The Swag Country Inn, located on a secluded mountaintop 40 miles west of Asheville, North Carolina, is among our top picks in the South for a soulful, romantic escape.
The Swag is the perfect combination of rustic and refined. In addition to jaw-dropping mountain views, hiking trails for every skill level, and log cabins with stacked stone fireplaces, the inn offers guests all the amenities they might expect from a luxury lodge.
This inn is not for the clubby “brass and glass” crowd, say owners Dan and Deener Matthews, an engaging, well-traveled couple, who split their time between the Swag and a Manhattan penthouse. Instead, it appeals to sophisticated yet down-to-earth people who want to reconnect with nature and find some down time.
Among our favorite activities: hiking to a hilltop for a private picnic; showering under a rain head on our cabin’s back porch; enjoying cocktails and hors d’oeuvres al fresco with the mountains as a backdrop; and sitting down to gourmet dinners that include fresh, healthy ingredients from the Swag’s own garden.
Over the years, The Swag has earned many accolades. In fact, in 2011— its 30th season—it appeared on Andrew Harper’s prestigious list of “Top 20 United States Hideaways.”
In 2012, the inn will continue to host “special event’ weekends, bringing in experts—naturalists, authors, or storytellers—to lead hikes and educate guests on the flora, fauna and history of the Smoky Mountains. A recent addition is Executive Chef Keith Davis’s popular two-day cooking classes in which he covers everything from hors d’oeuvres to dessert, and throws in table settings for good measure!