Unplug from the world and do a "digital detox" at this 100-year-old homestead where pricing includes meals and many outdoors activities. Earthshine Mountain Lodge is located in Lake Toxaway, North Carolina, near Pisgah National Forest, and about an hour and a half from Ashville. Guests can stay in a hand-built cedar log lodge ( with rock fireplaces, patchwork quilts, log beds, and rocking chairs) or in a cottage that has three family suites.
Earthshine Mountain Lodge has 83 acres and families will find a lot of fun on-site. Sample activities include:
Pioneer Morning: go back in time to the 1840's in the Pioneer village, and try blacksmithing, candle dipping, cider-making, and more.
Cherokee Morning: make pottery, throw tomahawks, and learn about surviving on the land as the Cherokees did.
Adventure Activities: try a climbing wall, ziplines, or a high-ropes course. The zipline canopy tour was the first to be built in the U.S. Guests can also try to solve the challenges on a Family Adventure Course.
Turtle Tracking: help track the movements of several wild box turtles that have been radio-tagged, to gather information about this endangered species.
Creek Hike and Slide: put on water shoes and hike right up the creek, then slide down a natural rock waterslide. Kids can also mine for gems.
The rates at Earthshine Mountain Lodge include a guestroom with private bath, three "country gourmet meals" a day, sodas, and activities. In summer, guests can also opt to do a package that includes only accommodations plus dinner and breakfast, with participation in activities on an a la carte basis. (For example, $20 for Pioneer Morning, $60 for the zip line tour.*) Sample price for this package is $200/room for four family members.
Easter at Earthshine means Easter crafts and a giant egg hunt. Kids can decorate eggs, make easter baskets, and coat corncobs in peanut butter and birdseed to make treats for birds and squirrels. Then in May, Memorial Day weekend is sheep-shearing time.
Outdoor Education and Nature Programs
Earthshine Mountain Lodge hosts many field-trips and offers outdoor education programs such as Destination 1840 (with half the students going back in time as Cherokee, and half as settlers) -- read about this and other programs. Earthshines doe outreach programs too. Also, Earthshine has a Nature Center that's open to guests and to the public, by appointment.
- Check prices at Kayak.com
*Always check destination websites for updates!