Asheville: The Cliffs at Walnut Cove

By Charlene & Richard Mixa

Community! Golf! Location!  Asheville’s Premier Private Community Beckons

Views at Walnut Cove

Views at Walnut Cove

The power of a BLT! A favorite southern sandwich, a traditional BLT is made up of just five ingredients: bacon, lettuce, tomato, mayonnaise and bread. Sitting on the verandah of the sales office of Walnut Cove Realty, Kent Smith, Founder and President, reveals the exciting tale of the Elliston family’s dream to develop the family homestead, 600 acres of pastureland in Avery’s Creek – just 15 minutes south of downtown Asheville – into a golf course. Needing additional acreage for a golf course community, Kent, a North Carolina native with a down-home southern charm, was negotiating with local farmers for extra property. It had been an unsuccessful meeting with a lone hold-out farmer. As Kent was leaving, he asked the farmer if he could have one of the tomatoes ripening on the on porch, as he hadn’t had a good BLT in a long time. “You like BLT’s! Come on in!”   Immediately the farmer invited Kent back into the house making them each a BLT sandwich. Thus began a wonderful friendship and a successful acquisition of pastureland and forest that would become Asheville’s premier gated community – The Cliffs at Walnut Cove.

Asheville in the Western North Carolina Mountains has charmed and enticed visitors for well over a century with its beauty and climate.   George Vanderbilt so loved the area he built his renowned Biltmore House and Estate as his mountain retreat. Developers have sought and continue to seek parcels of land to create small and large developments for those lured to these magical mountains. Each desiring to live in and own a little bit of “God’s Country!”

Walnut Cove surrounded by mountains

Walnut Cove surrounded by mountains

Standing on the verandah, we have a fantastic pristine scenic view of the Walnut Cove community. A verdant valley creates a natural amphitheater with a Jack Nicklaus Signature Golf Course as the center stage, all surrounded by the Pisgah National Forest. Dramatic mountain vistas are seen in every direction. While Kent explains the passion to preserve the natural beauty and tranquility of the land, we easily see how this private residential community lives up to its vision for a planned upscale community nestled amidst the beautiful and unspoiled rolling hills of a National Forest. The amphitheater setting assures all home owners have majestic views of the mountains or valley.

From luxurious townhomes to estate size homes and acreage from .25 acres to 10 acres, homeowners have choices to fit their lifestyle. Master-planned as a low density, environmentally sensitive, private residential community that provides its residents outdoor recreation opportunities without compromising the natural resources of the land, The Cliffs at Walnut Cove attracts retirees, families and young professionals. Here they find a rare combination of seclusion, convenience, natural splendor and refined elegance. Visiting for the day, we experience the “community” setting and gracious hospitality that “beckons” people to make Walnut Cove home. Everyone we meet is most welcoming and quickly shares their story and enthusiasm for this fantastic community.

The golf course, lake and mountains!

The golf course, lake and mountains!

Golfers, fishermen, and hikers, as well as, outdoor and health enthusiasts will thrill at the activities. Tee it up on the Jack Nicklaus Signature Golf Course, drop a line in a trout pond, take a hike on miles of trails within the community or acres of adjacent protected parklands, play some tennis, take a class at the Nature Center, or get fit in an 18,000-square-foot Wellness Center, the choices are endless. Have a passion for making a difference – get involved in one of the charitable or philanthropic efforts. Touring the fantastic Fitness Center with the most up-to-date equipment, we see how the Cliffs at Walnut Cove strives and succeeds in improving the lives of their members every day. From yoga to cooking classes to golf fitness, members can easily pursue their passion. Best of all –it is year round –thanks to a four-season southern climate.

The Cliffs at Walnut Cove's Tavern Restaurant

The Cliffs at Walnut Cove’s Tavern Restaurant

At the heart of Walnut Cove stands the Club Village, featuring The Golf House and The Tavern Restaurant & Bar where this community truly comes together. Here we find members gathering for lunch and sharing tales of their day with friends or family. Over our tasty and hearty lunches at the Tavern, we learn how even Kent and Dotti, his wife, have been lured to make The Cliffs at Walnut Cove their permanent home. With Dotti’s real estate background and Kent’s property development background, they had knowledge of all the various communities and what each offered. Walnut Cove won hands down!   Each morning over a cup of coffee on their porch, they thrill at their magnificent vista of the age old mountains and a spectacular golf course.

The picturesque Cliffs at Walnut Cove

The picturesque Cliffs at Walnut Cove

Fore! It’s time to tackle the award-winning Jack Nicklaus Signature Golf Course. After warming up on their extensive impeccable practice area, we stand at the first tee of this par-71 course. As many golfers know, Jack Nicklaus courses historically can be “extremely demanding” for the average golfer. We recalled playing “The Bear” at Grand Traverse Resort in Michigan where after our round we felt beaten and discouraged. Thus, we are a little apprehensive of Nicklaus’ courses.   Today we find a course that is both extremely breathtaking and playable. Nicklaus has created a course that is plenty challenging for the low handicapper with lots of forced carriers yet still enjoyable for the more casual golfer with other options of shots to play. Featuring gentle rolling slopes, challenging greens, bentgrass fairways and strong, strategic bunkering, the course is nestled in a spectacular natural amphitheater bordered to the north by the Blue Ridge Parkway and to the west by the Pisgah National Forest.

No. 11  a Par-3

No. 11 a Par-3

Impressive!   Walnut Cove’s golf course is in championship condition! Members can justly brag about this fantastic Signature Golf Course. The front nine is routed through the mountain meadows of what was once rolling farmland, while its back nine threads between oaks and evergreens, and around streams and creeks. Kent provides pointers and suggestions on each hole, which helps with our strategy. Be prepared for a few surprises. Thinking I had made a terrific shot, I arrive to find my ball in the sliver of a creek that cuts across the fairway on No. 10. At least I salvaged some respect by putting in from off the green for a bogey. It is a memorable day of golf at a memorable golf course.

Location! Location! Location! The Cliffs at Walnut Cove meets all three! First, as we’ve already mentioned, it is located in “God’s Country” of North Carolina surrounded by the Pisgah National Forest and the Blue Ridge Parkway. Second, outside its gates are shopping, banks, and highly acclaimed medical facilities, avoiding the challenges of other communities that are isolated and far from the conveniences of stores and shops. Even the airport is only 10 minutes away and less than that is a major Interstate. Third, it is only minutes from downtown Asheville, a city that is consistently recognized as one of the best places to live in the country. Brimming with culture and flavor and a variety of lifestyle options, Asheville “toasts” accolades of “One of America’s Top 15 Dream Towns, A Top 10 Great Adventure Town, One of the 20 Best Places to Retire in the World, and One of the Most Secure U.S. Places to Live” It’s even been rated as “America’s Happiest City for Women.” Not to be left out the Men’s Journal quickly followed that up with its own high rating.

Walnut Cove even has an extra feature other North Carolina Mountain communities are lacking. It is part of The Cliffs, a collection of residential communities set among a million acres of protected national forest reaching north to Asheville, North Carolina, and south to Greenville, South Carolina. Members can choose from three regions–Mountain, Lake Keowee and Asheville–across seven communities–The Cliffs at Mountain Park, The Cliffs Valley, The Cliffs at Glassy, The Cliffs at Keowee Springs, The Cliffs at Keowee Falls, The Cliffs at Keowee Vineyards and The Cliffs at Walnut Cove. A single membership at The Cliffs provides access to the incredible range of amenities across all seven communities, including clubhouses, golf courses, wellness centers, hiking trails, tennis courts, an equestrian center, a beach club, marinas and restaurants, and a member of one community is a member of all communities. The highly acclaimed development has received numerous accolades, including “America’s Top 10 Golf Communities” by GOLF Magazine, “Top 10 Private Golf Communities” by Robb Report and “America’s 100 Premier Properties,” by LINKS Magazine.

Seeking to own a piece of “God’s Country” in North Carolina’s Blue Ridge Mountains, be sure to visit The Cliffs at Walnut Cove. This upscale private residential community offers a wonderful sense of community, fantastic recreational activities, a magnificent signature golf course and one of the best “locations” in the mountains.

If you go:
The Cliffs at Walnut Cove, Cliffs Land Partners, LLC, 22 South Main Street, Greenville, SC 29601 866.411.5771

Walnut Cove Realty, 158 Walnut Valley Parkway, Arden, NC 28704; 828.684.5151;

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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.