Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Bear Lake Reserve - Blue Ridge Mountain Vacation

Despite the hustle and bustle of the new school year, the memories of our North Carolina mountain getaway remain as fresh and crisp as the mountain air. After posting about our accommodations for the first week of our summer vacation I promised a post about where we stayed for week two. 

I always intended to keep my word. 

I just  procrastinate quite a bit.

Or maybe I needed a little time to process it all. Vacations always end so abruptly {even two week vacations}! We return home to find our darling little rescue dog has destroyed our antique embroidered settee. And then we quickly become embroiled in backpacks, new school clothes and teacher assignments {oh, don't get me started on the drama of teacher assignments}. And inevitably we must face all the daily-ness of life that has piled itself on our desk and counters. 

But now, a full six weeks later, I am prepared to share a little glimpse into our second week in the Blue Ridge Mountains! 

We spent our second week in North Carolina at Bear Lake Reserve. Bear Lake is a 2100 acre master-planned vacation property developed by Terramessa Resorts. And once you are inside the property gates you do not need {and will not want } to leave for the entirety of your stay. The natural setting is absolutely amazing and every detail of the development was incredibly well executed. 

The Lake Club, situated directly on Bear Lake, is the hub of all activities. The Lake Club houses the exercise room, theatre room, library, kids' play area {stocked with books, movies and games}, restaurant, lounge and bar, and of course, the pool. We spent a few long, relaxing afternoons lounging poolside. We also were able to take kayaks {free of charge} out for a paddle around the lake and rent a pontoon boat {hourly rental} for an afternoon of further exploration.

View from my lounge chair. 
The golf course is breathtakingly beautiful and absolutely perfect for families. The course is a Nicklaus Design 9-hole course at elevations from 3,400 to 3,700 feet. The panoramic views are spectacular. Boy Genius played two mornings with his dad and took a private lesson after the Hubs had to leave for trial. 

To be honest the views were amazing any which way you turned. I enjoyed a few morning hikes while the boys were on the links and was constantly entranced by the towering trees. 

Our two bedroom condo was absolutely lovely and much more spacious than we required. After spending our first week in a tiny mountain cabin {with no ac}, the Bear Lake condo was positively luxurious. But then again, it felt much less like a mountain cabin and more like home. Truly, though it's hard to say which I preferred more. Apples and oranges. 

Living and dining rooms.
Boy Genius enjoying every inch of his King bed!
We enjoyed a wonderful week at Bear Lake. It was relaxing and tranquil, yet just action-packed enough to avoid even the slightest hint of boredom. 

The downside, however, is simply the distance from civilization. It truly is a place you want to stay when you arrive, but the reality is you have little other choice. 

The drive from our condo to the entrance of Bear Lake was 5 miles but took every bit of 15 minutes. The roads are harrowing mountain roads. Well paved, yes, but you are not driving above 15 mph because the road curves sharply every 40 feet. From the Bear Lake entrance gate it is another 15 minutes before you turn onto a two-lane highway. Thirty minutes into your drive and you still have another 15-20 minutes to a town with a grocery store! 

So if you forget salt and pepper when you are planning your meals for the week and your rental doesn't stock salt and pepper {just rude in my opinion} well then, you just cook without salt and pepper that week. Alternatively, you beg for some at the restaurant and then tip accordingly when your nice waiter provides you with full shakers. 

So yes, you need to pack up everything you can think of and then plan to get away from it all. And by "all" I even mean your cell phone. There is positively no cell coverage. None. Nada. Zip. 

But that's the point, isn't it?!  

Bear Lake is a destination. You come to stay. You come to relax. You come to connect with your family. You come to enjoy the simple pleasures and beauty of the Blue Ridge Mountains with those you love most. 

Which is just the sort of vacation I'd like to take again and again and again! 

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