a full day (9:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday-Friday), $20 for a half day (9:00 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. or 1:00-4:30 p.m., Monday-Friday), and $60 for a full day on holidays or weekends.
Sore muscles and windburn require the love and attention of a good chef. After spending your day soaring, screaming at the top of your lungs and burning zillions of calories on the slopes, your wearied hide needs nothing more than a hot, well-prepared meal. Jackalope’s View, a winner of the Wine Spectator Award of Excellence every year since 1999, is one of the shining fine-dining establishments in the area. Spend a special evening with top views of the surrounding snow-capped mountains in this lodge-like atmosphere and nibble on a hearty meal of organic meats and locally grown veggies. The French-trained chef has a talent for inventive global cuisine. In neighboring Banner Elk, delight over seasonal plates at Artisanal. This countryside restaurant matches its rustic flavors with luxe interiors. Hardwood floors, the warm envelope of soft lighting and natural foods give the establishment a hush-hush feel, perfect for sharing the regional specialties. Keep your blue jeans back at the lodge, though. Dress here is coat and tie. Be sure to plan your trip when Artisanal is open because you don’t want to miss it; it closes for the month of January.
For more suggestions on what to do and see during your visit to beautiful Beech Mountain, venture out and pick up the newest issue of South magazine!
Tags: Artisanal, Beech Mountain, Boone, Gold Medal Ski Shop, Kelly Skinner, Mast Farm Inn, North Carolina, Ski Beech Mountain Resort, Ski Country Sports