A Little Bit of Heaven in Pisgah Forest at Pilot Cove
Searching for the perfect weekend away? You’ll want to book your trip to Pilot Cove in Pisgah National Forest after you read KAG’s review written by Kristina Hernandez. Find out what this unique spot near Brevard, NC offers its guests and all the nearby things to do. Complimentary nights were given at Pilot Cove and all opinions are those of the author.
Reading the reviews of Pilot Cove as I was getting ready for my trip led me to believe I was in for a real treat. “Nicer than the Grove Park Inn,” wrote one person. Another wrote that she felt like she was staying in a treehouse. Another said he could spend the rest of his life at Pilot Cove. None of these people were wrong. It’s hard to overstate how beautiful, peaceful, and relaxing the cabins are at Pilot Cove, which sits right at the entrance to Pisgah National Forest in Brevard, about ninety minutes from Greenville. But I’ll try anyways.
The location of the cabins are unbeatable, especially if you love the outdoors. You can walk to the entrance of Pisgah Forest or to a handful of restaurants nearby. It’s maybe 30 minutes from the Blue Ridge Parkway and less than 20 minutes to Dupont State Forest. Hiking trails, waterfalls, and fly fishing are minutes away.
But the thing is, once you get into your cabin at Pilot Cove, you may not want to leave.
Breaktaking is perhaps the best word I can use to describe the modern, yet rustic, cabins, that are integrated into the forest landscape. The deck at our cabin was big and dreamy with hooks already set for the locally made hammock that you are free to use during your stay (or purchase for $100 and take home with you – don’t think this didn’t cross my mind). The kitchen is spacious for any meals you want to cook. The table is oh-so-gorgeous and also locally crafted from beautiful wood. The furnishings are comfortably classic and you’re surrounded by huge photographs of the surrounding waterfalls and forest.
There is also a mud room and full washer and dryer so you can get as dirty as you like and still have clean clothes the rest of your trip. And if it rains, like it did when we were there, the music the water makes on the tin roof is beautiful.
It wasn’t long after I walked into Pilot Cove that I was already dreaming of a return trip. Being able to make your own meals saves a lot of money – there is a Bi-Lo and Wal-Mart within walking distance or a two-minute drive – and there is so much to do within an hour’s drive so you don’t need to go far in search of making lasting memories.
A Trail Runs Through Pilot Cove
The cabin was also spotless, the beds comfortable, and the property stunning. Pilot Cove has a trail system that runs throughout the land, backing up to Pisgah Forest and a bear sanctuary (we didn’t see any bears though!). The trails are open to both hiking and mountain biking and run about two miles in total. They have a ⅓ mile flow track for serious mountain bikers, which the company absolutely caters to since the owners are avid bikers. If you love that sport, this is the place to go. Each cabin also comes with a spot to wash off the bikes.
We hiked part of the trail and it’s a great workout with beautiful views as you wind around the ridge. I loved this part of the property because even though Pisgah Forest is literally right next door, the owners were thoughtful in their love of the outdoors to include a hiking trail within steps of the doors of the cabin.
More Cabins & a Glampground
Currently, Pilot Cove has 15 cabins that are either studio, one or two bedrooms. They all have the same basic layout and feel that you’re in a treehouse, which is so peaceful and relaxing.
They have plans to expand to 50 cabins plus a “glampground” with showers, picnic areas, fire rings, and even small sheds for bikes. Pilot Cove also hosts events like concerts in their amphitheater and offers yoga classes during the year.
Open All Year + Rates
Pilot Cove is open year round, which is perfect for families looking for a quiet retreat for just a few days or a whole week. I really can’t imagine any other location that is more ideal for families who love the outdoors and want to explore the area. During the summer, you can go tubing on the Davidson River basically across the street from the cabins. The fall brings the majestic turning colors of the leaves. Winter is wonderful for exploration during the off-season since the crowds are significantly thinned out. And spring brings wildflowers and the blooming rhododendrons along trails off the Blue Ridge Parkway and throughout Pisgah Forest.
Pilot Cove cabin rates vary by season and size. The off season (January 1- March 14) rates for the studio cabins during the week is $150/night and weekends are $175/night. One bedrooms for the same period are $175/weekday, $199/weekend, and the two bedroom cabin is $239/weekday and $279/weekend. Peak season rates on the studio are $199/weekday and $239/weekend. A one bedroom runs for $245/weekday, $289/weekend, and the two bedroom peak season rates are $299/weekday and $349/weekend.
Some cabins do allow dogs but they must be pre-approved ahead of your stay. No cats are allowed due to guest allergies.
Making the Most of Your Trip to Brevard, NC
The quaint town of Brevard and the bordering Pisgah Forest have plenty of activities, restaurants, and festivities to stay busy and have fun as a family. Here are a few of our favorite places to eat, shop, and enjoy the outdoors.
Eating in Brevard
Rocky’s Grill & Soda Shop in Brevard is a throwback to a 1950s dinner with checkered floor and red vinyl booths. They serve sandwiches, Hershey’s ice cream, milkshakes, burgers, and all kinds of hot dogs.
Magpie Meat & Three serves up local ingredients in the typical Southern meat and three style and is located in Brevard. They also serve sandwiches and have a kids menu.
For the best in European style pastries and breads that are made fresh daily, try Bracken Mountain Bakery in Brevard.
I fell in love with boutique clothing and jewelry shop right off Brevard’s main drag called Poplar & Ash this year while in the area for some waterfall chasing. The owner is an artist herself and somehow finds the most unique shoes and apparel, along with custom jewelry. There’s also a little area for kids to color while parents shop around.
Discovered by my family on a rainy day, the Crystal Mountain Gem Mine in Brevard is really cool and a fun activity for kids. They also sell all kinds of beautiful jewelry from local artists and is right on the main street through town.
Transylvania County is home to over 200waterfalls so checking them out is a must-do on a trip to the area. My favorites are Looking Glass Falls, right off 276 in Pisgah Forest, which you can see from the road, and Moore Cove Falls, which is on a short hike right past Looking Glass Falls. Dupont Forest is close as well, where you can easily see three or four waterfalls in a single hike.
If your family loves hiking, Brevard is the place to be. Swing through Dupont Forest for pretty easy hikes or try Daniel Ridge Loop in Pisgah Forest for a more challenging 4+ mile hike. I loved the view from Frying Pan Tower, a two-mile round trip hike off the Blue Ridge Parkway, that affords 360 views of the mountains. The options are endless but here are some hiking in Pisgah recommendations.
I’m no fly fisherman but every time I’ve been hiking in this area, I see fly fisherman, which has peaked my interest in the activity. Within an hour of Brevard, there are more than 500 miles of prime fly fishing waters. Headwater Outfitters and Davidson River Outfitters are two of the local companies that provide intro classes and fly fishing trips.
Mountain biking is a big draw to Pisgah Forest and a love of the owners of Pilot Cove, which is why they built their own flow track on the property for use by guests. Here is great info on where to go if you mountain bike near Pilot Cove.
During the summer, be sure to tube the Davidson River in Pisgah Forest. Every time we came to the forest during the warmer months, we saw people tubing and were a bit jealous.
I had no idea river snorkeling was a thing until I saw it on a brochure in the cabin at Pilot Cove. Oxbow River Snorkeling actually offers this cool water activity in rivers in Western North Carolina.
Indoor Family Activities
Don’t let rain stop your family from having fun on your trip. There are two really cool places in Pisgah Forest you should visit if the weather isn’t cooperating for outdoor activities. The Pisgah Center for Wildlife Education is a fish hatchery where you can see lots of trout getting ready to be released into local waters as well as learn about the environment, watersheds, and foliage in both indoor and outdoor exhibits. It’s free, too.
The Cradle of Forestry has an amazing indoor, interactive exhibit that is outfitted to look like a forest with a little cave and staircase to get to the top of a tree. There is even a helicopter that plays a video where it seems you are flying over a forest fire. Outdoors trails are a part of the Cradle of Forestry as well if you’d like to explore old trains and cabins and learn about the history of the area. Admission is $6/adults, $3/kids 4-12 and they are open daily April – November.
The Blue Ridge Parkway is a must-do if you visit during the fall season when the leaves turn shades of bright reds, oranges, and yellows. Seeing it in photos and see it in person are two separate experiences and choose the latter if you can. The scenery is just stunning and from Pilot Cove, you can be at the entrance to the Parkway within 30 minutes.
The Blue Ghost firefly tour out of the Cradle of Forestry in May is also an experience not to be missed. The small fireflies light up along the pitch black pathway of the trail and it feels like you’re walking in a dream. I did it this year and was mesmerized!
Sierra Nevada Brewery is a great place to spend a few hours with your family as they have a little kids play area, corn hole, a huge outdoor space, live music, and great food and beer. You can get there in 25 minutes from Pilot Cove.
Sometimes I feel like living in Greenville isn’t real, that I’ll wake up from the best dream ever and realize I don’t live here any longer. Not only is Greenville a wonderful place for families, but some of our country’s most astounding landmarks are within a 90 minute drive from the Upstate – how awesome is that?! If you’re considering exploring Brevard during any time of the year, certainly look at Pilot Cove. Those memories you’ll make as a family are irreplaceable.
Pilot Cove : Forest Lodging
Directly bordering the vast Pisgah National Forest, Pilot Cove offers a hospitality experience unlike anything existing in Western North Carolina or the Southeast USA. Modern 'cabins' with custom finishes were designed for guests to interact with the surrounding forest and mountain views, each oriented to ensure guest privacy.
Created with outdoor recreation tourists in mind, guests enjoy direct access to Pisgah National Forest's renowned trails, roadways, rock walls, and trophy waters. For cyclists, the cabins offer ride in / ride out access to hundreds of miles of mountain biking trails, also the Blue Ridge Parkway for road cycling. While each cabin feels a world apart in the forest, restaurants, grocery stores, bike shops, outfitters, breweries, and shopping are all located within walking distance. Brevard NC, named one of the best small towns in America, is located a short five-minute drive away. The bohemian city of Asheville is 30 miles away.
Pilot Cove currently features 10 cabins for rent, ranging in size from 440 square feet (efficiency cabin), to 660 square feet (one bedroom cabin), to 880 square feet (two bedroom cabin). Long-term plans include 46 total cabins, a campground with yurts and lean-to shelters, an amphitheater for weddings and special events, and a flow trail system open to hiking and mountain biking.
Please visit www.pilotcove.com for more information and to book your visit today.
Pilot Cove Forest Lodging
319 Gateway Junction Dr.
Pisgah Forest, NC 28768
Enjoy privacy and modern comforts while visiting Brevard NC and Pisgah National Forest! Pilot Cove offers architect-designed modern cabins that interact with the beautiful surrounding forest and mountain views. Directly bordering Pisgah National Forest, Pilot Cove’s location offers easy access to hiking, biking and outdoor recreation. On property, Pilot Cove features trails, an amphitheater for special events, picnic areas, and fire rings on site for guests to enjoy. Each luxury cabin is appointed with a full kitchen, private bathroom with walk-in shower, washer/dryer, cable/wifi, and covered deck. Choose from studio, one bedroom, and two bedroom floor plans to best suit your group’s needs. Contact us today for additional information!
Pilot Cove: A Slice Of Pisgah Paradise
Looking up at this mountain, all you see are trees. That’s exactly the way they want it to be.
It’s quiet. Granted, there is a humming diesel motor from the guys finishing the new amphitheater bathroom, but other than that, I feel like I’m in the woods. I can throw a rock into Pisgah National Forest from here. I love it!
Today I’m at Pilot Cove, just outside of Brevard, North Carolina with photographer and friend, Roman Rusinov. We’re here to meet the owners, take a tour of the property, and god willing, ride some bikes.
Upon arrival, we’re greeted by managing partners Collin O’Berry, Lane Lastinger, and his (giant) Great Dane puppy. Aptly named Zilla, she loved to lick your face when you crouched down to take a picture. We get a brief tour of the new amphitheater then hop into the side-by-side to explore the property. It’s a crisp and sunny March day, perfect weather for riding around in the woods.
The Birth Of A Dreamland
Former lawyers, Lane and his wife moved to North Carolina from Florida around three years ago. They wanted to do something different with their time but weren’t sure what. This is when they met Collin, their real estate agent. One year later, Pilot Cove was born.
Approaching their second year in business, Collin and Lane are raising the bar for accommodations in the area.
Put simply, Pilot Cove’s cabins are pretty damn luxurious, but in an outdoorsy way. “We want our guests to have the perfect combination of relaxation and being outside,” says O’Berry. They are rustic and modern, beautiful and rugged. Each cabin was designed with the land in mind. The location, views, and topography were all taken into account during construction.
Upon entry, there is a spacious mud room with lockers for gear. Coat hangers made from old spigot handles add to the rustic vibe. A washer and dryer are to your right and the bathroom is straight ahead. Walking into the great room, I was enamored by the natural lighting. Large sliding doors and windows bring the outside in. You feel like you’re in a treehouse. A really, really nice treehouse.
Out on the deck, there are a couple of chairs for lounging and hooks to hang your hammock. Every unit has a set of ENO Hammocks to use. Even though highway 280 and 276 are just down the mountain, I can only hear the leaves rattling in the wind.
Built on an Air BNB style booking system, guests let themselves in at their convenience. Cabin sizes range from smaller efficiency units to larger one and two-bed units. There are currently 10 cabins on the property with plans to add more in the future.
All of the cabins are consistent with design. From the construction to the decor, materials were sourced as locally as possible. Blending into the forest, no one stands out more than the other.
When asked about their clientele, “We’ve got a group coming from Barbados and Aruba,” says Collin. Lane adds, “A lot of folks come here from Canada during the winter months because we’re open year-round.” They have also hosted some celebrity guests, but if I told you who they were, you might get a visit from the cleaner.
Even the chickens have stellar accommodations here. Their coop automatically closes at night, keeping them warm and safe from predators. Guests are welcomed to pick fresh eggs from the coop for breakfast. There are beehives on the property that provide honey as well, but don’t try and harvest that yourself.
While Pilot Cove is centrally located near infinite recreation opportunities, they have a beautiful property as well (67 acres of it). We were taken on a tour of property’s boundary trail, crossing creeks, bridges, steep climbs, and some fun descents. U.S. Forest Service and state wildlife signs dot the trees along the trail, bordering one mile of Pisgah National Forest.
“Our goal was to have a minimal impact on the forested property. Efficient site design was a priority for sustainability and our intended guest experience. Plans at full build out call for only 17% of the property to be disturbed; the rest will remain in its natural state and will include trails.” – Collin O’Berry
On our trip along the boundary trail, we pass several springhouses, Lane drives up a steep and narrow path. After digging through some rocks, Collin pulls up a 50-year-old bottle of moonshine sealed in wax. One of the last remnants of an old still from decades ago.
At the top of the boundary trail sits Sunset Point, the only vista on the property. It’s tucked away from the cabins with some picnic tables and a firepit. The perfect place for an evening get-together.
Feeling The Flow
As mountain bikers, Roman and I were pretty stoked to see the flow track and get some tires in the dirt. Pilot Cove’s flow track is a great little session spot to enjoy some beers and biking. The track features whoops, water bars, a wooden berm, and a little tabletop in a continuous loop. It’s fast and fun! Collin and Lane brought in Todd Branham of Long Cane Trails to design and build the track. Todd is responsible for organizing some of the most prolific races in the region (ORAMM, Couch Potato, SWANK), and knows a thing or two about trail building.
Exploring Beyond The Cove
I spent the last year living in Brevard, NC, so I know the area pretty well. Pilot Cove is centrally located to everything. Literally, right at the entrance, you have a bike shop, bar, ice cream, food trucks, a brewery, bbq, a grocery store, and of course, Pisgah National Forest!
The Hub and Pisgah Tavern is a great bike shop with a bar and revolving food trucks. Next door is Dolly’s ice cream. Across the street, you have Hawg Wild BBQ and Ecusta Brewing. About 15 minutes down the road is Dupont State Forest. It’s 10 minutes to Downton Brevard, and about an hour to Asheville.
What’s Next For Pilot Cove?
Cut into the mountainside sits their incredible new amphitheater. Working with Chris Faulkner of Wheelhouse Builders, the used as much material from the land as possible in the construction. White Oaks felled for the clearing now support the roof. It’s absolutely beautiful. The first event they’re hosting is a wedding in May. After that, it will be open to the public for events like concerts, yoga gatherings, weddings, movie nights and more.
Future mountain biking guests will be happy to know that they are also planning to add more trails and tracks to the property.
The team at Pilot Cove are great folks. You can tell that their love for the area and passion for the outdoors really shines through in the place. A huge thanks to Lane and Collin for taking the time to show us around, and for the lunch at Magpie!
When you come to Western North Carolina, this is a place you want to stay. Speaking of, they offered to put us up for a night. We politely declined since we only live an hour away.
We should’ve stayed.
Justin Forrestis an outdoor writer, fly fishing addict, and co-founder of Narrative North—based in Asheville, N.C. He posts pictures of cats and fishing on Instagram sometimes.
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Thirteen. Thank you, Master, Fourteen, Thank you, Master - she sobbed. The final fifteenth blow hit everyone else, choking her in pain, so she couldn't. Say thank you immediately.Pilot Cove Fall 2016
And all of you: shove in vain, shove in vain. - Ira was pleased with her entrepreneurial spirit. Okay, okay. Pash, go ahead and tell me.
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