The Lodge at River Run // Banner Elk Travel Guide

Excited to share a travel diary + guide for my recent trip to The Lodge at River Run in Banner Elk, NC. 

Banner Elk Travel Guide // Visit North Carolina // The Lodge at River Run // Louella Reese Life & Style Blog

I can’t believe it was two weeks ago today but two Mondays ago, Morgan and I were hanging out in Banner Elk, NC. We received a preview of fall, indulged in some seriously tasty food, and explored a new town, to us. One of the best trips we’ve been on together to date! I know I’m going to have a hard time fitting everything in today’s post. So I will go ahead and apologize in advance for an incredibly long post, sorry!

While we were visiting the Banner Elk area, our true destination was The Lodge at River Run. This is where we stayed and the center of our trip. Everything else we planned was just that, planned around The Lodge at River Run. So let’s dive into what we planned, our stay at the lodge, and my recommendations for those visiting the Banner Elk area. 

Where To Stay 

Surprise, surprise, my recommendation is The Lodge at River Run. I randomly came across the lodge a couple months ago and immediately fell in love. While looking at their site and all of the photos they share I was started daydreaming about lazy mornings on the deck overlooking the river, cozy evenings around a bonfire, and days spent soaking in the mountain air. Upon arriving, all of my daydreams came true! Morgan and I spent lots of time on the deck overlooking the river, we roasted marshmallows over the most perfect bonfire one evening, and we soaked up as much mountain air as possible during our three days there. 

We also did a lot more! The Lodge at River Run is so much more than a place to stay, it’s an experience. An experience created by the owners, Ray and Laura, and the inn keeper, Bobbie. By the time we left, we truly felt like family and were sad to say goodbye. Seriously, I didn’t want to leave them {or our cozy room}. 

Banner Elk Travel Guide // Visit North Carolina // The Lodge at River Run // Louella Reese Life & Style Blog

Banner Elk Travel Guide // Visit North Carolina // The Lodge at River Run // Louella Reese Life & Style Blog

Banner Elk Travel Guide // Visit North Carolina // The Lodge at River Run // Louella Reese Life & Style Blog

The lodge offers five guest rooms. We chose to stay in The Hummingbird Suite which is absolutely adorable. The room has ginger jar lamps, it was meant to be my room! This room has two twins, which was perfect for Morgan and myself. Additionally, there are two sinks in the bathroom with plenty of space for toiletries, make-up, etc. Aka a blogger {or really any gal’s} dream. Aside from this suite, every suite has a king size bed. The Mountain Laurel also offers a futon sofa bed for an additional one or two guests.  Each room is decorated to perfection! There isn’t a single detail Laura missed when designing each room. Trust me, you will leave with home decor inspiration. 

Banner Elk Travel Guide // Visit North Carolina // The Lodge at River Run // Louella Reese Life & Style Blog

In addition to the incredible rooms, you receive a gourmet breakfast each morning prepared by Bobbie. These are indulging breakfasts, so be prepared and come hungry. To say I was excited about breakfast each morning is a HUGE understatement. Monday morning it was blueberry stuffed French toast with blueberry syrup, chocolate shavings, and drizzled chocolate {pictured below}. Tuesday we had ham and potato quiche, grits, heirloom tomatoes, and sticky buns. I mean, how do you go back to your normal routine after that? 

Aside from breakfast, there is also an afternoon cocktail hour from 5-6pm. Again, Bobbie prepares some amazing food for you to indulge in and wine bottles are opened. Our first afternoon Bobbie whipped up some homemade Pimento Cheese dip + a cheeseball stuffed with sundried tomatoes and basil {incredible}. The second afternoon was the dip pictured below, a onion cheese dip. All I have to say is, it’s addicting and I couldn’t stop. 

Banner Elk Travel Guide // Visit North Carolina // The Lodge at River Run // Louella Reese Life & Style Blog

Banner Elk Travel Guide // Visit North Carolina // The Lodge at River Run // Louella Reese Life & Style Blog

After spending hours, literally, looking over every detail in the house, we headed outdoors. Here, there’s even more to admire. The back deck is what dreams are made of. There’s a cozy sitting area, a hot tub, a beautiful bar, and a Charleston bed swing. As if that is not enough, the lodge backs right up to a river that could not be more beautiful. Morgan and I spent some time exploring while also snapping photos. I definitely felt in my element playing in the waters and again, soaking up that mountain air. As stated above, the lodge is an experience, it has so much to offer. I could absolutely go on and on about it but bottom line, I highly recommend you stay here! It’s the perfect spot to visit with your sweetie for a romantic weekend, a group of gal pals for a little relaxation + wine drinking, or family to celebrate a birthday, anniversary, or simply just weekend away together. 

Banner Elk Travel Guide // Visit North Carolina // The Lodge at River Run // Louella Reese Life & Style Blog

Banner Elk Travel Guide // Visit North Carolina // The Lodge at River Run // Louella Reese Life & Style Blog

Where To Eat 

Reid’s Cafe & Catering: Both Morgan and I went to Reid’s not feeling too hungry, thinking we’d get something light. Well that was quickly forgotten when we laid eyes on the menu {and the dessert counter}. I ordered a beef tenderloin sandwich with homemade chips, promising myself I’d only eat half. Well again, that was quickly forgotten when my plate arrived. I finished everything, every last bite. Then it was onto dessert, a chocolate chip cookie, peanut butter brownie, and chocolate mousse. Everything was so incredible, I could not stop eating! At Reid’s you can truly taste how fresh everything is. I would highly recommend dining here for lunch! Open Monday-Saturday 11-3pm and Tuesday-Saturday 5:30-close

Stonewalls Restaurant: On their website it states, “Our salad bar is a destination for locals and for tourists.” There is some serious truth to that! When asking Ray, Laura, and Bobbie where to eat, they all recommended Stonewalls separately and mentioned the salad bar. I was sold! Upon arriving, I understood why the salad bar was so well-known. There seemed to be endless mix-in/toppings options. I created a ridiculously large salad and left very full + happy. Though is also tried out a couple of appetizers, fried deviled eggs and fried green tomatoes. The fried green tomatoes were the BEST I have ever had! When you dine here, you MUST try them. Stonewalls is also very well known for their prime rib and seafood. Open Sunday-Saturday for dinner from 5-9pm and Friday-Sunday for brunch from 10-2pm.

Mountain Grounds Coffee & Tea Co.: After Bobbie’s amazing French toast Monday morning, we weren’t up for a full lunch, so we swung by a local coffee shop and indulged in more sweets! For me it was a blueberry scone and raspberry loose leaf green tea. Morgan opted for a cinnamon bun and coffee. We both could not get enough of our drinks or sweet treats. Mountain Grounds Coffee & Tea Co has a really laid back, cozy feel to it. There were a group of woman playing board games while we were there. You can tell it’s a local joint where people enjoy spending their time. It doesn’t hurt that everything they serve is pretty great too! They had a whole wall full of loose leaf tea options, I was in heaven. I definitely hope to go back and try out several more next time. Open Sunday-Saturday 7-6pm

Dunn’s Deli: We dined at Dunn’s Deli about an hour after we arrived in Banner Elk. We were starving and needed a quick lunch. This deli was the perfect spot! Quick, delicious, and right in the heart of Banner Elk. Definitely a local joint as it is filled with memorabilia from locals + surrounding schools and collages. I had a chicken salad sandwich on pumpernickel bread. YUM! The bread was amazing and the chicken salad was truly the best I have ever had. Open Monday-Friday 7-7pm, Saturday 9-6pm, and Sunday 9-5pm.

Artisanal: Morgan and I dropped in here one evening for appetizers and drinks. After indulging in Bobbie’s appetizers at The Lodge at River Run, we weren’t up for a full meal {notice a trend here}. Therefore, we grabbed the only two barstools and reviewed the menu. I went with RosΓ©, of course, while Morgan tried a snazzy cocktail, it was quite delicious. We then agreed upon the crab stuff fritters. They were incredible and came with the most amazing green sauce, I wish I could tell you what it was! Artisanal has the most beautiful atmosphere and is truly a must dine at restaurant when in the Banner Elk area. Open May 5th – October 29th 5:30-9:30pm. 

Banner Elk Travel Guide // Visit North Carolina // Louella Reese Life & Style Blog

Banner Elk Travel Guide // Visit North Carolina // Louella Reese Life & Style Blog

Banner Elk Travel Guide // Visit North Carolina // Louella Reese Life & Style Blog

Banner Elk Travel Guide // Visit North Carolina // Louella Reese Life & Style Blog

Banner Elk Travel Guide // Visit North Carolina // Louella Reese Life & Style Blog

Banner Elk Travel Guide // Visit North Carolina // Louella Reese Life & Style Blog

Banner Elk Travel Guide // Visit North Carolina // Louella Reese Life & Style Blog

What To Do 

Visit a Vineyard: One of my favorite things that we did in the Banner Elk area was visit a local vineyard. Grandfather Mountain Vineyard was where we decided to sip wine and enjoy the mountain air. I highly recommend this vineyard for a couple of different reasons. One, the wine is truly delicious. We tasted four different wines and I honestly liked every single one. Two of my tops picks were Vermentino {white wine} and Vidal Blanc {dry white wine}. Two, the property is beautiful! There is a river that runs through part of the property and here they have several picnic benches and adirondack chairs set up. Sitting by the river, listening to the water, and sipping wine was quite peaceful! Three, the staff is incredibly knowledgeable and friendly! This family owned vineyard is a must stop spot when visiting the Banner Elk area. 

Be Adventurous: There are A LOT of adventurous things to do in and around the Banner Elk area. I wish we could have stayed one extra day to complete a couple more of these! My top recommendation is to hike! There are so many beautiful trails, waterfalls, and destinations in the area, you definitely need to take advantage of that. There’s Emerald Outback, Grandfather Mountain, Linville Falls, Linville Caverns, and Elk River Falls

You can also go horseback riding, whitewater rafting, zip lining, skiing at Beech Mountain or Sugar Mountain {obviously dependent on the time of year}, or hit the lake

Go Shopping: While we didn’t do a whole lot of shopping, actually any now that I think about it {weird right? we’re bloggers, isn’t that what we’re suppose to do?} there are a couple of great options in and around the area. In Banner Elk there is The Great Train Robbery, B.J.’s Resort Wear, and Bayou General Store. Outside of Banner Elk there is the Mast General Store {very popular spot} in Boone + multiple boutiques within walking distance and the Tanger Outlets in Blowing Rock + several boutiques within the little town of Blowing Rock. 

Relax: A couple of ways you can do this…visit a winery and enjoy as stated above, sit by a bonfire at The Lodge at River Run, sip your coffee on the oversized {and comfy} deck at The Lodge at River Run, or visit a spa. The Serenity Day Spa and Serenity Day Spa are right in Banner Elk. They both offer a variety of services and I’m sure would have you feeling relaxed and pampered in no time at all! 

Banner Elk Travel Guide // Visit North Carolina // Louella Reese Life & Style Blog

Banner Elk Travel Guide // Visit North Carolina // Louella Reese Life & Style Blog

White Ruffle Shirt // Cut Off Shorts Styled for Fall // Louella Reese Life & Style Blog

I hope you enjoyed this super long travel guide + review! Also, hopefully you found it beneficial and will reflect back on this post if you’re ever visiting the Banner Elk area. I promise a visit to this sweet North Carolina mountain town with not disappoint. Especially if you stay at The Lodge at River Run. The lodge is truly a dream! 

P.S. if you want to take a look back at past travel guides you can find them here. As well as travel style here. I’ll be sharing the rest of my looks from this trip starting next Tuesday, so stay tuned

I was gifted a stay at The Lodge at River Run + meals in exchange for a review. All views and opinions are of course my own! 
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Comments

Hannah

I am in aww of this place! It makes me want to grab my rain boots and hit the cabin:) So perfect for fall with the leaves changing and the cooler temperatures:)

xoxo, Hannah

    Laura Leigh | Louella Reese

    Is it not incredible? I highly recommend you stopping in and staying for a bit. You will not regret it. Yes, I cannot imagine how gorgeous the lodge is when fall rolls around.

    xo Laura Leigh

Rach

What a cute place for a getaway!! It does look cozy and I have to admit I am swooning over their area rugs haha!

http://www.rdsobsessions.com

    Laura Leigh | Louella Reese

    Isn’t it the sweetest? We were both beyond obsessed with the lodge and all the decor. I wanted to bring home several lamps and decor pieces with me haha.

    xo Laura Leigh

Morgan

This seriously makes me want to go back .. like NOW! haha .. could not have had a better time with you! Let’s plan a winter visit!

-Morgan
How 2 Wear It [] http://how2wearit.com

    the lodge at river run

    wE WOULD LOve for y’all to come back during the winter! it’s definitely a magical place when its snowing πŸ™‚

      Laura Leigh | Louella Reese

      Oh I cannot imagine how beautiful it is! In the fall too when the leaves have changed. You’re going to have to send us some pictures of that! Thank you again for having us!

      xo Laura Leigh

    Laura Leigh | Louella Reese

    Same! I was daydreaming of being there the whole time I was writing this post. Same with you gal! I am 100% in for that.

    xo Laura Leigh

Courtney

I’ve never hEard Of this area in NC. I’ve visited around the area you visited. But everything sounds nice there. And the food looks really food.
http://sugarcoatedbears.blogspot.com/

Ruthie

Oh my word!!! I wish this place was closer!! Ben and I would be booking a weekend away!! I love the rooms and all the sweet rustic details. You have the best guides! Just beautiful photos!!

    Laura Leigh | Louella Reese

    Wish it was too! You would truly be in heaven there. Y’all will just have to take an extended weekend πŸ™‚ thanks so much Ruthie! I am thrilled that you enjoy these travel guides.

    xo Laura Leigh

Stephanie

I’ll admit I didn’t expect to come away from this post feeling hungry haha!! But everything you ate sounded and looked so so good! It really sounds like you had a wonderful trip. The photos are beautiful and the location you stayed at seems fantastic. I love the cozy cottage feel!

    Laura Leigh | Louella Reese

    Haha whoops! Everything was really delicious though. The lodge definitely felt very cozy! We truly felt right at home.

    xo Laura Leigh

Kris

I LOVED reading this post!!! It’s so fall inspired! Loving your outfits, those Hunter boots are amazing and all the food looks super yummy!

Have an amazing day!

xx Kris | https://dreamingofpink.wordpress.com

    Laura Leigh | Louella Reese

    Aw yay! So glad you enjoyed it. The food was all very delicious. Wouldn’t mind having everything again! Thanks for reading and commenting lady!

    xo Laura Leigh

Lily

What a darling place, it looks so cozy and inviting!
xo, Lily
Beauty With Lily

Kelsey

Ah looks like such a great time!! GEts me in the mood for fall! xo

alison

well, I want to book the next flight to north carolina and head to the lodge. this looks perfect for a fall getaway with the girls! thanks for putting it on my radar! xo Ali at ali-v.com

    Laura Leigh | Louella Reese

    You definitely should lady! It was one of the most amazing experiences. The lodge would absolutely be a great spot for a gall getaway with the gals. Of course! So happy you fell in love with it as I have.

    xo Laura Leigh

LuxMommy

Wow, this was amazing

Ashley

What an amazing little getaway! Such a cute place!

Talina

Wow, I totally need to visit this place! It’s absolutely beautifuL! So happy to hear you enjoyed your stay and I love your photos!! xo

https://sassyanddangerous.blogspot.com/

    Laura Leigh | Louella Reese

    Yes you do Talina! Even more beautiful in person. Thank you so much gal! You would fall in love with it as well, I am sure.

    xo Laura Leigh

April

Now I know where to go for my next weekend getaway! Looks like such a lovely place!

April | http://www.thebluehydrangeas.com

kelly torrez

This place looks like a dream! I love the lodge style decor πŸ™‚

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