Julia Merchant

The nondescript peak in North Carolina’s Blue Ridge resembles any other, fading into the rows of mountains visible from the scenic overlooks of the Blue Ridge Parkway. But looks can be deceiving. Read more


The Smoky Mountains are renowned for their picturesque vistas and scenic views, but there’s another side of the region steeped in mystery and intrigue. Read more

N.C. Arboretum

Ashley T. Evans photo

Whether it’s a meadow covered in spring wildflowers, a forest teeming with colorful blooms of the rhododendron, or a grove of towering hemlocks, the Smoky Mountain landscape is defined by an incredible array of plant life. Read more

Hands Gallery

Julia Merchant photo

Stroll into the Hands Gallery in Boone, North Carolina on any day of the week, and you’ll never know just what, or whom, you’ll find. Sixteen area artists ranging from potters to painters to weavers help run the gallery. Read more


As you gaze out from your private, open deck upon mist-covered mountains—silent save for a bird’s reverie and the cool morning air—it’s hard to believe you’re not a million miles away. Read more