We’ve explored nearly 50 different Blue Ridge Mountain towns since we launched this site in 2020. But we’ve probably stayed in less than a dozen hotels during all that time.
Not that there’s anything inherently wrong with hotels, mind you.
Many of them offer budget-friendly prices, proximity to popular activities and attractions, and plenty of other amenities.
But hotels rarely offer that warm, cozy, homey feeling you get from a great cabin rental in the mountains.
In the case of Brevard’s Deerwoode Reserve, their beautiful, pet-friendly cabins had just about everything we’re looking for in our future home in the mountains of North Carolina.
The 175-acre property is part of a Conservation Easement in partnership with Conserving Carolina. So the Certified Wildlife Habitat is frequented by deer, foxes, beavers, otters, hawks, ospreys, owls, egrets, and other birds of North Carolina.
It’s located along the French Broad River (which feeds into the property’s ponds and small lakes) and surrounded by forest. So the views from our cabin’s porch were truly spectacular, reflecting the brilliant blue sky like a mirror.
Read on for our in-depth guide to the Deerwoode Reserve cabin rentals in Brevard NC, including the history of the property, an overview of accommodations and amenities, and suggestions for things to do nearby.
Deerwoode Reserve Info
ADDRESS: 395 Riversedge Rd, Brevard NC 28712
ACCOMODATION OPTIONS: Three 2-person cabins; four 6-person cabins; two 8-person cabins; one 12-person cabin; and the 18-person Coyote Lodge for large families and groups. All cabins are dog-friendly.
DIRECTIONS FROM DOWNTOWN BREVARD
From Downtown Brevard, head southwest on S Broad St toward W Jordan St. In a half-mile, continue straight onto N Country Club Rd.
Follow that for another mile, then turn left onto Deerwoode Lane. In 0.4 miles, the road veers left and becomes Riversedge Rd.
The entrance to Deerwoode Reserve will be on the left.
Deerwoode Reserve History
The land currently occupied by Deerwoode Reserve was inhabited before the Civil War by a local Brevard doctor.
In 1926 the property was purchased by Tennessee residents George Morris and J.H. Townsend, who built a summer camp for boys called Camp Chickasaw.
By 1935 it had been sold to Memphis-based cotton broker Robert J. Hussey, who hired a camp director out of Asheville named Mrs. Swift. She renamed it Camp Deerwoode, and it became a summer camp for girls.
In 1939 the business was sold to Gordon Sprott, whose family built a contemporary home above the swimming hole and lived on the property full-time.
Sprott operated Camp Deerwoode for Girls until 1957, then reopened it as a boys camp in 1959. By 1966 he was looking to sell the property, and Texas couple Bill and Elizabeth Mayes made a deal to work at the camp and purchase it in two years.
The Mayes fully took over the business in 1969, and operated Camp Deerwoode for Boys until 1991. They continued to live on the idyllic property for decades, and raised their children there.
After closing the camp, they turned it into a fitness facility and vacation rental business, Deerwoode Lodge & Cabins, which they ran until they retired in 2018.
In 2020, they listed the property for sale for the first time in 51 years.
Scott and Dionne Hodgson bought the property in 2021. After a year of extensive renovations of the rental cabins and lodge, they reopened it under the new name, Deerwoode Reserve.
READ MORE: The 15 Best Hotels in Asheville NC to Visit
The Barn Cabin at Deerwoode Reserve
One of 10 pet-friendly cabin rentals available at Deerwoode Reserve, the 3-bedroom/2-bath Barn Cabin is tucked away near the back of the property, on the slope of Sugarloaf Mountain.
Like most of the cabins on the property, it was built by Bill Myers after he closed the Boys Camp in 1991. He took apart the original campers’ cabins by hand, then repurposed the wood to create modern cabins with a decidedly rustic flavor.
New owners Scott and Dionne Hodgson have completely renovated the pet-friendly cabins, adding new kitchen appliances, new furniture, and lots of natural wood details that lend each cabin its own distinctive charm.
We loved the open floor plan of the Barn Cabin’s main level, with an expansive living room, gorgeous built-in dining table, and a huge kitchen with oven, fridge, microwave, coffee maker, and all the dishes and pots you could need.
The master bedroom, master bath, and laundry room (with washer and dryer) are on this level as well, as is a partially covered deck that provides a stunning overlook of the entire property.
A spiral staircase right by the front door leads down to the lower level of the cabin.
There you’ll find two smaller bedrooms, each decorated in the same Blue Ridge Mountain lodge style as the master suite. There’s also a full bathroom, as well as a small den area that opens onto a patio.
The Barn Cabin itself feels homey and welcoming, but it’s these outdoor spaces that made it feel like the perfect mountain home we’ve been dreaming of.
So all you see when you look out the copious windows are the wildflowers, ponds, and lake, as well as the wildlife they attract. We saw several deer, Brevard’s famed white squirrels, wild turkeys, and myriad other birds during our visit.
Deerwoode Reserve Amenities
Deerwoode Reserve’s 175-acre property is designed to be dog- and kid-friendly, with lots of open spaces for play and dog waste stations located throughout the well-maintained grounds.
They offer fun family activities such as cornhole, horseshoes, and other yard games upon request, and each cabin is equipped with a private fire pit.
So there’s no shortage of things to do at Deerwoode Reserve, but these are a few of the most popular:
With the French Broad River and 6 smaller water features on the property, Deerwoode is an excellent place for bird lovers.
But the truth is that we saw just as many birds while sitting on our deck in the morning, sipping our coffee!
Although we didn’t do any fishing during our time on the property, we loved the sight (and sound) of fish leaping in the lake and ponds, creating mesmerizing circles of ripple in the water.
A fishing license is not required for the property’s lakes and ponds. But fishing the French Broad River requires a valid fishing license for anyone ages 16 and up, which can be purchased online at NCwildlife.org.
Some of the most common fish caught at the reserve include native trout and muskie in the river, and bass, bream, catfish, crappie, and perch in the lakes and ponds.
There are over 5 miles of hiking trails meandering through Deerwoode Reserve, most of which can also be used for cycling.
Some of our favorite trails are fairly easy, including one that takes you a mile-plus along the French Broad River and others that take you around the lakes and ponds.
If you love the water as much as we do, you’ll never have time to get bored at Deerwoode Reserve.
There’s a great little spring-fed swimming hole behind the Coyote Lodge and Big Log Cabin. It’s surrounded by greenery, with lots of lily pads and turtles.
Their 8-acre lake is a great place for canoeing and kayaking, with the water reflecting the surrounding forest and mountains (which include the 5,721-foot Mt Pisgah).
Things to Do Nearby
Drive the Forest Heritage Scenic Byway
You’ll also find several of our favorite North Carolina waterfalls (including Looking Glass Falls, Moore Cove Falls, and Sliding Rock), as well as popular attractions like the Cradle of Forestry in America and the Davidson River Campgrounds.
You can also explore the Pisgah Visitor Center, go horseback riding at the Pisgah Riding Stables, hike the Pink Beds Trail, or go kayaking on Lake Logan.
Explore Downtown Brevard
Located just 2.3 miles north of Deerwoode Reserve, Downtown Brevard is widely regarded as one of the coolest small towns in North Carolina.
Home to Brevard College, it’s also considered one of the best places to retire in North Carolina. So the town boasts a unique mixture of upscale adult and hip, youthful culture.
A short stroll down Main Street will lead you past numerous trendy boutiques, gift shops, the historic Transylvania Courthouse, and some of the very best restaurants in Brevard.
Hiking in Pisgah National Forest
Brevard is home to the southernmost portion of the 500,000-acre Pisgah National Forest, which was created by President Woodrow Wilson back in 1916.
Other great Pisgah National Forest hiking trails near Brevard include Black Balsam Knob, Devil’s Courthouse, Graveyard Fields, Looking Glass Rock, and the Pink Beds Trail. –by Bret Love; all photos by Bret Love & Mary Gabbett