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Live off the grid in luxury at this remarkable sustainable living paradise near Asheville NC. Spanning 150 acres of pristine mountain land near Pisgah National Forest and the Appalachian Trail, the Retreat at Mule Stomp features a self-sufficient eco-luxury home with upscale interiors and appliances, a solar barn, a hobby barn, extensive orchard and gardens, 4 acres of fenced pasture and miles of hiking trails. This one-of-a-kind green retreat includes a 10-acre meadow, spectacular 360-degree views of two states, a half-mile ridge walk looking down into valleys below, the largest cherry tree in North Carolina, beautiful ponds and more than a dozen springs. This property is ideal as a self-sufficient family compound, retreat center, camp or working organic farm.
The Residence | The 'Eco-Luxury' natural home was designed with sustainability and health in mind. Non-toxic paints and finishes are used throughout the house. Wood for the home was milled on-site, including the structural members, decking, most flooring, cabinets, all trim and the solid cherry front door. Earthen plaster walls in the master suite and yoga room were made from all local materials. A six-zone radiant floor system and the triple pane Loewen windows keep this remarkable house warm in winter, while the home's elevation and design keeps it cool in the summer. The solar thermal and solar electric systems are sized such that the house is entirely self-sufficient. The interior of the home comprises over 6,000 square feet of living space with four bedrooms, two kitchens, four and a half bathrooms, a yoga room, large mud room, and two office spaces that can also serve as additional bedrooms. The large covered porch is ideal for rocking chairs and hammocks.
Close to the house is a well-established vegetable garden featuring 200+ blueberry bushes, raspberries, strawberries, June berries, goji berries and hundreds of edible plants and herbs. In the main garden, raised beds built of locally milled locust are covered with "solar pods" which enable greens to be grown throughout the winter and frost-tender plants to be started early in the spring.
The hobby barn houses a specially designed rack for storing the "solar pods" during the summer months. The 3'x8' raised beds are designed to incorporate optional support for climbing plants such as peas and tomatoes. The garden shed has an 8'x8' storage closet as well as two outdoor closets so that tools are always near at hand. The structure also includes a vegetable processing counter and work table made of locust butcher block. Both are convenient to the chicken yards and compost bins.
The solar barn is the heart of the retreat's off-grid (grid-tie enabled) power and heating systems. It also houses an equipment storage and maintenance area, a backup wood-fired boiler and wood storage area, a generator shed, a 60'x12' room that serves as craft space and storage, a three-car parking area, and a large gymnasium.
The roof of the solar barn was designed to hold twenty-four 8x10 thermal collectors at an ideal pitch for winter sun. These collectors heat a 5000-gallon super-insulated tank that serves as a "thermal battery" and which provides heat to the radiant floors of the Natural Home. All power and heating lines on the property are buried beneath the driveway. The 5000-gallon thermal battery can also be heated by the covered wood-fired boiler at the rear of the barn, but this is only necessary in the heart of winter when there is unusually cold weather (below freezing) and a string of days without sun.
At the rear of the solar barn there is a generator shed containing two generators (Kohler and Onan) connected to a buried 1000-gallon propane tank. There are two generators for fault-tolerance, so that one can be taken off-line for service. In a typical winter a generator runs a half a dozen times or less. The house is vastly over-powered in the spring, summer, and fall. During winter's coldest months, the house maintains itself at 62 degrees without requiring extra heat or power.
The control room houses the batteries that store power from the nine pole-mounted kilowatt PV arrays, as well as the inverters that provide power to the Natural Home and Hobby Barn. The power system consists of dual Xantrex 4048 inverters, providing standard 110 and 220 volt power. There are redundant dual Outback inverters on standby so that power need not be interrupted should any part of the system require servicing. The Retreat's power system is grid-tie enabled. Underground power connects to the 'hobby barn' and can power the entire retreat if desired. The solar barn's systems are web and cell-phone enabled for remote monitoring. The control room also contains a water distiller that automatically uses excess power to distill water for servicing the 24 Rolls batteries.
The gym is 30'x45' with a 30'x15' loft overlooking. The floor has a 1/2" rubber shock pad covered with a non-abrasive sports surface. There is a basketball goal, a climbing wall and wall attachments for volleyball net, a sports equipment storage closet and a yoga wall. The gym is heated in winter by air forced over a radiant coil. The 60'x12' craft and storage space is accessed from the loft overlooking the gym.
The acreage ranges from 3200 feet to almost 4000 feet in elevation and is comprised of numerous micro-climates with north, south, east and west facing slopes and coves. The property is situated in the Southern Appalachian range in what is known as a transitional rain forest. Native plants are abundant in many areas of the Retreat. Ginseng, Solomon's Seal, blue cohosh, and bloodroot are among the numerous edible and medicinal plants identified in the forest. In the spring, the trilliums and ramps carpet the western slopes and delphinium covers the eastern hillsides. The largest wild cherry tree in North Carolina is located on this property at a site known as Cherry Point.
The property offers a variety of live water including a pond with dock, bold mountain streams, small waterfalls, and more than a dozen springs.
The Retreat at Mule Stomp is located in the Southwest corner of Madison County in Western North Carolina, overlooking Trust, Luck, and the Spring Creek Community. Situated amid the expanse of Pisgah National Forest and near the popular Max Patch stretch of the Appalachian Trail, the retreat is ideally located for total privacy and unsurpassed natural beauty. From this property, its 15 miles to I-40, 18 miles to Lake Junaluska, 22 miles to Waynesville, 30 miles to Hot Springs, and 40 miles to Asheville.
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