In the southeastern part of Transylvania, not far from the South Carolina border, is a small community called Cedar Mountain. It has no stoplight: just a few businesses, a post office and a fire station at the intersection of Cascade Lake Road and U.S. 276. But due to its proximity to DuPont State Recreational Forest, the community is starting to cater to the growing number of cyclists coming through their community.
The Canteen Bier Garden is filling the need for a watering hole for cyclists and hikers in DuPont, and the Cedar Mountain Café is serving great breakfast and lunch right across the street. Both businesses are jumping during the warmer months; Canteen co-owner Peyre Cleveland said that the only time The Canteen slows down is when there is snow on the ground. Cleveland’s family has lived in the Cedar Mountain area for generations, and he remembers when DuPont Corporation still owned the land that is now the recreational forest.
“Knowing DuPont when it still had the (manufacturing) plant on it, when the trails were just hunting trails, and then watching it transition through the real estate phase, and now the forest…I knew it was just a matter of time before it became a major destination. I thought, ‘How can we be involved with our own niche and have fun doing it?’” said Peyre. When the residents of Transylvania County voted to allow countywide alcohol sales in 2014, Peyre and his wife Aleshka jumped at the opportunity.
“We want the Canteen to be a place where families can stop in, play in the Little River, eat ice cream and enjoy a beer after a day in the woods,” said Peyre.
The Canteen runs all regional beers on tap. They also serve sandwiches and wraps from the Cedar Mountain Café that are wrapped up and ready for a day in the woods. “I believe the Café has the best breakfast in the county,” said Aleshka. “You can go there, have a great breakfast or lunch and hit the trails. We have become good friends with the owners of the Café and we work together to lift each other up.” To learn more about the Canteen bier garden visit their Facebook page, Cedar Mountain Canteen.
Cedar Mountain Café
Lucia Gerdes and her husband, Ilir Malkazi, own the Cedar Mountain Café. The pair lived in many places, most recently California, before settling in Cedar Mountain about three years ago.
Growing tired of the cost of living in California, Lucia began looking at other places to live. The Brevard area was on her radar, as she wanted to return to the mountains and the countryside that reminded her of her childhood home in Montana. She and her husband started looking at different businesses for sale and Grammy’s, the restaurant that served the Cedar Mountain community for years, was on the market.
“The place was kind of visceral and something about it and the location really spoke to me,” said Gerdes. The Cedar Mountain Café serves locally grown produce and nitrate free meats made from naturally grazing animals. All their chicken is free-range organic, and the only seafood they use is sustainably farmed and procured. Their produce comes from the Whistlestop, just down the road on U.S. 276.
Their bread and coffee come from Brevard’s own Bracken Mountain Bakery and Brown Bean Roasters, respectively. The owners love breakfast, but hate how most breakfast plates come with unhealthy meats that are filled with questionable additives. “We serve real food,” said Gerdes. “You don’t need a dictionary to pronounce the ingredients in our meals.” To find out more about the Cedar Mountain Café, visit cedarmountaincafe.com.
Scenic 276 Arts Corridor
Along the drive to Cedar Mountain from Brevard there are several art galleries, pottery shops and mixed medium studios. These artists find inspiration in the fresh mountain air and invite all travelers to stop and stretch their legs. There are so many galleries and studios that the Transylvania County tourism development authority has dubbed this stretch of highway the “Arts Corridor.” Visitors will find lodging, produce stands and camp sites as well. Visit scenic276arts.com for a full list of all galleries, studios, lodging and local produce stands.