Laura Holbrook recently graduated from Fruitland and has moved back to her native Alaska with her husband Nate. They are always outdoors and have enjoyed living in Western North Carolina. We asked them what they had to say to incoming students about enjoying the area around Fruitland in their spare time.

The cool thing about living here is you’re within driving distance of awesome hiking, awesome kayaking. You have Pisgah, Dupont , Caesar’s Head, Rumbling Bald. We hike Bear Wallow near the school. Bradley Falls in Saluda is probably our favorite place. Our favorite two hikes around here are Bradley Falls and Rumbling Bald. You can hike as long as you like at Rumbling Bald. Our last hike there was five or six hours. On the top to where we hiked it looks like giants had stacked rocks the size of my car, and you can climb to the top of them. But not far up, maybe 45 minutes depending on how fast you go, there is a little side trail. There’s a beautiful overlook of Lake Lure and a little creek flowing down the side of it. Its really beautiful.

We like to go to South Carolina for kayaking. Bear Creek Lake, Lake Keeowee, Lake Jokassee. Lake Adger and Lake Summit are here in North Carolina. If you like hiking or kayaking its all right here. Its gorgeous.

And then if you like city, you can do a weekend trip to Charlotte, which I’ve been doing a lot lately. I love downtown Asheville. The restaurants here are incredible, like the French Broad Chocolate Lounge. I love going to Biltmore Village. We’re not used to being 5 minutes from Wal Mart! But really, I love going to downtown Hendersonville. Lots of times in the evenings when we don’t have anything to do, we just go walking around downtown Hendersonville. Its pretty. Its cute. We’ll go to get ice cream at Kilwins. We have the new Biltmore mall. I like the Flat Rock area. We like going to the Flat Rock Bakery.

I would tell someone just coming to Fruitland to find an outdoorsy local to tell you about places. Go exploring. There is so much to find here. Have fun finding your favorite spots and things to do!