Have you ever come across an amazing hotel that stops you in the middle of scrolling and makes you think, Wow, wouldn’t it be something to stay there? Us too, all the time. Welcome to Friday Fantasy, where we spotlight hotels, lodges, cabins, tents, campsites and other incredible locations perched in picture-perfect outdoor settings. Read on for the information you need to book an upcoming adventure here. Or at least dream of it.
Why We Love The Wrong Way River Lodge and Cabins
The three keys to real estate are location, location, location. And in this regard, Wrong Way River Lodge and Cabins, which celebrates its first birthday in September, has it all covered. Wrong Way is just three miles from the city center Ashville, with literally direct access to this North Carolina mountain town’s growing portfolio of outdoor adventures. Hop on a bike or strap on your shoes or inline skates and take the greenway in front of the 1.8-acre property; heading southwest will take you to Carrier Park, home to a velodrome, while heading northeast will take you through the breweries and galleries of the River Arts District. The Pisgah National Forest, with its hundreds of miles of singletrack, not to mention kayaking and rock climbing, is 25 miles from downtown.
Wrong Way’s 16 A-frames are pretty to look at — their clean lines and modern construction reflect influence from both Scandinavian design and an Appalachian log cabin — and the views are even prettier, with many overlooking the gentle French Broad River.
The only difficult part of staying at the Wrong Way is deciding how to spend your time. It was the first season of mountain biking when I visited in the spring, but a heat wave made paddling the French Broad sound super appealing. I was torn: Dirt or water? And then: Should I keep my urban adventure or venture into the national forest? Decisions were made and I did my best to touch on everything.
Wrong Way puts you at the heart of Ashvilleof the booming urban outdoor scene. Cultivate climbing, with indoor and outdoor climbing walls, is right next door. A three-mile section of the French Broad, popular with canoeists and rafters, drifts past the property, and the growing greenway system connects a series of parks, restaurants, and other popular gathering spots. You can rent paddle boards ($15 per hour) as well as a portable grill ($39 per day) at the lodge. Consider the Wrong Way SUP/Run Challenge, a great way to get some daily exercise: jog the greenway upstream for two miles before hopping on a lodge-provided stand-up paddle board and heading back downriver.
Want to exit the site? Youngblood Bikes, about five miles away, rents commuter, gravel, and mountain bikes (from $50 a day). Pedal a recently completed three-mile greenway loop through the River Arts District, passing graffiti murals and two breweries. For a bigger adventure, head to the Pisgah National Forest and its must-see singletrack; the revamped black mountain trail weaves through hardwood forest for 8.4 miles of berms, chutes and kickers. The best whitewater near town is just a 30-minute drive north of Asheville: eight miles of Class III-IV rapids on the French Broad. THE Asheville Adventure Company organizes guided tours of the city from April to September ($69 per person).
Although Wrong Way is called a Campground, you’ll stay in 354-square-foot cabins, all of which sleep up to four people (you choose who gets the queen bed and who gets the queen sofa bed). Each of the A-frames has heating and air conditioning, a private bathroom, a small living room with a desk, a closet, a coffee maker and a refrigerator. All but three of the cabins have small porches overlooking the river, and if you’re looking for more privacy, book cabins 14, 15, and 16, which have back porches surrounded by woods. Five cabins welcome pets.
These are considered excavations: they are Zero waste, meaning they are stocked with compostable disposable items. Fun details, including a record player and an assortment of vintage vinyl records (Dolly Parton, Willie Nelson), enhance the experience. We encourage you to take the hammock, camping chairs and table found in your accommodation to use elsewhere in the area.
Eat and drink
The only thing better than adventure in Asheville is the food. And the beer. The Wrong Way co-founders understand this and stock their communal lodge, dubbed the canteen, with froth from the area’s top breweries and snacks from local meal prep company New Stock Pantry. Grab a Fonta Flora Lake James Lime Lager and some chocolate chip cookies and park in the Wrong Way meadow at the back of the property, filled with hammocks, a fire pit and lawn games. Or go down to the ping pong table.
Alternatively, pedal to the River Arts District and opt for a pitcher of Iron Rail IPA from the Wedge Brewery and a double cheeseburger from the Chop Shop Food Truck, which uses ground beef aged for 21 days. Looking for something fancier? Selectdowntown, is led by chef Katie Button, appointed by James Beard, and offers classic Spanish tapas like almejas, a broth of clams and pork belly steamed in white wine. If you can’t score a reservation, take a stroll around the corner to La Bodega, a more laid-back Spanish market and bar owned by the same chef.
when should we go
Wrong Way is open year round. Winter is Asheville’s quietest season (February and March are the slowest months), while summer is the best time to explore the waterfalls and pools of the Pisgah National Forest. Show up in October and November and the weather is perfect for mountain biking and running and the hardwood forests are bursting with fall color.
How to get there
Asheville has a small but active airport, with direct flights from a growing number of cities, including Denver, Las Vegas and Boston. Charlotte Douglas International, 120 miles east, is the closest large option.
About 25 miles east of Asheville via Interstate 40 is Old Fort, a textile town with a brand new system of flowing MTB trails and a killer Brewery. And bring your rod: there’s world-class fly fishing on Curtis Creek, a narrow mountain stream just two miles to the east.
To book: WrongWayCampground.com
Price: From $139 per night
Address: 9 Midnight Drive
Asheville, North Carolina 28806