North Carolina
Go climb a tree at the Earthshine Mountain Lodge

From the March 26, 2001 Issue of New York

Mostly, the Earthshine Mountain Lodge, in North Carolina, is a place for nature lovers who've grown past tents and sleeping bags, opting instead for everyday amenities like firm beds, hot showers, and good food. For starters, it's a traditional getaway in gorgeous rustic surroundings, with horseback riding, hiking, checkers tournaments, and the chance to curl up before a stone fireplace with old copies of Southern Living. But that's not all: Earthshine has two elaborate, military-style obstacle courses in which guests swing from rope to rope like Tarzan and clamber over rope bridges and rope ladders strung through the treetops. It's amazingly invigorating, and for kids, there's a very realistic "Pioneer Village" where they can pick apples and make them into cider, eating wild buckberries along the way, or throw an authentic tomahawk at a target in a replica Cherokee campsite. Wholesome meals are served up three times a day, with homemade breads and cider-smoked ham. Don't be surprised if co-owner Marion Boatwright serenades you on fiddle or heads up a bonfire sing-along. Anything is possible at this mountaintop retreat.

Earthshine Mountain Lodge, 828-862-4207 or (doubles start at $300 per night, all meals included, obstacle course is extra). Earthshine is a 90-minute drive from the Greenville, South Carolina, airport