Historic Kilmichael Tower, now called Chalet Switz, sets the mood for a memorable holiday. Situated in the most spectacular mountain scenery in the eastern United States yet only an hour from Asheville ’s Biltmore, the chalet is the ideal choice for exploring the Blue Ridge Mountains, renowned for outdoor sports, a rich cultural heritage, and fine crafts.

Chalet Switz is surrounded by pine forest and meadows on a wonderful residential mountain in Little Switzerland, one of the few villages along the Blue Ridge Parkway--"the nation's scenic highway." In the heart of North Carolina ’s High Country, guests get away from commercialism and sprawl. The chalet is a mile from the village center on a private road that meanders past eight homes. At an elevation of 4000 feet--compared to Asheville's 2000 feet--our mountain top enjoys the temperatures of southern Canada.

The surrounding forested Blue Ridge Mountains boast one of the two most diverse plant communities in the entire world. They are a delight throughout the spring and summer blooms, as well as during fall leaf change and holiday snowfalls, when bare winter woods open views to the west of spectacular snow-capped Mt. Mitchell, the highest mountain east of the Mississippi.

Ideal for one or two persons (with sleeping space for up to four), this architect-designed tower renovation combines stone, wood and glass in a place of natural beauty, from its cedar shake roof and nearly two-foot thick handcrafted walls to the 23-foot open-beamed cathedral ceiling.



Through the arched window by the spiral stair is a view of The Commons, several acres owned and maintained by our homeowners' association. Guests can ski there after snowfalls, play frisbee, or enjoy watching the annual monarch butterfly migration.



In the summer, guests enjoy a sunny side yard with blueberry, currant and gooseberry bushes, roses, and a napping rock.


This is right outside the front door, looking down along the road to the village center. More photos taken along the road follow.

A mile down the mountain is the village center where guests can enjoy dining, shopping, tennis, and chatting with friendly residents and visitors. The Switzerland Café and General Store displays delectable desserts in a glass case at the cafe entrance. Next door, the Little Switzerland Book Exchange--a fascinating labyrinth of shelves, nooks, and crannies--stocks rare and used books.

A quarter of a mile beyond is the Switzerland Inn with two dining rooms with fireplaces and a third with panoramic views into the valley and beyond to mountain ranges. Across the street, shops offer gems and minerals, home décor and craft items, and homemade ice cream.






Across the street is also an entry to The Blue Ridge Parkway. Walking under the Parkway bridge and following an old wagon road for another mile leads downhill through woods along a stream to an inviting waterfall with misty, thunderous places to stand between the falls and rock. Here are some photos taken along this road:

Following Bear Wallow Road for two miles in the other direction brings you to Meadow Farm, where Nancy has her pottery and sculpture studio. An accomplished potter, several years ago she was honored to make a set of dinnerware for the owner of the Biltmore Estate. Some of her sculptures are displayed in the photos. Within four miles are the studios of two renowned artists: Harvey Littleton, "the father of art glass," and Bea Hensley, a blacksmith who received a presidential award and whose work is part of the permanent Smithsonian collection.

The area is rich in birds, wildflowers, wildlife and gems. Tourmaline and garnet have been found by casual passersby, and the famous Tiffany emerald mine of the last century is less than a mile away.


One way to vacation is to park the car and enjoy the neighborhood. Here is one person’s description of this:

We parked the car for the week. Every morning, we walked down Grassy Mountain as the sun was warming the southern exposure to begin the day’s discovery hike. Once, we came upon Wild Acres retreat by surprise and were invited to join in a coffee break. Afterwards, we picked a bag of blackberries along the road. Another time we visited a home, rode a horse and petted llamas. At day’s end, it was into the balcony tub filled with piping-hot water, then down to curl up in front of the crackling fire with cups of cocoa, our favorite beverage. After dinner, we’d go up the spiral stair and climb into bed where we’d watch the moon rising in the east and fall asleep star-gazing.