by Mary Kay White, Ed.D.
Director Fitness Appraisal Laboratory
Member Brevard College Wellness Committee, Brevard, NC
Pretty Place (Symmes Chapel) - a very spiritual, relaxing outdoor amphitheater. Hike in the woods nearby.
Driving directions**: From the college, drive left on Broad
Street to the intersection with Main Street in downtown Brevard. Turn left
onto Hwy. 276 south. It'll be a winding road that leads to Greenville SC
(if you head that far). From downtown Brevard, drive 11.7 miles on 276S
till you come to the border of North and South Carolina. Turn left onto
the road (marked YMCA Camp Greenville and Symmes Chapel). Drive another
4.5 miles to the camp. Symmes Chapel (Pretty Place) is part of the camp
and is open to the public unless a wedding is taking place. It is built
into the side of the mountain and is open on all sides (and is covered
by a roof). There are pews and a cross and it is a wonderful place to meditate
or pray. Behind the cross the mountain drops off and there is a gorgeous
view of the area. It is hard to describe how it looks and feels, but it
is why it is called Pretty Place. No food or drink is allowed. On my way
back out I parked off a gravel road and took a pleasant hike along the
road among the trees.
Hiking directions - this is mostly an opportunity to commune with God in an extremely peaceful and beautiful amphitheater. Hike on your own nearby if you so desire.
Note: Check out Camp Greenville at (http://www.campgreenville.org/). There it states that ".It was given by Mr. Fred W. Symmes for the enjoyment of the boys (and now girls) who camp here each summer and is the spiritual center of the camp. The current chapel was constructed in 1941 with several additions and improvements made in subsequent years. Camp Greenville has been in existence since 1912 and covers 1600 acres. It is a year-round operation serving as a Summer Camp, Environmental Education Center, Group & Conference Center, and facility for weddings. The Chapel is located on private property owned by the YMCA Camp Greenville (a branch of the YMCA of Greenville, SC). Camp Greenville welcomes visitors to enjoy the beauty of the Chapel during daylight - except when it is in use for a Camp event (Sunday morning worship services by campers or groups), or for another reserved event.weddings, dedications, memorial services, etc.). Typically the chapel is booked throughout the day on Saturday and Sunday. We strongly recommend calling the camp office to check the schedule prior to visiting to avoid conflicts with weddings or other privately scheduled events at Pretty Place!"
While you are out in this area, you might also want to take in the view at Caesars Head. It is about 16 miles from Brevard, but is only about 4-5 miles farther south from the turn off to Pretty Place. Caesar's Head will be well marked, with a large parking lot on the right of Hwy. 276. There is also a gift shop, restroom, picnic tables and grills. It is a very short walk to the viewpoint and it is well marked. Caesar's Head is a huge rock cliff, resembling a human profile. Elevation is 3,266 feet and you see over a hundred miles out to the plateau below, where the elevation quickly drops off. The mountains are said to have formed over 200 million years ago, and the peaks may have once reached 50,000 feet.
You also may want to stop at Connastee Falls on the way back to Brevard. It is about 5.7 miles from Brevard, so you'll see it on the left as you head back to town. Look for the "Falls" sign on 276, turn left and park and walk a short distance to Connastee Falls (pictured below). It is a 110-foot high falls, has a beauty rating by Kevin Adams of 7 on a 10 point scale. The walk is "as easy as it gets".