Frequently Asked Questions
How close are you to the NOC, Tsali, GSM Railroad and other attractions?
Most of our cabins are clustered at what we call "ground zero" for access to the most popular area attractions. This ground zero is the intersection of hwy 74 and hwy 28N, near where many maps show the small town of Almond. We consider this ground zero because it is just about midpoint between the Nantahala Outdoor Center, Tsali mountain bike trails, and Bryson City. While there is a high concentration of our cabins located near this ground zero, we also have units the span from Whittier (15 minutes to the east) to the Nantahala Gorge (10 minutes to the west), to Graham County (10 minutes to the north).
Note that many of our cabins are mapped on Google Maps. Check on the detail of each cabin and look in the bullet points for "standout features" - the last feature will show a map link if it is available.
An overview location map of our cabins can be viewed here
What is the Watershed Resort property?
The Watershed Resort
property is a 50 acre tract at the split of highway 74, highway 28, and Needmore Road. This property has some resort features like a group "yard" area with a bocce ball court, group firepit, yard games and our signature 'log'-zebo with bedswing. There is a hiking trail on site that leads to a playground featuring and authentic Indian tipi (it's sometimes spelled 'teepee'), and then continues down to our own waterfall and trout pond.
The cabins on this property are generally walking distance to each other and are frequently combined to accommodate larger groups, but individually each cabin is designed to host indepently a single family or small group. This property is also home to our Treehouses and Woodland Lofts. These are all 1-bedroom units designed to compete with hotel rooms, but offer so much more. Every one has a gas fireplace inside and separate king bedroom, plus a private deck outside with it's own hot tub. The Treehouses are in a 4-plex building and as such have shared walls, so we don't allow any children or pets in these. The Woodland Lofts are separate buildings in a cluster situated around a common courtyard with an incredible shared firepit with outside grill and dining area. The kitchens of the Lofts are efficiency-style with 2-burner cooktop only and no oven except for a microwave.
Around a third of our units are on the Watershed Resort property, but the other two-thirds are scattered throughout the county (and barely into neighboring counties). Every single unit is managed the same with our expert maintenance staff (certified hot tub technicians) and housekeeping team. The quality of service and support, and the amazing linens featuring 600 thread count Egyptian cotton linens and Ralph Lauren towels are common to all our units. So whether you stay on our core Resort property or at one of the other homes, you will experience the difference that gives Watershed the best reputation in town.
What are the Treehouses and Woodland Lofts?
Treehouses and Woodland Lofts are 1 bedroom units located on our Watershed Resort property. They are designed to compete with hotel rooms, but offer so much more. Every one has a gas fireplace inside and separate king bedroom, plus a private deck outside with it's own hot tub. The Treehouses are in a 4-plex building and as such have shared walls, so we don't allow any children or pets in these. The Woodland Lofts are separate buildings in a cluster situated around a common courtyard with an incredible shared firepit with outside grill and dining area. The kitchens of the Lofts are efficiency-style with 2-burner cooktop only and no oven except for a microwave and also do not have dishwashers. We have taken special care to keep these units as private as possible despite their close proximity. Each Treehouse unit has it's own walkway leading to the unit, so arrivals at other units will be minimally disruptive. The Lofts have a shared parking area but it is outside the compound-like area. To summarize the distinctions:Treehouses
-- 4 units under one roof, so there are some shared walls like a hotel
-- full kitchen
-- living area has loveseat sofa only; 4-seat dining table
-- no pets or kids allowed
-- each deck has its own hot tub, fire pit, and gas grillWoodland Lofts
-- efficiency style kitchen with 2-burner cooktop and microwave oven only (no full oven, no dishwasher)
-- living area has loveseat sofa only; 2-seat bistro table for dining
-- pets and kids allowed
-- each deck has its own hot tub
-- shared courtyard area has grill and outdoor dining table and shared fire pit
-- design is conducive to group rental, so special pricing is offered for renting all 3 units at once
What is the Heritage Collection?
We have identified a “Heritage Collection” of cabins that many budget travelers will enjoy. This collection represents the lifestyle of the original WNC settlers: simple, uncomplicated, functional, and pure. While they may not have the size, opulence, or “wow” of many of our units, the Heritage Collection is still worthy of the designation “Watershed Cabins” because they possess the soul of what we represent: quality, service, convenience, and reliability. These units of course are attractively priced, yet they still are cleaned and maintained by the best staff in the region and are held to the same cleanliness standards of all our cabins. The core amenity, comfort, is assured as these units share with all our cabins the same linen pool of 600 thread count, Egyptian cotton sheets and Ralph Lauren towels. Reliability and service is assured since it is only price that distinguishes these units. When you call on us, the same professional and helpful staff will answer. Perhaps the kitchen may not be as new, but it is equally equipped; or maybe it’s the view that is not as dramatic, but the close proximity to area attractions is still yours to behold. Whatever factor puts a unit into this designation, there is something else that earns its privilege to be called a “Watershed Cabin.” So if you are on a budget vacation or just looking for something
simpler, our Heritage Collection will still provide the comfort you count on from Watershed.
(to see all these cabins, click here or select the "heritage collection" box on our cabin filtering page)
Is the cabin secluded?
We consider seclusion and privacy as a major feature of our cabins. We design the cabins to maximize this. Many of our cabins are completely secluded (you won't even see other cabins around). Other cabins are within neighborhoods where other cabins are present, but still insulated with trees, mountain ridges, or other natural barriers. We also have some cabins that are close enough to each other that they are ideal for combining 2 cabins together to accommodate a larger group (examples: Fontana View 1, 2 & 3); see more about combining cabins for larger groups in the next question.
How many people can you accommodate?
Our largest cabin, Fontana View 3, is a 5 bedroom cabin that sleeps in excess of 15 people. The exact capacity is determined by the configuration of the group (singles, couples, kids, total adults, privacy needs, etc). We don't recommend overcrowding a cabin because your enjoyment will suffer and our facilities are limited (septic systems, well supply, parking, etc). We have some cabins that are walking distance to each other and therefore are ideal for combining together to house large groups. We have even provided special pricing when 2 or more cabins are combined for the same group. Here are cabin clusters to consider:
- Fontana View 1 (2BR), Fontana View 2 (3BR) & Fontana View 3 (5BR) combo pricing here
- Watershed 11 (2BR) & Watershed 12 (3BR) [*] combo pricing here
- Watershed 1 (2 BR) & Watershed 2 (2 BR)
- Independence Lodge (2 BR) & Double Springs (4 BR)
- Tufo's Glory (2 BR) and Little Glory (1 BR)
- Woodland Lofts 1-2-3 (3 separate 1-bedroom units with central fire pit) combo pricing here
[*] - The Watershed property is a 50 acre tract where all cabins are on a one way loop road that is about 1 mile around. Watershed 11 and Watershed 12 are the closest together and therefore the most suitable for combining together to accommodate large groups. However, any of our cabins named "Watershed #" are on this property and are therefore relatively convenient to one another.
Is there internet access at the cabins?
Currently DSL service only available to a few areas where our cabins are located. Remember, there is an icon indicating WIFI on all cabins that have it, or you can filter to see a list of all cabins with internet access
. Because of the limited ability to adequately support this service in the mountains, the wireless internet access is provided FREE, but we do not offer any guarantees of service or any tech support at all. Rather, we have just made a good faith effort to provide this service and hope you will be able to successfully enjoy it.
If you need a high-speed internet connection, we have offices in Bryson City with DSL and wireless access. Call us and we will be happy to provide you with access to our internet service for free. It is becomming more popular for coffee shops and small businesses to have a wireless signal at their location, too. If you look for it, chances are you will find a connection you can use somewhere in Bryson City or perhaps at the NOC (their service may not be free).
Cabins indicated as "WIFI Option Available" are indicated as such because we have several portable Verizon Wireless HotSpots that are available for use by guests. An advanced reservation is required for these, and they are provided on a first-come basis only. As such, we cannot guarantee that one of these devices will be available for everyone who wants or needs it. We charge a $19 set-up and administration fee for guests using one of the HotSpots. It is important to note that these HotSpots are for casual web access only. Certain activities will not be allowed as they will result in excessive bandwidth usage. Overage charges are high and will be billed to the customer. Activities that should be avoided include: downloading movies on Netflix or other providers, playing online games, connecting to VPNs or remote-desktop applications like Gotomypc.com, watching excessive videos on YouTube.com or other sites, etc. - It is the guests' responsibility to monitor the usage by all member of your party, including kids, as we never provide exceptions or waivers for overage charges.
What times are check in and out?
Check-in time is 4pm the day of your arrival. Check-out is by 11am. We
strictly enforce these, especially during peak seasons, as we have a
very tight housekeeping schedule during peak seasons. If you desire an
early arrival or late check-out, let us know and we will try to
accommodate this. Without prior approval, however, we must insist on
strict adherence to our check in and out times.
What are minimum stay requirements? Can I stay just one night?
Generally we have a two night minimum stay with most holidays requiring three or even more nights minimum stay. We will allow a one-night stay any time in our Treehouses or Woodland Lofts, as these are just one bedroom and are on our Watershed Resort property where our housekeeping and maintenance facility is also located.
Occasionally special circumstances will allow us to approve a one-night stay in other units (e.g. only one night is open in between two other reservations), but we cannot ever allow a one night rental when it would block what would likely be a multiple-night rental otherwise (e.g. it would be a disservice to our cabin owners if we allowed a one night rental for Friday when it will likely block what would otherwise be a weekend rental or longer).
Even when circumstances allow a one-night stay, we never allow promotions to be used for them, and we remind you that our normal additional fees apply, so the "housekeeping / hot tub / amenities fee" for each cabin will generally make a 1 night stay cost-prohibitive to most guests.
What supplies are included in the cabins?
Our cabins all come with a hot tub (open year-round), gas grill, phone, washer/dryer, and air conditioning (they come with much more than this.... these are the things we get asked about most frequently) Our cabins are considered 'fully stocked'. This means all linens, towels, kitchen supplies and other basic items are included. Additionally, we include some convenience items such as board games, playing cards, and such. Each cabin is also equipped with a gas grill (including full tank of LP) and firewood (if outdoor fireplace equipped -- most indoor fireplaces are gas-log). Some non-perishable kitchen items will usually be in the cabin leftover from other guests. This includes condiments, coffee & filters, spices, paper towels, foil, etc., but we recommend you bring any perishables that you want, as we don't guarantee that these will be in the cabin. We do provide the following perishables: toilet tissue, facial tissue, hand soap, shower soap and shampoo, laundry and dish soap) Our driving directions include on-the-way grocery stores if you plan to shop before your arrival, but an Ingle's store is in Bryson City, less than 15 minutes away from most of our cabins.
What about housekeeping?
Your "Housekeeping / Hot Tub / Amenities Fee" covers the cost of the housekeeping visit after check-out. We do not include mid-stay housekeeping service (except trash pick-up and hot tub service for longer stays, upon request). We do not require you to strip beds, mop floors, or take out garbage as all this is included. We do charge an extra-person cleaning fee when the size of your party exceeds a certain base occupancy, but this is clearly disclosed on our rate page. Housekeeping services are designed to clean up after reasonable and normal occupancy. The rental agreement you sign provides for additional cleaning fees for abnormal or disrespectful occupancy conditions. Examples include, but are not limited to, the following (if these items appear a bit graphic in nature, we are sorry... they are presented here because we have had experience in these areas):
- unsupervised pets or kids (pet waste, glitter, glue, wax, BB's, silly string, paintball damage, party decorations, etc) rearranging furniture where more than 1 person is needed to restore
- unusually foul or excessive garbage (oyster shells, fish guts, strewn litter, vomit, soiled diapers, food in hot tub, cigarette butts, etc)
- pets on furniture (and other violations of our pet policy), cigarette smoke inside
What are your policies on pets and smoking?
We do not allow smoking in our cabins. Ashtrays are provided on the outside decks. Pets (to clarify, actually, we only allow dogs) are allowed in selected cabins, but only with advance notice and an additional cleaning fee of $15 per dog per night on the first 2 dogs. Generally we do not allow more than 2 dogs, but can make special exceptions for smaller dogs on a case by case basis. We strictly enforce these policies, and non-compliance could result in eviction (with forfeiture of remaining paid stay). Offenders will also be held responsible for damages that may include, but are not limited to, lost rents (if a subsequent guest needs to be refunded because of smoke or animal evidence) and additional cleaning charges. While no additional security deposit is required for pets, please note that the Limited Damage Waiver (LDW) option that can be paid in lieu of a security deposit will NEVER cover damage related to pets.
Is there year-round access?
As with any vacation travel, your cabin stay is subject to weather conditions and other acts of God. We rent our cabins year-round, but occasional extreme winter weather can cause difficulty getting to a cabin due to icy roads. Obviously, if you cannot access our cabin because of conditions on our roads, you will be allowed to reschedule or cancel. If you are concerned about this, you must contact us in advance of your arrival. We cannot guarantee weather, and therefore do not provide refunds in cases of merely poor weather, rather, we only offer refunds in rare cases where cabin access is not possible. Fallen trees, power outages, and other temporary inconveniences are rare, but do not negate our cancellation policy because while they may inconvenience your arrival, they do not prevent it. We make every reasonable effort to correct these problems, but unless overnight access is impossible, our cancellation policy is enforced. Also, we reserve the right to substitute cabins for any reservation (like or upgraded cabin will be provided at same rate).
Will my cell phone work at the cabin?
Cellular coverage is getting significantly better in our area, and most cabins will receive at least a minimal signal. However, you do need to be prepared to have some areas that your cell phone will not work. All our cabins have local phone service, accept incoming calls, and provide 911 services. Some of them have long-distance blocked, so we suggest you bring a calling card for long-distance dialing. Our rental agreement prohibits you from charging long-distance to our cabins, anyway. Note that coverage also depends on the service provider (Verizon and AT&T are best; Nextel, T-Mobil and other "urban" area providers are probably the least likely to work in the mountains). Phones that don't get service at the cabin still might get service in Bryson City or other larger towns like Waynesville or Asheville. Sometimes a signal will be present, but it will not be a 3G or faster signal. When arriving to our cabins, do not rely on saving a copy of the driving directions in your emailbox, as you may not be able to open it in some areas while headed to your cabin.
How far in advance should I book?
As far as possible. We have some weekends in October that are booked every year in advance. Holiday weekends tend to book months in advance, as do weekends in October. Summer dates fill up, so to get your preferred dates, pick them as soon as you can. Since we don't require any specific days for a weekly stay (some places require a Saturday through Saturday, for instance), getting a full week of your choice usually requires advanced planning. Last minute availability is possible, so call us to see anyway, but we tend to fill up in advance (especially our larger cabins).
What can I expect the weather to be like?
Generally speaking, the weather is not extreme. Summers may get hot, but the nights usually cool down. Winters may be cold, but the days are usually pleasant. The rainy season is winter and spring, but the weather is usually dictated by national front patterns. Thus, absent a large storm system moving through the area, precipitation is not likely even in the rainy season. As a guide, you may click to see an average temperature chart.
What are the closest airports?
The closest airport is Asheville NC (airport code AVL), which is about 70 miles from Bryson City. Asheville is a very small and easy airport to travel through, and is serviced by the following airlines: USAir, Delta, United, Northwest. However, because Asheville is not a major hub for any airline, it may be difficult to find a direct flight from your departure city. If you fly USAir or Delta, you will likely connect in Charlotte NC (CLT) or Atlanta GA (ATL), respectively. By the time you layover in one of these cities, fly to Asheville, and then drive the final 70 miles, it might be quicker to just end your air travel in either Charlotte or Atlanta and drive the rest of the way (about 3 hours from either airport). Rental car variety and bargains may be greater in these major cities as well. A secondary city to consider is Knoxville TN (TYS), but don't be fooled by the apparent close proximity. Knoxville is through the Smokies and the drive is slow, difficult and unpredictable depending on time of day and season.
What is the physical address so I can use GPS or MapQuest?
We generally do not publish nor provide guests with a physical address of our cabins because we have discovered a history of inaccuracy with MapQuest (and other internet mapping services) and GPS systems. Not only have we had customers directed via a wrong route (taking them an hour or more out of the way), we have even had people directed to a point completely different than our cabins. For this reason, our Rental Agreement specifically cautions about using internet mapping services. We provide specific driving directions to your cabin after we receive your signed rental agreement, and we strongly suggest you follow these directions. If you would like to use a mapping website or GPS as a secondary guide, please use Bryson City NC (zip code 28713) or Almond NC (zip code 28702) as your general destination and then use our detailed directions to take you specifically to the cabin. One other related point is that mountain driving conditions and distances aren't always presented accurately on maps. Sometimes the shortest distance on a map can be the most lengthy or difficult drive.
When you sign up for our email newsletter or make a reservation with us, you provide your email and other personal information to us. We will never sell, trade, or distribute this information to any other party. You do agree to receive email communications from us regarding your reservation (if applicable). You also agree to receive occasional (no more frequently than weekly) emails with promotions, announcements, etc from us, noting that each email communication sent for this purpose will have an "unsubscribe" option clearly visible. We will immediately and permanently comply with your unsubscribe request.
Wow, that's a tough Cancellation Policy!
Our cancellation policy is clearly stated on our reservations page, and is very consistent with other rental businesses in the area. We realize it is a strict policy, and we often are asked for exceptions and leniency for personal emergencies. Thus, we have supplemented our cancellation policy with this FAQ and hope you understand our position regarding last minute emergencies:
We try to be sensitive and compassionate that some emergencies arise and unforeseen last-minute cancellations are unavoidable. We will address each case individually as to whether we can allow flexibility in our cancellation/refund policy and still uphold our contractual obligations. Guests are reminded that we do NOT own the cabins, as we are property managers for private owners. As such, we are directly responsible for the financial success of these rental cabins, and we are contractually bound to our cabin owners to uphold our reservation policies with rare exception. Our situation is that we cannot let the personal hardships of our guests become the financial hardships of our owners. As sad as it is when any guest must cancel (for any reason), you must understand the financial burdens of your personal hardships are also yours. We try to make this fact clear ahead of time (by the strict terms of our cancellation policy in the Vacation Rental Agreement you sign) so that there is no need for clarification at the last minute when the guest party might be dealing with other severe personal problems.
Of course if our area is inaccessible by severe weather, natural disaster, or whatever, we will not hold you to a rental contract when access to the rental property is not possible. You do, however, agree in your Vacation Rental Agreement with us, that substitution of an equal or better cabin is our right without defaulting on the Agreement. You should note that we have never had an instance where a guest could not be provided a cabin because of weather. Thus, it is rare that a cancellation will be provided penalty-free because of weather (including snow/ice storms, hurricanes, forest fires, etc).
Hurricanes are another frequent issue. These pose a particular problem because so little certain information is available when we need it, and by the time we have it, it may be too late. Unfortunately, we cannot grant cancellations due to the threat of a hurricane in your area. We feel the pain of guests who must deal with boarding up windows rather than traveling to vacation, but in many cases that process is just a precaution. We cannot grant cancellations at the time precautions are being taken. Once it is determined (heaven forbid, of course) that a scheduled guest was severely affected by a natural disaster, we offer compassion and flexibility by allowing, post-facto, that guest to reschedule without penalty. This is one example that we have realized in the past and unfortunately probably will more in the future.
Other hypothetical examples and scenarios are difficult to imagine, so won’t be addressed here. Examples of instances, as unpleasant and unfortunate as they might be, that will NOT be cause for penalty-free cancellation are: sickness or injury of a family member (“my son broke his arm and just won’t enjoy the mountains, so we can’t come”), car accidents, loss of employment, military deployment, gas prices, etc.; Once again, we cannot allow the financial burden of your personal hardships and obligations to be borne by the owners of our cabins (total strangers to you).
Please understand that we must operate our business with certain tough decisions, and know that you will always have our compassion for your problems and our appreciation for your business.
"Motorcycle Friendly" cabins and other access issues
Because of our proximity to Deal's Gap (aka "Tail of the Dragon"), we
have many guests arriving on motorcycles or pulling motorcycle trailers.
We have provided as part of our icon set an icon indicating certain
cabins as "motorcycle friendly". All this indicates is that the roads
up to the cabin are paved (acknowledging that gravel roads are difficult
to motorcyclists). Experienced riders may find it accessible to other
cabins that are not indicated as motorcycle friendly, but you do so at
your own risk.
This distinction as "motorcycle friendly" can be used by other guests
who may be concerned about access. We never recommend towing trailers,
boats, campers, etc as many mountain roads may be difficult in these
scenarios. We also strongly recommend AGAINST MINI-VANS as these have
historically had problems with mountain roads where many other types of
vehicles have not. Light pick-up trucks (2WD), because they lack weight
in the rear wheels where traction is needed, also can be problematic.
Guests bring trailers, motorcycles, campers, large passenger vans, sports cars, etc.
at their own risk, as our cabin access is designed for reasonable
vehicle access only. If you bring a vehicle to the mountains that is
not reasonably meant for mountain driving, you do so at your own risk
and may be held responsible for your rental contract despite your
difficulties getting to your cabin.
If you have any concerns about vehicle types or other cabin access
questions, please discuss them with us in advance of making your