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Hot Springs, NC Best Small Mountain Town

People in Hot Springs are excited that their town has been voted the 2012 Best Small Mountain Town from Georgia to West Virginia. Excited, but not totally surprised, as they all have a great appreciation for this special, quaint mountain town they call home, whether they were born here or, as many have, moved here from somewhere else.

Geography is a special quality unique to Hot Springs. As the November issue of Blue Ridge Outdoors Magazine says in announcing our selection ".... Hot Springs is again attracting visitors from all over the United States and beyond, and not just for the 108-degree mineral water. Nestled in the heart of Pisgah National Forest, the town is located at the crossroads of two of the most important outdoor resources in western N.C.: the Appalachian Trail and the French Broad River." (Read the entire article.)

The main street, Bridge Street, is actually a segment of the Appalachian Trail. Some people like to joke that when they cross the street, they have just walked the full width of the Appalachian Trail.

Because of its size the town is very walkable and many of our 600 residents and visitors do walk it regularly. One can easily walk from an area B&B, cabin or hotel all around town to shops, restaurants, a tavern or to the hot mineral springs for which the town is named.

Blue Ridge Outdoor Travel Editor, Jack Murray, cites the small-town feel for what makes Hot Springs so special. Murray wrote, "[t]he small town feeling is definitely hard to escape when visiting Hot Springs, mainly because it only has about 650 permanent residents. The population swells in the spring as northbound thru-hikers come through town, and in the summer when the French Broad, Spring Creek, and Laurel River attract whitewater and tubing enthusiasts from around the South. Folks also flock to the town for section hikes like the 20-mile Max Patch to Hot Springs overnight, and day hiking loops connected to the A.T. near town like the Pump Gap Loop and Roundtop Ridge. The French Broad attracts anglers with its smallmouth bass and musky fishing, while the abundant small creeks in the area hold healthy populations of trout. Hot Springs is also gaining a reputation as a romantic weekend and wedding spot. With accommodations ranging from $15 campsites to plush lodges in the several-hundred-a-night category, there is something for everyone right within the town limits."

Romance in Hot Springs, NCRomance draws people to Hot Springs whether it is for a romantic getaway or destination wedding. The natural beauty of the area, quaint and quiet environment add to the allure. There is an array of lodging options for folks to choose from whether it be the Mountain Magnolia Inn, a suite at our restored general store (Fowler's Bend) overlooking Spring Creek, one of our vacation rentals, or a room in the 1892 Laughing Heart Lodge. There is also a selection of area cabins.

Massage in Hot Springs, NCRest and Relaxation has long drawn people to Hot Springs. Stories abound about the curative effects of the area's natural hot mineral water which is available at the Hot Spring Spa and Resort. They and other area businesses offer massage treatment and other relaxing therapies for people looking to unwind and relax.

Artisun Gallery in Hot Springs, NCDining and Shopping in Hot Springs ranges from casual dining at an area tavern; to the local favorite The Smoky Mountain Diner to fine dining outdoors or by fireside at the Mountain Magnolia. Artisun Gallery offers specialty coffee drinks and incredibly good local ice cream.

There is also plenty of shopping for crafts and gifts in Hot Springs. The 50-vendor art gallery at the Artisun Gallery is a must for area crafts and a hot latte or wonderful locally made ice cream. There's a great wine shop there run by our friends Steve and Cindy DuBose. Right down the street is Gentry Hardware where Keith Gentry sells hardware, old fashioned candy, and select household items for visitors. Keith and his family have operated this Hot Springs icon since 1946. Stop in the Welcome Center next to Gentry Hardware and check out the kiosks with displays of local history and things to do in the area. Across the street, at Harvest Moon Gallery, Klaus Nelson has local made crafts, a collection of retro-1950 items and more.

So Visit Us Now and See For Yourself why Hot Springs was chosen the Best Small Mountain Town out of 20 contestants. November and December are a very pleasant time of the year – cool but not too cold. The shops are open, the hot mineral springs are 102 degrees and the fireplaces are ablaze at the Mountain Magnolia Inn, Suites and Restaurant. Ask about our mid-week and weekend specials.


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Photos by Harry Burris, Mary Helen Wheeler, and Dorinda Doss

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