Asheville’s Wrong Way River Lodge Brings Scandinavia to Appalachia

the drove in Asheville somehow never disappoints. On the evening of my arrival, the highway cuts its curvy path through the really smoky mountains, the ridges furthest on the horizon appearing a dark blue contrasting with the setting sun. As you enter the city along the French Broad River, you’ll pass muddy industrial estates, breweries, bike shops, rafting providers and diverse galleries – a scene like no other. matches the French Renaissance castle just outside the tourist attraction town.

But that quaintness, along with access to some of the best outdoor activities in the eastern half of the United States, is a central part of Asheville’s charm. It offers rafting, hiking, James Beard Award-winning restaurants and one of the largest concentrations of Art Deco architecture. It’s a strange thing, and so the reason I’m there is for our sake. Room key lineto see one of the newer but more intriguing hotels in the country–Sai Way River Hostels & Cabins.

It was an eerie sight when viewed from the road, a series of A-frame cabins on concrete pillars lining the street facing the river. The aesthetic—Scappalachian, as its owners name it, fuses Scandinavian with Appalachian—is pleasant without being out of the ordinary. The cabins are made of SIPS boards and are clad with different types of wood from trees that were cut down at the site when it was being built. A small gravel path curves gracefully along the entrance to each cabin. Inside, the cabins are minimalistic without frills, with elements like colorful murals or table tops and bookcases made of reclaimed wood from a youth camp brightening the space. The luxury cabins have skylights on the side to give them more space and light. The base of the property, 13 cabins in total, is located in the floodplain of the river, hence the concrete columns.

The cabins are self-check-in by code, so if you want to be anti-social you can, but there’s a lodge in the center with a canteen and lounge where you can mingle with other guests and locals, as the owner determined that it was a large open space for all.

The hotel gets its name from the idea that France’s Broad River, like the Nile, flows “the wrong way” or from south to north. The Wrong Way River Lodge was created by former rafting guides and the river is the central part of the property’s charm because of the green path where you can walk or run along the river located right across the street. (The entrance to Biltmore is also a short drive away, although I never made it outside of real estate within a reasonable time frame.)

So many hotels sprang up afterwards that looked the same and often didn’t fit their destination. If there’s one thing that the Scappalachians Sai Way River Hostels & Cabins cannot be charged, it looks like everything else.

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