Travel slowly, staying in vacation rentals (villas, farms, cottages, apartments)
Review 3231: Blue Ridge Mountain Rentals, The Boulders
5bed/5bath house near Blowing Rock, North Carolina
December 2007, 2 nights
I rented this house with five women friends for a pre-Christmas weekend getaway. Our rental was two nights, beginning at 4pm on Friday with checkout by 11am on Sunday. Coordination with the rental agency was easy and professional.
We were absolutely thrilled with the house. The photos were great, and it was even better than the photos. It's an extremely comfortable and relaxing home, but we also felt like it was the type of house you'd find in a decorating magazine. Half of our group chose not to go out shopping on Saturday -- they just wanted to stay there and enjoy the house.
The Boulders is located about a ten minute drive from the village of Blowing Rock, North Carolina. The house is actually just a mile off the Blue Ridge Parkway in a spectacular setting looking out across layers and layers of mountains. The view is amazing (see photo). The upper terrace has a 180 degree unblocked perspective, and we could see the blazing sunrise off to the left in the morning and the equally stunning sunset on the right in the evening. The second morning we all set our alarms so we could be up in time to watch the sunrise.
There are two levels of decks that run the entire width of the house. The top level opens off the main level great room and has perhaps eight rocking chairs and a patio table and chairs. The lower level opens off the family/game room and has a hot tub. The hot tub worked best for three or four people.
The house is approximately 4000 square feet. The front door opens into the great room -- living room, dining area, breakfast area and large kitchen. The room has tall cathedral ceilings and the entire wall opening onto the deck is windowed. There's a tall stone fireplace (gas logs), and above it the stuffed head of a buffalo. I was a bit taken aback by the buffalo at the beginning, but have to say that he grew on me. The dining table seats six or eight (not 12) and the breakfast table seats four. There are a couple of stools at the eating bar. The living room has a television and built in stereo system.
The kitchen has everything you can possibly imagine -- new appliances, every kind of small appliance you can possibly need (including a Kitchen-aid blender) and great dishes, pots and pans, and utensils. You could definitely prepare and serve a complete meal for 12 people (or more) here.
We were delighted to find the house decorated for Christmas on November 30 (the weekend after the Thanksgiving weekend). There was a large and beautifully decorated tree, lights and greenery on the mantle, several other really nice decorations, and a red bow around the buffalo's neck. There were even Christmas dishes in the kitchen cabinet.
The house has five big bedrooms, each with its own bath. The three upstairs bedrooms are all large and luxurious with king beds. The two downstairs bedrooms are large but furnished more simply, one with a double and single bed and the other with two double beds. The house is ideal for several couples, a group of women friends like ours, or a large multi-generational family. Everyone can have privacy but also be together. Our group absolutely loved the house.
In addition to the two bedrooms, the lower level has a large family/game room with a real fireplace (wood is provided), comfortable seating, large screen tv, pool table, a large wet bar, and a sauna. The sauna wasn't mentioned in any of the literature, but we found the door open and some of our group used it. There is a stuffed deer's head over this fireplace.
This is a family's second home, and there are family pictures and mementos on display in the house, though we did not find it distracting. Because it's a real home, it's also fully equipped with anything you could possibly need.
The town of Blowing Rock offers many good restaurants and shopping. (We had a very good dinner at the Bistro Roca.) There are several small ski resorts in the area, hiking in warmer weather, scenic drives ... plenty to do. The closest interstate is probably an hour away. This is a beautiful and unspoiled area, a perfect place to enjoy a weekend, a week or more.
You can view the property directly: The Boulders.
This review is the opinion of a Slow Travel member and not of slowtrav.com.
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