Looking for the perfect summer getaway? Travel writer Scottie Davis takes you to Brevard, NC… Right above the NC/SC border is Brevard, NC, a sleepy mountain town where, on June 26th, the Brevard Music Festival, with Keith Lockhart as Artistic Advisor and Principal Conductor, gets under way for six weeks. There are also 150 waterfalls in the area to explore (it’s known as ”The Land of the Waterfalls.”) The combination makes Brevard a great summer getaway.
The Brevard Music Center (BMC) is a “mini-Tanglewood,” offering symphonies and chamber music, jazz and pops, along with opera and Broadway. Performances are by guest artists, the 400 gifted students chosen to attend this six-week music institute, and a faculty of 75 who work with students and perform. There are concerts everywhere – the grounds of BMC, the Library, the College of Brevard. The average ticket price is $25. Lawn tickets are available for some concerts and many are free.
Opening night will prove to be exciting with light pops. Keith Lockhart takes the podium in July to conduct Tchaikovsky and Gershwin’s An American in Paris. The annual July 4th Patriotic Pops concert is a crowd pleaser, and the full productions of Tales of Hoffmann and Hello Dolly will be sensational.
In addition to the magnificent music, there are amazing waterfalls to experience. Some can be viewed from the side of the road; others require a short walk or longer hike to see. Many of the waterfalls are located within Pisgah National Forest, a fascinating 157,000 acre preserve. One of Pisgah’s most well known and impressive destinations is Looking Glass Falls. Sliding Rock is the place to bodyslide. With a 60-foot long cascade over a smooth rock, Sliding Rock has been unofficially dubbed the “fastest 60 feet in the mountains.”
Two of the most spectacular waterfalls in the area are located further west along Hwy 64 in the Cashiers-Sapphire area: Whitewater Falls and Rainbow Falls. Whitewater is the granddaddy of falls in the Southeast, cascading at 411 feet. From the parking lot on Highway 281 off Highway 64, take the 0.2 mile paved trail to the upper overlook to view the falls. A stairway winds down to a lower overlook where the view is even better. The top of the waterfall is a no-no; it’s very dangerous and very slippery.
Discovering Rainbow Falls on the Horsepasture River is about as good as it gets for waterfall lovers. The 1.7 mile trail leading to Rainbow Falls can be accessed from the guardrails along the Horsepasture River on Highway 281 off Highway 64. You will hear the mighty roar of Rainbow Falls long before you actually see it. Touted as one of the best waterfalls in the South, Rainbow Falls is wide, rocky and powerful. Awesome!
To overnight in Brevard, there are charming B&Bs (the Red House and Inn at Brevard) and motels (Hampton Inn and Holiday Inn Express). For the adventuresome, Pisgah National Forest has excellent camp grounds.
Brevard, NC, is a five hour drive from the Lowcountry and a wonderful summer getaway.
Helpful Contact Info
• Brevard Music Center – 828-862-2100 www.brevardmusic.org
• Transylvania County Tourism Development Authority – 800/648-4523; www.visitwaterfalls.com
• Pisgah Forest Ranger Station – 828-877-3265
• Pisgah Camping reservations – 877-444-7666
• Waterfalls of the Southern Appalachians, compiled by Brian Boyd, Fern Creek Press
Travel Journalist Scottie Davis has been going to Brevard for years and will be escorting a motorcoach trip to Brevard for opening night of BMC on June 26. For more information, visit www.scottiedavis.com .