Outside Traveler Magazine, 2004 (Read more Accolades)
By Kate Siber
The Top 10: Bear Mountain Lodge, NM | Bob Marshall Wilderness Range, MT | Moose Mountain Lodge, NH | Hotel de Larache, Chile | Casa Cerro Sagrado, Mexico | Rifugio Tissi, Italy | The Kuna Lodge, Panama | Spring House Farm, NC | Ultima Thule Lodge, AK | Tu Tu’ Tun Lodge, OR
Marion, North Carolina
The Cottages at Spring House Farm
When Arthur and Zee Anne Campbell and their 13-year-old son, Cailein, restored the historic Albertus Ledbetter House and built cottages nearby in 1999, their top priority was to preserve the 180-year-old pre–Civil War farmhouse and the 92 acres of surrounding hardwood forest. The five secluded guest cottages share the quiet solitude of these hemlock woods with only the resident turkeys and deer. Explore the mountainous hiking trails of western North Carolina, borrow a canoe and paddle two ponds, and end with a soak in a private hot tub, studying the starry night sky.
ROOM & BOARD: Each of the two-person cottages has a wood-burning fireplace, hot tub, private deck, queen- or king-size bed with a down comforter, gas grill, and kitchen stocked with eggs, bread, jams, and other necessities for a country breakfast. For dinner, cook from your own stash or buy what the lodge keeps in stock, including chicken, pork chops, pizza, baked potatoes, and salad fixings. Flying Bridge cottage has a four-person hot tub overlooking the trout pond. The best cottage for wildlife watching is the Bimini Twist, totally surrounded by forest.
OUT THE BACK DOOR: Hit the farm’s five-mile trail system, kept a comfortable temperature by the canopy overhead, or drive 20 minutes southeast to the 1,000-plus acres of Chimney Rock Park and hike the Skyline-Cliff Trail to the top of 404-foot Hickory Nut Falls, a mile and a half round-trip. If you want to paddle something bigger than the farm’s ponds, go to Lake Lure, near the park, and rent a kayak, canoe, or paddleboat.