By Mary Ashton woods


Located in Transylvania County, the land of waterfalls, Brevard offers nature lovers the opportunity to enjoy hiking, waterfalls and postcard viewpoints minutes from the town center, while also getting a dose of arts and culture. 

Start your morning on the grounds of Brevard College where, if you are lucky, you’ll get a peek at the elusive white squirrel known to call the campus home. Indigenous to the area, these rare squirrels even have a festival named after them each May. From Brevard College, head into town (a few blocks away) to check out the cutest toy store you’ll ever see. Harkening back to another era, O.P Taylor’s toy store has toys well worth the splurge in their 6,000-square-foot wonderland. Don’t miss Rockys Grill and Soda Shop for a kid-friendly lunch. They also sell a variety of unique sugary candy the children will love. Brevard souvenirs are available in the adjoining D.D. Bullwinkel’s, making it easy to shop while you wait for your cheeseburger and milkshake.   

After you’ve explored the rest of the quaint downtown, hop back in the car for a 15-minute drive to one of North Carolina’s natural amusement parks, the Pisgah Forest (where they filmed the Hunger Games) and Looking Glass Falls. Well marked off Highway 276 North, this waterfall is easily accessible and can be seen in minutes. This is the perfect waterfall to grab that selfie and move on to Sliding Rock—a large rock outcropping less than two miles from Looking Glass Falls. Be prepared to get your chill on as you skim down the slippery 60-foot natural slide into the refreshing ice-cold swimming hole. The Davidson River area offers tubing, fly-fishing and camping. You’ll soon see why Brevard was named one of America’s coolest small towns. 

Distance: 3 hours 24 minutes 184 miles

Budget: Modest accommodations are available through chain hotels in the area. Bed and Breakfasts abound. VRBO lists homes for rent. For a variety of lodging choices check out Waterfalls, hiking trails and sliding rock are free or a small fee. A weekend trip can easily cost less than $500.

What to See: Brevard College, White Squirrels, O.P Taylor’s, Rockys Grill and Soda Shop, D.D Bullwinkels, Looking Glass Falls, Sliding Rock, Pisgah Forest, Pisgah Forest Fish Hatchery, Mud Dabbers Pottery, The Davidson River. 

If you go:  Summer is peak season so plan now. The White Squirrel Festival is May 27-29 and the 80th Anniversary of the Brevard Music Center Summer Institute and Festival is June 24-August 7. This event brings world-renowned musicians to the area to perform a wide range of genres.

This article appears in the April2016 issue of Augusta Family Magazine.
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