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“A fantastic fall weekend”

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Earthshine Discovery Center
Reviewed November 8, 2009

My daughter and I spent the weekend here Oct 23-25 and had a wonderful time - she's still talking about it and wants to make it an annual event. Located in a beautiful spot very much off the beaten path - we arrived an hour or so before the dinner bell (literally) and were delighted with our room - windows with a view on two sides, and a loft upstairs with two beds and room between for more if needed. She would have been happy just playing in the loft of our room for a day! Although there was just the two of us, it would be very comfortable for a family of 4 or 5 given the loft area.
That night there was pumpkin carving inside the lodge as it was raining outside. Luckily for us, the weather cleared during the night and by morning, it was beautiful. After a hearty breakfast, we walked down (accompanied by one of the more friendly goats) to the Pioneer Village, where we were transported to the 1840s and two "pioneers" helped the kids (aged 4-11 in our group) spin, card and weave wool (from the Lodge's sheep), blacksmith (yes, the kids even did that!), saw wood, make candles, make apple cider, and - the big hit - gem mining in the stream. While those of us with younger children were occupied with this activity, zip lining was going on for others in the group, and I believe one of the parents hung out and relaxed on the porch enjoying the great mountain view. After another hearty meal (you do not go hungry here for sure!), there was rock wall climbing, another round of zip lining, and then a kids/parents challenge course in a trail through the woods. By now, my daughter had made friends and when we returned the kids ran off to find the swings on the property and to play in the room, while I enjoyed time on the porch or next to the logde's fireplace with my book. After dinner, we all enjoyed a campfire and s'mores. The next morning, we were off again to the Cherokee village, where parents and kids learned about the Cherokee people of the area, and participated in making pottery, clay beads, throwing tomahaks, shooting bows and arrows and learning Cherokee songs. The morning ended when we all took our Cherokee names and faces were painted with the symbol of our name. Lunch was served before everyone began to scatter. I believe zip lining was again an option in the morning.
The staff was attentive and responsive (due to the rain, there was an influx of wood spiders that evening - hard to prevent in a LOG lodge - but I believe those who were affected were pleased with the staff's response). The cook noticed I didn't take any meat the first night (there was PLENTY of other food!) and made a point to come over to me at my table and ask if I was a vegetarian. Afterwards, there were always options for me at every meal.
I love places where there are opportunities for my daughter to interact with other kids and I have time to turn off the mommy button and relax a bit too or interact with other adults. This is definitely one of them!
It is about 1/2 hour from Brevard, and an hour from Asheville - somehow I got the impression that it was closer. Treat yourself to a wonderful family getaway!

  • Stayed: October 2009, traveled with family
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1  Thank kirbymc
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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46 - 52 of 62 reviews

Reviewed August 13, 2009

We visited for four days with our children ages 10 and12, and met up with friends and their two children same ages. The eight of us had an incredible time at Earthshine. We had read a glowing review in Outside magazine's Wilderness Lodge Vacations and were intruigued. This place lived up to the review and more. The staff was friendly, knowledgable and genuinely interested in all of us. The food and service was wonderful. They were very accomodating to our freinds who are strict vegetarians.
The storybook lodge was decorated in authentic pioneer style, and the rooms had adorable sleeping lofts that the kids loved. The activites were incredible including zip line through the forest, high ropes course, adventure course, rock wall, pioneer days and cherokee times. Again, the staff was extremely qualified and we felt very comfortable. The setting is beautiful and we hiked numerous trails around the property including a creek where the kids found gems. We can't wait to go back!

  • Stayed: August 2009, traveled with family
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Thank adventurersFlorida
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 11, 2009

I was able to experience Earthsine for the first time this past Feb. for a wedding. Let me first say this was one of the most relaxing, "down home," vacations I have enjoyed in years. If you want to get away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life, this is the place to go. Many activities for the the kids, and adults, that help you breath deep the clean air of mountaintop North Carolina. I am currently serving a combat tour in Afghanistan, and when I think back on memories that remind me of America (home), standing on the back porch at the lodge at Earthshine is one of the first things that comes to mind.

  • Stayed: February 2009, traveled as a couple
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2  Thank moopop2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 10, 2009

Earthshine is the most awesome place in the world. The area is beautiful. The activities are great. The place is clean, but they are cabins. The food is fantastic. Most importantly the staff is exceptional. Everyone is very friendly, and helpful. My son has dairy issues and the chefs were very accomodating. Your family will not want to leave!

  • Stayed: August 2009, traveled with family
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Thank brady820
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 3, 2009

Imagine trying to find the perfect reunion destination for a family of 22 traveling from France, Washington, Wisconsin, New York, Connecticut, NC and Florida, and ranging in age from six months to 97 years. We needed the perfect place to converge for a precious four days, where the mundane, yet critical duties--cooking, cleaning, activity planning, etc.--could be managed for us so we could focus on what really matters: reconnecting. We found all that and more at Earthshine Mountain Lodge. We discovered Earthshine with luck and a little help from Google. The lodge provided just what we were looking for: rustic comfort, private accommodations, home-cooked meals, exciting activities, gathering places, beautiful scenery and the kind of charm only found in the South. We never had a reason to leave.

If you ever want a unique, refreshingly unplugged retreat no matter the size of your group, my family highly recommends Earthshine. By the way, this is the first time I've ever written a Trip Advisor review. It's that good.

  • Stayed: July 2009, traveled with family
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Thank marly3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 2, 2009

We visited Earthshine several years ago (before kids) and had a romantic and adventurous stay -- waking up with a mountain view, riding the zipline through the woods, hiking to a nearby waterfall, and enjoying one of the best views ever from the deck every evening. This year, we went with small children (ages 5 and under) and got to enjoy a completely different part of Earthshine. We stayed in the cabin, where our kids loved the bunk beds. The pioneer village was great for the younger kids. They got to make cider, forge iron, and feed farm animals. There were lots of wide open spaces for the kids to run and play and great activities for the adults too (zip line and high ropes course). The food was great, with something for all tastes, including picky eaters. We look forward to our next visit. One tip: Because kids enjoy the outdoor activities so much, they also get a little dirty. I recommend a couple of extra changes of clothing.

  • Stayed: February 2009, traveled with family
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1  Thank lucyluGeorgia
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 2, 2009

My family and I have visited Earthshine for many years. When I say family, I have a son and 3 daughters - all grown with families of their own, so there are many of us! We have been there for Christmas vacations, summer vacations, and a family wedding, so you might say we have done it all. It is hard to say what I enjoyed most - the gorgeous view out over the mountains from the front deck, the cozy fireplace and sitting area, the fabulous food, the wonderful, friendly staff, and especially the very feeling of nature and getting away from the "too busy" life most of us lead. There were numerous activities, from zip lines, rock climbing, colonial village for the children to learn colonial crafts, etc.
Thankfully, there are no televisions, etc. - just a wonderful "back to nature" atmosphere. We hope to spend many more vacations there and would recommend it to anyone. We wish to extend our thanks to all the staff at Earthshine who have our visits so memorable.
Harriet, Sarasota, FL

  • Stayed: February 2009, traveled with family
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Thank HarriettSarasota_FL
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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Additional Information about Earthshine Discovery Center

Address: 1600 Golden Rd, Lake Toxaway, NC 28747-5717 (Formerly Earthshine Mountain Lodge)
Phone Number:
Location: United States > North Carolina > North Carolina Mountains > Lake Toxaway
Amenities:
Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Kitchenette Restaurant Suites Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #3 of 4 Specialty Lodging in Lake Toxaway
Price Range: $170 - $220 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Number of rooms: 12
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Remember that sense of wonder and adventure that gave childhood its magic? Well, get ready to feel it again. Escape to a storybook place guaranteed to exceed your expectations. Your family can unplug and reconnect with one another in an environment free of digital distractions. Earthshine is "unforgettable." ... more   less 
Also Known As:
Earthshine Mountain Hotel Lake Toxaway

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