While sites and activities within walking distance of Applewood Manor are enough to keep you busy without ever driving or cycling out of the city, Asheville is also a great base for exploring close by areas of North Western North Carolina. Believe me, that could keep you busy for a lifetime. Take a twenty-five-mile drive north and you can drive through the main drag of Hot Springs, North Carolina unless, of course, you decide to stop there for a while, and you should. Hot Springs is located at the junction of the Appalachian Trail, which goes right through downtown, and the French Broad River. If you do stop, you are likely to hear music drifting from the open doors of Bridge Street taverns.
The small town is surrounded by the Pisgah National Forest and has become a hub for outdoor activities—rafting, hiking, and cycling. The provisioner, Bluff Mountain Outfitters, can supply you with all your needs for hiking or backcountry adventures. They even operate a shuttle service for pickups and drop offs along trails or the river. There are also several nearby concessions and outfitter offering kayaks, canoes, and tubes, with guided and self-guided trips. The French Broad near Hot Springs has everything from Class I to Class IV white water.
Or if you just want to visit, shop, eat and sip a beer, Hot Springs will surprise you with the number of eateries and taverns in the small city. And the romantic Mountain Magnolia Inn has an upscale restaurant with extraordinary views of the bucolic landscape.
But it isn’t the food, rafting, hiking, or cycling that is the city’s claim to fame. That comes from the hot mineral water that gave the city its name, Hot Springs. Travelers have made the trek to the natural mineral hot springs since the late 1700s. But as early as 5,000 years ago, Native Americans had already discovered the springs which they believed possessed healing powers. Petroglyphs are still visible on Paint Rock, a 107-foot rock cliff, that researchers believe the Indians used as resting place for prayer and contemplation on their way to the springs. The Cherokee Indians revered the magical, carbonated waters and sent their sick and wounded there to recover.
Today, you can soak in water from the same naturally heated springs—its water heated as it percolates up through warm rock to a perfect 98-102 degrees while collecting an abundance of healing minerals. The water then emerges to the surface along a volcanic fault line. Hot Springs Resort and Spa offers one- or two-hour sessions in a private tub by the French Broad River. Their hot tubs are sanitized and refilled before each use. And no chemicals are added to the mineral-rich water. Tubs are private in covered shelters in the woods that run along the river. Book in advance to be sure you get your desired time slot by going to https://www.nchotsprings.com/book-now/ or call (828) 622-7676. Their address is 315 Bridge Street, Hot Springs, NC 28743.
Hot Springs is host to several festivals throughout the year, but the best known is the French Broad River Festival held in October. It is an all-weekend event with some of the best music in the area and a number of fun outdoor activities in celebration of their beautiful river and setting. To reach the town take I-240 from the downtown area. Take exit 4A onto Highway I-26W and U.S. 19/23 North toward Weaverville. Go 8.5 miles until you see a sign that says Hot Springs 2nd right. Follow Highway 25/70 North about 28 miles to Hot Springs, North Carolina.