The Russo and Wofford families own Bearfoot Lodge. We are a fun-loving bunch from Tampa, FL who love any excuse to party or to enjoy new adventures.We love exploring all the fun activities in the mountains as much as we enjoy the serenity our mountain home. Our favorite activities (with number one being sitting on the deck and counting the hummingbirds!) include day hikes in the forest, visiting waterfalls, exploring the mountain roads, and strolling the street of Franklin, Clayton, Dillard. A day trip to Waynesville or Asheville is always special.
Gianna, Tina & Felicia Russo purchased this house in 1995
Mom Belle Russo and her cousin Nancy Wofford and their husbands Joe and William first discovered the property in the early '90's. It was hidden gem at the top of the world. The entire mountain where the property is located had been owned and worked for generations by the Shope family. The Shopes still live at the base of the mountain near the remains of their old homestead. When Joe Shope released the mountain acreage for building, our property was one of the first to have a house built on it. The view was the deciding factor--it is simply spectacular. Old Mr. Shope befriended the family and would drive the 1.5 miles up the mountain frequently in his pickup truck--followed by his barking dogs--to check on the progress and savor the mountaintop view. Once building began, workers would notice black bear prints in the mud each morning they returned to work. Thus, the house was named 'Bearfoot Lodge.'
Our favorite holiday to spend at Bearfoot is Thanksgiving. The hills are orange and gold, the wild turkeys are gobbling, the deer scamper through the woods and the sky is blue like you'll not see anywhere else in the world. There is so much to be thankful for!
Our house is perfectly located--away from it all on top of the mountain, but close to lots of fun things to do. The entire area is an outdoor lover's treasure trove with opportunities at every turn for hiking, fishing, biking and picnicking. Entrance signs to the Nantahla Forest and the Appalachian Trail are plentiful throughout the area. Other activities include gem mining, white-water rafting and tubing, horseback riding, skiing, golfing, motorcycling, kayaking, sightseeing, and visiting waterfalls, wineries and gardens.
Bearfoot Lodge is also conveniently located for trips to the most famous attractions in the Smokies: Appalachian Trail; Blue Ridge Parkway; Tallulah Gorge; Cherokee Indian Reservation and Bally’s Casino; Great Smoky Mountain Railroad; Biltmore House and Gardens; Swiss Village in Helen, GA; shopping in Dillsboro, NC; Highlands, NC;.and Asheville, NC.
Close to home, in Otto, check out the little labyrinth, kayak on the Little Tennessee River, and grab some fresh, delicious milk, cheese and ice cream from the dairy. South on 441: In Dillard, Ga, enjoy shopping for antiques and mountain souvenirs, and savor a country meal at the famous Dillard House. A little further south and you'll see the turn off for Betty's Creek, which will take you to the beautiful property of the Hambidge Center, an artists' retreat on over 350 acres. About 15 miles south of Dillard is the charming mountain city of Clayton. Stroll the main street of the historic downtown. Explore the bird shop and check out the store full of vintage appliances --some going back to the early 20th century. Enjoy a yummy sandwich and wine from Tiger Mountain vineyard at Grapes & Beans, or a delicious dinner at Rumor Hazit. In Lakemont, is our favorite pizza place, Louie’s on the Lake. North on 441: towards Franklin, check out the gem mining shop. Once in downtown Franklin, you can enjoy all kinds of shopping and sightseeing. Friday nights might feature an outdoor concert.