A Year-Round Guide to Franklin and Nantahala

Cabin Fever is a sensory experience. It’s an oasis for those who crave natural textures; those who long for bear statuary and soft throws to sink tired bones into after

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Cabin Fever is a sensory experience. It’s an oasis for those who crave natural textures; those who long for bear statuary and soft throws to sink tired bones into after

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Cabin Fever is a sensory experience. It’s an oasis for those who crave natural textures; those who long for bear statuary and soft throws to sink tired bones into after

The Cozy Shop: Cabin Fever in Blowing Rock

Cabin Fever is a sensory experience. It’s an oasis for those who crave natural textures; those who long for bear statuary and soft throws to sink tired bones into after a long hike in the woods. It’s a place to find a chandelier fashioned from faux antlers and birdhouses made from bark.

With its natural wood walls and treasure-laden alcoves, this split-level shop, which specializes in cabin decor, embodies rustic Blue Ridge Mountain charm. It’s been a fixture on Blowing Rock’s Main Street for 25 years — plenty of time to perfect the art of turning a house into a comfy sanctuary. “But it’s not just the decor,” says owner Tim Greer. “It’s also the smell.” Depending on the day, that smell may be maple syrup, spiced peach, or crackling birch candles, or balsam fir smoke coming from the chimney of a tiny log-cabin incense burner — comforting scents capable of opening a portal to simpler times. “Everybody wants a fireplace,” Greer says, “and they want cozy.”

At Cabin Fever, the outdoors come inside for an experience like no other. And you can leave with items for your Blue Ridge Mountain home. photograph by Stacey Van Berkel

Whereas Danish abodes have hygge, the cabins of western North Carolina have coziness. Greer has curated Cabin Fever’s inventory around all things warm and welcoming: “Lots of throws, lots of plaids, lots of buffalo prints,” he says. Bringing elements of the outdoors inside exponentially increases the curl-up-and-nap appeal of a properly appointed cabin. Consider the paintings of mischievous raccoons on the shop’s walls and the shelves of locally crafted pottery embellished with leaf tracings. And then there’s the near omnipresence of black bears, which adorn Christmas ornaments, T-shirts, photos, and magnets, and come as fuzzy, cub-size ottomans or wooden statues carved by chainsaw.

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Greer bought Cabin Fever in 2020, pretty much on a whim. Ready for a change from his longtime career in apparel, he saw online that the store was for sale. “It kind of worked out accidentally,” he says. Maybe so, but the business has been a boon for both Greer and Blowing Rock. Tourists flock to the Blue Ridge Mountain from as far away as Florida and as nearby as Charlotte, seeking respite from the heat of the beaches and city concrete. As it turns out, many of them want to take a bit of coziness back home with them — even if they don’t necessarily have a cabin to decorate. To that end, Cabin Fever offers lots of screen-printed tees emblazoned with Smokey Bear and everything Dolly Parton. But when the weekends are over and the crowds dissipate, the locals return.

Things you can use antlers for: a hat rack, a lamppost, or even just as art on a pedestal. photograph by Stacey Van Berkel

“People who have cabins come in and say, ‘I need wall art for this; I need a bear figurine,’” Greer says. Some of those people have pioneering tastes. He mentions a friend who’s paired her wood trim and floors with leopard-print textiles. “Cabins are versatile now,” he says. “You can do the rustic thing, but you can also modernize them.”

Regardless of whether you’re vacationing in a rental cabin and looking for a souvenir to pack in a carry-on or outfitting the cabin of your dreams, Cabin Fever is worth a visit. Because this little shop in the hills of Watauga County is about more than just decor, textures, smells, and cute bear novelties. It could be the coziness — or maybe it’s something more emotional. More elusive, profound, and precious. As Greer puts it: “Cabins make people feel safe.”

Cabin Fever
915 Main Street
Blowing Rock, NC 28605
(828) 295-0520
thecabinfeversite.com

This story was published on Oct 25, 2021

Morgan Sykes

Morgan Sykes splits her time between Transylvania County and New York City. She has written for New York magazine and Oxford American.