By Frances Figart
From the moment you drive onto the secluded property, you can feel it. A sense of time stopping, your blood pressure dropping, the cares of work and the world falling away. There’s an element of peace, yet also an expectation that exciting, even magical things are about to happen.
You are greeted by a gurgling stream, the smiles of landscapers, an occasional cat or duck sauntering across the tree-lined driveway, and a friendly check-in staff welcoming you to Mountain Springs Cabins. Glancing around the property, you can see tiny homes, brightly colored yurts and quaintly cheerful mountain cabins.
For 36 years, the idea has been for folks to feel comfortable and relaxed enough to take in the natural surroundings, whether they choose to enjoy one of the area’s many popular hikes, swim at a nearby waterfall, fish for local trout, or just watch Hominy Creek go by from a lodge porch or a solitary rock perch. Of the 13 cabins, five are pet friendly. One group of accommodations is designated “adults only” so couples can recreate their honeymoon.
“We’ve come back to these cabins by the stream for more than 20 years,” says Cheryl Fischer, who lives near Toledo, OH. “At first it was just the two of us; then our daughter and her family sometimes came too. Now we juggle busy schedules so that our entire family can come each year.”
Repeat guests often express a common sentiment: It’s like coming home. And this wooded Candler-based paradise is home for general manager Kate King. “The land that hosts Mountain Springs has been in my family since before the Civil War,” she says. “My father was a career Navy cryptographer, so most of my life was lived abroad. I came to this mountain every two years to visit my grandparents. It was my mother’s dream to come back someday and make this a reality.”
King’s mother, Sara Peltier, realized that dream and became a cabin hostess of some renown. Deaf since the age of 12 due to meningitis, Peltier created and ran the cabin rental business here for 24 years, booking reservations by mail or over the phone via the teletypewriter Relay Service provided by the NationalAssociation of the Deaf. She was named Deaf Business Woman of the Year in the mid ’80s.
Flash forward to 1996. King was busy being a librarian and interior designer in Nashville when the mountains started calling. “I wanted to come home and work with my parents at Mountain Springs,” she says. “My folks decided to retire in 2005, and I was able to purchase it. RVC Outdoors Destinations came along in 2010 and I decided to sell and become a part of their team.”
RVC has been redefining the outdoor experience across the country for the past decade. The company shares King’s passion for creating a relaxed vacation in which both nature and nurture play leading roles. Running in the background of the guest experience is an emphasis on sustainability and environmental consciousness.
For guests who don’t want to sever ties to the world outside, there is free and reliable Wi-Fi throughout the compound as well as expanded cable on flat screen TVs. Those itching to unplug and unwind can find their entertainment sitting on a bench by the bonfire, tubing in the stream, lying back in a cozy hammock or cooking dinner on a charcoal grill.
In keeping with the legacy of Peltier—who has recently returned to spend her final years with her daughter—plans are afoot to add the First Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) compliant yurt along with a streamside hammock cove this summer. “We also have plans for a Pampered Pup Village, hobbit houses, a few tree houses, and a new recreation area with lighted horseshoe pits and pirate ship playground with zipline,” says King, who loves looking out over the property in the evenings and hearing the chatter of families and the song of the Whippoorwill. A large swath of the 50 acres is made up of natural grassland, which blows in the breeze by day, and attracts thousands of fireflies on summer nights.
“We are looking at what it is you want,” says King, “whether it’s a family vacation, romantic getaway or even a solo retreat. Folks love coming here and being able to dial it all back a few notches.” Mountain Springs Cabins are located at 27 Emma’s Cove Road in Candler.
Learn more at rvcoutdoors.com/mountain-springs-cabins or by calling 877.918.9360.