A Higher Elevation: The new eco-retreat promises a unique outdoor experience

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A natural feeling – Guests can participate in a range of different activities at the retreat, including yoga. The new space promises communal well-being and group healing.

Until 2015, a 28-acre Dude Ranch sat in the shadow of Mount Mitchell, the highest peak in the eastern United States. After its closure, the sprawling property — located halfway between the summit and the city of Burnsville — was full of potential but remained criminally empty. In October 2021, this potential was realized with the opening of the Mount Mitchell Eco Retreat on the same 28 acres.

The property’s revitalization was undertaken by owners Sean and Heather Busher, who recognized its potential for relaxation and reconnection with nature. “Eco” isn’t just in the retreat’s name—it’s in its mission and amenities. Sixteen cozy rooms and suites spread over four buildings; Common spaces, including a communal kitchen, dining room, and fire pits, provide space for guests to connect with each other and the world around them. The highly anticipated Healing House, which opened in the spring, gives guests the chance to unwind with yoga, a massage, or try something unfamiliar like energy healing. An organic food market offers healthy food options that guests can enjoy, with hopes that a food forest and greenhouse will complement the campus in the future. No time for phones here — days are filled with hiking, meditating, exploring streams and pastures, stargazing, or contemplating the view from a rocking-chair-laden porch.

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