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Precipice Private Lodge

Wellness, Water, Wander

Article by Myra Simmons McEntire

Photography by Braulio Fonseca - BFonck Creative Photography

Originally published in Belle Meade Lifestyle

Centrally located between Highlands and Cashiers in Western North Carolina, the surroundings of Precipice Private Lodge are abundant in unspoiled nature, and the accommodations are pure bliss. Thanks to the extreme dedication and exquisite choices of Nashville native, Paul Hirshberg, visitors can now experience both the natural landscape and the manmade luxury of the retreat. 

The second-chance story of Precipice Private Lodge is deeply rooted in family tradition. As a child, Paul traveled with his father to what was once the historic Bear’s Den Lodge. Years later, a motorcycle ride during Covid led him through the highlands of Appalachia, and he serendipitously encountered the property once again. Paul discovered the place he’d loved as a child in horrible disrepair, the gate hanging off the hinges, the front door kicked open. Unwilling to allow the warmth of his memory to grow cold, or to leave the majestic place he remembered as a child in such a state, he purchased the property. After five years, a tremendous level of restoration, and millions of dollars, Paul has taken it far beyond its original glory. 

“Water, wellness, and wander form the Precipice Triangle … an environment for renewal, exploration, and enlightenment.”

“They’ve thought of everything,” says Andrea Holland Rizk, founder and CEO of Rizk Public Relations, who served as a test visitor for the lodge. “They could facilitate a corporate group or retreat. As a private luxury rental with six king-bedroom suites, a visitor could entertain friends in the mountains for a wellness retreat, or couples could take a getaway adventure nature weekend.” 

The design of the space lends itself to wellness-focused events, classes, workshops, and spa treatments. The lodge is surrounded by waterfalls, babbling brooks, and fountains, allowing guests to experience the healing essence of water throughout their stay. A hot tub sits adjacent to a cold plunge pool fed by a mountain stream. “There are foot baths should you want to do that after a hike, and a treatment room that doubles as a yoga studio. They can hire yoga instructors to come in if that's what you'd like,” says Andrea. “If wellness people want to bring their retreats to the lodge, the answer is yes. Paul is open to that because he really wants people to visit who want to get out and enjoy how special the area is.”

Wellness also focuses on cuisine, and the Precipice Private Lodge team will connect guests with a preferred list of vendors to provide a multitude of services, including chef dinners prepared on-site, cooking lessons, or wine tastings, They can also arrange personalized spa treatments, yoga classes, or guided hikes. “Anything you can imagine,” says Andrea. The house is not staffed but comes with an innkeeper who ensures the visit operates smoothly. She continues, “That person will show up every day and lay out breakfast, make sure that you know where the hiking trails are and how to operate the steam shower, and offer to call and make restaurant reservations or recommendations. It’s an extra level of service. They’re there as much as you need them to be.”

The area is renowned for its lush landscapes, offering access to fly fishing, kayaking, and trail hiking in the Nantahala National Forest, and providing plenty of opportunities to wander into an adventure or two.   

To book the property, simply fill out the reservation request form on the website. The staff at Precipice will contact you directly to plan your visit, taking into account your specific needs and interests. “Precipice Lodge Retreat is a true passion project for Paul," Andrea says. "and no detail has been spared. It's the perfect opportunity for somebody looking for a weekend to relax and have some exceptional meals and great wine, but also do yoga, get a massage, hike all over, and put your feet in the waterfalls. It’s the perfect property.” 

Paul writes:

“I have personally always been a wanderer.

Wandering has always been a way for me to find peace and bring balance to my life. At Precipice, my vision is to bring the balance of nature to our guests. Our wellness-themed lodge highlights the trinity of Water, Wellness, and Wander. Nestled in the valley of the Chattooga River Valley, our lodge provides a haven of lush forest, granite cliffs, and endless exploration. For me, there is no better way to stir the soul and become more connected to nature, and find inner peace. We invite you to Wander and immerse yourself in the magic of Precipice and its surrounding areas for a refined experience and personal rejuvenation.”

Paul's Top Six Things to See in the North Carolina Highlands: 

A hike up Whiteside Mountain, the highest cliff and vertical rockface on the east coast. Whiteside offers breathtaking views and vistas of the Highlands and Cashiers Plateau.

 A visit to High Holly Vineyard for food, drinks, and live music. 

Summer music festivals each Saturday night in Founders Park.

Tour the Bascom Fine Arts Center and see well-renowned artist's exhibits with a highlight on local pottery and sculpture.

Take a leisurely stroll through the Highlands Biological Station nature preserve to experience lush landscapes, nature trails, and the vast biodiversity of native plants and species that the rainforest environment of Highlands has to offer.

Sunset Rock, located in the heart of downtown Highlands, offers spectacular mountain views and breathtaking sunsets. It's the local's favorite place to sip wine and watch the sunset.