Golf News for Friday, June 28, 2013 | Real Estate

North Carolina's Mountain Air community is summer camp for adults

BURNSVILLE, N.C. -- The whimsical excitement of school letting out for summer is a sensation that resonates with all ages. Anticipation of adventure-filled months promising not only relaxation, but also plenty of family bonding and outdoor activity is a big part of the reason we work so hard during the colder months of the year.

When summertime comes calling, the award-winning real estate community Mountain Air near Asheville takes full advantage of the coolest summer temperatures in the Western North Carolina mountains by offering more weekly summer activities than one can count.

There's plenty to do for the little folks, of course, including a variety of day camps, craft workshops and "No Adults Allowed" geocaching excursions — or adventures such as the Salamander Safari and Scavenger Hunt, where children both enjoy and learn from Mountain Air's interactive wildlife habitat while exploring the gated community's Creekside Park under the guidance of the resident naturalist.

But at Mountain Air, the fun doesn't stop just because you are no longer technically considered a "child." Fact is, residents have coined a phrase for their favorite three months on the mountain, affectionately calling it: "Summer Camp for Adults."

Surrounded by all its natural wonder, many of Mountain Air's amenities and activities take place in the outdoors on site or further afield such as zip-line tours, fly fishing trips, a "Happy Hikers" club, various water paddling expeditions and an organic garden where residents are able to grow and harvest homegrown tomatoes, flowers and herbs. "Nature is what they're here for," said Memmy Staber, one of Mountain Air's Fitness and Wellness directors.

Of course, with the realization that summer camp is about making friends and creating experiences, Summer Camp for Adults at Mountain Air includes a Sunday couples scramble on the golf course, card and game night for the men, and a culinary group called the "Bottom Feeders" who once a month trek down the mountain to try out one of the Asheville region's many fine restaurants.

Mountain Air is famous for its Fourth of July family celebration that culminates with dinner at one end of the community's 2,875-foot paved, private runway adjacent to the clubhouse, followed by a jaw-dropping fireworks show off the other end. There is also nighttime "Runway Astronomy," with a guided tour at 4,400 feet above sea level of the constellations, planets, moon and stars. Then, there are karaoke contests, themed nights — frankly if you can name it, Mountain Air appears to have it

"This community is off-the-wall fantastic," said longtime Mountain Air member Steve Major. "It's like high school. When you saw your buddies and said, 'Hey, you wanna run around and have some fun?'"

A decade ago, Major combined two of his passions — driving and music — and organized a group of Mountain Air sports car enthusiasts who twice a season stage road rally drives to various, quaint area haunts including nearby state parks, campgrounds off the Blue Ridge Parkway — even a gorgeous rest stop en route to Johnson City, Tenn., where the group recently broke bread at a brand-new picnic area.

"It's sort of homegrown, sort of corny, but we sure do have a good time," said Major, who before each hour-plus drive burns a custom CD of a particular music genre from which the caravan tries to guess artists and song titles while they drive.

Mountain Air's "Dining Divas" — the "Double Ds" as they call themselves — are a group of ladies who get together for lunch once a month while their husbands are off playing golf. Recognizing that women typically read current gourmet magazines such as Cooking Light, Bon Appétit and Southern Living, then "dog ear" pages of recipes that sound good and never make them, this group of ladies, which has grown from a dozen to about 40 regular participants, gather at a member's home where they enjoy meals they've prepared.

"Girls love to cook, eat and enjoy wine," said Kathy Boka, a founding member of the Double Ds. "We knew we had a good idea, we just needed a name. It is so much fun — great female camaraderie. We are a warm and welcoming group."

Mountain Air has long been renowned for its spectacular golf course, which plunges an astounding 900 feet in just 11 holes and offers dramatic vistas on nearly every hole. "Everything breaks toward the views," is a popular expression on the golf course.

Summer months on the links include plenty of top-shelf competitions such as the popular Couples Member-Guest, while another favorite event that takes place throughout the summer is the unusual Parham Shoot-Out, where at the end — with an enthusiastic band of cheerleaders in golf carts navigating the course alongside the participants — the final 10 players who qualify compete over Mountain Air's stunning back nine, with one player eliminated each hole before thrillingly arriving at a champion on the 18th.

After all the excitement, Mountain Air members and their guests can enjoy an impressive menu of spa activities such as massages or facials — and much, much more.

Little wonder then that Mountain Air was recently named "Community of the Year" in the Large Mixed Use category — referring to single family lots, as well as condominiums and townhomes — by the North Carolina Chapter of Community Associations Institute. Situated almost a mile high, Mountain Air was developed two decades ago atop Slickrock Mountain at some of the highest elevations in the Tar Heel State's picturesque Blue Ridge Mountains.

Located about 30 minutes northeast of Asheville, Mountain Air can be easily reached from four commercial airports — Asheville, Charlotte, Tri-Cities and Greenville-Spartanburg. A recently completed major expansion of US 19 makes it quick and easy for Mountain Air residents to enjoy the galleries and restaurants that make Asheville one of America's most renowned cultural centers.

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About Mountain Air
Mountain Air is a mountaintop community and country club located a half-hour northeast of Asheville, N.C. Winner of numerous national and international awards including the prestigious "Gold Award for Best Community in America," this multi-generational community boasts one of the nation's most dramatic golf courses overlooking spectacular scenery in every direction. Members also enjoy a mountaintop airstrip runway, full-service amenities, a family friendly atmosphere and miles of nature trails through its own Old Growth Forest Preserve.

Martin Armes, 919-608-7260,
Brad King, 336-306-9219,