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Reeling IN

Adventure Award-Winning Breweries



Cast iron skillets and rocking chairs, country gourmet foods, hiking and camping gear, comfortable footwear and fashions, and toys powered by imagination — you’ll find it all here. And to make life a little sweeter, over 500 old-fashioned candies!

Valle Crucis • Boone • Waynesville • Asheville • Winston-Salem Hendersonville, NC • Greenville • Columbia, SC • Knoxville, TN





If you’ve picked up this publication, then, by all accounts, you’re in search of outdoors adventure and countless experiences in our backyard paradise that is Western North Carolina. As folks proud of our region, we also take a lot of pride in making those who visit feel as welcomed and embraced as possible. Life is about trying new things and meeting new people. What better place to do so than with Mother Nature’s masterpiece of the Great Smoky and Blue Ridge mountain ranges as the backdrop? Take to the trail for a day-hike or mountain bike ride, or to the river for some vigorous kayaking or tranquil fly fishing, or take to Main Street for an afternoon of shopping, perhaps a farm-totable dinner or live bluegrass performance. The beauty of Western North Carolina resides in the mere notion that everyday is a blank canvas by which we have all the colors of possibility at our disposal to paint with. With our array of weekend festivals and seasonal events, the hardest part is simply figuring out what to do. It’s all here, and more. I’ve always believed the litmus test of the strength of a place resides in how well its community aims at bringing one and all together. Show me a town where the people really care and are well vested in the community and its potential, and I’ll show you a location that is pulsating with energy, passion and fun. — Garret K. Woodward, Arts & Entertainment Editor


INSIDE: Food+Drink

Chef Ken Naron of Canyon Kitchen. . . . . . . . . . 6 WNC craft breweries win national medals . . . 14

....................7 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 15 . . . . . . . . . . . . . 20



Artist Jo Ridge Kelley . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 36 A decade in, Balsam Range looks ahead . . . . 34 Haywood crafter keeps heritage alive . . . . . . . 28

FESTIVALS ..............................................................24 MUSEUMS ..............................................................30 PERFORMANCE VENUES ........................................35


Mountain biking trails in WNC . . . . . . . . . . . . 38 Allure of the Cherohala Skyway . . . . . . . . . . . 54

GOLF ......................................................................44 HIKING ...................................................................46 WATERFALLS ..........................................................48 FISHING IN WNC ...................................................50 PARKWAY STOPS ...................................................52 THE SMOKIES .........................................................53


Calendar of Events

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 56

On the Cover: An angler enjoying a day on one of Western North Carolina’s crystal clear rivers. Margaret Hester photo



Scott McLeod . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Garret K. Woodward. . . .

Advertising Director:


Greg Boothroyd . . . . . . . . . . Amanda Bradley . . . . . . . . Susanna Barbee . . . . Art Director: Micah McClure . . . . . . . . . . Hylah Birenbaum . . . . . . . .

Composition & Design:


Travis Bumgardner . . . . . . Scott Collier. . . . . . . . . . . Jessica Murray. . . . . . . Bookkeeping: Amanda Singletary . . If you’d like bulk copies of the WNC Travel Guide to distribute at your business, email your request to or call Distribution Manager Scott Collier at 828.452.4251. Contents ©2018/2019 The Smoky Mountain News. All rights reserved.

When it comes to beer, WNC beer lo overs know where to find the best selectio on of craft and local brews. Not to mentio i n all your favorite domestic and imported varieties. Ingles has been consistently voted one of the best places to buy beer iin W WNC. C That's something Ingles is really proud u of... . after all, Asheville is Beer City USSA. Ingles... Low Prices...Love the Savin ngs!



Visit e m to find your neighborhood Ingles location!


Eats+Drinks On your plate, on the plateau: Chef Ken Naron of Canyon Kitchen

Though the culinary and agricultural history of Southern Appalachia is as vast and robust as the tall and rigorous mountains that make up this region, the intense worldwide focus and adoration for the ingredients, recipes and folks who stir it all together is more of a 21st century phenomenon. The culinary story of this area has always been here. And it has always been told. But, it’s only in the modern era do we find so many ears finally listening, so many mouths eating in gusto the rich flavors, intricate styles and unique attitudes that waft from each dish presented before you. Beyond the bright lights of Asheville — with a multitude of exquisite restaurants where you find yourself using them as directional markers toward the next “must try” spot — you head west on N.C. 280, ultimately up into the rugged hills of Jackson County along the U.S. 64 roadside. And just outside of the Cashiers crossroads, tucked into the Lonesome Valley property, is the culinary delights of the Canyon Kitchen. Bridging farm-to-table ingredients and cosmopolitan flair, Chef Ken Naron and his team


are the torchbearers of a culinary revolution that continues to captivate the appetites of Western North Carolina. In terms of the foodie scene, there has been a huge explosion in interest and focus on Southern cuisine and culinary culture. Why is that, and what do you attribute that to? Ken Naron: We have the greatest food in the world here in the South. Our food culture is so ethnically diverse in the South. Think about all the different people that have come into America in the southern region. These different cultures have brought their food and traditions with them and have shared them. Our learning and sharing things with each other makes for some really delicious food.

What ingredients do you find the most enjoyable to use that hail from the native soils of Western North Carolina and greater Southern Appalachia? KN: Ramps. I love ramps. We don’t have them in [my native] Louisiana and it’s one of my favorite ingredients here. Candy roaster squash is another ingredient that’s great. They can be used in so many ways. The heirloom corns that grow around here are amazing. I’m astonished that the different varieties growing here have been here for as long as they have. It says a lot about the region and the people in it. What about ingredients folks might not be aware of, in name and in possibilities, that

are from this region? KN: When I moved here, I noticed two greens growing that I didn’t see on any menus. First, was Dandelion greens. The Italian name is “puntarelle.” We used to get them from our farmers out west. They’re bitter, but very edible. I like to marinate them with some lemon zest and olive oil, and flash them on the grill, just enough to wilt them. You can chop them up, add them to grains, grits, sweet corn, pretty much anywhere you want to add a bitter element. The second was goose foot (aka: lambs quarters/wild spinach). This is another green that’s edible and everywhere during the spring. It has a pretty mild spinach flavor, but a little different than the stuff grown commercially. I like to add them to salad greens or sautéed real quick with bacon and onions.

Want to go? Canyon Kitchen is open Wednesday-Sunday from May through October. If you would like to know more about the Canyon Kitchen in Lonesome Valley and/or to make a reservation, click on

What’s the philosophy with your restaurant? KN: Our philosophy is to use the best ingredients and products from our region to create a unique experience that can’t be duplicated anywhere else. Our goal is to represent the region in the best possible way by honoring traditions and creating new ones. We grow lettuces, corn, radishes, carrots, beets, beans, peas, herbs, shallots. I know we’re not the only restaurant that grows its own produce, but we also turn all our vegetable waste into compost to use in our garden. We’re huge believers in seed-tostem cooking. We make a lot of our own pickles, vinegars, jams and jellies. When we produce an ingredient, we look at it and figure out a unique way to use it or turn it into another product. We diversify our pantry as much as we can with what we have available. Our flavor combinations and nuances are what separates us. When you’re in midst of a dinner rush, with everything and everyone in overdrive, where do you go in your mind? KN: In the heat of it all, is when my thoughts seem to be the most clear. It’s almost like being in love — heart is racing, eyes widening, blood pumping, senses heightened. It’s all very crazy, and very fun. Professionally speaking, it’s a sense of accomplishment. When you’re busy and feeding a lot of guests, it means that you’re doing something right. My thoughts are that every plate has to be excellent in taste and presentation. You eat with your eyes. It has to look good, but, more importantly, it has to taste good.



Savoring the Smokies After a full day of hiking the mountains, biking the backcountry roads, cruising the Blue Ridge Parkway or swimming in a pristine lake, one can sure build up quite the appetite soaking in all that Western North Carolina has to offer. To remedy that, our region is home to some of the finest restaurants in the Southeast. Whether specializing in local farm-to-table items, southern “cosmopolitan country” dishes or intricate ethnic cuisines, any flavor or style can be found, each able to tantalize and capture any palate.

Andrews • Burger Basket American – 828.321.3785 • Hoppy Trout Brewing Company American – 828.835.2111 • MakAly’s on Main American – 828.516.9661 • Mi Pueblito Mexican – 828.321.2220 • Monte Alban Mexican – 828.321.1802 • Myaca’s Sea & Soul Food Seafood/Gourmet – 828.321.9103 • Potter’s House American – 828.321.1786

Bryson City • Anthony’s Italian/American – 828.488.8898 • Bar-B-Que Wagon Southern/American – 828.488.9521 • The Bistro at the Everett Hotel Southern/Gourmet – 828.488.1934 • Derailed Bar & Lounge American – 828.488.8898 • Everett Street Diner American/Café – 828.488.0123 • Filling Station Deli American/Southern – 828.488.1919 • Fryemont Inn Southern/Seafood – 800.845.4879 • Great Smoky Mountains Winery American/Southern – 828.788.1346 • Guayabitos Mexican – 828.488.1336 • Hemlock Inn Southern/Gourmet – 828.488.2885

• Iron Skillet American/Café – 828.488.4766 • Jimmy Mac’s American/Southern – 828.488.4700 • La Taqueria Mexican – 828.488.9162 • Mountain Perks Espresso Bar & Café American/Café – 828.488.9561 • Naber’s Drive-In American/Southern – 828.488.2877 • Nate & Nick’s Pizza American/Southern – 828.588.0500 • Pasqualino’s – Italian – 828.488.9555 • Village Bistro Southern/American – 828.488.9000 • The Warehouse at Nantahala Brewing Southern/Gourmet – 828.585.5885 • Water’s Edge Seafood/Southern – 828.488.7977

Canton • Black Bear Café American/Café – 828.648.1003 • Breaking Bread Café American/Café – 828.648.3838 • Canelos – Mexican – 828.648.0303 • China King Buffet Chinese/Asian – 828.235.8815 • El Chapala – Mexican – 828.235.9193 • El Pobre – Mexican – 828.235.9311 • Ferrara’s Pizza & Pasta American/Italian – 828.492.0641 • J-RO’s American – 828.492.0015 • Jukebox Junction American/Café – 828.648.4546 • Kountry Kitchen American/Café – 828.492.8072 • Pigeon River Grille American/Café – 828.492.1422 • Sagebrush Steakhouse – 828.646.3750 • Southern Porch Kitchen & Drink Southern/Farm-to-Table – 828.492.8006

Cashiers • Buck’s Coffee Café American/Café – 828.743.9997 • Carolina Smokehouse Southern Barbecue – 828.743.3200 • Chez Dupont & The Stone Soup Café Southern/Farm-to-Table – 828.743.1960 • Chile Loco Mexican – 828.743.1160



Cashiers (continued) • Cornucopia Restaurant Southern/American – 828.743.3750 • El Manzanillo Mexican – 828.743.5522 • High Hampton Inn & Country Club Seafood/Southern – 828.743.2411 • The Orchard Southern/American – 828.743.7614 • Randevu – Southern – 828.743.0190 • Slab Town Pizza – American – 828.743.0020 • The Ugly Dog Pub American/Southern – 828.743.3000 • Winslow’s Hideaway Steak/Seafood – 828.743.2226 • Zookeeper Café American/Café – 828.743.7711

Cherokee • Brio Tuscan Grille (Harrah’s) Italian – 828.497.7777 • Chestnut Tree American/Café – 828.497.9181 • Frontier Pancake House American/Café – 828.497.4718 • Granny’s Kitchen Southern/American – 828.497.5010 • Lee Garden Chinese – 828.497.4388 • Little Princess Southern/American – 828.497.9000 • New Happy Garden Chinese – 828.497.4310 • Newfound Lodge American/Café – 828.497.4590 • Noodle Bar (Harrah’s) Asian – 828.497.7777 • Paul’s Diner American/Southern – 828.497.9012 • Peter’s Pancakes & Waffles American/Café – 828.497.5116 • Rancho Viejo Mexican – 828.497.0343 • Ruth’s Chris Streak House (Harrah’s) Steak/Seafood – 828.497.7777 • Sassy Sunflowers Bakery & Café American/Southern – 828.497.2539 • Selu Garden Café (Harrah’s) American/Southern – 828.497.7777 • Wise Guys Pizza American – 828.497.2838


Clyde • Blue Rooster Southern Grill Southern/American – 828.456.1997 • Coffee Cup Café American/Café – 828.627.8905 • Da Asian Kitchen Asian/Sushi – 828.476.5121 • Ferrara’s Pizza & Pasta American/Italian – 828.476.5058 • Sherrill’s Pioneer American/Café – 828.627.9880

Cullowhee • The Point Coffee House American/Café – 828.526.4685 • Sazon – Mexican – 828.293.9443 • Tuck’s Tap & Grille American/Southern – 828.293.4688

Dillsboro • Boots – Steakhouse – 828.631.9713 • Coach’s Bistro American/Southern – 828.586.0265 • Country Traditions American/Southern – 828.586.1600 • Foragers Canteen Farm-to-Table/Southern – 828.631.4111 • Haywood Smokehouse Barbecue/Southern – 828.586.9556 • Jarrett House Southern – 828.586.0265 • Kostas – Greek/Italian – 828.631.0777 • Well House American/Southern – 828.586.8588

Franklin • The Boiler Room Steak/Southern – 828.349.5555 • Boone Thai – Thai – 828.524.1111 • The Bowery – Southern – 828.369.3663 • Café Rel – French – 828.369.9446 • Chris & Charlie’s Italian/American – 828.349.0900 • City Restaurant – American – 828.524.4948 • El Charro – Mexican – 828.369.9002 • Gazebo Creekside Café American/Southern – 828.524.8783 • Hungry Bear American/Café – 828.369.2900 • Kountry Kitchen American – 828.524.6209 • Las Barricas Mexican – 828.349.4484

• Lucio’s – Italian – 828.369.6670 • Mi Casa – Mexican – 828.369.1580 • Motor Company Grill American/Southern – 828.524.0099 • Ms Lois’ – American/Café – 828.369.8628 • Mulligan’s Bar & Grill American/Southern – 828.349.3183 • Normandie – American/Café – 828.524.3118 • Papa’s Pizza of Franklin American – 828.369.9999 • The Post & Beam at Mill Creek Southern/American – 828.349.0402 • Rathskeller Coffee Haus American/Café – 828.369.6796 • Root + Barrel American/Gourmet – 828.369.3663 • Sakura – Japanese – 828.349.8917 • Stamey’s Café American/Café – 828.524.8198 • Sunset – American/Café – 828.524.4842 • Thai Paradise Thai – 828.349.0973 • Tienda Mexicana La Guadalupana Mexican – 828.349.0108 • Vito’s Pizza Italian/American – 828.369.9890 • Willy’s Ribs & BBQ Southern/American – 828.524.0414

Hayesville • Alazan – Mexican – 828.389.2727 • Anejo Grille Mexican – 828.389.6061 • Angelo’s Downtown Pizza Italian/American – 828.389.2500 • Chevelle’s 69 – American – 828.389.6069 • The Copper Door Seafood/Southern – 828.237.4030 • Mika’s Pizza – American – 828.389.6366 • Rib Country BBQ Barbecue/Southern – 828.389.9597

Highlands • Asia House – Asian – 828.787.1680 • Bistro On Main – American – 828.526.2590 • Brick Oven Pizza American – 828.526.4121 • Buck’s Coffee Café American/Café – 828.526.0020 • Cyprus – International – 828.526.4429 • El Azteca South Pacific/Mexican – 828.526.2244 • Highlands Smokehouse Southern Barbecue – 828.526.1900

• Lakeside Seafood/Southern – 828.526.9419 • Madison’s Restaurant & Wine Garden Southern/Farm-to-Table – 828.526.5477 • Main Street Inn Bistro American – 828.526.2590 • Meritage Bistro American – 828.526.1019 • Mountain Fresh Grocery American/Café – 828.526.2400 • On the Verandah Gourmet Fusion – 828.526.2338 • Paoletti’s Italian/American – 828.526.4906 • Pescados Mexican – 828.526.9313 • Pizza Place of Highlands American – 828.526.5660 • Ristorante Paoletti Northern Italian – 828.526.4906 • Ruka’s Table Southern/Contemporary – 828.526.3636 • Rustico at the Log Cabin Northern Italian – 828.526.0999 • The Ugly Dog Pub American/Southern – 828.526.8364 • Wild Thyme Gourmet Southern – 828.526.4035 • Wolfgang’s Restaurant & Wine Bistro New Orleans/Steak/Seafood – 828.526.3807

Western North Carolina’s Award-Winning Theatre Just blocks from Downtown Waynesville sits one of the area’s most celebrated theatre companies. HART Theatre showcases some of the area’s finest talent in a year-round schedule of plays and musicals. Dine in our award-winning Bistro then stroll to your seat for some of the finest live theatre in Western North Carolina. Visit us online for more information and for our complete performance calendar. HART Theatre is here to entertain you!

Lake Toxaway • The Blind Mule American/Southern – 828.553.8978 • Brown Trout Mountain Grille American/Southern – 828.877.3474 • The Grill American – 828.883.5551 • Osteria Del Monte Mexican – 828.883.2551


Maggie Valley • Andolini’s Italian/American – 828.944.0770 • Apple Andy’s American/Southern – 828.944.0626 • Brew Cue & BBQ Southern/American – 828.944.0259 • Butts On The Creek Barbecue/Southern – 828.926.7885 • Cataloochee Guest Ranch Southern/American – 800.868.1401 • Country Vineyard Café Italian/American – 828.926.6557



Enjoy dining with us! Relax by candle light with gourmet cuisine, a selection of fine wines, spirits, and regional craft beers. On performance nights, relish in the fact that your theatre seats are merely steps away. Lunch Wednesday - Saturday 11 am - 2 pm Dinner Starting at 5:00 on Performance Nights* Brunch Sunday 11 am - 2 pm 250 Pigeon St. in Waynesville In the Daniel & Belle Fangmeyer Theatre For Menu, Information and Reservations: *Reservations required for dinner. Visit for HART Theatre’s performance calendar.



RESTAURANTS Maggie Valley (continued) • Frankie’s Italian Trattoria Italian – 828.926.6216 • Garrett’s – Steakhouse – 828.926.1954 • Guayabitos – Mexican – 828.926.7777 • Holiday Diner American/Café – 828.926.0820 • J. Arthur’s Steakhouse/American – 828.926.1817 • Joey’s Pancake House American/Café – 828.926.0212 • Maggie Valley Club American/Southern – 828.926.1616 • Maggie Valley Restaurant American/Café – 828.926.0425 • Moonshine Grille Southern/American – 828.926.7440 • Mountaineer American/Café – 828.926.1730 • Pin High Bar & Grille American/Southern – 828.926.4848 • Rendezvous American/Southern – 828.926.2325 • Salty Dog’s Seafood/American – 828.926.9105 • Snappy’s – Italian/American – 828.926.6126 • The Swag Farm-to-Table/Southern – 828.926.0430 • Taqueria Guanajuato Mexican – 828.926.3483

Murphy • Blue Mountain Coffee & Grill American/Café – 828.837.1362 • Chevelle’s – American – 828.835.7001 • Daily Grind & Wine American/Coffeehouse – 828.835.7322 • Downtown Bakery American – 828.835.8986 • Downtown Pizza Company American – 828.837.0500 • Doyle’s Cedar Hill American – 828.837.3400 • El Manzanio Mexican – 828.837.9624 • Mama Mia’s – Italian – 828.557.5401 • Monte Alban – Mexican – 828.835.9767 • Murphy’s Chophouse Southern/Steak/Gourmet – 828.835.3287 • No Name Deli American/Italian – 828.837.9138


• Rib Country BBQ Barbecue/Southern – 828.837.4444 • ShoeBooties Café Southern/American – 828.837.4589

Robbinsville • Carolina Kitchen Southern/American – 828.479.1500 • El Pacifico Mexican – 828.479.8448 • Hub Of WNC Barbecue/Southern – 828.479.0478 • Lynn’s Place American/Southern – 828.479.9777 • Pacefeco – Mexican – 828.479.8448 • Southern Gals Country Cooking Southern/American – 828.479.9405 • Stecoah Diner American/Café – 828.479.8430

Sapphire • Canyon Kitchen at Lonesome Valley Southern/Farm-to-Table – 828.743.7697 • Cork & Barrel Lounge American/Southern – 828.743.7477 • Gamekeeper’s Tavern American – 828.743.4263

• The Library Kitchen & Bar Artisan/Gourmet – 828-743.5512 • Mica’s – American – 828.743.5740 • Osteria Del Monte Mexican – 828.883.2551 • Sapphire Mountain Brewing American – 828.743.0220 • Table 64 – American/Southern – 828.743.4135

Sylva • B & Al’s Grill American – 828.586.5686 • Balsam Mountain Inn Southern/Farm-to-Table – 828.456.9498 • Bogart’s – Steakhouse – 828.586.6532 • City Lights Café American/Southern – 828.587.2233 • The Coffee Shop American/Café – 828.586.2013 • Colima – Mexican – 828.586.9999 • Cosmic Carryout at Innovation Brewing American/Farm-to-Table – 828.586.9678 • Creekside Oyster House & Grill Seafood/Southern – 828.586.1985 • Cut Cocktail Lounge Gastropub – 828.631.4795 • El Patron – Mexican – 828.586.8805

• Guadalupe Café Caribbean Fusion – 828.586.9877 • Half Past – American/Southern – 828.586.1212 • Pie Times at Innovation Brewing American - 828.586.9678 • Lulu’s On Main Southern/Farm-to-Table – 828.586.8989 • Mad Batter Food & Film American/Southern – 828.586.3555 • Melissa’s Backstreet Takeout Asian – 828.586.9131 • O’Malley’s Sports Bar & Grill American/Southern – 828.631.0554 • Peking Gourmet II Chinese – 828.586.9082 • Robbie’s Char-Burger American – 828.586.2723 • Soul Infusion Tea House & Bistro Southern Fusion/American – 828.586.1717 • South of Philly – American – 828.586.0550 • Southeast Asian Restaurant Asian – 828.631.9773 • Speedy’s Pizza – American – 828.586.3800

Waynesville • Ammon’s Drive-In & Dairy Bar American/Southern – 828.926.0734 • Angelo’s Family Pizza American/Southern – 828.452.1886 • Belly Food Truck Southern/Artisan – 828.772.6648 • Birchwood Hall Southern Kitchen Southern/Farm-to-Table – 828.246.6111 • Bocelli’s Italian Eatery Italian – 828.456.4900 • Bogart’s Steakhouse American – 828.452.1313 • Boojum Brewing American/Southern – 828.944.0888 • Bosu’s Wine Shop Farm-to-Table – 828.452.0120 • Bourbon Barrel Beef & Ale Southern/American – 828.452.9191 • Buttered Biscuit American/Café – 828.246.6446 • Captain’s Bay Seafood/Steakhouse – 828.456.6761 • The Chef’s Table Italian/Farm-to-Table – 828.452.6210 • Church Street Depot American – 828.246.6505 • The Classic Wineseller Italian/French/Southern – 828.452.6000 • Clyde’s Restaurant American/Southern – 828.456.9135



• Cork & Cleaver at The Waynesville Inn Steak/Seafood – 828.456.3551 • El Pobre – Mexican – 828.456.9557 • Ellie’s Deli & Coffee House American/Café – 828.456.4949 • Firefly Taps & Grill American/Southern – 828.454.5400 • Frog’s Leap Public House Farm-to-Table/Southern – 828.456.1930 • Harmons’ Den Bistro at HART Theatre Farm-to-Table/Southern – 828.456.6322 • Haywood 209 Café American/Café – 828.627.3331 • Haywood Smokehouse Barbecue/Southern – 828.456.7275 • Kanini’s Southern/Farm-to-Table – 828.452.5187 • Kornerstone Kafé American/Café – 828.550.2265 • Las Palmas – Mexican – 828.456.4234 • Los Amigos Mexican – 828.456.7870 • Luna – Mexican – 828.246.6666 • Mad Anthony’s Taproom American/Southern – 828.246.9249 • Maggie’s Galley Seafood – 828.456.8945 • New Happy Garden Asian – 828.456.6988 • Panacea Coffee House Café & Roastery American/Café – 828.452.6200 • Patio Bistro Southern/American – 828.454.0070 • Pub 319 American/Southern – 828.456.3040 • Sagebrush Steakhouse – 828.452.5822 • Sauced American/Mexican - 828246.9585 • Secret Wine Company Farm-to-Table – 828.452.0120 • Smoky Mountain Sub Shop American – 828.456.3400 • The Sweet Onion Southern/Farm-to-Table – 828.456.5559 • Tap Room Bar & Grill American/Southern – 828.456.3551 • Trailhead Bakery & Café American/Café – 828.452.3881 • Water’n Hole Bar & Grill American/Southern – 828.456.4750 • Waynesville Pizza Company American/Italian – 828.246.0927 • Willie Brooks BBQ Barbecue/American – 828.944.1227

Tuesday-Saturday: 12pm-9pm Sunday: 12pm-6pm · Monday: Closed AT BEARWATERS BREWING


RETAIL Wine · Beer Champagne Port · Cigars NEW Cocktails & Libations

RESTAURANT Charcuterie Tapas Small Plates Desserts

Live Music Fridays & Saturdays


20 Church Street | Waynesville 828.452.6000


MON.-SAT. 11 A.M.-8 P.M.

34 CHURCH ST. WAYNESVILLE 828.246.6505


Hall of Fame 2018 Restaurant, Cuisine & Service by Open Table Diners 5.20.18

● ●●

Proud to be part of Downtown Waynesville Since 2011




44 CHURCH STREET WAYNESVILLE 828-456-1930 Seasonal Hours, Call for Details


Authentic 1926 Caboose


converted into the ultimate vacation destination!

t Station 451 we combine a unique caboose, bath house, patio and farm land into a tiny house you'll never forget. The bright red storybook caboose was part of the famed Chesapeake and Ohio Railway. The caboose cottage itself is located on a private 20 acre residential farm. It is located minutes to I-40, about 30 minutes to Asheville, 20 miles to Tennessee and a mere 1.5 hours to Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge, TN. Station 451 is approximately 10 miles from the Great Smoky Mountain National Park. Close to hiking, waterfalls, the Blue Ridge Parkway, fly fishing, tubing, kayaking, shopping, fine dining, Harrah's Casino in Cherokee, art galleries, and theater ... you name it and it's a short drive away!

Book your stay: or

Station 451 is the vacation! Unlike a place where you just lay your head at night, this was an adventure like no other. The caboose is so sweet, and the "depot" (bathroom) is luxury. The connecting deck is the best place to be. We loved being out there! It was a great experience and we hope to return. — Alexandra T.

Super unique, extremely comfy, wonderful location! This place is so fun!!! The location was beautiful and removed enough to feel private but close enough to easily get around town and to the local restaurants and shops. The bath house was beautiful and the amenities were fabulous! — Sarah G.




Brooke Parrott



Eats+Drinks Brewing success: Two WNC craft breweries win national medals

With sunshine spilling into the taproom of Currahee Brewing Company in Franklin one recent afternoon, brewmaster Taylor Yates is all smiles. A hearty beverage raised high, the sun’s rays are a cherry on top of the news currently floating around the facility. “For us being so new, this is a huge thing,” he said. “We’re still trying to get established. Something like this on a national level just does wonders for us. When you’re new, it really gets you that exposure and notoriety you hope for.” What happened was the announcement that Currahee’s “Kawi” won a bronze medal for “Coffee Stout or Porter” at The Great American Beer Festival held last October in Denver, Colorado. With over 800 breweries and around 4,000 craft beer entries, the GABF is one of the premier competitions anywhere in the world. “It’s validation. It’s your life’s work, your career, what you hope to achieve since you started home-brewing,” Yates said. “You kind of hit the big time, your hard work is paying off in spades. [With Currahee] being open for 18 months is the biggest thing, I think. It shows a lot of character — the key word is consistency.” A coffee milk stout, “Kawi” uses farmer-direct coffee beans from Thrive Farmers (Roswell, Georgia), with the mindset being a doublewhammy in terms of taste and potency. “The beer sells itself,” said Currahee coowner Brandon Hintz. “[The beans are from] co-



BearWaters Brewing.

op farming, [where the farmers] could tell you where exactly on the mountain in Guatemala [the beans] came from.” Yates is no stranger to the national spotlight. In 2014, he also won a gold medal with Moon River Brewing (Savannah, Georgia) at the World Beer Cup for “Dry Irish Stout.” With his tenure at Currahee, Yates has already proven himself as one of the top-tier brewmasters in Western North Carolina. “We were always hungry, but GABF really lit a fire under us,” he said.

Canton comeback Two counties over in Haywood, Kevin Sandefur, coowner/brewer at BearWaters Brewing Company in Canton, also “struck gold” at the GABF with a bronze medal in the “Belgian-Style Strong Specialty Ale” category. “I was home having leftovers for lunch and my phone started going crazy,” Sandefur said of finding out about the win. “I thought, ‘Well, this is either a really good thing or a really bad thing.’ Something is either blowing up at the brewery or something good just happened. I couldn’t believe it, I was shaking, freaking out.” A fun play-on-words in regards to the nearby paper mill in downtown Canton, “Smells Like Money” is an ode to the pride that permeates the blue-collar mountain town, one built on industry and innovation. “[This is a] bronze medal in a very competitive category. It gives us the foundation to build on, something to strive for, a great segue for developing better beers, a perfect foundation for us to go into the future with,” he said. “We feel incredibly fortunate that everything seems to be falling into place. [The] new location has been so incredibly welcomed by folks in the community coming here every day.” Clocking in at 9-percent alcohol, “Smells Like Money” packs a punch. “It’s a really nice, complex Belgian strong ale,” Sandefur noted. “Traditional esters that you would find in a Belgian, great balance of malt body and high alcohol, plum and raisin notes. Smooth, robust mouth feel — warms you head-to-toe.” Sandefur looks at the medal as a milestone — an important one — for a brewery that has found solid ground after two years of uncertainty that led to its relocation from Waynesville to Canton, an action that has already proven a successful one. “Basically, it’s just confirmation for us that we’ve surrounded ourselves with the right people. We’re moving in the right direction,” he said. “This has always been a goal of ours since we’ve opened, to accomplish this level of quality with the product. It’s just putting the right people in place finally, and knowing that the team that you have is able to deliver — it just feels really good.”



WNC Breweries Andrews • Andrews Brewing 828.321.2006 • Hoppy Trout Brewing 828.835.2111

Bryson City • Mountain Layers Brewing 828.538.0115 • Nantahala Brewing 828.488.2337

Hayesville • Hayesville Brewing 828.835.6010 • Valley River Brewery 828.389.1472

Highlands • Satulah Mountain Brewing 828.482.9794

Murphy • Valley River Brewery 828.837.2337



• BearWaters Brewing 828.246.0602

• Sapphire Valley Brewing 828.743.0220



• Whiteside Brewing 828.743.6000

• 7 Clans Brewing 828.246.2968

• Balsam Falls Brewing 828.631.1987 • Innovation Brewing 828.586.9678 • Nantahala Brewing Outpost 828.488.2337



• Currahee Brewing 828.634.0078 • Lazy Hiker Brewing 828.342.5133

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Eats+Drinks Farmer’s & Tailgate Markets The foundation of culture in Western North Carolina lies in a keen emphasis on things locally made and grown. Whether it’s the porch sounds of mountain music or stitching together your heritage with an elaborate quilt, quality and one-of-a-kind are attributes to the many products offered in this region. And at the heart of these traditions is the fresh produce raised and harvested from the rich soil of Southern Appalachia. There is a renewed vigor in the local farmer’s markets as new growers working smaller farms have become the norm. From delicious fruits and crisp vegetables, to sweet honey and fresh trout, there are innumerable unique items locals and visitors alike can purchase. Throughout the week, dozens of vendors in several towns gather to showcase

and sell their goods. With organic products becoming more popular, these markets provide the community with the perfect avenue for their need of healthy options.

Waynesville • Haywood’s Historic Farmers Market Fresh, local produce, fresh seafood, baked goods, goat cheese, herbal products, meat, eggs, plants, flowers, preserves, honey and heritage crafts. Live music. 8 a.m. to noon on Saturdays and 3:30 to 6:30 p.m. on Wednesdays through the end of October, with a winter market through mid-December. 250 Pigeon Street in the parking lot of the HART Theatre. • Original Waynesville Tailgate Market Fruits, vegetables, black walnuts, organic food and other homemade products. 8 a.m. to noon on Wednesdays and Saturdays through the end of October. 171 Legion Drive at the American Legion in Waynesville behind Bogart’s restaurant. 828.456.1830.

Sylva • Jackson County Farmer’s Market Plants, seeds, honey, breads, sweets and locally made crafts, local meats. 9 a.m. to noon on Saturdays and 4 to 7 p.m. on Wednesdays through the end of October. Railroad Avenue at the Municipal Parking Lot near Bridge Park in downtown. The winter market is from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturdays (November-March) across the bridge at the Community Table in downtown. 828.393.5236 or

Cullowhee • The ‘Whee Farmer's Market Locally grown vegetables, eggs, and more. 3 to 6 p.m. on Tuesdays through the end of October. Corner of North Country Club Drive and Stadium View Drive. 828.476.0334 or

Haywood’s Historic Farmers Market .




• Cashiers Tailgate Market From 9 a.m. to noon through October in the East Christ Anglican Church parking lot. 828.226.9988 or

Furniture • Home Décor Clothing • Shoes Accessories & more

Franklin • Franklin Farmer’s Tailgate Market Variety of only homegrown products such as cheese, plants, eggs, trout, honey and more. 10 a.m. to noon on Saturdays through the end of October. 200 East Palmer Street. 828.349.2049 or

 Everett St. Bryson City, NC ..

Bryson City • Swain County Farmer’s Market Organic produce, plants, trout, honey, jams, quail and rabbit as well as an array of local crafts. 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Fridays through the end of October. The Barn on Island Street in downtown. 828.488.3848 or

Robbinsville • Graham County Farmer’s Market Local farmers, growers and harvesters. 9 a.m. to noon on Saturdays through early October in the Graham County Public Library parking lot. 828.479.8788.

Murphy • Murphy Farmer’s Market Fresh produce, meats and handmade products. 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturdays through the end of October in the old L&N Depot in downtown.

Hayesville • Hayesville Farmer’s Market High quality, local produce and farm products. 4 to 7 p.m. on Thursdays through the end of October in the Town Square. • Mountain Valley Farmer’s Market Local farmers and growers, homemade baked goods and products. 8 a.m. to noon on Saturdays through October in the Old Courthouse Square. 863.389.6338.



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• Brasstown Farmer’s Market Local produce, organic chicken, eggs. Open 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Wednesdays through late October on Old Highway 64. 828.360.2498. For more information on these farmer’s markets and agritourism in Western North Carolina, you can go to the Appalachian Sustainable Agriculture Project’s (ASAP) “Local Food Guide” by clicking on


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Folkmoot International Dance & Music Festival. Taste of Scotland Festival in Franklin (right). Max Cooper photo • Donated photo

A closer look at WNC festivals

The proud communities that make up Western North Carolina were once mountain towns that played host to several successful blue-collar industries. We’re talking about logging, furniture, paper products, auto parts, beverages, textiles, and so on. The country needed things, and needed them fast, and folks here made those products with their bare hands. These companies found a crucial, muchneeded balance alongside the serene beauty and endless natural resources of our forests, rivers and wildlife. But, with the passing of time, most of these industries either left the county, the state, and the country, or disappeared altogether. Jobs started flowing out of our mountain towns beginning in the late 1980s, with the tourism industry becoming even more important. As part of that transition, several organiza-


tions popped up with one idea in mind — let’s throw a party. Either a nonprofit or run by the towns themselves, festivals of various sorts became popular in communities across the mountains. In many cases, they started as a way to get people back to main streets, but they were also a new and vital avenue by which the culture and heritage of Western North Carolina and Southern Appalachia would forever be preserved and perpetuated These festivals have long been (and remain) a shining light in their communities, a time to gather and celebrate. These mountain towns have reinvented how they do

business and how they attract the next wave of residents, tourists and the curious alike — craft beer, outdoor recreation, familyfriendly, connectivity to nearby metropolitan areas, millennial attentive — off of the interstate, out of their cars, and onto Main Street and nearby shopping areas. Here’s a closer look at a select few of the premier festivals in the region.

Taste of Scotland & Celtic Festival • When: June 14-17 • Where: Downtown Franklin • Years active: 21 • Attendance: 2,000 • Put on by: Friends of the Scottish Tartans Museum • Website: • Interviewee: George James, TSCF chairman • Purpose: What this festival brings to downtown Franklin is a celebration of the heritage brought to these mountains, that of the Scots and Scots-Irish, along with celebrating the historic relationships with the Cherokee.

• Staying relevant: We’re also in a unique position, as Franklin is home to the Scottish Tartans Museum. The Taste of Scotland & Celtic Festival celebrates the history and heritage of our area, and encourages everyone to participate. This year, we’re including a Highland Games contest to further enhance our offerings to the public and hopefully to generate more interest in and for Franklin and in our festival. Lastly, with few exceptions, our festival is free and open to the public. The Clan Dinner, on Thursday night, is the only ticketed event for the festival. • Importance: The Taste of Scotland & Celtic Festival is important to our community because it’s a celebration of our community. We’re actively celebrating our cultural inheritance, and sharing that with the people who attend the festival. We work very hard to include as many events as we can to reach everyone. Personally, I’m very happy that we can continue to bring in representatives of the Cherokee Nation to our festival. The lectures and demonstrations of their culture help to remind us all that we are now, as we were then, neighbors.

Folkmoot International Dance & Music Festival • When: July 19-29 • Where: Events around Western North Carolina • Years active: 35 • Attendance: 8,000 seated shows/40,000 free events • Put on by: Folkmoot • Website: • Interviewee: Angie Schwab, Folkmoot executive director • Purpose: We give Haywood County “onlyness” in that we’re the only organization in the eastern United States that has an international folk festival. • Staying relevant: Over the last two years, we’ve tried to communicate why having a Folkmoot is important and ticket buyers are responding. The core of the message is that accepting cultural diversity makes our society stronger — no matter what our cultural heritage, we’re more alike than different. We’ve put the founding board’s intent forward, providing local kids and families with access to world culture in Haywood County.

We’ve given that aspect of our programming a lot of attention. They wanted the kids to have higher expectations of themselves by having access to the world here at home. We are doing this in a different format — more outdoor festival events and adding in food and beverage and a few contemporary acts. We’ve also learned more background on what a Folkmoot means. In Europe, the word translates to a “meeting of the people,” but it also means that when the “people” come together, they’re putting community over politics. They’re having discussions on how they work together to meet community people’s needs. They report this information to politicians who then represent the community. They come to agreement on their priorities and what special needs require special care. After the process, they dance. We’re incorporating the essence of these ideas into the Folkmoot organization. • Importance: We’re trying to do things a little differently, surprise people with the variety, quality and diversity of shows and hope the community will enjoy what we’re doing. The community can expect alot from Folkmoot. We have a lot of fun for everyone

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The Apple Harvest Festival in Waynesville. The Mars Hill Clogging Team performs at Mountain Heritage Day (right). A Shot Above photo • Donated photo

coming up at the July festival and have some creative ideas in mind for 2019. Folkmoot has an ambitious staff — we’re entrepreneurial and creative and we know how to do a lot with a little.

Mountain Heritage Day • When: Saturday, Sept. 29 • Where: Western Carolina University, Cullowhee • Years active: 44 • Attendance: 15,000 • Put on by: WCU • Website: • Interviewee: Geoff Cantrell, WCU Office of Communications & Public Relations • Purpose: Having started as Founders’ Day during the inauguration of Chancellor H.F. “Cotton” Robinson in 1974, the festival became known as Mountain Heritage Day the following year. • Staying relevant: A festival about heritage and traditions should be steadfast to its mission in presenting heritage and traditions. We stay relevant with mixing new bands and musicians into the lineup along with old favorites, by presenting different living history demonstrations every year, adding fun competitions and children activities. In a larger sense, Mountain Heritage Day is the “handing on” of heritage through musicians and their students playing together, the gather-


ing of shape-note singers from all over the region, master craftsmen demonstrating their handiwork, the county fair style of canned goods and recipes contests, through Cherokee people sharing their traditions and inviting festival-goers to participate in a friendship dance. Mountain Heritage Day is regional in scope. We have a lot of talent and wisdom to draw from. • Importance: There’s something unique about Mountain Heritage Day in that it’s university-sponsored, community driven, held on campus and promotes Southern Appalachian history, culture and traditions. Mountain Heritage Day has had an established date and location on the WCU campus the last Saturday in September for more than four decades now. We’re the granddaddy of these type festivals and we promote all the hometowns and communities across the mountains and the good things they’ve got going on. Mountain Heritage Day encourages active participation. You can go on a wagon ride, cheer on the Cherokee stickball games, learn to make crafts, play games in the children’s tent and enter one of several competitions like timber cutting with a crosscut saw. We also take time to honor the people who are engaged in preserving our traditions with the Mountain Heritage Awards, as well as the artisans who are carrying on the region’s strong arts and crafts heritage.

Western North Carolina is a special place and if you’re from here, it is good to remember from where you came. If you’ve moved here, it is good to have an appreciation of this place you now call home.

Apple Harvest Festival • When: Saturday, Oct. 20 • Where: Downtown Waynesville • Years active: 30 • Attendance: 45,000 • Put on by: Haywood County Chamber of Commerce • Website: • Interviewee: CeCe Hipps, HCCC executive director • Purpose: The event began as a way for the apple growers to sell their remaining harvest, hence the name Apple Harvest Festival. • Staying relevant: The Apple Harvest Festival is one of those events which fits for the community. We don’t change too much with the festival from year to year because what we currently do keeps everyone happy. The craft breweries and recreational activities compliment the Apple Harvest Festival. If [the over 180] vendors and people continue to come, we’re happy. • Importance: The Apple Harvest Festival continues to be a draw with both the young and old. Families like to bring their children and enjoy the music.

Getting festive The festival season in Western North Carolina is now underway. Below are additional events that will be happening in our region: • June 2-3: Ole Smokey Spring Farm Fest, Clyde • June 7-9: Cherokee Bluegrass Festival • June 8-9: Cold Mountain Music Festival, Lake Logan • June 7-10: Highlands Motoring Festival • June 9: Cherokee Voices Festival • June 16: Front Street Arts & Crafts Show • June 23-24: Village Square Arts & Crafts Show, Highlands • June 29: Mountain Street Dance, Waynesville • July 13: Mountain Street Dance, Waynesville • July 14: Appalachian Heritage Festival, Franklin • July 14: Blueberry Festival, Cherokee • July 26-29: Macon County Gemboree, Franklin • July 27: Mountain Street Dance, Waynesville • July 27-28: Hillbilly Jam, Maggie Valley • July 28: International Festival Day, Waynesville • Aug. 4-5: Lake Logan Multisport Festival • Aug. 10: Mountain Street Dance, Waynesville • Aug. 10-11: Mountain High BBQ Festival, Franklin • Aug. 18: Franklin Folk Festival • Aug. 25: Qualla Arts & Crafts Open Air Indian Market, Cherokee • Aug. 25-26: Village Square Arts & Crafts Show, Highlands • Aug. 31-Sept. 1: Smoky Mountain Folk Festival, Lake Junaluska • Sept. 1-2: Cashiers Rotary Arts & Crafts Festival • Sept. 2-3: Canton Labor Day Festival • Sept. 22: Green Energy Park Youth Art Fest, Dillsboro • Sept. 28: Mountain Street Dance, Waynesville • Sept. 28-30: Guest Appreciation Festival, Nantahala Outdoor Center • Oct. 2-6: Cherokee Indian Fair • Oct. 5-7: Cashiers Leaf Festival • Oct. 6: Colorfest, Dillsboro • Oct. 6-7: John C. Campbell Folk School Fall Festival, Brasstown • Oct. 11-13: Autumn Leaves Craft Show, Franklin • Oct: 13: Church Street Art & Craft Show, Waynesville • Oct. 19-20: Fall Harvest Festival, Stecoah • Oct. 19-21: Leaf Lookers Gemboree, Franklin • Oct. 20: PumpkinFest, Franklin • Nov. 3: WNC Pottery Festival, Dillsboro • Nov. 8-11: Highlands Food & Wine Festival • Nov. 23: Hard Candy Christmas Art & Craft Show, Cullowhee • Nov. 30-Dec.1: Balsam Range Art of Music Festival • Dec. 7-8/14-15: Lights & Luminaries, Dillsboro • Dec. 31: Possum Drop, Brasstown




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Arts+Culture Aw, shucks: Haywood County crafter keeps heritage craft alive, vibrant

Red Barn 45 years ago. Each spring, thousands of eager locals and tourists ready to plant what natural beauty she has grown. Aside from her deep love of plants, she also has a similar passion for Appalachian history, with Collis being able to trace her family’s history in North Carolina back over 200 years. This passion led to Collis launching the Mountain Museum 20 years ago. “My life’s work is plants and flowers. And I love history, so I go into the museum and tell stories and tales,” Collis said. “I just enjoy creating things. The plants are how I make my living, the corn shuck dolls are the vacation money. [Laughs].” As a kid, Collis was a member of the Girl Scouts, where she remembers making the corn shuck dolls. When she was 18, she taught the craft at a Girl Scouts day camp to over 100 children. And throughout most of her life, she kept at it, making dolls here and there to not lose the skill, selling them sporadically at craft shows. Following a health scare in 2009, Collis got more serious about the craft of corn shuck dolls, seeing as it might have to be a vital source of income if her health worsened and she couldn’t be in the garden center anymore. Luckily, her health improved and Taking the longtime Appalachian craft of corn shuck dolls to a she’s still front-and-center whole new and creative level, Karen Collis can spend upwards of in the Red Barn. But, the 70 hours on one piece. ball kept rolling in the “I’ve done about 1,200 dolls total over the corn shuck doll world, with certain pieces of years. I do a lot of commission pieces, where hers going for upwards of $1,000. someone sends me a photograph and I im“What I do is one-of-a-kind, nothing is mortalize them in corn shucks,” Collis said. mass produced,” Collis proudly noted. “I have all of these ideas in my head — we In 2014, Collis was selected to become a have the whole human race to choose from. I member of the highly-competitive and presget an idea, sketch it out as stick figures, and tigious Southern Highland Craft Guild, with start working at it, then see how it evolves.” her work now on display and sold at the Raised in Maggie Valley, Collis opened the Folk Art Center on the Blue Ridge Parkway,

You’ve probably driven by the Red Barn Greenhouse & Garden Center on Dellwood Road between Maggie Valley and Waynesville. But, have you ever stopped in? Tucked between rows of beautiful flowers on one end and the Mountain Museum filled with Appalachian artifacts on the other are several shelves of corn shuck dolls. The intricate doll designs and scenes they’re set in come straight out of the creative mind and nimble fingers of Karen Collis, a highly-sought after artist in this centuries-old craft medium. “I try to use all corn shucks, not many people make corn shuck dolls and corn shuck accordions,” Collis chuckled. “I enjoy the challenge of figuring out how to do something. [For example], a dog made of corn shucks would take me four hours to make, but it would take me four days to complete because each process has to dry in-between to get the shape you need in the final product.” Once a common craft in Appalachia, stretching all the way back to the family farms of the 1800s, the corn shuck dolls were a way for children, many from poor families, to entertain themselves in the depths of the isolated mountains. “It’s a dying art today,” Collis said. “Back in the 1920s and 1930s, the home demonstration ladies would teach the ladies at home [in Appalachia] how to make them, so that they could make them at home and stay with their children. Then, they would sell the dolls at outlets in New York to ‘benefit the poor of Appalachia.’ It gave the mountain ladies a cottage craft, a home craft, to make money.” Collis estimates each corn shuck creation of hers can take from three to 70 hours to finish. It all depends on what she wants to do and also what a particular client might have in mind for her.


Want to know more? For more information on corn shuck dolls by Karen Collis, visit The Red Barn Greenhouse & Garden Center and Mountain Museum are located at 1856 Dellwood Road in Waynesville. Admission to the museum is free, with donations accepted. Call 828.926.1901.

and also the guild’s renowned craft fair at the U.S. Cellular Center in downtown Asheville each fall. Out of 100 applicants that year, nine were selected, with Collis the only artisan specializing in corn shuck dolls. “All of the hardcore Appalachian crafts are disappearing completely. It’s the mechanics that need to be continually taught, otherwise it gets forgotten,” Collis said. “Somebody can look at a piece a hundred years from now and say, ‘How did they do that?’ There’s no instruction books stepby-step, especially Karen Collis. the creative part of it. Most of what I’ve done I’ve learned from doing, just starting very simple.” Walking around between the shelves of corn shuck dolls and the elaborate exhibits of the Mountain Museum, one can feel the sincere appreciation Collis has for those who came before her. It’s important to her, and should be, seeing as it’s this history and these heritage crafts that made up the rich and vibrant culture of Western North Carolina and greater Southern Appalachia. “The museum shows how mountain people really did live. You can get the high-end and the elaborateness with the Biltmore House, but as far as our poor, hardscrabble subsistence farmers, most people come out of our museum and say, ‘How in the world did they live?’ It was hard work every minute of the day just to survive,” Collis said. “A lot of the younger kids aren’t interested in the history at all. But, the 11 and 12 year olds love it. There’s not a lot of people sitting around the dinner table telling stories anymore. This heritage is not getting passed on. I love getting a grandparent in here with a grandkid and something in here sparks a memory, a story to tell them — it gives me a little hope for the future.”




Arts+Culture • Mountain Farm Museum Collection of historical log buildings and artifacts. 150 U.S. 441 North, Oconaluftee Visitor Center 423.436.1200 • • Mountain Heritage Center Extensive displays of Western North Carolina and Southern Appalachian history. 150 H.F. Robinson Building, Western Carolina University, Cullowhee 828.227.7129 •

American Museum of The House Cat.

What lies beneath: WNC Museums Although the rich history and culture of Western North Carolina is alive and thriving through the hands of our local artisans and performers, there are also numerous museums here preserving and perpetuating the heritage of Southern Appalachia. These buildings each pay homage to the crafts, sounds, and deeply held traditions of these ancient mountains and its people. • American Museum of The House Cat Over 5,000 items dedicated to entire history of the house cat, here and abroad. 4704 U.S. 441 South, Sylva 828.421.0275 or 828.506.1236

• Clay County Historical & Arts Council Museum Displays exhibiting the history, art and people of the area. 21 Davis Loop, Hayesville 828.389.6814 • • Franklin Gem & Mineral Museum Exhibits on the region’s gems and minerals. 25 Phillips Street, Franklin 828.369.7831 • • Glenville Historical Museum Showcasing the history and culture of Glenville and greater Western North Carolina. 4735 N.C. 107 North, Glenville • 828.743.1658 • Graham County Museum of Prehistoric Relics A collection of prehistoric artifacts from North, South and Central America. 3204 Fontana Road, Fontana Dam 828.479.3677 •

• Andrews Art Museum Exhibits and galleries featuring local and regional artists. Corner of Chestnut and Third streets, Andrews 828.360.5071 •

• Highlands Museum & Historical Village A village composed of several restored buildings, with historical exhibits in the museum. 524 North 4th Street, Highlands 828.787.1050 •

• Canton Area Historical Museum Displays focusing on the cultural history of Canton and Haywood County. 36 Park Street, Canton 828.646.3412 •

• Junaluska Memorial & Museum Displays dedicated to preserving Cherokee Indian history and culture. 1 Junaluska Drive, Robbinsville 828.479.4727

• Cherokee County Historical Museum Artifacts and exhibits showcasing the Cherokee Indians, local history and artisans. 87 Peachtree Street, Murphy 828.837.6792 •

• Macon County Historical Society & Museum Antiques and artifacts showcasing the history of Macon and Western North Carolina. 36 West Main Street, Franklin 828.524.9758 •


• Museum of American Cut & Engraved Glass Exhibits presenting one of the finest collections of its kind in the world. 472 Chestnut Street, Highlands 828.526.3415 • • Museum of the Cherokee Indian Large exhibits showcasing the extensive and intricate tribe history. 589 Tsali Boulevard, Cherokee 828.497.3481 • • Museum of North Carolina Handicrafts Featuring unique works from some of the state’s most acclaimed artisans. 49 Shelton Street, Waynesville 828.452.1551 • • Ruby City Gems Museum Thousands of gem and mineral specimens on display. 131 East Main Street, Franklin 828.524.3967 • • Scottish Tartans Museum Exhibit on Scottish history and culture abroad and in Western North Carolina. 86 East Main Street, Franklin 828.524.7472 • • Wheels Through Time Museum Rare and extensive collection of vintage motorcycles and classic automobiles. 62 Vintage Lane, Maggie Valley 828.926.6266 • • World Methodist Museum Artifacts and memorabilia celebrating founder John Wesley and the worldwide religion. 575 Lakeshore Drive, Lake Junaluska 828.456.9432

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Arts+Culture Blue Collar Dreams: A decade in, Balsam Range looks ahead

Ten years into his tenure with Balsam Range, Tim Surrett can only shake his head. “The most amazing factor is that somebody hasn’t gotten killed in 10 years,” he chuckled. “It’s amazing because every band in the world is one bad weekend from nonexistence. We’ve been through a lot, ups and downs, frustrations and traveling distances, and it’s still relevant after 10 years. I don’t know how long that will last, but it’s cool to me that it’s still top-shelf relevant.” Bass/dobro for the beloved Haywood County, North Carolina, group, Surrett is modest (as per usual) in conversation when asked about Balsam Range’s tenure in the genre. Alongside Surrett is Buddy Melton (fiddle), Marc Pruett (banjo), Darren Nicholson (mandolin) and Caleb Smith (guitar). Since the release of their sixth album “Mountain Voodoo,” Balsam Range has garnered several chart-topping singles from the offering (“Something ‘Bout That Suitcase,” “Blue Collar Dreams,” “Eldorado Blues”). “What keeps us all fresh with it is making progression all the time,” Surrett said. “There’s still stuff to be done. We’re not going back to the same ole things year after year, the same cow pasture things. I don’t know how long anybody could stand that — it’s not resting, it’s still moving forward.” The quintet is once again riding high this year with their eight nominations for the International Bluegrass Music Association (IBMA) awards. The nominations include “Entertainer of the Year,” “Vocal Group of the Year,” “Song of the Year” and “Album of the Year” — all awards the band has won in the past. Surrett was also nominated for “Bass Player of the Year,” with his bandmate Melton once again tapped for “Male Vocalist of the Year” (which he won in 2014).


Balsam Range’s Art of Music The third installment of the Art of Music Festival will be Nov. 30-Dec. 1 at the Lake Junaluska Conference & Retreat Center just outside of Waynesville. Balsam Range will also take the stage both nights, with master level musician workshops offered throughout the weekend, too.

“The cool thing about bluegrass is the wideness of the scope of the music. I think there’s more opportunity for this kind of music now than there ever has been.” — Tim Surrett, Balsam Range

“For me, I’ve never gotten over the fact that we’re mentioned in these circles,” Surrett said. “I was listening to my Spotify playlist this morning getting ready to come over to the studio. I put on my Balsam Range station. It played us, then it turned around and played Hot Rize, then it played Del McCoury. And to be mentioned in the same breath with these people is ludicrous to me almost — I’ve never gotten over that, and I hope I don’t.” Surrett is quick to point out the key to Balsam Range’s success, which is a long-time group of friends, all open to new ideas, new techniques and approaches to that high, lonesome sound at the core of their identity. “If somebody brings something in totally screwy, we still have enough sense to try it, because by the time we play it, it turns into

something,” Surrett said. “They’ll play themselves, good songs will. If you have to just beat a song to death like a blacksmith to try and forge it into something then it’s probably not going work — a good song is a good song is a good song.” The former board chairman of the IBMAs, Surrett is optimistic about the future (and fate) of bluegrass, even when some say the lines of the genre are becoming too blurred. “Even when I was chairman down there [in Raleigh], it has always struggled with what bluegrass is,” Surrett said. “Everybody has their ideas, and some people are pretty dogmatic about it. I know what I like, but the older I get, the less I expect everybody else to like what I like.” Surrett looks ahead at not only the unfinished business of Balsam Range (a group that will be written about as “legendary” and “iconic” when all is said and done) onstage and in the studio, he also sees the bright potential of those coming up behind him. “When you see guys like me — Pruett is 65, I’m 54 — and you’re walking onstage at Telluride or somewhere like that, with all these young people, way younger people, and they’re just losing their minds — that doesn’t happen in other genres of music.”

Play me that mountain music Live music is an important part of the heritage of Western North Carolina. Here’s a listing of venues that regularly have bands in the region:

Andrews • Andrews Brewing 828.321.2006 • • Hoppy Trout Brewing 828.835.2111 • • Jimmy’s Pick-N-Grin



• Currahee Brewing 828.634.0078 • • Lazy Hiker Brewing 828.342.5133 • • Mixers Bar and Nightclub 828.369.9211 • • Mulligan’s Bar & Grille 828.349.3183 • • Rathskeller Coffee Haus & Pub 828.369.6796 • • Smoky Mountain Center for the Performing Arts 828.524.1598 •

• Balsam Mountain Inn and Restaurant 800.224.9498 • • City Lights Café 828.587.2233 • • Cut Cocktail Lounge 828.631.4795 • Guadalupe Café 828.586.9877 • • Innovation Brewing 828.586.9678 • • Mad Batter Food & Film 828.586.3555 • • O’Malley’s Pub & Grill 828.631.0554 • Paper Mill Lounge 828.222.0671 • Soul Infusion 828.586.1717 •


• John C. Campbell Folk School 800.365.5724 or 828.837.2775

• Hayesville Brewing 828.835.6010 • Peacock Performing Arts Center 828.389.2787 • • Valley River Brewery 828.389.1472 •

Bryson City


• Mickey’s Pub 828.488.9308 • Mountain Layers Brewing 828.538.0115 • • Nantahala Brewing 828.488.2337 • • Nantahala Outdoor Center 888.905.7238 • • The Warehouse at Nantahala Brewing 828.585.5885 •

• Lost Hiker 828.526.8232 • • Martin-Lipscomb Performing Arts Center 828.526.9047 • • Satulah Mountain Brewing 828.482.9794 • • The Ugly Dog Pub 828.526.8364 •


Maggie Valley

Canton • BearWaters Brewing 828.246.0602 • • Colonial Theatre 828.235.2760 • • Southern Porch 828.492.8009

Cashiers • The Ugly Dog Pub 828.743.3000 •

• Maggie Valley Festival Grounds 828.926.0866 • Maggie Valley Opry House 828.648.7941 or 828.926.9336 • Maggie Valley Rendezvous 828.926.0201 • • Salty Dog’s Seafood and Grill 828.926.9105 • Stompin’ Ground 828.926.1288


Cherokee • Harrah’s Cherokee 828.497.7777 •

• Chevelle’s 828.389.6069



• Tuck’s Tap & Grille 828.293.5400 •



Stecoah Valley Cultural Arts Center 828.479.3364 •

Waynesville • Bogart’s Restaurant & Tavern 828.452.1313 • • Boojum Brewing 828.944.0888 • • Classic Wineseller 828.452.6000 • • Frog Level Brewing 828.454.5664 • • The Strand at 38 Main 828.283.0079 • • Water’n Hole Bar & Grille 828.456.4750


Arts+Culture Sharing the craft: Jo Ridge Kelley Fine Art

With the traffic and noise of a busy Main Street in downtown Waynesville zooming by outside her window, Jo Ridge Kelley creates works of tranquility and natural wonders inside her cozy studio. “I love being able to pull from myself,” she said. “I’m a very soulful person, and painting is a way to work with my feelings — to be living in the moment.” At 60, Kelley has been creating most of her life. Growing up on a dairy farm in High Point, she found herself mesmerized by the vast and varied scenery of the property, where light and shadows shifted hourly. “The landscape always inspired me, watching the light change across the farm,” Kelley said. “I started drawing and painting as a young girl. I loved it, and stuck with it.” Relocating to Waynesville in 1981, Kelley has become a beloved and highly sought after artist. With vibrant colors and soothing tones, one finds themselves immediately drawn to Kelley’s pieces, where the distractions of the outside world seem to melt away. “I’ve been focusing more on color lately,” Kelley said. “I think everybody needs a happy place to go. And if you can’t find it outside or wherever, maybe you could find it in a painting.” Whether she disappears into the back-

Want to create? Acclaimed painter Jo Ridge Kelley is currently holding art workshops for adults and children at her studio on Main Street in Waynesville. For more information, visit 828.226.0549 or woods or simply wanders around the neighborhood of her studio, Kelley finds inspiration in whatever catches her eye. “Whatever is happening around me, I try to leave myself vulnerable to the energy that nature is providing me,” Kelley said. “Whether it’s a sunrise, sunset, reflection on the water or deep shadows in the woods — it’s the painting speaking back to me, more so now than ever before.” Throughout her life, Kelley taught high school art and also held private workshops. And since she moved into her new studio last year (after 22 years in downtown at the helm of Ridge Runner Naturals), she has been hosting a series of painting classes for adults and kids alike.

“Art is a way children can excel and perform,” she said. “For me, growing up in a large family, art was a way for me to get a little recognition, to boost my ego and help me in other subjects like math and science, which studies show how art will excel those other subjects.” In trying to spread her love and pure enthusiasm for art and the endless depths of the creative spirit, Kelley tells folks to go with what they genuinely feel. “Trust your instincts,” she said. “It’s about feeling alive and feeling that energy, being joyful and happy with your interactions with people and with nature.” Now settled in her current Main Street studio, Kelley is setting the stage for increasing her presence in the community as a creative force aiming to connect the dots of people and art. “It’s been such a wonderful journey,” she said. “Art is something I’m very dedicated to growing in our area. You put your heart out there, and I couldn’t see myself doing anything else but creating and teaching — it’s where the magic is.”

“Whether it’s a sunrise, sunset, reflection on the water or deep shadows in the woods — it’s the painting speaking back to me, more so now than ever before.” — Jo Ridge Kelley





Recreation+Outdoors Backyard trails: Local mountain bike trails surge to popularity

In 2013, Western Carolina University cut the ribbon on 7-mile trail system zigzagging an otherwise unbuildable piece of university property. Over the five years since, the trails have become an indispensible resource for mountain bikers — as well as trail runners and hikers — in the Cullowhee area, and last fall a trio of WCU employees set out to back up those observations with hard numbers.

“One of the things we’re more actively trying to do is bring to the forefront how beneficial these trails and trail systems are to the community,” said J.P. Gannon, president of the Nantahala Area Southern Off Road Bicycle Association and an assistant professor of geology at WCU. “It can be easy for folks not to realize how much they’re used and the benefits that they do have because they’re hidden in the woods by their very nature.” When Gannon heard that wildlife professor Aimee Rockhill — who, like Gannon, is a mountain biker — was planning a trail camera survey to find out how wildlife was using the trails, he saw an opportunity to also learn more about human trail use. So Rockhill, Gannon and Jeremiah Haas, associate director of outdoor programs at WCU’s Base Camp Cullowhee, worked together to take advantage of that opportunity.

Counting traffic Rockhill and her students Hannah Day and Kristi Edwards placed motion-sensitive

cameras at various spots along the trails, aimed low so as to avoid capturing users’ faces. Over a one-month period, they monitored how many times someone passed by on each loop, and whether that person was traveling on foot or by bike. By the end of October 2017, the team had counted 2,639 passes on the trail system — 1,100 from bikers and 1,529 from hikers and runners. “I wasn’t surprised at how much usage there was, because I’m out here multiple times a week and I see a lot of people out there,” said Gannon. “When we’re out doing trail work or we say we’re doing trail work, I have a lot of people tell me how much their life has changed having these trails in their backyard.” The data aren’t a count of how many individual people used the trail in a month, or a count of the number of visits made in a month. They’re broken down into individual counts for each loop in the trail system — some users likely complete more than one

It’s been officially open for less than a year, but Cherokee’s Fire Mountain Trails already attract a steady stream of users. Donated photo


Mountain Biking The Smokies contain some of the best bike trails anywhere. Here are the popular spots: Cherokee Mountain Bike Trails Newly opened 12-mile system with wide variety of terrain from beginners to relatively serious downhill sections. Trailhead is in downtown Cherokee at the Oconaluftee Indian Village

Tsali Recreation Area This is the granddaddy of Western North Carolina mountain biking, boasting 40 miles of trails on four loops. Rated as one of top 10 places to ride in the U.S. Fast, hard-packed singletrack, and you can’t go wrong with any of the loops. Off N.C. 28 past Bryson City, or if coming from Robbinsville N.C. 143 until you reach N.C. 28, go east. Entrance on north side of N.C. 28, well-marked.

The Santeetlah Lake Trail A 15-mile trail open to mountain bikes, horses, and hikers. The trail follows a number of open and gated Forest Service roads with a short portion of single-track. Large sections of the trail hug the shoreline of Lake Santeetlah offering beautiful mountain lake views. The primary trailhead is located at the intersection of N.C. 143 (N.C. 1127) and Snowbird Road.

Jackrabbit Mountain

Margaret Hester photo

WCU main campus, east of N.C. 107. Trail users then travel through the pedestrian tunnel under N.C. 107 and access the trail on NCCAT property. The second trailhead is located at the parking lot of the Health and Human Sciences building.

Bent Creek, Asheville Located near where N.C. 191 intersects the Blue Ridge Parkway and I-26, this favorite among Asheville locals features lots of hardpacked singletrack with very few technical sections, great for beginner to intermediate riders and children.

Located next to the huge Jackrabbit Campground at Lake Chatuge, this 14-mile trail system is gaining popularity fast. Mostly flat with rolling dips and berms and just a few technical areas. At Lake Chatuge get on N.C. 175, turn onto Jackrabbit Road, parking area on left.

Dupont State Park

Western Carolina University Trail

Pisgah National Forest near Brevard

More than 7 miles of singletrack across the street from main WCU campus in Cullowhee. The trail system has two trailheads. One is located near the softball field and picnic area on

Hundreds of miles of trails for bikers, some of it among the most technical in the region. For information on specific trails and trailheads, visit



Located near Brevard, this has become one of the premier destinations in the region. 10,000 acres of trails, waterfalls, and rivers. Numerous trailheads.

Nantahala Outdoor Center, Bryson City The Nantahala Outdoor Center in the Nantahala Gorge has its own trail, which allows riders to try their hand at some technical maneuvering. The 4.5-mile Flint Ridge Trail system was designed specifically for mountain bikers. It features technical riding as well as some rolling single-track. From Bryson City, go south on U.S. 74 for 12 miles and the NOC campus will be on the right. The highway will narrow to two lanes after about 8 miles.

Fontana Village, Robbinsville There are a ton of trails in the village, each of them labeled and fairly well blazed. Mix and match from numerous options to make your own loop. You can get a good bit of climbing and long descents, plus technical rock gardens, stream crossings and log crossings on the 20-mile trail system that is among the best in the region. From Bryson City, take U.S. 74 southnd 8 miles past Bryson City. Turn right on N.C. 28. Go about 25 miles.


loop per visit. However, for trails that are not loops, trail counts were cut in half because a person riding that trail would likely pass by the camera twice — once going out and once coming back. “We have no idea what counts are part of one ride,” Gannon said. “But it does give us an idea for the amount of traffic on the trail.” With 31 days in October and four different trails in the WCU system, the 2,639 number divides out to an average of 21 uses per trail, per day. Because some trails are more popular than others and some days of the week are busier than others, peak use is likely substantially higher than that. The most popular trail, the 1.4-mile Gribble Gap Loop, had 409 bike passes and 265 hiker/runner passes, with the least popular trail, the 1.7mile Cullowhee Connecter, logging 118 bike passes and 73 hiker/runner passes. “WCU having a trail system is one of the main reasons I applied for this job,” said Gannon, who arrived in Cullowhee after the trails were built. “Granted, there were a lot of other professional reasons, but it made it a much more attractive place to come and live knowing that there were going to be trails available.”

The start of something bigger Before the WCU trails, mountain bikers in Cullowhee had to drive nearly an hour to Tsali Recreation Area or up and over the mountain into the Brevard area to find a good trail system. For weekday riding, they’d improvise by chasing down gravel U.S. Forest Service roads. It was a sport that required dedication and frequent gas tank fill-ups. That picture is changing. One year ago, the Fire Mountain Trails in Cherokee — just over the line in Swain County — joined the WCU Trails as a backyard option for Western North Carolina bikers, and by all accounts trail use there already rivals that at WCU. “The popularity has carried even further than I could have imagined,” said Jeremy Hyatt, Secretary of Operations for the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians and manager of the Fire Mountain trails. The trails officially opened in June 2017, and since then Hyatt’s been interviewed by media outlets from across the region and the country. There are “constantly” 10 to 12 cars parked by the trailhead, located at the Oconaluftee Indian Village, with mountain


Though they’re hidden from plain view, the trails at WCU are well used by hikers and bikers alike. WCU photo

bikers driving hours and hours just to come ride the trails. While Hyatt doesn’t have any hard data on usage or economic impact, he expects the results of such a survey would be significant and hopes to conduct some kind of study this summer. “Very qualitatively, it seems like a similar amount,” said Gannon, comparing his observations of trail use at WCU and Cherokee. “And then on weekends I’ve seen as many as maybe 30 cars in the parking lot (at Fire Mountain), maybe even more.” It’s hard to compare traffic at the two systems based solely off of observations, because the WCU system has several trailheads whereas Cherokee has just one. In addition, some of the Cherokee trails are one-way, reducing the number of people a user might see on the trail. However, those who ride both trails regularly say use at Cherokee is basically going gangbusters. “It seems like there are more people coming to ride the Cherokee trails,” said Kent

Cranford, owner of Motion Makers Bicycles. “We are definitely getting more questions about Fire Mountain than we are about WCU.” Because of that, Motion Makers — which has bike shops in Sylva and Asheville — has opened a third location in Cherokee’s Saunooke Village. Franklin’s Outdoor 76 will be joining Motion Makers in the venture, sharing a commercial space to expand their offerings to Cherokee. “I’d like to sit here and say that I think Fire Mountain had a lot to do with Motion Makers coming here,” Hyatt said. It definitely did, Cranford said. Ever since the trails opened, he’d kept an eye on Cherokee, thinking that somebody should put a bike shop there. At the same time, he was looking for a way to expand Motion Makers’ reach, getting into a community where people don’t currently have access to good bicycle retail but where there might be demand for it.

“As always on the reservation, they would love for it to be an Indian-owned business,” Cranford said. “I have friends over there, so we kept our finger on the pulse. Is anyone doing this? Is anyone doing this?” After a while, he said, “it become clear that it wasn’t moving forward.” And then he got a call from mountain biker and tribal member Annette Clapsaddle, whose father Charles Saunooke owns Saunooke Village. “He made it very appealing rent-wise — try it for a year and if it works, great. If not, OK,” Cranford said. Cranford then reached out to Outdoor 76, whose owners Cory McCall and Rob Gasbarro jumped at the chance to open a location in Cherokee, so close to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and the Blue Ridge Parkway. “The time is right for Cherokee to be discovered for what’s there,” Cranford said.

Impact for good Cranford has lived in Sylva for 25 years, and owned Motion Makers — a 32-year-old business — for 11 of those years. He’s seen all the ways the biking scene has changed over the recent decades, and the impact that a trail can have on a community’s economy. In the past, he said, Motion Makers sold mostly road bikes and its customers — especially those from Cullowhee — were mostly WCU employees, not students. Now, with the construction of the WCU trails and some larger shifts in nationwide trends, that equation has changed. Roughly 80 percent of bikes sold are mountain bikes, and students are buying an increasing share of them. “We actually are getting more and more students now who end up being customers,” Cranford said. “It all parlays for us in the bike community.” Whether it’s Cullowhee, Sylva or Cherokee, that can only bode well for the local economy. “We know from years and years of demographic studies that cyclists in general, especially traveling cyclists that are going places to ride, are generally a higher income, and they’re always looking for a good quality of life to visit,” Cranford said. “They love good restaurants. They love good places to stay, whether that’s decent campgrounds or bed and breakfasts. For the community, having a draw for outside cyclists to come is always going to be a good economic impact.”



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2018 Season of An Appalachian Evening In the 40s and 50s, Stecoah’s stage was often graced with such top bluegrass performers as Lester Flatt & Earl Scruggs. Today, we’re keeping that tradition alive.

Visit our website to purchase tickets online

June 23

Michael Cleveland & Flamekeeper


June 30

Fireside Collective


July 7

Buncombe Turnpike


July 14

Helen White and Wayne Henderson


July 21

Snyder Family Band


July 28

Salt and Light


Aug 4

The Jeff Little Trio


Aug 11

Volume Five


Aug 18

Unspoken Tradition


Aug 25

Kruger Brothers


Student tickets (K-12) $10

121 Schoolhouse Road, Stecoah, NC (828) 479-3364 •


EXPLORE the Fiddles and Banjos, Bluegrass and Old-Time, Ballads and Gospel, Hear the Music of Our Mountains, Kick up your heels!


SHELBY HONORS NATIVE SON EARL SCRUGGS MERLEFEST TURNS 30 A conversation with legendary fiddler


Pick up your copy today at stages and visitor centers!

Events au Locations



Smoky View


Cool on a Mountain Stream


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Family Reunions Adjacent to Festival Grounds 72 Crider Circle · Maggie Valley


With ten beautifully appointed suites and a rooftop terrace, as well as a popular bistro & bar with craft beers & cocktails, this charming boutique hotel is an ideal location in the midst of great shopping, galleries and magnificent mountain views. And you’re just minutes from all the attractions and activities that Bryson City is known for.



Gourmet Southern Cuisine 828-488-1934



Maggie Valley Club and Resort. MVC photo

Swinging for the Smokies There’s nothing like playing a round of golf at high elevation to quicken the blood and make you feel alive. Golf courses in Western North Carolina have attitude as well as altitude, challenging golfers in the most gorgeous of settings. 44

In this mountain region, there are a handful of top-notch public courses, including the Sequoyah National in Cherokee (designed by Robert Trent Jones II) and the historic 27 holes at Waynesville Inn, Golf Resort and Spa. In the Cashiers area of Jackson County, the scenic High Hampton Inn is regarded as one of the most picturesque courses in the country. Other courses include: • Cherokee Hills Golf Club Murphy 828.837.5853 • Franklin Golf Course Franklin 828.524.2288 •

• Lake Junaluska Golf Course Lake Junaluska 800.222.4930 • • Maggie Valley Club & Resort Maggie Valley 855.467.2430 • • The Ridges Golf Club Hayesville 828.233.5273 • • Sequoyah National Golf Club Whittier 828.497.3000 • • Smoky Mountain Country Club Whittier 800.474.0070 •

• The Golf Club at Mill Creek Franklin 828.524.4653

• Springdale Country Club Canton 800.553.3027 •

• High Hampton Inn & Country Club Cashiers 800.334.2551 •

• Waynesville Inn, Golf Resort and Spa Waynesville 800.627.6250 •

WNC disc golf Western North Carolina is home to several fantastic disc golf courses. Here are a handful of local favorites, for beginners all the way up to expert levels: Beginner — Catamount Links, Western Carolina University, Cullowhee It’s pretty impossible for one to lose their disc on this course. Looping around the athletic fields, there are wide-open spaces and sparse tree lines. Though there are only 13 holes, many of them are extended in length, and a real treat to be able to truly chuck your disc without fear of it disappearing. Key hole: #1. Between the launch pad and bucket is the WCU “Pride of the Mountains” marching band practice field. Cool to watch and play around, but be aware of your throw. Trouble hole: #4. With the bucket in front of a pond, play it safe or else you’ll be fishing out your disc.

Intermediate — Waynesville Disc Golf Course, Waynesville Recreation Center Though plenty of holes are very welcoming for beginners, there are definitely some difficult ones. If you don’t know the 18-hole course, which can be a little tricky to navigate, ask the center for a complimentary map, or simply ask around (lots of folks play this course). Key hole: #14. Quite possibly one of the nicest mountain viewpoints in town, the launch pad is absolutely gorgeous to throw from, especially nearing sunset. Trouble hole: #14. As pretty as it is, this hole can also be a terror. Play it conservative if you’re not sure how to “attack” the bucket. Throw it too hard to the left, you’re in poison



Go play As well, there are also courses at Heritage Park (18) in Andrews; Bethel Elementary (9); Meadowbrook Elementary (9) in Canton; and Bear Lake Reserve (9) and the Jackson County Recreation Center (18), both in Cullowhee. For more information and course locations,visit

ivy. Too hard to the right and you’ll have to ask the center to help get your disc off their roof.

Advanced — Haywood Community College, Clyde Tranquil, quiet course. Not too many folks around. Holes meander into the woods, which surround the school. Nice trails. The 18-holes are somewhat challenging, but not too far out of reach for intermediate players. Key hole: #16. Launch pad is situated right in front of an apple tree grove. On a sunny southern afternoon, there’s no place you’d rather throw from.

Trouble hole: #17. Your love of #16 can quickly diminish if you throw your disc too hard and it winds up in the nearby pond bordering the bucket. Throw more to the right and play it safe.

Expert — Richmond Hill, Asheville Quite possibly the most beloved disc golf course in the region, it’s 18 holes of utter chaos looping around a wooded mountain ridge. One hole you’re throwing way uphill, the next it’s back down the other side. Very challenging, but if played with respect and caution (for intermediate players), one can have the time of their lives out there. Key hole: #9. As rough and tough as this hole is, aesthetically it’s the reason (and ultimate goal) why we disc golf freaks play this sport day in and day out. Trouble hole: #5. Simply put, you can’t see the bucket over the hill from the launch pad. With woods on both sides of the path, and with a bad throw, you could spend awhile tracking down your disc.


Outdoors+Recreation Hiking trails of the North Carolina Smokies

Hiking is one of the best ways to get out and commune with nature. With a quiet step you stand a great chance of seeing some of the multitude of wildlife Western North Carolina has to offer. There are hikes for all kinds — climbs along the rocks to a high mountain waterfalls, casual strolls to expansive mountain views, all-day treks out into the wilderness and brisk jaunts to perfect picnic places. Wherever you go, trying making part of your hike a “soft walk.” Tread quietly and use your senses to experience the world around you without talking. If you see something worth pointing out, communicate without speech. The process will help you tune in to nature and how it communicates with us. When hiking, you know best what you’re looking for and what you’re capable of — injuries happen when you take on too much or get too tired. Find a hike that suits your tastes and skills. (Some hike recommendations courtesy of Danny Bernstein, author of Hiking the Carolina Mountains.)

SELECTED HIKES Easy Panthertown Valley Panthertown Valley is a 6,700-acre area in the Nantahala National Forest. It's been nicknamed “the Yosemite of the East” and is home to granite domes, waterfalls, valley floors and rare high altitude bogs, as well as the headwaters for Greenland and Panthertown Creeks and the East Fork of the Tuckasegee River. Trails abound and primitive overnight camping and catch-and-release fishing is allowed. Horsepasture River Trail This out and back three-mile hike in Sapphire offers outstanding view of four large waterfalls and good camping along the way. The trail can be a little gnarly. Use extreme caution when viewing waterfalls, particularly Rainbow Falls, which can be viewed from the top. Falls are slippery and that


closer look just isn’t worth the type of injuries that may occur. The trailhead is located approximately 10 miles east of Cashiers.

toric Landmark offering breathtaking, panoramic views of the area. The Appalachian Trail and Bartram Trail intersect at the tower.

Boogerman Trail This 3.8 mile loop hike in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park takes you past old growth hemlocks and Robert “Booger” Palmer’s home place (hence the name). There’s plenty of creek views and wildflowers. Nealry a mile in, you’ll see a sign for Boogerman Trail. To avoid a relentless and steep climb, continue further up Caldwell Fork Trail and take the upper loop of Boogerman Trail. The hike begins near the Cataloochee campground.

Joyce Kilmer Memorial Trail Joyce Kilmer Forest, the last remnant of virgin forest in the Southern Appalachians, offers a spectacular 2-mile loop trail. Near Robbinsville.

Wayah Bald Located near Franklin in Macon County, this paved trail suitable for the handicapped leads to the Wayah Bald lookout tower, which is a National His-

Medium Hemphill Bald The Loop hike at Hemphill Bald is 13.7 miles in total, but just 4.7 miles in will get you to the Bald. The bald was named after a pioneer family. Tsali Recreation Area Located in Graham County the Tsali Recreation Area is known for its excellent trails. Hikers, bikers and

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horses all must share, but a bike/horse usage schedule keeps down the melee. Hikers may use any trail at any time. The Thompson Loop and Mouse Branch Looop are billed as easy to moderate and good for families. Looking Glass Rock This 6-mile hike through the Pisgah National Forest travels first through small cove, then steeply up the backside of Looking Glass Rock through many switchbacks, hardwood forests, Carolina hemlocks. At the top of the trail there are cliffs providing views of Pisgah Ridge from Mt. Pisgah toward the Shining Rock/Black Balsam Area and the valleys below.

Hard Shining Rock Wilderness Area Shining Rock became one of the original components of the Wilderness System in September 1964. A series of high ridges extends east and west from the north-south oriented Shining Rock Ledge. There are three main access points for trails within this Wilderness. First and foremost is the Black Balsam area near the Blue Ridge Parkway. Although this is not part of the Wilderness itself, The Art Loeb (moderate) and Ivestor Gap (easy) trails lead into the wilderness area from here. Mount Sterling Gap Trail This low ridge trail begins at Mt. Sterling Gap on Cataloochee-Big Creek Road. It’s only 2.8 miles to the firetower, but is rated extremely strenuous because of a 2,000-foot climb in 2.3 miles along an old jeep trail to the ridge just below the firetower. This firetower is one of three remaining in the Park. There are several excellent lookouts from the trail prior to reaching the main ridge, but the view from the tower is unequalled in the Park. Fontana to Wesser This 30-mile hike along the Appalachian Trails is full of ups and downs. There are shelters along the way, and in the end you’ll find yourself at the Nantahala Outdoor Center. Or do the hike in reverse and end at Fontana Dam. To learn more about the Appalachian Trail visit



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Outdoors+Recreation and to the other side. The powerful waterfall is about 65 feet tall. Dry Falls is in between Quarry Falls and Bridal Veil Falls about three miles west of Highlands on U.S. 64. There’s a small parking area on the left if you are headed west. Signs mark the falls on both sides of the road. If you come on a Saturday during peak tourist season, a parking space will be hard to come by. The trail to the falls is short with some steps.

Cullasaja Falls Cullasaja Falls is the final waterfall on the Cullasaja River before leaving the Gorge. The falls, a 200-foot cascade, is powerful and beautiful. You can get a good view of it from the road, but it would be difficult to get to the base. The downside to Cullasaja Falls is that the pull off is small and is a dangerous place for traffic to stop. Cullasaja Falls is about two and a half miles west of Quarry Falls on U.S. 64.The pull off is small and at a sharp curve. The small pull off fills up quickly during peak tourism days. Heading west, the pull off is on the left side of the road.

Mingo Falls

The spiritual appeal of waterfalls hether one is an avid outdoorsman or an occasional hiker, there is something special about making a gorgeous waterfall the destination for a hike. Among the Cherokee Indians, rivers were known as “The Long Man” and special ceremonies were often held at waterfalls. There are hundreds of waterfalls in Western North Carolina, and we’ve compiled a fairly extensive list and an interactive map on our newspaper website (navigate to the Outdoors section).



SELECT WATERFALLS Bridal Veil Falls Bridal Veil Falls is easy to get to and impossible to miss. If you are headed west from Highlands through the Cullasaja Gorge on U.S. 64, the falls will go over a small pull off road on the right. The falls isn’t nearly as impressive as the other falls in the Gorge, but after all, how often do you get the chance to drive your car under a waterfall? Bridal Veil Falls is 2.3 miles west of Highlands on U.S. 64. You’ll see a pull off road on the right side of U.S. 64 under the falls.

Dry Falls Dry Falls is one of the most popular waterfalls in Western North Carolina and an easy stop if you are seeing the other falls on U.S. 64 through the Cullasaja Gorge. Visitors can walk behind the falls

On the Qualla Indian Reservation in Cherokee, you’ll find the popular Mingo Falls. A small creek falls about 150 feet over mossy rocks. Access to the falls is good – if you can handle lots of steps. A small bridge goes across the creek, giving hikers a face on view of the falls. Coming from Cherokee, head north on U.S. 441. You’ll turn right onto Acquoni Road. There will be signs telling you to turn there for Big Cove Road. In about .1 mile, turn left on to Big Cove Road. Again you’ll see signs pointing to Big Cove Road. Drive about 5 miles and turn right into Mingo Falls Campground. The parking area is straight ahead. The trail starts there, goes up a lot of stairs, levels out and comes to a bridge overlooking the falls. The trail is about 265 yards.

Soco Falls Soco Falls is one of the closest large falls to Waynesville. Two creeks flow over steep rock cascades at a right angle from each other. There’s a wooden platform that faces the higher of the two falls. The other falls is nearly impossible to see face on without going down to the base of the falls. There's a really steep dirt incline that goes down there without a lot to hold on to. From Waynesville, drive north on U.S. 19. You’ll pass under the Blue Ridge Parkway. After passing the Blue Ridge Parkway, drive 1.4 miles to a pull off on the left. At the corner before the pull off you want, you’ll see a large gravel pull off. This

is actually a private driveway and not the way to Soco Falls. A sign on the right side of the road will tell you to go another half mile. Find a pull off with a guardrail. A short, steep path goes down between the guardrails. Follow the trail, which leads to a wooden platform. The trail beyond the platform is steeper and more difficult but will take you to the top of one of the falls. A dirt incline leads to the bottom of the falls that you’d have to slide down. It looks like it would be a challenge to get back up.


Midnight Hole There’s not much of a waterfall at Midnight Hole, but if you’re looking for a good place to jump in the water, this is it. Midnight Hole is very popular and crowded at times. There’s a rope that goes up one of the boulders so swimmers can jump off the rocks into the pool. The water is cold and crystal clear and feels wonderful after a hike on a hot, muggy afternoon. Take I-40 Exit 451 in Tennessee. It will be the first exit after you cross the state line. Stay left after crossing the Pigeon River and follow the road 2 miles. You’ll drive by a power plant and community park. You’ll come to a stop sign at an intersection. Go straight through the intersection and enter the Big Creek section of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Follow the gravel road .8 miles to a picnic area and campground entrance. From the parking area, walk back up the road. You’ll see a sign on the left for the trailhead. The hike to Midnight Hole is about 1.5 miles. Stay on the main path and the hole is on the left. The hike is easy. Horses and their riders also frequent the trail.

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Waterfall on West Fork Pigeon River The waterfall on West Fork Pigeon River runs under an old stone bridge on N.C. 215. Although this waterfall isn’t one to plan a trip around, if you’re driving to the other falls on N.C. 215, it’s worth a stop. You can take shots from the road and the bridge but watch out for traffic. I tried to hike down to the base of the falls and failed miserably. I wouldn’t recommend trying it. The waterfall is under a bridge on N.C. 215, 4.2 miles from where N.C. 215 crosses the Blue Ridge Parkway. It’s 13.6 miles south of where N.C. 215 intersects with U.S. 276.



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Recreation+Outdoors Reelin’ in Appalachia: WNC Fly Fishing Trail ll of Western North Carolina is renowned for its fly fishing, and its reputation continues to grow. Jackson County has developed the first official, mapped fly fishing trail, and that has been emulated by Swain County. And of course there are plenty of outfitters and guides ready to take visitors to the best fishing holes in the mountains. Below are just a few of the stops on Jackson County’s Fly Fishing Trail. For more information, visit


Margaret Hester photo


eral pull-off areas along Big Cove Road; paths run along stream • Type of Water: Catch and release fly fishing only • Noteworthy: Cherokee Trophy Water; Cherokee annual permit and daily permit required

• The Stretch: Roughly 10 miles from headwaters near Balsam down to Sylva • Access Point(s): Parking and access available via several pull-off areas along U.S. 23/74 • Type of Water: Hatchery supported • Noteworthy: Stretch also includes North Fork Scott Creek and Buff Creek, which are very scenic

Whitewater River

Caney Fork • The Stretch: Roughly 10 miles from East Laporte Park to headwaters at fork of Mull Creek and Piney Mountain Creek • Access Point(s): Access via Caney Fork Road (SR 1737), avoid posted land • Type of Water: Undesignated • Noteworthy: Respect private landowners

Tanasee Creek • The Stretch: Roughly 2-3 miles from Tanasee Creek bridge up to headwaters • Access Point(s): Parking and access available at bridge on Tanasee Creek Road (SR 1762) • Type of Water: Wild Trout • Noteworthy: Very scenic stretch in the Nantahala National Forest


Panthertown Creek • The Stretch: Entire stream, roughly 3 miles • Access Point(s): Parking and access at end of Breedlove Rd (SR 1121), with 2-mile walk to creek • Type of Water: Catch and release single hook artificial lure • Noteworthy: Located in Panthertown Valley, which is known as the “Yosemite of the East” because of its bowl shape and rocky bluffs

Raven Fork • The Stretch: Starts at Blue Ridge Parkway bridge near Cherokee and goes north for 2.2 miles • Access Point(s): Parking and access via sev-

• The Stretch: Roughly 2-3 miles from N.C. 107 down to the South Carolina state line • Access Point(s): Parking and access along N.C. 107, a few miles south of Cashiers • Type of Water: Wild Trout • Noteworthy: Flows into Whitewater Falls, the highest waterfall east of the Mississippi

West Fork Tuckasegee River • The Stretch: From small reservoir at Thorpe Power House upstream several hundred yards • Access Point(s): Parking and access available both sides of N.C. 107 near Thorpe Power House • Type of Water: Hatchery supported • Noteworthy: Although hatchery supported, this has nice concentration of stream-raised fish

Tuckasegee River (East Laporte Park to N.C. 107 Bridge)

• The Stretch: Roughly 2-3 miles from park to bridge • Access Point(s): Parking and access available at East Laporte Park and pull-off areas along Old Cullowhee Road • Type of Water: Hatchery supported • Noteworthy: East Laporte Park has picnic tables and public restrooms

Savannah Creek • The Stretch: About 10 miles from headwaters in Pumpkintown into Tuckasegee River • Access Point(s): Parking and access available via several pull-offs along U.S. 23/441 • Type of Water: Hatchery supported • Noteworthy: Access limited the closer you get to the Tuckasegee River

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Tuckasegee River (NC 107 Bridge to Dillsboro park)

• The Stretch: Roughly 4-5 mile stretch from bridge to the riverside park in Dillsboro • Access Point(s): Parking and access available via numerous pull-offs along North River Road • Type of Water: Delayed harvest • Noteworthy: Best place to achieve the Tuckasegee Slam (catch all three species in one spot)

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Greens Creek • The Stretch: About 3-4 miles from Macon County line to Savannah Creek • Access Point(s): Various places along Greens Creek Road (SR 1370) • Type of Water: Wild Trout, undesignated, hatchery supported • Noteworthy: Portion of the creek flows through the Nantahala National Forest

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Tuckasegee River (in Dillsboro)

• The Stretch: About 1 mile from Dillsboro park through town • Access Point(s): Various places between park and Best Western River Escape Inn • Type of Water: Hatchery supported • Noteworthy: Includes two lodging options: Best Western River Escape Inn and Dillsboro Inn

Lower Tuckasegee River (Barker’s Creek Bridge to Whittier)

• The Stretch: Roughly 8-10 miles from bridge to Whittier • Access Point(s): Parking and access via pull-offs and businesses along U.S. 19/74 freeway • Type of Water: Hatchery supported, undesignated • Noteworthy: The stretch is also home to smallmouth bass



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Outdoors+Recreation Blue Ridge Parkway serves up the best of the mountains he Blue Ridge Parkway is a National Parkway and All-American Road that winds for 469 miles from the southern end of Shenandoah National Park’s Skyline Drive in Virginia to U.S. 441 at Oconaluftee in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park near Cherokee. It’s hard to get lost on the Blue Ridge Parkway. It only goes in two directions — north or south. Short, wooden posts along the edge of the road mark off each mile — the entire 469-mile length of the Parkway — making it easy to know exactly where you are. The milemarker is listed for the recommended stops on the Parkway below, and should be easy to find by watching the mileposts. Hint: the numbers get bigger as you go south, so the end of the Parkway in Cherokee is mile 469. The Parkway boasts more than 200 overlooks and more than 100 trails. The local section of the Parkway runs from the southern end in Oconaluftee to the Pisgah Inn on the Haywood, Transylvania County line. Along this stretch of scenic road you’ll find highlights such as the Parkway’s highest elevation overlook at Richland Balsam (6,053 feet), views of Cold Mountain made famous by author Charles Frazier, Waterrock Knob and Oconaluftee Visitors Centers, and Devil’s Courthouse Trail. The Parkway is made for exploring. Here are few suggested highlights in our region, but feel free to ignore them. It’s all about the journey, not the destination.


SELECTED STOPS Waterrock Knob Visitors Center, milemarker 451 A must for Parkway travelers. Stop here to get recommendations from park rangers on things to do and see, plus pick up a free Parkway map and browse the bookstore. Views are fabulous if you are looking for a picnic spot. Also, there is a one-mile hike to the summit of Waterrock Knob. Interesting fact: the visitor center is powered by solar panels. Richland Balsam, milemarker 432 The views are great all along the Parkway, but there’s even a milestone achievement available for those don’t want to hike but prefer just getting out of their car to take a picture, enjoy the view, or have a picnic. Just about halfway between the Balsam Gap (U.S. 23-74) and N.C. 215 entrance to the Parkway, near milepost 432, is the Parkway’s highest point (6,053 feet), which is marked with a large sign and a great overlook. Just a mile away at milepost


431 is the Richland-Balsam Self-Guiding Trail, which is just one mile long and meanders through a spruce-fir forest. You’ll top out at an elevation of 6,410 feet, the 10th highest peak in the Eastern U.S. Devil’s Courthouse, milemarker 422 This one-mile round-trip trail leads to the top of stunning rock formation, a giant pedestal that seems to rise up magically from the mountains around it and makes you feel like you’re on top of the world looking out. Despite the sheer drop off all around you, rock walls provide a sense of safety — just don’t hop over them or let kids climb on the edge. Ecologically, visitors should stay off the cliff face, which is home to peregrine falcons and endangered rock-clinging lichens and plant life. The trail is steep but paved, making it accessible to anyone if you take it slow and steady. Sam’s Knob, milemarker 420 Stellar hiking trails lead into the Shining Rock Wilderness, passing over grassy balds, rock outcrops, high elevation streams and fir forests. The

area is riddled with trails, some of which extend for miles into the Shining Rock Wilderness, so if you don’t have a map, watch the way you came carefully. To reach the parking area, turn down a gravel forest service road. Upper Falls at Graveyard Fields, milemarker 419 A high-elevation bowl home to two waterfalls, a swimming hole and crystal clear rocky stream. Unlike the dense forests that engulf most hiking trails in the Smokies, this area is defined by open meadows. Mt. Pisgah (5,749 feet) Located near milepost 408, this mountain with the Biblical name used to be part of the George Vanderbilt Estate (he’s the man who built Biltmore Estate). A parking area is well marked, and the hike is only about a mile but it is relatively strenuous to the platform atop the mountain. Once there, however, the 360-degree views are fabulous. Nearby campground and one of the only restaurants on the Parkway at the Pisgah Inn.

PARK HIGHLIGHTS Oconaluftee Visitor Center Along with knowledgeable rangers who can help you plan your time in the park, fabulous exhibits will take you back in time among the early settlers and Cherokee who called these mountains home. The visitor center chronicles the culture and history of the Smokies, from exhibits on the Civil War in the Smokies to moonshine making. Located on U.S. 441 at the North Carolina entrance to the park, north of Cherokee and near the terminus of the Blue Ridge Parkway. 828.497.1904.

Mountain Farm Museum This stroll through an historic Appalachian farm offers a window on the ingenuity and self-reliance of early mountain people and Cherokee. A blacksmith shop to make everything from barn door hinges to horseshoes, a spring house to keep milk and butter cool, and sundry buildings for storing the food they raised, from corn cribs to apple houses to smoke houses. The outhouse is a guaranteed eye-opener for kids. Located at the entrance to the park on U.S. 441 just north of Cherokee.

Deep Creek Enjoy a little of everything at Deep Creek. Hiking to waterfalls, picnicking, mountain biking, camping and what Deep Creek is famous for: tubing. Several outfitters rent inner tubes to float all day in the creek. This is a fantastic place to visit for a few hours because you can do so many different activities without having to go to different places. If you are in the Bryson City area, treat yourself to a visit.

Mingus Mill The rumble of mill stones, the whistle of corn meal sliding down the wooden shoot, the slap-slap-slap of water falling over the giant paddle wheel. Explore this historic site just one mile from the park entrance on U.S. 441 north of Cherokee.

Clingmans Dome A paved half-mile trail leads to a soaring lookout tower atop the highest peak in the Smokies. At 6,643 feet, the panoramic view offers spectacular scenery and is one of the best examples of the region’s famed blue mountain ridges marching endlessly across the horizon. The tower features a spiraling 375-foot ramp to the top.

Western North Carolina’s national treasure he Great Smoky Mountains National Park has an amazing array of mini-ecosystems — from peaks over 6,000 feet to low valleys, from moist densely forested coves to dry meadows. A walk from mountain base to peak compares with traveling 1,250 miles north. Several resident plants and animals live only in the Smokies. The park has more than 100 species of trees and 4,000 species of plants. Some people say if you throw a rock and then trace its path, you’re likely to walk by at least 30 different kinds of trees. The Great Smoky Mountains National Park encompasses more than 500,00 acres and straddles North Carolina and Tennessee, making it the largest national park in the East.


Great Smoky Mountains National Park photo

Cataloochee Valley History and nature intersect in this picturesque meadow, a long, narrow valley cradled by mountains on all sides. An elk herd has been re-introduced into the park and calls the valley home. Cataloochee Valley is also home to a former mountain settlement, with intact farm houses, churches, schoolhouse and cemeteries that can be toured by car and short walks. Pick up an interpretive brochure at the campground on the left after you get down to the valley floor that describes the historic buildings.

Big Creek This relatively isolated area is a favorite of locals, with a campground, bathroom, picnic area and jumping off point for some great hikes into the Smokies, including the all-day hike up to Mount Cammerer lookout tower. One of the coldest, clearest swimming holes in the Smokies — aptly named Midnight Hole — is a short one-mile-hike up the wide Big Creek Trail.




Outdoors+Recreation Reach for the Skyway — The allure of the Cherohala Skyway

What if you discovered that one of America’s most beautiful roads was right in your backyard, and it wasn’t the Blue Ridge Parkway? “I’ve lived in North Carolina my whole life and I never heard of the Cherohala Skyway,” said Phillip Davis. “It’s one of the most beautiful roads I’ve ever been on and I found it completely by accident.” Standing next to his motorcycle, Davis scans the 360-degree mountain views from an outlook on the Cherohala Skyway National Scenic Byway, a 43-mile two-lane mountaintop road stretching from Robbinsville to Tellico Plains, Tenn. He shakes his head when asked why more people aren’t aware of the Skyway. “If you could compact the best parts of the Blue Ridge Parkway into 40 or so miles of road, it would be the Cherohala,” he said. “It’s a road everyone needs to do at least


once in their lifetime.” The Skyway emerged in 1958, when the original route (which is now the Skyway) was a covered wagon trail, which was only used at the time as a novelty when the bookend communities would recreate the past on the “Wagon Train Road.” A buzz about maybe someday putting a road “up there” to connect all of the small mountain towns on both sides of the state line snowballed. By the early 1960s, Congress allocated funds to construct the Skyway. Thirty years and $100 million dollars later, the Skyway was officially opened in October 1996 — a mesmerizing piece of road meandering through some of the most desolate and mesmerizing landscape this side of the Mississippi River.

Crossing into Graham County on N.C. 28, the road is filled with steep inclines, rollercoaster down hills and s-curves galore. Before you know it, you’re in Robbinsville, an outpost community, which is the heart of the county. With the town being one end of the Skyway, Delphus and Cindy Lee just finished the riding the Skyway from west to east. Sitting on their motorcycle, the Kentucky couple makes a yearly trip along the Skyway. “If you love to ride, it’s one of the most exhilarating roads you can get on,” Delphus said. “The scenery and the curves,” Cindy smiled. Heading to the start of the Skyway down N.C. 143 Thunder Mountain General Store suddenly appears. “Last Stop For 50 Miles” a small sign says in front of the building. “1.3 million travelers go by our store every year,” said owner Ken Osburn. “Every corner of the world comes here.”

Osburn and his family came from Franklin, Tenn. They purchased and opened the store in January 2014 and are all smiles with all of the unique people who wander into their business. “[The Skyway] is Gatlinburg without all the riff raff,” he said. “It’s pure nature and beauty — you get to see where God showed off.” Entering the Skyway, you’re immediately thrust into the sheer majesty of these mountains as an endless array of mountain ridges look back at your from Santeelah Gap. The multitude of ridges hypnotizes the viewer, almost as if they were ripples in some vast, mysterious ocean. Like a bottomless bowl of Halloween candy, millions of trees still hold strong to their leaves, with the foliage season far from over. The Skyway itself is a smooth road with too many notable viewing spots to count, so many in fact, you might want to tack on a couple more hours to the time estimation of your trip. After awhile you neck begins to

Another mile closer to hea h aven. Up here, it’s easy to forget that the outside wo orld exists at all. And that’s the whole idea. Just you, and the cle ear mountain airr, and the Great Smokies spreading away into in nfinity. To learn more, 6 -1401, Yes, heaven can more call (828) 926 -1401 or visit us online. online Y wait. But you’re abou ut to find out that it doesn’’t really have to.

The Cherohala Skyway Visitor Center in Tellico Plains has free maps, Skyway driving conditions and local area souvenirs and gifts. Picnic tables and restrooms are available. hurt from turning left and right nonstop, eager to not miss an inch of this utterly captivating landscape. At a nearby outlook, Linda and Mickey Archer are standing in awe of their surroundings. Visiting from Pensacola, Fla., they’ve ventured up to the Skyway every year for the last 15. “As Floridians, we don’t have mountains,” Linda chuckled. “The Skyway is just a wonderful experience, the people, the trees, the road — everything.” “The views knock your socks off,” Mickey added. Soon, a sleek 1988 Chevrolet Corvette rolls up. At the wheel is Frank Helwig from Brantford, Ontario. With a grin ear-to-ear, the middle-aged man seems to have tapped into the fountain of youth cruising the Skyway. “This car was made for this road,” he laughed. “This place is spectacular, it really is. That’s why I came here — it’s a trip of a lifetime.”



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Upcoming Events Ongoing Events

Lake Junaluska Conference and Retreat Center photo

• First/Third Thursdays — Community music jam, Bryson City • First Friday of the Month — Art After Dark, Waynesville. Evening stroll of galleries, restaurants and breweries in downtown. • First Friday of the Month — Art Walk, Murphy. Stroll downtown art galleries, restaurants and shops. • Friday-Saturday, Late May to Labor Day — Music on the River, Cherokee. • Fridays, Memorial Day to Late October — Movies On Everett, Bryson City. • Fridays, Memorial Day to Labor Day — Concerts on the Creek, Sylva. • Fridays, Memorial Day to September — Groovin’ on the Green, Cashiers. • Fridays, Memorial Day to Early September — Concerts on the Square, Hayesville. • Saturdays, Memorial Day to Mid-October — Pickin’ on the Square, Franklin. • Friday-Saturday, Memorial Day to Late October — Cherokee Bonfire & Storytelling. • Friday-Saturday, Memorial Day to Late October — Street Tunes, Bryson City. • Monday-Saturday, Early June to Mid-August — Unto These Hills outdoor drama, Cherokee. • Fridays, Early June to Labor Day — Pickin’ in the Park, Canton. • Mid-June to October — Friday Night Live, Highlands. • Late June to Labor Day — Saturdays on Pine concert series, Highlands.

Independence Day in the Smokies • Canton Fourth of July Celebration • Stars & Strips Celebration, Waynesville • Red White & Boom, Maggie Valley • Fourth of July Celebration, Sylva


• Freedom Fest, Bryson City • 4th of July Parade/Fireworks Celebration, Franklin • 4th of July Fireworks Show, Cherokee • Fourth of July Celebration, Cashiers • Fourth of July Celebration, Andrews • Independence Day Celebration, Highlands

• Independence Day Fireworks, Murphy • Independence Day Parade/ Celebration, Hayesville • Sapphire Valley Yankee Doodle Dandy Day • Fourth of July Celebration, Fontana Village


We’re Back for 2018!

52nd Annual Macon County

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Gold, Silver, Gem Stones, Minerals & More Robert C Carpenter Community Building 1288 Georgia Rd. Franklin, NC

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Pro & Backyard Cooking Competition Fri. 11am-9pm

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We’re Back in 2018! October 19-21 Robert C Carpenter Community Building 1288 Georgia Rd. Franklin, NC

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WNC Travel Guide 2018  

A resource for visitors to the Smoky Mountains of Western North Carolina. Learn about events, music, cultural interests, food, outdoor activ...

WNC Travel Guide 2018  

A resource for visitors to the Smoky Mountains of Western North Carolina. Learn about events, music, cultural interests, food, outdoor activ...