BREVARD -- Ash Grove Cabins and Camping was recently featured in the British magazine Oxygen, which named it one of the world's best campgrounds.
"I was blown away," said Mark Henry, co-owner of Ash Grove about being featured in the magazine.
He said he and his friend, co-owner Steven Dugard, did not know a reporter was staying there. "It's nice for someone to tell you, you are doing a good job," Henry said.
The friends of 14 years never thought they would own a campground. That was until three years ago when they visited their first privately owned campground, rather than a state or national park.
"We were sitting there talking and Steven says, 'we can do this,'" Henry said. "'We can create our own campground.'"
It was like a dream for the pair, who like the idea of working for themselves.
In 2003, they bought 14 acres on a forested mountain top in Brevard. "The first time we saw the land we knew it was the right place," Henry said. "It just felt right."
The camping area was first developed in the 1970s as a getaway called the Cryin' Shame Resort. Henry and Dugard added housing and a bathhouse. They named each campsite after a wildflower and the roads and cabins after trees. They also created the slogan, "Nature Revives the Spirit."
"We wanted campers to experience nature," Henry said. He added that he wanted campers to think back on their vacation at the campground and let their memory relax them for a moment.
Some campers think the friends' ideals are working.
"It's so relaxing to walk through the trails and hear the birds," said Nancy Leedy of Shelby. Leedy has been to the campground four times and said it is her way of relaxing and getting away from her job as a cardiac nurse. "I love the place."
Joanie Beasley of Carolina Beach comes to the campground with Leedy. She said Henry and Dugard treat their guests with respect.
"That's what we're here for," Henry said. "We want to make our guests feel good."
This is the third summer for Ash Grove.
From most sites, campers cannot see other sites. Cars are only allowed so far, so campers have to load gear and carry it to their campsites.