Monday, October 22, 2012

More Praise For Ash Grove From Our Guests

"Mark and Steven,
This is our 6th year of coming to Ash Grove to celebrate my brother's birthday!  He will turn 41 tomorrow and we all hope to enjoy many more celebrations in the years to come!
We all live in different states and of course have busy lives, but the beauty and peacefulness of this place helps soothe our souls and minds!  Each time we are here we find new unexplored territory to make memories with--what an amazing place!
Thanks to you both, Mark and Steven, for your kindness and generosity!  We will be back next year and years to come if God is willing!
Till next year, we wish you the best Ala, Pat, [et al.]"

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Hiking Bracken Preserve, Brevard, NC

I finally was able to get away and hike at the newly opened Bracken Preserve on 13 August, 2012.  The parking area is a 5 minute drive from Downtown Brevard.  There is a loop trail that is a little over 5 miles and a continuation of the trail connects with Pisgah National Forest. The trail is mostly moderate (for people who can hike in the mountains). The first few hundred yards of the trail is probably the steepest--it is on a narrow right-of-way up to the Preserve, so there wasn't enough room to do more switchbacks--but it isn't any steeper than many of the other trails in the area.

I recommend hiking the loop in a clockwise direction (Bracken Mountain Trail, blue blazes to Mackey Ridge Trail, yellow blazes to Brushy Creek Trail, red blazes), although on my next trip there, I will probably do it in the reverse order.  With the trail being so new, it is very smooth with few roots and rocks, so I spent lots of time looking out at the scenery, rather than down at my feet : )

Part of the scenery was lots of mushrooms along the trail.

The trails are well marked with blazes and signs, so it would be difficult to get lost.

While there are no large waterfalls, there is a smaller waterfall and other water features.  Creek crossings are by bridge, not wet crossings.

I saw these scattered bones and some fur on the trail--something had a snack!

I frequently find fields of ferns to be fun.

With water & snack breaks, photo breaks, enjoying the beauty breaks and a couple of catch my breath breaks, the loop took exactly 3 hours to complete.  I can't wait to go back and take some friends!

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Bracken Preserve Opened 27 July 2012

Bracken Preserve, a 400 acre parcel of land which is owned by the City of Brevard and adjoins the Pisgah National Forest, is now open to the public.  It is the former watershed for Brevard.  It can be seen when you stand on Main Street and look west--it's the mountain in the distance.

photo courtesy of

The city has constructed a 5-mile loop trail on the property, as well as a spur trail that connects to FS 475C in Pisgah Forest.  Future plans include a dedicated connection to the downtown and to the multi-use bike path that starts just north of downtown and connects to the Davidson River Campground in Pisgah Forest.

map courtesy of City of Brevard

I'm looking forward to my first hike on the trails!  (soon, I hope)

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Another Great Review for Ash Grove

This Google+ review is from one of our recent guests.  We couldn't be more pleased by this feedback.  Thanks Jeff G!
Quality 3 / 3
"Ash Grove is probably the best kept secret in the mountains of Western NC. Nestled in the lush, sub tropical Pisgah national forrest, and just a stones throw away from the charming town of Brevard NC, I can not think of a better place to relax and leave the complexities of life behind. The owners are helpful, friendy, and they aim to please. The hike-in tent sites were some of the best I have ever experienced. They are very secluded, level, and offer fire rings and picnic tables. There are wheel barrows to bring your gear in, and they will also deliver firewood to the trail head at a bargain. Ash Grove also offers cabins and RV sites with full Hook-ups. What I liked best is that Ash Grove is a great compromise with secluded, naturlasitic surroundings, but offers the conveniences of clean modern facilities and a variety of local attractions that make spending a week there a camping trip to remeber. Whether you want to do some trout fishing, browse the local artists galleries, take in some scenic hiking, or explore the wonderful town of Brevard NC, there is something near by for everyone. My only complaint is that I could not stay longer."

Monday, April 16, 2012

Some Spring Flowers

Some flowers--both wild and cultivated--here at Ash Grove.  And a Yellow Swallowtail butterfly who visited the other day
A Wildflower

Cultivated Iris

Wild Mountain Iris

Yellow Swallowtail butterfly

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Winter Hiking in Western North Carolina

We have had some incredibly beautiful and mild weather this winter in Transylvania County--perfect hiking weather.  In summer, with the trees loaded with leaves, the vistas can be limited, but this time of year, on a clear day you can see forever.  Here are some shots from recent outings at East Fork Falls (just 5 miles from Ash Grove), Sassafras Mountain (the highest point in South Carolina, about 1/2 hour from Ash Grove) and Dupont State Forest (just 10 minutes from Ash Grove and home to 6 spectacular waterfalls and 90+ miles of hiking and mountain biking trails).
View from Sassafras Mtn, SC
More from Sassafras Mountain
Another view from Sassafras Mtn

Mark at Sassafras Mountain
East Fork Falls, near Ash Grove

Granite outcropping in Dupont State Fores

Friends Jim, Steven & Ron