Asheville NC is one of our favorite Blue Ridge Mountain towns to visit, and it shouldn’t be difficult to understand why.
It’s a truly a nature-lover’s playground, surrounded by ecotourism attractions such as Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Linville Falls, Mount Mitchell, and the 500,000-acre Pisgah National Forest.
Of course the city itself also has a lot to offer, with a wealth of restaurants, shops, museums, and other Asheville attractions to explore.
But sometimes it can be a bit too bustling for our taste, leaving us craving the small town charm of places like Bryson City, Maggie Valley, and Waynesville.
That’s what makes Mountain Springs Cabins such a great place to base yourself for an Asheville NC vacation. It’s just 10 miles west of downtown Asheville, and less than 8 miles north of the Blue Ridge Parkway.
So you’re close to Asheville’s best waterfalls, white water rafting, hiking trails, and other outdoor adventures. But the 50-acre resort is also a great place to unplug, relax, unwind, and simply soak in the beauty of nature.
Read on for our in-depth review of Mountain Springs Cabins, including an overview of accommodation options, details on the Willow Creek Cabin, and some of the best things to do in Asheville while you’re there!
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Mountain Springs Cabins Info
ADDRESS: 127 Emma’s Cove Road, Asheville NC, 28715
OFFICE HOURS: Sun to Thu 9AM-3PM; Fri & Sat 9AM-Noon
EMAIL: [email protected]
DIRECTIONS FROM DOWNTOWN ASHEVILLE NC
From downtown Asheville NC, take I-240 W/US-70 W toward US 74 Alternate and keep right at the fork to continue on I-26 E.
In 3.2 miles, take exit 31B to merge onto I-40 W. Go 1.8 miles, then take exit 44 for US-19/US-23 toward Enka-Candler/W Asheville.
In 0.2 miles, turn right onto US-19 S/US-23 S/US-74 ALT W. Follow that for 3 miles, then turn left onto NC-151 S.
After 4.5 miles, you’ll see Emma’s Cove Rd on the left. Follow signs to the office at the top of the hill.
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Mountain Springs Cabins Accommodations
Cabins & Cottages
There are 13 Asheville rental cabins and cottages available at Mountain Springs, most of which are located at the back of the property along a tranquil creek that meanders through the forest.
Their cabin rentals range considerably in size, from the small Chickadee and Mockingbird Cabins (which hold just 2 people) to the more spacious Firefly Cabin (up to 8 people) and Speckled Trout Cabin (up to 9 people).
All of the cabins feature an upscale rustic decor perfectly attuned to the Blue Ridge Mountains setting. They also have a gas fireplace, full kitchen, WiFi, Cable, DVD player, iPod docking station, and books and games.
Outside the cabin rentals you’ll find cozy porches (many of which offer great creek views), BBQ grills, and a common area that includes a playground, picnic area, volleyball court, and more.
Most of the cabins also have fire pits with Adirondack chairs, with firewood available for purchase in the office.
Many of these are also great options for those seeking pet-friendly cabins in Asheville.
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For those who don’t need quite as much space (or who have more limited budgets), Mountain Springs also offers two charming tiny houses for rent.
The pet-friendly Sweet Retreat Tiny Home is perfect for two people and features a small kitchen (including all the appliances you’ll need), dining table, and bathroom.
The Lilac Tiny Home is also pet-friendly and can accommodate 2 people, with a Queen-sized bedroom. It has a larger kitchen, full-sized fridge, flip-down table, and a more spacious bathroom.
Both of these tiny houses come with charcoal grills, WiFi, expanded cable and DVDs, with books and games available from the office. These also have grills and fire pits with Adirondack chairs.
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Yurts have become increasingly popular in the glamping community, and Mountain Springs offers 5 yurt rentals that can each accommodate 2 to 12 people.
Yurts are a more upscale alternative to camping. These framed tents include hardwood floors, windows, climate control, comfortable bedding, as well as a skylight at the peak of the yurt that provides great stargazing opportunities.
The yurts are pet-friendly, and each one includes a deck as well as a private bathroom in the nearby bath house. So unlike unlike most North Carolina campgrounds, you can leave your personal items in the bathroom during your stay.
The “Yurt Village” at Mountain Springs also features a picnic table at each yurt and 3 community fire pits, with Adirondack chairs around them. It’s a perfect place for roasting hot dogs or making S’mores under the evening sky.
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The Willow Creek Cabin
For our two-night stay at Mountain Springs Cabins in December, we chose their Willow Creek Cabin, which is located at the back of the property and offers excellent views of the picturesque creek.
This is one of their large, open floor plan cabin rentals, with vaulted ceilings. It can sleep up to 7 people, with a King-sized bed and a Queen-sized sleeper sofa downstairs and Queen-sized bed with a Twin Trundle upstairs.
The first thing we noticed about the cabin was the comfy rustic decor. With its wooden walls/floors/ceilings and country-style accents, it reminded me of my late Appalachian grandmother’s home in North Georgia.
The kitchen has a full-size fridge, oven, microwave, coffee maker, and all the dishes and utensils you might need to cook your own food. But aside from our morning coffee, we mostly dined at the nearby restaurants.
The master bedroom is tucked behind the stairs leading up to the loft, so it wouldn’t offer much privacy if you were on a weekend getaway with family. But it was ultra-comfortable, and we loved being able to see the creek out the window.
The second bedroom in the loft upstairs was sparsely decorated, but would be a great place for kids.
We loved spending time in the cozy living room, which had a sofa and comfy chairs with lots of pillows and throws. The stone fireplace and the rushing creek outside made it a great place to warm up after exploring Christmas in Asheville.
But our favorite feature of the Willow Creek Cabin was the front porch. It featured a swing, several chairs and tables, a BBQ grill, and of course the relaxing sights and sounds of the creek.
We spent a good bit of time sitting outside and enjoying our morning coffee, relaxing and watching the world go by.
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Nearby Asheville Attractions
The Biltmore Estate
George Washington Vanderbilt’s 125,000-acre Biltmore Estate was built in 1895, and became a popular retreat among icons like Henry Ford, Thomas Edison, and Presidents William McKinley, Teddy Roosevelt, and Woodrow Wilson.
With 250 rooms encompassing over 135,000 square feet, the estate’s Châteauesque architecture, landscaped botanical garden, and forestry initiatives have made it one of the most popular attractions in Asheville.
There are numerous ways to tour the Biltmore house, included self-guided and audio tours of the house, winery, and rooftop, as well as tours specially designed for kids.
There are also endless outdoor activities on the 8,000-acre estate, ranging from biking, hiking, and kayaking to falconry, fly-fishing, horseback riding, and sporting clays.
Our favorite time to tour the mega-mansion is Christmas, when the entire estate is decorated lavishly in the colors of the season. Visiting the Biltmore ranks high among our favorite things to do for Christmas in Asheville!
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Downtown Asheville Restaurants
Foodies will love the fact that there are an array of critically-acclaimed Asheville restaurants to choose from, and Mountain Springs is less than 15 miles from the heart of downtown.
For vegetarian and vegan options, visit the Green Sage and Laughing Tree Cafes, Plant, and Rosetta’s Kitchen & The Buchi Bar.
If you want to explore international cuisines, try the Indian food at Chai Pani, the French fare of Bouchon, Korean restaurant Stone Bowl, and popular Ramen restaurant Futo Buta.
In terms of chef-driven restaurants, don’t miss Katie Button’s Cúrate, Peter Pollay’s Posana, Elliott Moss’ Buxton Hall BBQ, Rhubarb, and Asheville Proper.
But for old-fashioned Appalachian food, check out Benne on Eagle, 12 Bones Smokehouse, and the original Tupelo Honey Cafe, one of the oldest restaurants in Asheville.
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Drive the Blue Ridge Parkway
The world-renowned Blue Ridge Parkway passes right through Asheville. So it’s incredibly easy to explore the majestic mountains, lush valleys, and fertile forests that surround the city.
Our favorite Blue Ridge Parkway overlooks in the area include the Mount Pisgah Overlook (Milepost 407.6), Mills River Valley Overlook (MP 404.5), Big Ridge Overlook (MP 403.6), and the French Broad Overlook (MP 393.8).
Popular Blue Ridge Parkway hikes nearby include the 1.2-mile Craggy Gardens Pinnacle trail (MP 364.1), the 4.8-mile Mountains-to-Sea Trail to Craven Gap (MP 377.4), and the 2.6-mile Mount Pisgah trail (MP 407.6).
One of our favorite Blue Ridge Parkway waterfalls in this area, Skinny Dip Falls, was destroyed by storms. But it’s just a short drive to waterfalls like Looking Glass Falls (MP 411.8), Log Hollow Falls (MP 412), and Graveyard Fields (MP 418.8).
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Explore the River Arts District
Asheville is a progressive haven in the heart of the North Carolina mountains, and the River Arts District is arguably the city’s hip cultural heart.
Clothing designer Pattiy Torno was one of the area’s artistic pioneers. The NYC transplant established CURVE Studios in the River Arts District back in 1984, when Downtown Asheville was essentially a ghost town.
Now the area is home to more than 200 artists working in a broad variety of mediums, not to mention a exceptional array of craft breweries and restaurants.
Visitors looking for a weekend getaway immersed in culture will find great shopping opportunities in galleries and stores located in 22 former industrial buildings along the tranquil French Broad River.
From the Odyssey Center for Ceramic Arts and the 110,000-square foot Riverview Station to Pink Dog Creative, each building is a treasure trove of creativity. –by Bret Love; all photos by Bret Love & Mary Gabbett unless otherwise noted
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