If you are coming to Illahee this summer for the Alumnae Reunion or to bring your daughter to camp, we encourage you to plan some time to enjoy the Brevard area. Not only is this a super area for camp, but it’s a great spot to enjoy your own vacation! Here are some activities and places that we know and love! Brevard also has an active tourism site Land of Waterfalls with many resources as well as a travel planner for the upcoming summer.
While in the area, you might want to hike in Dupont State Park or Pisgah National Forest. There are several half day loops, and maps of waterfalls are available through the Chamber of Commerce. Dupont State Park has spectacular waterfalls that are easy to hike in and see. Thirty minutes west of Brevard in Toxaway, is the recently opened 7000 acre Gorges State Park with its interpretive center and miles of trails. You can make the most of your day with a guided waterfall tour with our friend Lydia Odell .
Brevard is also the land of biking and at the entrance to Pisgah Forest; you can rent bikes and find a guide at The Hub which is owned by former Illahee staff member Jordan Salmon and her husband Sam. Across the street, Sycamore Cycles also offers great service and rentals. The Bike Farm owner Cashion Smith offers concierge services including trip planning and shuttles for bike enthusiasts. There are many rock climbing sites as well in Pisgah Forest, and you can find a guide at Fox Mountain Guides owned by Camp Illahee friends. If you’d prefer to build some climbing skills under cover, you could always stop in at the Brevard Rock Gym right in downtown Brevard. Pura Vida Adventures leads a variety of trips in the area as well.
Pisgah Forest is also a great place for fly fishing and guides can be found through Davidson River Outfitters or at Headwaters Outfitters west of Camp Illahee. It also is easy to rent tubes for a family float down the river. Whatever your activity in the forest, be sure to take time to sit on the porch of Dolly’s to enjoy an Illahee Swirl ice cream before you leave.
Another family highlight is the zip line canopy tour at The Gorge in nearby Saluda, NC. Our son Turner worked there two summers ago as a guide for former Illahee staff member Sara Bell and her husband Tim who also own Green River Adventures . They offer river trips, hikes and many family oriented adventures set in the spectacular Green River Gorge.
Brevard has been the home for more than 75 years of the renowned Brevard Music Center . The summer season runs from mid June through the first week of August includes daily concerts in a beautiful outdoor setting. Each season there are world-class musicians featured. The Music Center has recently made a generous offer to us opening up several dress rehearsals and performances and inviting our campers to attend. Individual tickets for performances go on sale after May 1st. 185 King Street is a listening room that hosts many up and coming regional artists in a hip atmosphere.
If you plan to spend the night in the area, it’s good to book accommodations early. The only national chains in Brevard are The Hampton Inn and The Holiday Inn Express. Several guest houses are listed through the chamber website. We encourage you to check out the renovated Sunset Motel in downtown Brevard. You could spend the night at the Sunset Motel, enjoy dinner at Rocky’s Soda Shop and bowl a game at the nearby “Rock and Bowl” and feel like you’ve stepped back into the ‘50’s! Or walk downtown to Brevard’s own Co-Ed Cinema on Main Street.
Downtown Brevard is a wonderful walking town with great restaurants and shops to explore. Roost Interiors and Gifts has just expanded and offers wonderful furnishings and Theophilus is a great boutique for clothes and accessories. Main Street Limited is always a fun spot to browse and The Proper Pot up the street has wine tastings. Next door Spice it to a Tea offers a variety of rubs, olive oils and the owner, Diane Motter, gives great advice and recipe’s along with unique products. My personal restaurant favorites are Jordan Street Café, Falls Landing , and Big Mike’s pizza. All have friendly and involved owners. The newly opened Jaime’s Creole Brasserie has brought some big city sophistication to downtown. All are great spots with or without children.
The Asheville area is a brewers’ paradise and Brevard has joined in. Brevard Brewing Company on Main Street is fun for adults- no food but great local beer. Oskar Blues Brewery on the outskirts of town near Pisgah Forest is a favorite of local families and visitors. They offer brewery tours, a colorful tasting room and outdoor picnic area. Lots of folks stop in after biking or hiking to get a delicious burger from their CHUBwagon food truck and to listen to live music. For more of a Disney type brewery experience, visit the new Sierra Nevada tasting room which just opened near the Asheville airport. It’s a massive beautifully crafted structure offering beer tastings and a delicious small plate menu.
We hope that your trek to the Heavenly World includes time to enjoy this great area! Time spent in Brevard is sure to be part of your BEST SUMMER EVER!