Balsam Mountain Preserve (BMP) is a gated master-planned community in the mountains of Western North Carolina. The 4,400-acre property sits about halfway between Sylva and Waynesville and only 40 minutes west of Asheville. Original developers, Chaffin and Light, patterned Balsam Mountain after their successful Spring Island community in South Carolina’s Low Country. The idea was to create a “community within a park.” That vision led to the lowest density development in the mountains of North Carolina. Nearly 75%, more than 3,000 acres, of Balsam Mountain are preserved in a permanent conservation easement managed by the non-profit Balsam Mountain Trust.
Development began at Balsam Mountain in the early 2000′s and the community was just getting its legs under it when the recession hit. Balsam Mountain, like so many other communities, has had to reinvent itself. There have been changes in ownership and changes in management, but what never changed were the sense of community and that vision of “a community within a park.” Current owners and BMP residents, Ken and Bobbye Bowdon are highlighting that sense of community and conservation with the creation of Doubletop Village.
Doubletop Village will offer 2, 3 and/or 4 bedroom homes clustered around a village center that will offer amenities like the Club Tavern, Member’s Grille, a general store and “Great Lawns” where families can gather to play croquet or simply visit. The cottages are designed by Harrison Design and feature striking stone and wood exteriors and can be purchased with fully equipped interior design packages. The village is being planned and designed by Vision Design Collaborative of Asheville. The homes at Doubletop will provide turnkey opportunities for those looking for a simple low-maintenance and “walk-in ready” way of enjoying all the amenities this community within a park has to offer.
One of the challenges siting Doubletop Village was deciding where it would go. There isn’t a lot of building sites in a park where 75% of the land base is in a conservation easement. Vision Design conducted a visual impact study to select an appropriate site. “We wanted to be sure our plan reflected the values of Balsam, which is first and foremost maintaining its natural assets,” said Ryan Blau of Vision Design. The site chosen was the current driving range because of its compelling views.
The name “Doubletop” refers to views offered by the iconic backdrop of Double Top Mountain, which anchors the southeastern edge of BMP and reaches an elevation of nearly 5,500 feet. Residents will have an option of several wonderful mountain vistas from Double Top, itself, to long-range mountains and valleys, some overlooking a new Arnold Palmer Design practice range and golf-learning center.
Other improvements are also included in the Doubletop Village concept. They include updates to the existing Sports & Wellness Center plus redesign that will make the Village more appealing for family use. Stephen Wyda of Vision Design Collaborative noted, “By opening up the design dialogue and making the interior and exterior spaces communicate better, it all seems to be one space. It will make it much more enjoyable for a larger variety of ages.”
Doubletop Village will only add to the amenities already in place at BMP, such as:
- The Arnold Palmer signature Championship golf course
- Boarding House Lodge and Restaurant
- Equestrian Center
- Nature Center
- 30-plus miles of hiking, biking and/or riding trails
- Dark ridge Campground
- On-site guided hikes and natural history programs
The Village looks like a win-win for Balsam Mountain Preserve – a way to attract new members to a unique setting and lifestyle, all the time remaining true to its vision of “a community within a park.” For more information on Balsam Mountain Preserve, located less than one hour west of downtown Asheville, contact [email protected] or call 877.886.8388.