ASHEVILLE, N.C. - Love at first sight not only happens with people and puppies, it can strike with places as well. Especially when that place is the outdoor lover's mega paradise -- the mountains of Western North Carolina.
There are plenty of romantic settings near Asheville for sure, such as the forested setting of Skinny Dip Falls off the Blue Ridge Parkway, watching the sunset from Mount Leconte in the Smokies or spending a day exploring the trails and walking paths of the Biltmore Estate.
But you don't have to get naked, go far or spend much to enjoy time with a sweetheart in the great outdoors.
Allison Barr, a first-grade teacher at Mills River Elementary, said she and husband, Peter, often enjoy outdoors dates. The two were married in the chapel in Cataloochee Valley and like to hike there and on the Blue Ridge Parkway when weather allows.
Peter Barr, who has written a hiking guide on fire towers, said those can be romantic getaways, but so can trails such as Bearwallow Mountain south of Asheville, with a bald summit for great sweeping views and a place to spread out a picnic.
"We've gone up on the parkway to have dinner and pick a west-facing overlook all bundled up in hats and scarves," Allison Barr said of their romantic outings. "We've gone bike riding in Bent Creek and had dinner in downtown Asheville after that.
"Being out in a national park or in the woods is the only time your phone doesn't work, or you're not distracted by a phone, so you can really pay attention to each other," she said.
Following are more ideas to enjoy the natural wonders of the nearby mountains with someone close to your heart.
Hiking with your honey...
Want more reasons to fall in love with Asheville and WNC? Check out these great photos!