Located about an hour west of Asheville, Jackson County’s mountain towns of Cashiers, Cherokee, Dillsboro, and Sylva are your basecamp for regional adventure. From secret lakeside waterfalls only accessible by boat to endless miles of hiking in pristine National Forests, your next chapter of adventure awaits. Explore these top 12 hidden gems on your next mountain adventure.
The Western North Carolina mountain towns of Cashiers, Cherokee, Dillsboro and Sylva boast a wealth of natural attractions, and beyond the surface visitors will find so much more than just stunning views. These mountain towns are rich in history and heritage from the Cherokee Indians and the Appalachia heritage that runs deep through the region.
Autumn is nearly upon us, and that means fall festivals are on the horizon. One not-to-miss fall event is Mountain Heritage Day, which is held each year on the Western Carolina University campus. This annual festival celebrates the Southern Appalachian mountain culture that can be found throughout Jackson County and the rest of the surrounding Western North Carolina mountains. Mountain Heritage Day is a prime example of WCU’s community involvement, drawing more than 15,000 visitors to the area to experience continuous live entertainment, more than 130 food and craft vendors, an interactive children’s area, and nonstop family-friendly activities. Both admission and parking for the event are free, with free shuttle service provided.
Experience art live and on location with an elevated summer escape to the mountain hamlet of Cashiers, N.C. where visiting artists will crawl the town and countryside with easels and pallets in tow for five days this July. The Cashiers Plein Air Festival is a celebration of art that comes alive before your eyes — on sidewalks and patios, in gardens and pastures, overlooking mountainsides and scenic vistas. French for “open air,” plein air painting is a rare form of spectator art that’s yours to experience during this year’s festival from July 17-21.
The mountain town of Sylva, NC was the primary filming location, and from May 2-21, 2016 transformed to become the town of Ebbing, Missouri, where this dark drama unfolds. Sylva captures the perfect picture of small-town Americana and proves to be a natural setting for the silver screen. With mountain vistas framing the background and storefronts lining Main Street, the town encompasses all the authentic characteristics that the setting of this Oscar® nominated film needed.
Molded from metal, chiseled in stone, forged by fire: discover the artistic trove of three outdoor sculpture gardens gracing the mountain landscape of Jackson County, North Carolina. From the homegrown sculptures of the Green Energy Park in Dillsboro to the elevated art experience on the Village Green in Cashiers, the outdoor collections evoke the spirit of the mountains. They run the gamut of moods and mediums, from whimsical copper to brawny steel to poignant marble.
The 20th annual Greening Up the Mountains festival will fill the streets of downtown Sylva, N.C., on Saturday, April 22 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. The town’s largest festival of the year typically draws thousands of visitors to this free family-friendly event in the mountains of Western North Carolina.
For a “Black Friday” experience spun with Appalachian heart and craftsmanship, look no further than the 29th annual Hard Candy Christmas Arts and Crafts Show. This time-honored tradition is scheduled for Friday, November 25 and Saturday, November 26 in beautiful Cullowhee, N.C.
From wood-fired to traditional Cherokee pottery, face jugs to raku beads, Jackson County, North Carolina, is saturated with potters that channel the beauty of the Western North Carolina Mountains into their work. The potters that call Jackson County home are masters of their craft. Below, we would like to introduce you to a few of the personalities that can be found throwing the wheel or firing the kiln around the towns of Cashiers, Cherokee and Dillsboro.
With the cooler weather, the new vibrant colors of the leaves and exciting fall festivals, autumn is more than a season- it’s a time for joy and inspiration for artistic minds. So this fall, get outside, celebrate nature and play on in Jackson County, N.C. A haven for natural beauty and the arts, Jackson County is a must-experience fall escape with a lot more than inspiration alone to offer.