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!
- 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