​Dancing Sun Cabins
1985 Roaring Fork Road, Hot Springs, NC 28743, Madison County, USA 828-622-9569

Home School: Experiential Learning at it's Best
We offer the perfect place to explore the beautiful smoky mountains and learn of its many wonders.  Nature is at her finest here in the blue ridge mountains of NC.  Come enjoy our creeks, our hikes, and our day trips to various learning centers.  

Our daughter was home schooled and is now a very successful college student.  She enjoyed experiential learning opportunities the most.

We have designed this  page to help you plan your trip.  The best way to really enjoy the forest is to come for a week.  That way you really have time to come to know it's ways.

But even if you don't have time to stay a whole week, this page can help you pick a few experiences that may enhance your child's education.

Please feel free to contact us if you have questions or want more suggestions.
Waterfalls, Trees, a Mysterious Rock and Fish

One of our favorite day trips is to head off to the southern section of Pisgah National Forest for a day trip.  This can be a very full day so it is good to get started early.  The region by Mount Pisgah is filled with possibilities for a fun filled day.

This area is rich with waterfalls. There are waterfall every few miles. And, one of our favorite places to hike is in this regions, Looking Glass Rock. Just off the Blue Ridge Parkway is one of our favorite Interpretive center, the Cradle of Forestry.  If you drive to this area on the Blue Ridge Parkway out of Waynesville, you will pass a wonderful Interpretive Trail that is short and very informative. Also in this area is the Pisgah Wildlife Center and Fish Hatchery.  The hatchery is a  wonderful place to see the trout in our streams. This is also a trail head for John's Rock which is another Pluton rock that you can climb. To climb either of the rocks is about 8 miles of  pretty steep hiking.  It is also wise to review safety before you start up these hikes as the top of the rocks are beautiful but are to be respected as places people have fallen to their deaths.

History comes alive at Cataloochee

Experience life at the beginning of the 20th century and view beautiful Elk herds. Visit Cataloochee for a unique experience in the Great Smoky Mountain National Park
There are lots of hikes through this 1930's community.This is a great place for experiential learning. It makes for a great day trip.
Our property is an open class room. Feel free to wander our  100 acres and explore the creeks, the forest and the meadows.  
The creeks are full of life. All you have to do is flip over a rock to find little salamanders or crayfish.   We also have turtles and many species of frogs. If you bring along a microscope you will discover even more.

Learn about reptiles, amphibians in a live classroom. Our frog and lily pond is a great habitat for frogs.  There are several species that reproduce there.  In the summer the tadpoles are there in different stages all season. They are fun to watch.  And, the lilies are beautiful.

We do have many variety of snakes.  We only have 2 poisonous varieties and they are extremely rare.  These are moccasins and western rattlers.   Tom has only seen one of these in the  13 years of living here.  Most of our snakes are  quite helpful.  They are garden snakes and ring snakes  and black snakes to name just a few. They are very helpful to life here as they eat the more pesky critters including poisonous snakes.

Bird watching is also a fun activity.  Bring along a journal and keep track of the many, many species that migrate through our area.  The yellow finches are most amazing with their glorious bright yellow color.  We also have indigo buntings that area  brilliant blue. Woodpeckers, owls, wild turkeys, cardinals and many many song birds make this forest their home.

Butterfly identification is a fun activity.  In late summer and early fall as the tall flowers come into bloom, the butterflies arrive in great numbers.  It is not unusual to come upon a field just full of them feeding on our many wildflowers.

Wildflower exploration is another fun activity.  We have blooms from early spring to mid fall.  It is great to bring along a wildflower book when you hike.  We have plenty we can share with you for identification.  There are also many edible and medicinal plants in our forest.  

What are Fungi anyway? In addition to the plant life, there is a whole world of fungi in the forest.  Just after a rain is a great time to explore the mushrooms and tree fungi that pop up. Lichens abound on our rocks.  You could easily make a terrarium using the moss and lichen and fungi that you could gather on your walks.

Learn about Geology.  Our ancient Appalachian mountains are an open class room to study geology.  Rocks of many kinds abound.  One of our favorite rocks to visit is a Pluton in the southern section of Pisgah.  You can see how to visit it below.

Art and unique architecture are easy to experience here in the mountains.  There is a local art gallery in Hot Springs called the Artisun Gallery.   There is also a charming little coffee shop down by the Laurel River on 25/70 heading to Marshall.  A unique place just down the road from us is an Artist retreat center called Azule.  They welcome visitors here to view the amazing architectural design of it founder Camille Shafer.  It is a unique and ongoing  artistic expression that has been coming to life for over 40 years.  It is community based and uses recycled materials.  Contact Rebecca if you would like to go visit.  It is a very inspiring place.

Wildflower projects on our property
Turtle skeleton we found near our creek
Purple Mushroom
Butterflies love Milkweed
The Mermaid Lodge is  
a perfect place to do art
We love campfires
Thank you Elizabeth for the wonderful art work created in our Mermaid Lodge
Check out our video on how to make molasses. This is an all day event and a real part of Appalachian culture.