What an adventure!! We wanted to recap our most recent trip to Bear Lake Reserve because it was truly one for the books & a weekend we’ll remember forever. It came at a time in both of our lives where we REALLLLY needed it. Time away from our respective cities, in nature and surrounded by friends & family. I highly recommend it if looking for a getaway this Summer and/or Fall! AND if you use the code #CourtneyandKelly which will get you a $100 dining/amenity credit OR $500 off a Castle Ladyhawke Wedding! Score!
In terms of getting there it is a bit of a hike for anyone based in NYC/DC. My advice would either be to drive there or fly into Asheville/Atlanta/Charolette and drive from those cities (Asheville being the closest). There are easy flights out of all major airports daily! We personally flew into Asheville and it was a quick one hour drive from there to Sylva, North Carolina, where we met the Bear Lake Reserve team for a drink @ the cutest wine bar The Wine Bar & Cellar. We immediately felt the warmth of the people, staff and small town hospitality, that we all had been craving. I have no other way to explain it, other than that we were transported into a way fancier version of Schitt’s Creek! It was amazing & we never wanted to leave!
After wrapping up we made the remainder of the drive from Sylva to Bear Lake! Note that the drive at night is windy, you are truly in the mountains so make sure you have a great driver behind the wheel! We arrived to our Villa – Villa 6 (4 bedrooms w/ Lake View) – and were off to bed for the evening!
Friday morning we woke up to a gorgeous view, breakfast & yoga at our Villa. It was rainy but even through the rain it was absolutely gorgeous. We got some work done then headed over to Castle Ladyhawke (on the grounds of Bear Lake Reserve) for a tour from their very own Lady Sarah! At this point in time Castle Ladyhawke is purely used as a venue space for weddings or events. It’s truly beautiful and anyone that can get married there is so, incredibly lucky!
The tour was everything we could have imagined and more and all we wanted to do was stay and drink more pink champagne with Lady Sarah! Unfortunately we had to head back to the Villa prior to exploring more of the Bear Lake Reserve grounds!
They have gorgeous pools & hot tubs within their Lake Club. Unfortunately due to weather we couldn’t indulge in those right away but we were able to grab a drink at the Lake Club Bar. They have an amazing bartender who can whip up anything you’d like. It was nice to sit, enjoy the view & listen to some live music! If feels like it has been forever since we’ve been able to do that!
From our amazing afternoon, we quickly headed into the evening hours. We got all dolled up and headed back to the Castle for a beautiful handcrafted cocktail hour that was created specifically with our styles in mind! It’s hard to put into words how amazing this was!! It may be the best cocktails I’ve ever had (and I am not just saying that because they were called The Courtney & The Kelly lol). A night to remember!
We ended the evening with a surprise birthday dinner of pasta, soup, salad, & funfetti cake at their Lake Club! You can book a private room which is perfect if you are have a larger party (perfect for 6+). The menu is seasonal so you are always getting the freshest ingredients. We also had the pleasure of meeting the chef and the pastry chef and they were, of course, so incredibly friendly and incredibly talented.
Saturday may have arguably been my favorite day of the entire trip! We packed up our day bags and decided to head to Lake Club for an afternoon hot tub session overlooking the gorgeous lake followed by lunch at The Taproom Bar and Grill. For lunch that afternoon we all had the chicken caesar salad and it was to DIE for. My favorite bartender at Bear Lake also introduced me to her twist on the classic champagne – order Prosecco with a shot of Effin raspberry vodka and your life will be forever changed.
We headed down to the dock and boarded onto one of the club’s pontoon boats. You can book a pontoon boat for 2 hours for $155. The lake isn’t too big so you can deff boat around and lust over all of the gorgeous homes and even see the waterfall during that time! We recommend bringing your own cooler with food and bevies and even some layers if you are going during the “off” months because it did get a bit chilly on the water!
After a fun afternoon at the Lake Club, we went back to our villa, changed and got ready to go into Sylva for a fun night on the town! We started the evening at The Wine Bar & Cellar and were treated to the most beautiful dinner and wine pairing by Chef Santiago and Spirits director, Antoine Hodge. The ingredients were all locally sourced and each dish was more interesting than the next. You could really tell how much goes into the dishes while each giving a nod to the Appalachian based ingredients. Following our dinner, we went to Dark Moon which is a speakeasy within White Moon Cafe. I had one of my favorite ever espresso martinis and we chatted with all of our friends in the town of Sylva that we had met throughout the weekend. It was an absolute blast!
Sunday was our last day of the trip. I kid you not, we woke up that morning trying to figure out how we could stay there longer but unfortunately, had real life to get back to. Before a long travel day however, we had a private morning yoga session which was an absolute perfect way to start the day. Bear Lake Reserve is a little over an hour from the Asheville airport so we had rented a car for the weekend to get get there and back. We had a minivan which navigated the winding rounds well (I deff recommend getting a 4 wheel drive).
As for the Asheville airport, you do not need to get there two hours early since it is so small. I actually had to wait at the counter for quite awhile because the airline clerks don’t start checking luggage until about an hour before the flight. I am usually someone who has to get to the airport super early and then will just chill at the bar and do work or read just for peace of mind however that wasn’t really an option with this airport since I was checking a bag 🙂
Overall the experience was 10/10. The people of Silva, the employees of Bear Lake Reserve and Castle Ladyhawke could not have been more lovely. There were quite a few transplants from New York to the town and we could totally understand why. It was filled with culture, people of different backgrounds, amazing food and wine and all around a really small town and friendly feeling. And guess what? We are already planning our next trip back!