Nestled in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina's High Country is Beech Mountain, the highest town in the Eastern US with an elevation of 5,506. Temperatures stay below 75 degrees pretty much all year long, so spring, summer and early fall are cool and perfect weather for fishing, hiking and mountain biking. And while winters bring a wonderland for sledding, skiing, snowboarding, ice skating and snowshoeing with yearly snowfall that often exceeds 100 inches, it's the scenic beauty and tranquility of the mountains that fall brings that make it magical. Throw in 50 acres of developed parkland, almost 10 acres of lakes, 28 miles of designated hiking and biking trails and a 23,000 square foot state of the art Recreation Center and you've got the recipe for perfect fall fun. Finish that equation with Beech Mountain's breezy air, little to no humidity (and therefore no mosquitoes!), brilliant fall colors and the kindness of the people there, and it becomes the ultimate family destination.
On your way in to town, stop and have lunch at Holy Smokes BBQ, a locally loved barbecue restaurant and grill that specializes in traditional and tasty North Carolina BBQ. It is probably the oldest form of American barbecue and benefits from a wide variety of influences. With the plethora of sauces to put on your pork, from the eatery's signature apple butter or the zesty Eastern NC bbq sauce, there is no wrong choice. Play corn hole on the back patio or peruse around the gift shop and take home some of their signature hand crafted fudge.
Gear up with your helmet and mountain bike and hit the trails. Emerald Outback is a network of five named trails, two grassy roads, a gravel bailout road and a mountain bike skills area. The trails are designed with both hikers and bikers in mind. For bikers, these offer some of the best flowing single- and double-track trails in North Carolina. Mountain biking, however, is not for the faint of heart!
After you've gotten your fitness on, stop in to Brick Oven Pizzeria for dinner. The restaurant is run by Johnnie and Jimmie Accardi, twenty-something brothers who are second generation restaurateurs on the mountain. The pizza is delicious! Guests can also choose from Italian dishes, cheese steaks, meatball subs, great sandwiches, cappuccinos and even a dessert bar. It sits right next to a miniature golf course, so stop in and play after dinner.
Spend a comfortable evening at 4 Seasons Beech, a lodge style resort nestled at the summit of the mountain. The apartment-style hotel features a restaurant, a fitness center, and a bar/lounge with a spacious lobby that has several sitting areas and a large stone fireplace.
After an evening of mountaintop comfort, waking to the fall brilliance of the changing leaves, venture over to Fred's Backside Deli and General Mercantile for breakfast. Fred's has been serving delicious food, groceries and Beech Mountain apparel since 1979. It's been in operation for 40 years, 365 days a year! Lots of history here with Fred's family once residing on the third floor. If you're lucky, you'll get to see Fred who never misses a day and hear his story.
After breakfast, head on over to Buckeye Lake and spend the morning paddling, fishing or just relaxing by the lake. Stop in the Buckeye Rec Center to check out canoes or kayaks and enjoy a morning on the water, taking in the flora and fauna.
Turn things up a notch by then heading over to Beech Mountain Resort. Take the roundtrip chairlift ride to Beech Mountain's highest elevation and you can see the mountain scenery of five different states. Have a drink at the 5506 Skybar or play some disc golf and then head back down to enjoy a second cocktail at Beech Mountain Brewing Company, nestled in the village of the resort, providing the perfect atmosphere to relax after a physical day of mountain activities. It's also one of the only US breweries owned and operated by a ski area. Beech Mountain Resort closes down for a few weeks in between the summer and winter seasons and guests are treated to closing and opening day celebrations like an oyster roast, live music and smores!
And if you're still hungry after ingesting all of that mountain air, head to the Alpen Inn for some fine dining. Old-world ambiance, large picture windows and breathtaking views of the slopes and mountain ranges of three states round out the experience of tasty appetizers, juicy burgers and 'Mile High Club' sandwiches. The large selection of draft beers, fine wines and mixed drink favorites make it the 'in-place' for residents and guests alike.
Less than a five hour drive from Nashville, Beech Mountain is quite literally the coolest town.