If you watch my Instagram stories, you saw it there first. 🙂 I got plenty of questions from people about this place, so here's a few notes about our trip and what you need to know before booking yours!
Nestled near Bryson City, North Carolina and about an hour from Asheville, you'll be pleasantly surprised to find Lakeview at Fontana Inn & Spa. The name says it all considering this secluded resort overlooks Fontana Lake and offers breathtaking sunrises and sunsets. This beautiful scenery will be well worth the drive to get there, and if you choose to stay at Lakeview, your experience will include all of their wonderful amenities. Between the wine tasting, luxury spa, and treetop cabana, I can honestly say it was an exceptional experience, and my husband I certainly plan to visit again.
how to get there & what to do
You're approximately two and a half hours from the Knoxville - McGhee Tyson Airport and one and half hours from the Asheville Regional Airport. If you're planning to drive in from the Tennessee side of the Smokies, double check the route the GPS is taking you. One of the most direct drives in will be the The Tail of the Dragon, an 11-mile stretch of highway with 318 curves. Discovery's named this one of the top ten motorcycle rides in the country, so if you're feeling extra adventurous, I would give it a try. After living here most of my life though, I will preface this by saying I hear stories of fatal accidents happening there regularly. Personally, I opt to take the extra 20-30 minutes to come in via the Cherokee Indian Reservation since we currently live in Knoxville (to each their own!).
The area itself is more secluded than most other places I've been near the TN/NC border but still provides an array of activites for couples and families. If you love the great outdoors like me, you'll find plenty of options for whitewater rafting, hiking, etc. While we didn't have an opportunity to take part, Lakeview also offers private yoga classes as well as a daily 9 am class that I wish I would have had the chance to do.
You'll also be roughly 15 minutes from Bryson City and 20 minutes from Cherokee. The former has a few good restaurants, and you could also check out the up and coming Nantahala Brewing Company. Their beers are fantastic, but their restaurant wasn't open yet when we were there. Let me know if you give it a try! If you have more time, you could also take this opportunity to visit the Cherokee Indian Reservation complete with casinos and other tourist attractions you might already be imagining. It would certainly be a fun place to visit with the whole family.
wine hour & massages
Unfortunately, I didn't get the opportunity to stay in the beautiful rooms they have, but you can guarantee I'll be back. Booking accommodations with short notice leaves me in this kind of situation sometimes, but I like to stay on my toes. When we drove up the winding road to Lakeview, I immediately noticed the European feel to the buildings as well as the restaurant, and the staff was so welcoming. We'd purchased a spa package which included an invite to their cocktail hour complete with white AND red sangria plus a variety of snacks like gourmet pretzels, olives, cheeses, and nuts. All of which was perfect pre-massage, and we had the opportunity to enjoy them on their terrace overlooking Fontana Lake.
After a glass (or two) of sangria, we were able to make our way down to the spa for our massages. This small building with an entrance winding around the side has some wonderful massage therapists, and they made me feel very comfortable. I don't have enough compliments to write to explain, so you can read all about their spa services here. 🙂
the treetop soaking cabana
Can you believe there's MORE to this beautiful haven? Last but not least. . . we began our extremely brief hike to the Treetop Soaking Cabana. Yes, you did read that right. This exquisite setup took me by surprise. If you choose to book the complete package with champagne, rose petals, and calming music, someone will have this setup for you ahead of time, so your entire cabana experience is truly secluded.
For an hour and a half, we were able to enjoy the view from our little treehouse, and there's even a small patio where you and whoever you're with can enjoy that champagne. Choosing to go at sunset was perfect timing, and I'd highly recommend booking around that time. It also will make your experience more enjoyable in the North Carolina heat 🙂
Are you from east Tennessee or western North Carolina? You HAVE to make this road trip! Not only will Lakeview be perfect for any special occasion or a weekend getaway, it's also incredibly affordable considering the amenities you receive.
Would you need to fly in for this experience? Make an entire vacation out of it, and visit Asheville while you're there. Boasting tons of breweries and exceptional restaurant options, you'll need to make more than just your reservations at Lakeview ahead of time. We failed to call any restaurants beforehand on our last trip there, and most places were PACKED. Enjoy a few days in the city and make the hour drive to spend a little time at Lakeview at Fontana. Let me know if you're considering this, and I would love to answer any questions you have about the area!