For a lofty and delicious romantic outing, enjoy a gourmet picnic on a high mountain ridge (5,000 ft) at The Swag Mountaintop Inn, a luxury country inn located in the Great Smoky Mountains. The picnic is held at Noon every Wednesday, late April through November, weather permitting. The Swag is about 40 miles west of Asheville. Allow one hour to drive since the last few miles are curvy mountain roads, and the last 2.5 miles is The Swag's private drive that climbs more than 1,000 feet in elevation.
From atop Gooseberry Knob, enjoy a wealth of culinary creations while gazing at panoramic mountain views. The Knob is a 15 minute hike from the Inn. They also provide Land Rover shuttle transportation between the main lodge and the picnic area.
Advance reservations are required and the picnic is $40 per person. And you can arrive early or stay late to fully enjoy the Inn's amazing setting.
Founded as a Smoky Mountains country inn by innkeeper and owner Deener Matthews in 1982, The Swag originally was built as a family home in 1971 by Deener and her husband, Dan, an Episcopal clergyman, who is Rector Emeritus of Trinity Church, Wall Street, in New York City. Today, Deener manages day-to-day operations at this Smoky Mountains romantic hideaway during the in-season from late April through November.
After your picnic, soak in the views from this perch. Four of North Carolina’s six highest mountain ranges are visible: the Great Smokies to the northwest, the Plott Balsams and Richland Balsams to the southwest and the Black Mountains to the east. The beautiful mountain ridge the inn sits atop has always been called “the swag” by the Appalachian people who have lived in the area. The phrase refers to a dip between two mountain peaks — like the swag of a horse’s back or the way a drapery hangs.
After or before your picnic, take a hike in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park that borders The Swag. The Inn rests along the Cataloochee Divide, an immense ridge that forms one of the National Park’s boundaries. There are a variety of hikes. We love the hike to Hemphill Bald with spectacular views.
Construction of the inn began when historic log buildings were reassembled in 1971 on high meadowland cleared for farming at the turn of the 20th century. The largest building was the Lonesome Valley Primitive Baptist Church from Tennessee. It forms the main living room in the Swag House. The oldest incorporated structure dates to 1795. Most of the logs were hand hewn from huge tulip poplar trees, which are rare today.
Take a tour of the Wood Shed at The Swag, one of the most romantic guest rooms in the North Carolina mountains.
For picnic reservations and more, visit their Web site.