Just off of the Blue Ridge Parkway, down NC Route 276, sits the mountain town of Brevard, NC. National Geographic Magazine named Brevard as a Top Ten Place to Visit. The small community is surrounded by 250 waterfalls. It is “The Land of Waterfalls” and is nestled beside Pisgah National Forest.
Pisgah National Forest is one of only a few temperate rain forests in the southeast, meaning it receives an average of 55 inches of rain per year. The wood is rich in every green hue you can imagine and boasts species of wildlife and ecosystems that are incredibly unique for this region, including mountain bog turtles, mountain sweet pitcher plants, and the Appalachian bog. And those 250 waterfalls. If you are a Waterfall Chaser, this is your land.
If you enjoy photographing waterfalls, and you love wine, I have found the perfect tour to include in your visit to Western North Carolina. The Waterfalls ‘n Wine Tour with The Pisgah Field School. The journey takes you to some of the most photographed waterfalls in the region and also to some spots that can only be found with a guide. And then, you cap off the day with a visit to Broad Street Wines, in the historic district of Brevard. Connie and Rebecca shower their customers with knowledge on all things wine and boast the first “tasting machine” in the area – one that dispenses 1, 2, or 4 ounces of wine out of 12 choices. It’s the perfect way to sample as many as you’d like before you make a purchase.
Sure, I could have purchased a map of Pisgah National Forest and hiked out in search of waterfalls but, I was in search of a care-free experience. I wanted to leave the driving to a local. I wanted to ensure that I found and took the perfect waterfall photo—without getting lost in the woods. I wanted to enjoy a wine tasting of North Carolina wines.
And would we see the elusive Brevard White Squirrel?
One beautiful Spring morning, I boarded the Pisgah Field School passenger van for a tour led by Adam DeWitte. Adam is the Director of The Pisgah Field School and is a wealth of information. Not only did I learn a lot about the history and fauna of Pisgah National Forest, but I did also capture some fantastic waterfall photos. All along looking for just one white squirrel.
We left Pisgah National Forest and headed into the quaint mountain town of Brevard. As Adam drove past the green grass and babbling waters of Kings Creek within Brevard College…there it was…my first sighting of a Brevard White Squirrel. (Adam wants me to mention that there is no guarantee that you will see a white squirrel in Brevard, but they do like to hang out on the college campus and his backyard!)
In case you do not see a real white squirrel, Broad Street Wines carries a private label of White Squirrel Wine, in partnership with the Biltmore Estate Winery in Asheville. If you are a fan of bluegrass music, they also stock the private label Steep Canyon Rangers wine. I enjoyed the wine tasting and browsing the collection of Brevard-themed merchandise.
It was a successful day. I found the stress-free tour. Friends later asked me about the Pisgah hiking trails. Pisgah has a variety of trails, for all ability levels. I am a novice hiker. I drink more wine than hike. I found the Waterfalls & Wine Tour well within my ability, and it was a lot of fun.
To book a Pisgah Field School Tour, visit pisgahfieldschool.org or call 828-884-344 for more information. Book early as all of the PFS tours are popular, especially Waterfalls and Wine.
On a Special Note, while visiting Brevard, I stayed at The Bed & Breakfast at Tiffany Hill. Tiffany Hill is located in nearby Mills River, NC. My stay was a real southern hospitality experience, and I especially enjoyed the surprise final course at breakfast.
I will be returning to Western North Carolina soon. I think that I will take the new Pisgah Field School Sunset Tour….and, of course, I hope to see another Brevard White Squirrel.
–I am off to explore and “Experience Back Roads”