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Last weekend I spent four wonderful days on a North Carolina mountain vacation. My two closest friends and I headed west to a town called Leicester in the North Carolina mountains, just 30 minutes outside of Asheville, North Carolina. As I’ve mentioned before, I have a love/hate relationship with fall in North Carolina, but the mountains in October are certainly one of the reasons I love it!
This was the first time I had seen my friends since February 2020, and the first people I had spent time with outside of my own family. It was much needed to see my friends, and spend three days laughing and catching up!
Our North Carolina Mountain Vacation: Super Cool Airbnb
We booked a 3-night stay in the cutest little cottage on a sheep farm. I have the Airbnb listing below if you’re interested. I highly recommend this property! I would love to go back and work there for a week, BUT they have satellite internet and it just wouldn’t work for me, unfortunately.
The pictures of the interior and the property are completely accurate, as you can see from the personal photos I took below.
The cottage is situated on a 100-acre sheep farm in Leicester, North Carolina. What a delight! We became so curious about these animals and loved observing them. We learned more about sheep then we ever knew we wanted to know!
We enjoyed exploring the property and were so fortunate to have great weather every single day. The tenants (Sharon and Seth) live on the property and actually operate a kitchen/restaurant (more on that and food later)! We loved just walking around and trying to find a pond that was mentioned in the listing. Thankfully, Seth helped us out!
Another wonderful thing about this place is that you are really up in the mountains of North Carolina here! This means no cell service and weak WiFi. Personally, and I think my dear friends would agree, we were fine being disconnected to a certain extent. We brought DVD’s but didn’t watch any (the WiFi can’t handle streaming).
Each night, we made a fire and cuddled up in chairs beside the fire. I brought ingredients for s’mores and definitely ate most of them!
Our North Carolina Mountain Vacation: What We Ate
In Leicester, the closest food (grocery or restaurant) is 20 or more minutes away. We opted to stop at a grocery store on the way to the cottage and cook all of our meals.
We spent about $200 in groceries, which included a steak and chicken dinner with fresh sides (asparagus, potatoes, and corn), a spaghetti dinner, sandwich ingredients, snacks, and appetizers. I share how much we spent because I’m super frugal, and less than $70/person for food over the course of 3 days is pretty damn good!
There is a gas grill and full kitchen available on the property, so we took full advantage. There is no microwave (my main source of cooking), but a tea kettle for hot water and obviously the stove.
As I mentioned, Sharon and Seth operate Black Thorn Farm and Kitchen on the property, and you can purchase meals or baked goods during your stay. We opted for chocolate chip cookies which were waiting for us upon arrival, and biscuits on Sunday morning.
Both were really good, but the biscuits were on another level. We cooked bacon and eggs that morning to accompany them and were in absolute heaven!
Our North Carolina Mountain Vacation: What We Did
We mainly relaxed. It was such a nice, peaceful trip on every level. It was nice to disconnect and be with loved ones in nature. A North Carolina mountain vacation is not complete without hiking, so we made sure to do those multiple days and go apple picking.
If you enjoy hiking you probably have the AllTrails app, if not it’s a great app to have when you’re trying to find places to hike near you.
- A hiking trail that started across the street from The North Carolina Arboretum: This was about 30 minutes away and situated along the Blue Ridge Parkway and French Broad River. We just went with the first trail we could find and it was pretty tough (uphill most of the way).
- DuPont State Recreational Forest: About 1 hour and 15 minutes away from our cottage, it was well worth the drive. There are two waterfalls here and many different trails to try. We packed a lunch and sat along the rocks, which was amazing. I would definitely love to visit here again and explore the other trails. Only downside: parking is competitive!
- Sky Top Orchard: This orchard was only 30 minutes away from DuPont State Recreational Forest, so we headed there after our hike for apple cider, apple cider donuts, and apple picking. We had such a great time here! We went on a Monday, and it was PACKED. I’m guessing this is out of the norm, and more related to the pandemic, but if you go just be aware it might be really busy.
Our North Carolina Mountain Vacation: What to Pack
I feel like any time I go out of town I forget to bring something critical. Thankfully, this did not happen! Because we were going to be active and lounging around, I only packed workout and comfy clothes. No jeans, no cute shirts.
Outside of the things you would normally bring with you on vacation, here are a list of things to bring if you’re staying at this wonderful sheep farm or somewhere similar:
- Folding chairs to sit around the fire
- Cooler: Great for afternoon excursions, and if you need to bring back anything chilled from your trip
- Slip-on shoes to walk between your cottage and the fire pit
- Extendable camping forks for s’mores
- Hiking boots or waterproof shoes
Our North Carolina Mountain Vacation: Take Me Back!
As soon as I returned home I started trying to plan my next Carolina mountain getaway. Unfortunately, I’ll have to bring my work stuff with me, but just waking up to amazing views makes everything better.
I highly recommend the cottage we stayed in and they have another property on the farm that is bigger called, The High House (we stayed in The Cottage).
This trip was the highlight of my year thus far. I needed it badly! It was one I won’t soon forget with my best friends.
Do you have any vacation spots you’d recommend for a Carolina mountain vacation?