After 20 years as lawyers, Lane and Beth decided to leave the law and take their family on a 13-month, 42-country trip around the world. It was after this sojourn they met Collin and Jenni. And Pilot Cove was born.
Tell us a little about yourselves, what did you do before you created this much needed oasis?
Collin: After graduating from college, I built multi-use trails with Trail Design Specialists for a few years. We were working much in Western NC, which brought me to the area. I currently own Altamont Property Group based in Asheville, focusing on real estate and land tract brokerage in the region. Pilot Cove evolved over time after becoming friends with Lane and Beth while they were looking for real estate. We hatched the idea and things took off from there!
Lane: Beth and I met in law school and married in 1994. In 2013, after practicing law for 20 years we planned to take a year off and travel with our three sons Mac (14), Wiley (12) and Levi (12). 13 months and 42 countries later we decided try something different. Instead of making a living helping people out of trouble we wanted to help people have fun. We returned to the U.S. and moved to Asheville. This is where we met Collin and Jenni.
What inspired you to start Pilot Cove? And to go into hospitality? Why this area?
Collin: The growth in tourism is apparent throughout Western NC, and we saw the potential for a unique project in Brevard and Transylvania County. We see many travelers come to Asheville for great food, craft beverages, shopping, and a thriving art community. Travelers are drawn to Brevard for many of the same reasons, but also for the world-class outdoor recreation so accessible from town. We designed Pilot Cove to be approachable to travelers from all walks of life, yet focused on cyclists and outdoor recreation enthusiasts. Our 124 acre property offers ride in–ride out access to Pisgah National Forest!
Lane: We chose Asheville because we love the mountains and were excited about the changing seasons. I am a native Floridian and Beth and I spent our first 20 years together in St. Petersburg, FL. Having just traveled for 13 months we felt we had some insight into the hospitality industry. We stayed in all kinds of lodging from tents and hostels to castles and resorts. Collin had the idea of starting a resort that catered to bikers. We started looking at properties and were fortunate to find our current location. It was the perfect spot, surrounded by Pisgah National Forest and with direct access to some of the best biking in the country. We were most excited about creating a career where the focus is helping people have fun and get the most out of our amazing natural playground.
How did you all meet?
Collin: My wife Jenni and I connected with Lane and Beth when they were looking for real estate in the area. We were joined by our property manager Syl Neel before we started construction. I met Syl on the Appalachian Trail in 2008 and we’ve stayed in touch over the years. He has been instrumental in the development of Pilot Cove.
Lane: Once we decided to move to Asheville, Beth emailed multiple realtors in the area and Collin was the first and only response.
What has been the most rewarding part about this change in venture?
Collin: The community response has been tremendous! We saw demand and designed a project that would fill it, but never envisioned the support we would receive from the community. We can’t say enough great things about Brevard and Transylvania County. The people, businesses, and civic leaders care deeply about their community and great things are on the horizon.
Lane: I love seeing the dream become a reality. We spent two years figuring out how to turn a forested mountain side into Pilot Cove. In the process we became good friends with our contractors, graders, designers and workers. My old college roommate saved the day with the wonderful forest lodging design. Local artisans built the furniture from local resources. I’m happy to say that the final result has exceeded our expectations. Remember we were lawyers and not developers. Pilot Cove is the result of lots of people buying into an idea and coming together to create something special.
What’s your favorite part about the nearby Pisgah National Forest?
Collin: For me it’s the four distinct seasons. Spring brings rebirth and blooms. Summer is great to hit the trails, waterfalls, and swimming holes. The Fall season is my favorite, offering cooler temps and breathtaking leaf colors that sweep across the mountains. Winter brings less crowded trails, fishing holes, and endless views with leaves absent from the trees. There’s something for everyone in every season.
Lane: Pisgah is truly one of nature’s greatest playgrounds. It offers outstanding hiking, road and mountain biking, waterfalls, sliding rock, rock climbing, fly fishing, mushroom hunting, wildlife viewing, and I could go on and on. I went to camp one summer in Brevard when I was a child. I remember riding up Hwy 276 to Sliding Rock along the Davidson River and thinking this is the most beautiful road I have ever been on. Now Pilot Cove’s entrance is right on 276 at the entrance to the forest and I get to take that ride on a regular basis.
Top three things to do in Brevard?
Collin: 1) The local music scene is great, be sure to catch Mountain Song Festival in September hosted by local favorites the Steep Canyon Rangers. 2) Enjoy Brevard’s quaint downtown! The Heart of Brevard is a great resource for authentic locally-owned business. 3) Enjoy the forest and mountains! Pisgah National Forest and DuPont State Forest offer a world of possibilities on foot or in the saddle.
Lane: 1) Sliding Rock. Nothing refreshes and brings a tired body back to life like a trip down Sliding Rock into cool pool below. 2) Black Balsam hike. Just off the parkway this hike takes you along the Art Loeb trail and over a 6000 foot bald with amazing views in every direction. 3) Dupont State Forest. 15 minutes from Pilot Cove with spectacular waterfalls and mountain biking.
Favorite bike ride you’ve ever been on?
Collin: Tough to say! We frequent Breckenridge CO, and the Peaks Trail is a favorite when there in Summer. For road cycling we are lucky to have the Blue Ridge Parkway so close to home.
Lane: Locally, I love Ridgeline in Dupont. A bombing two mile downhill with flowy lines and bermy curves. Best ever, biking down Cotopaxi (the world’s highest active volcano) in Equador with Beth and our boys.
Visit Pilot Cove as you adventure from Asheville to Brevard