An indigenous split rock marks the entry to Simone and Scott Lutgert’s summer home in Linville Ridge, North Carolina. Here, in one of the most captivating geographical areas in the country, the view extends past Grandfather Mountain and into Virginia and Tennessee. “In the 1980s, Scott developed this breathtaking Linville Ridge Golf Course Community that has the highest elevation east of the Mississippi River, proffering magnificent views from every hole,” explains Lutgert. “Naples is our home, but we love coming here in the summer. Our family and friends are always milling around enjoying the laid-back atmosphere and the perfect weather.” A friendly community, majestic vistas, stellar climate, and lots of family activities is the recipe for la dolce vita, Appalachian style.
VIBE: An adult summer camp
BEST TIME TO GO: May through October. The fall foliage is simply magnificent.
HOW TO START THE DAY: Walking around the back nine of the golf course followed by some homemade granola.
GO-TO RESTAURANTS: Belvedere in Linville Ridge. It has fabulous views, award-winning food, and an impressive wine list. Another favorite is the Artisanal Restaurant in Banner Elk. Its rolls and butter steak are incredible, and served in an authentic Blue Ridge Mountain converted barn.
UNWRITTEN RULE THE LOCALS LIVE BY: If you can’t relax here and have a good time, you can’t relax and have fun anywhere.
WHERE TO SHOP: DeWoolfson (dewoolfsonlinens.com) in Banner Elk sells the most luxurious fine linens and handmade down pillows. Mast General Store (mastgeneralstore.com) in Valle Crucis is a must for old-fashioned candy barrel shopping.
WHERE TO STAY: Eseeola Lodge in Linville is a century-old lodge blending historic elegance with modern luxuries and picturesque views. For a quiet and relaxing stay, The Inn at Little Palm Farm in Valle Crucis is a treasure. Another favorite is the Westglow Resort & Spa in Blowing Rock. This impressive destination is set in an updated Greek Revival mansion.
A FUN CULTURAL EXPERIENCE: The Penland School of Crafts in Spruce Pine is a cultural mecca with galleries, workshops, and artists in residence. Wander into studios to watch the artists at work.
MUST-HAVE HOMETOWN GOODS: Handmade shawls and scarves from Crossnore Weavers and Gallery in Crossnore.
BEST SEAT IN TOWN: By the window or on the deck at View 180, with views of the Blue Ridge Mountains.
FOR A SOLO OUTING: Drive or ride a bike along the Blue Ridge Parkway.