A Mountain Community Above it All, Mountain Air

Gracious Elevated Living on a Mountaintop
by Charlene & Richard Mixa  

Mountain Scenery from Orville & Wilbur's Bar & Grill

Mountain Scenery from Orville & Wilbur’s Bar & Grill

The “Call of the Mountains” has people of all ages seeking the beauty and peacefulness of the western North Carolina Mountains.  While some seek a simple reclusive getaway others desire a welcoming friendly community that offers a range of amenities.  At Mountain Air Country Club we find a Mountain Shangri La atop Slickrock Mountain at 4,600 feet with its miles of beautiful mountain scenery and tranquil setting. This iconic mountain community is definitely above it all!

Mountain Air's private runway

Mountain Air’s private runway

Driving the winding road to the Club House, we arrive at this family-friendly, private gated community with spectacular 360 degree vistas.  Amazing, the mountain views are for miles and miles.  Yes, take a deep breath!  Here the air is clear and cool with summers being 10 to 15 degrees cooler than lower elevations and little or no humidity.  We quickly understand the attraction of the elevated living at Mountain Air.  For 25 years it has offered adventurous living and relaxation in the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina.  It boasts all the features of a luxury mountain resort for its homeowners including the Scott Pool designed golf course, Har-Tru tennis courts and even its own private runway.

The center of activity is the welcoming Slickrock Village Green, a complex of buildings, built of native timber and stone, around a large putting green where members can dine, get fit, see a movie, relax in the spa, shop, visit friends, take a hike or play golf.  Strolling the property, preparations are under way for the upcoming 4th of July Celebration from a parade to bounce houses to food trucks to dancing music with a fireworks finale.  The Outdoor Discovery Center brings the beauty and history of the oldest mountains in the world to a new level with an in-house naturalist to be Mountain Air’s private park ranger on nature and wild life.  The upscale fitness center assure residents stay active even beyond the seven miles of scenic walking trails, as well as, a refreshing community pool.  A variety of eateries are available from the casual open-air dining at Orville & Wilbur’s Bar and Grill to upscale dining in the Oak Room each with its own exceptional mountain views. The Slickrock Cinema features movies while the Spa Tohi offers the luxury of relaxation.  The Mountain Air 2017 booklet has a full listing of all the activities for old and young alike throughout the year assuring there is always something to do.  Members’ guests and visitors, taking advantage of a Mountain Air Experience Package, enjoy the luxury accommodations at The Falling Leaf Lodge.

Miles of mountain views on Hole No. 8 a par-5

Miles of mountain views on Hole No. 8 a par-5

After our tour of this impressive member-owned club, we opt for a healthy and delicious lunch at Orville & Wilbur’s Bar & Grill.   From our table we delight in the mountain scenery and delight in watching an airplane take off on the private runway.  A clear beautiful day at the mountaintop, we are ready to take on the awarding-winning 18-hole golf course.  We quickly learn the GPS is most important in playing the course to best understand its many nuances.  On the first hole which appears relatively tame, I am glad to stay in the fairway, while Richard finds an errant shot into the tall grasses along the fairway where it is difficult to extract the ball.  The course is in excellent condition, actually the best condition of any of the golf courses we play this year in the mountains.  The front nine winds along the mountaintop with only a few holes having elevation change.  Designed along the mountaintop, holes are along the hillside creating challenges of uphill on one side of the fairway and steep downhill on the other.  On Hole No. 2, a par-3, is cut into the hillside.  Miscalculating a shot requires attempting to stand on the steep hillside in tall grass to extricate the ball, assuming it is found.  As we adapt to the course, we begin to get a better comfort level and improve our touch on the challenging contour greens.  It’s a 90 foot drop from the tee to the green at Hole No. 5, a short par-3.  Our tee shots stay in the air a long time before landing.  Hurrah, we’re both on the green.  Driving to the sixth hole, we confirm it’s all clear” as we drive around the runway to get to the next hole.   Scenery is spectacular at the Hole No. 8, a par-5, where the green blends into miles of scenic mountains. Hurray, Richard gets a birdie!

Dramatic Drop on Hole No. 10 a par-3

Dramatic Drop on Hole No. 10 a par-3

On the back nine we find much more change in elevation.  In fact there is over 900 feet change in the altitude on these holes.  Arriving at No. 10, a par-3, the drop is amazing as we look down to a postage stamp green.  Thankfully the GPS and the tee has markers indicating the actual yardage to the green and the distance it “plays.”  Selecting a club for the “plays” yardage we both watch and wait and celebrate as each ball lands on the green.  The following holes continue with dramatic elevation changes, definitely keeping us on our toes for proper club selection and best strategies for playing each hole.  Richard is on a roll with pars on the opening holes on the back nine.  On No. 14, another par-3, still requires shorter clubs than the distance. We are happy with pars.  At Hole No. 15, the course begins to climb and wind back to the top of the mountain.  Reaching the 18th hole, a par-5, we find a demanding uphill fairway.  Richard has three great shots to the green and two putts for his par.  It’s an exciting day of golf with beautiful weather on one of this most scenic mountain course in pristine condition.

Mountain Air is definitely elevated living!  This well-run club truly has activities to fit the needs, wants and desires of all of its members.  Everyone we meet is welcoming, friendly and helpful.  For those interested in seeing if Mountain Air fits their dream getaway, the Stay and Play Mountain Air Experience Package gives a glimpse of all Mountain Air has to offer.  Perched on Slickrock Mountain, Mountain Air Country Club proves it is a mountain Shangri La, where once one arrives in this scenic Blue Ridge Mountain setting with its plethora of activities one wants to stay forever.
If you go:
Mountain Air Country Club, 337 Clubhouse Drive, Burnsville, NC 28714
(828) 682-5600
www.mountainairmembers.com

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About Charlene Mixa

Seeing new places, learning about cultures and seeing the sights has always been my dream. Growing up I was blessed with parents that enjoyed traveling and thought nothing of taking a family of seven on excursions. My career in Human Resources and later as a consultant for an international Human Resource firm offered some travel, but I knew as my husband and I approached retirement, my goal was to do more traveling and broader trips. The nine years since retirement has been filled with fantastic adventures from short local one day trips to several week excursions. Living in Florida, it is especially enjoyable to be away in the summer to cooler climates. Multi-week driving trips across the good ol' USA, settling in for a month in the mountains to explore the local area, or a combination of both fill much of our summer season. Our travels are predominantly self-orchestrated, bringing the fun and challenge of getting everything to click. It's all about doing and sharing! Experiencing a travel adventure is exciting. Reliving a special travel moment with a friend or family is exhilarating. I feel my heart race and pulse quicken, as I sharing that special moment. Thank you for joining in my travel adventures and allowing me to hear your stories.