If you’ve felt a little stir-crazy in the last year—or home has seemed a little less sweet—you might have the itch to trade your four walls for others. Rental data backs this up: bookings for “rural” Airbnb properties have surged since the pandemic, and 62 percent of people say they’re interested in taking a vacation within driving distance.
Should you be lucky enough to land a reservation at John and Carla Barnard’s modern Airbnb just outside of Asheville, you won’t just get four different walls—you’ll enjoy walls of windows with a mountain view expansive enough to put some mental distance between you and your daily grind.
Long before the pandemic turned the travel industry upside down, John and Carla were feeling a little stir-crazy themselves. In 2011, the couple quit their big-time corporate jobs to drive around the United States and Canada in an RV. Two years later, the pendulum of desire swung back, and they decided to build a house on a beautiful plot of land. When John’s parents gave him a hammer that Christmas, it was mostly a joke since they didn’t have any practical construction experience. “We designed the house to be easy to build because we wanted to do a lot of it ourselves,” explains John. “We like simplicity and modernism . . . it also helped that a basic box was easier to build.”
The finished house, a long, modern structure with walls of enormous windows, stretches across the property in search of the best view from every room. “The guiding principle in the house is to let the view do the talking,” John says. The couple limited the palette of materials to glass, steel, raw concrete, and local poplar. They kept the furnishings spare, too—clean and modern, with pops of vibrant color. The result was a home so refreshingly peaceful the Barnards occasionally rented it out while they were traveling, thinking other people might enjoy it. In fact, their rental bookings grew so steadily that the Barnards purchased another primary residence and began renting the mountain-view house full-time.
“We think our house is pretty special,” their simple Airbnb description reads. After you spend a little time in this quiet, minimal escape with a view that invites you to be still, you might find that “special” is an understatement.
John and Carla Barnard’s popular Airbnb is frequently booked. Watch for weekday availability or book early to get your best choice of dates. Search “The best view in Asheville!” airbnb.com; $426/night
The Barnards’ house is a hiker’s dream. Local trails, including Warren Wilson College’s trail system and “hidden gem” Shope Creek trail are within a mile or two from the house, while a five-minute drive will land you at the Blue Ridge Parkway’s entrance, which offers access to some of the area’s most stunning hikes (or scenic drives, if that’s more your speed).
Carve out time to renew body and soul with pandemic-friendly wellness therapies. Active types might enjoy a brisk guided yoga and waterfall hike led by locals at Namaste in Nature. Prefer to spend your winter laying low? Treat yourself to a massage from a massage therapist who comes to you—no travel required.
namasteinnature.com; massageonwheels.com, (828) 367-7280
You won’t go hungry with Asheville’s array of restaurants to choose from, but if you’re looking for insider favorites, John and Carla recommend takeaway from Okie Dokies Smokehouse, a Swannanoa BBQ joint beloved by locals.
2375 US 70, Swannanoa. (828) 686-0050, okiedokiesbbq.com
If you can tear yourself away from the view, venture out to Appalachian Vintner, a well-curated craft beer and wine market, to pick up a bottle or two to enjoy back at the Airbnb. Natural wine fans rejoice—their selection of pét-nat, orange, and natural wines is one of the largest in the region.
745 Biltmore Ave, #121, Asheville. (828) 505-7500, appalachianvintner.com