The Serenity of Snowbird Mountain Lodge
written by Jill and Robin Harrison | photos courtesy of Snowbird Mountain Lodge
In the 1913 poem “Trees,” Joyce Kilmer penned, “I think that I shall never see a poem lovely as a tree.”
I must admit, I’m not a huge admirer of poetry, but in a few short days I have come to appreciate these particular lines of verse. It’s easy, at times, to overlook the beautiful or the magnificent, even when it looks you squarely in the eye. I believe it’s all about context. Remove the ordinary from its mundane surroundings, place it in the midst of indescribable beauty and a metamorphosis occurs. Its colors become more vibrant, its purpose much clearer — it becomes the extraordinary.
Nestled under a canopy of poplars, dogwoods, numerous large oaks and pines, Snowbird Mountain Lodge manifests this notion poetically.
A Natural Respite
Just three hours north of Atlanta, a short distance from Robbinsville, N.C., Snowbird Mountain Lodge is not an obtrusive, man-made building forced into a setting in which it does not belong; it is an extension of its surrounding natural beauty, serving as a respite and sanctuary for all who come to stay.
Located in the Western North Carolina Cheoah District, Snowbird Mountain Lodge, originally established in 1941, has a very rich history. Brothers Arthur and Edwin Wolfe had both the vision and deep conviction to make the woodlands of the Nantahala National Forest and the Joyce Kilmer Memorial Forest available to the general public. Nearly 75 years later, Robert Rankin, the lodge’s current innkeeper, is still keeping that dream alive.
Snowbird offers guests a choice of accommodations that are divided between its Main Lodge, Chestnut Lodge and Wolfe Cottage. Each option is distinct, and yet equally warm, rustic and beautiful. My wife Jill and I stayed in the Main Lodge and from the moment we walked through the front door and stepped onto the well-worn hardwood floors, we felt as if we had arrived at the home of a dear friend.
Equipped with a stone fireplace, an extensive library and an impressive view of the North Carolina mountains, the large common area is also furnished with buttery soft leather chairs and couches.
For the sojourner, rest and relaxation can easily be achieved in one of the main lodge’s 15 picturesque rooms, showcasing hand-sewn quilts, paneled hardwoods and idyllic views.
A Day Well Spent
Snowbird is well prepared for active travelers, offering plenty to see and do, both on and off the property. Guests can choose from hiking the forest trails to Sunrise or Sunset Point, mountain biking through one of the many backcountry roads, canoeing or paddle boarding on Lake Santeetlah, or admiring the impressive remnants of old-growth trees in the nearby Joyce Kilmer Memorial Forest. At every turn, the Lodge’s helpful staff is ready to assist, ensuring guests are equally prepared for their adventures.
If, however, relaxing while reading a good book sounds more along the lines of a day well spent, fret not. Among the well-manicured lawns, wraparound deck and the lodge’s screened-in summerhouse, finding a comfortable and quiet place to kick off shoes and dive into a favorite novel is easily achieved. The details make Snowbird shine, even the seemingly smallest ones like insect repellant and binoculars located in storage boxes on the hiking trails, or supplying ice for sore muscles after a long trek.
A Pampered Palate
Snowbird includes three freshly prepared gourmet meals each day. Daily breakfast is prepared to order while picnic lunch requests are placed during dinner the night before and include one of their signature sandwiches like the homemade pimento cheese accompanied by a bag of chips, fruit, dessert, a pickle and bottled water. The staff packs your lunch in an insulated backpack, which makes it convenient for your day’s adventure.
As the sun sets, there’s no better way to end a day of hiking or canoeing than a chef-prepared, four-course meal, made with fresh local ingredients, many of which are grown in the property’s garden. Freshly caught local trout is a staple on the menu and is served a variety of ways. Also tempting our palates were the lightly seasoned and seared duck breast served with a cheesy risotto cake and braised kale with cranberry-plum sauce, and the grilled-to-order lamb chop loin, marinated in red wine and served with Montchevré whipped potatoes, haricot verts, jalapeno honey-glazed carrots and a mint demi-glace. The dinner menu changes daily, providing a different culinary masterpiece every evening of your stay.
Choose a vino from the extensive wine list or enjoy an evening coffee on the deck while watching the sun melt behind the silhouette of the mountains.
Need more reasons to visit? Wine dinners with professional sommeliers, hiking excursions with experienced guides and photography classes with the trained pros are just some of the events remaining on the 2015 calendar. The upcoming Fly Fishing Festival Nov. 5 through 7 will help novices and pros alike to improve their skills. Space is limited, so the early bird gets the worm.
A getaway at Snowbird Mountain Lodge is unlike most and the best reason to visit just might be to experience it for yourself.
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