Do you feel the crisp fall air? As the leaves change colors, the best time to hike is upon us. To help you take on the trail this fall, we’ve created a list of the best fall hikes in the Smokies.
Jackson County, NC is rich with history and heritage rooted in Cherokee tradition and Appalachian culture. Though replicas may exist, there is no substitute for the handmade craftsmanship that fills our galleries, shops, museums and market stalls. Plan your trip and follow this Guide to Your Appalachian Art Adventure in Jackson County! Dogwood Crafters A cooperative showcasing mountain arts, crafts and gifts, Dogwood Crafters has been a staple in Dillsboro since 1976 when it was founded using leftover bicentennial grant funding. Enter the log cabin-style galleries to find handmade treasures created by regional artisans who keep Appalachian craft traditions alive. Its ever-changing inventory features works from 100 or so artists who create everything from corn shuck dolls to wooden bowls to handmade quilts to stained glass to novelty birdhouses. Its hand-crafted items will surely be treasured and invoke fond memories of your time in the North Carolina Mountains. Joel Queen Gallery From traditional Cherokee pieces to North Carolina ceramics, pottery is plenty in Jackson County. Don’t miss Joel Queen Gallery, on U.S. Hwy. 441 in Whittier, where you’ll find imaginative work infused with Cherokee culture. Queen is a ninth-generation potter who traces his lineage through the Bigmeat family in the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians. His black pottery, the most traditional of styles, is hand built, polished and fired in an open pit using hand-carved tools. You may also discover Queen’s stamped pottery, sculpture and wood carvings in this gallery. Qualla Arts & Crafts With more than 3,000 handmade, authentic […]
In the summertime, music fills the mountains of Jackson County, North Carolina. From casual, free outdoor concert series in the cool mountain air to ticketed events featuring tribute bands and exceptional classical music ensembles, you’ll find it here! Concerts on the Creek – Sylva Held creekside every Friday evening from 7 to 9 p.m. in downtown Sylva’s Bridge Park, Concerts on the Creek brings a variety of musical styles to its outdoor pavilion stage. Artists range from folk to bluegrass to pop, rock, soul, country, and reggae, from homegrown favorites to regionally known bands. Upcoming shows include: July 7 – Arnold Hill; July 14 – Bird in Hand; July 21 – Dashboard Blue; July 28 – Lua Flora; August 4 – Tuxedo Junction; August 11 – TLQ+2; August 18 – Get Right Band; August 25 – Maggie Valley Band; and September 1 – PMA. The shows are free, thanks to the Town of Sylva, Jackson County Parks and Recreation Department, and Jackson County Chamber of Commerce. Just bring a chair or blanket. Food truck vendors will most likely be on site, but picnic baskets and coolers are welcome, too. Dogs are welcome if they are friendly and kept on a leash. And don’t forget your dancing shoes, as you’re sure to see concertgoers of all ages taking to the front of the stage to move and groove. For more information about Concerts on the Creek, call 828-586-2719. Groovin’ on the Green Summer Concert Series – Cashiers The Village Green is […]
When it comes to selecting a place to spend your very first moments as a married couple, it is difficult to top Jackson County, North Carolina. The mountains provide breathtaking scenes and authentic experiences sure to bring joyful memories for years to come. In addition to the gorgeous vistas, you’ll find small-town charm, sincere hospitality, and plenty of options for delicious food, relaxing accommodations, and unforgettable adventures. Whether you’re seeking a beautiful backdrop for your destination wedding or wish to honor a connection to the Appalachian Mountains, Jackson County, NC has the perfect venue. Every site is ready to make your planning simple, either by providing turnkey service or connections to everything you’ll need, from florists to caterers to photographers to event planners and more! With so many ways to answer “I Do” in Jackson County, NC, the real question is: What’s your wedding style? Mountain Magic While every Jackson County, NC wedding locale is in the mountains, several take full advantage of the setting, offering outdoor spaces with expansive and majestic views. Chimney Pond Farm offers rustic elegance and rolling hills with a view of pristine Lake Glenville, the highest lake east of the Mississippi River. A true farm, its 80 acres of Frasier Fir Christmas trees, blueberry bushes, and several alpacas (the gentle, friendly relative of the llama) add to its charm. Select among two indoor halls and an outdoor space to exchange vows. Onsite accommodations are available in three separate houses. Chimney Pond Farm is conveniently located […]
While family reunions present the opportunity for creating some of the best memories, oftentimes the biggest challenge can be deciding on where to go. Enter: Jackson County, NC. From our mom-approved rapids to lakeside lounging, horseback riding and more, there’s no doubt you’ll discover fun for every age and stage here. Read on for our sample itinerary for a warm-weather family reunion in the Blue Ridge Mountains! Day 1: Drop your bags at your basecamp in Sylva, whether that’s at a bed & breakfast such as Whistle Stop, an inn like Outland Chalet & Suites, a hotel like Best Western Plus River Escape, or other. Visit our Lodging page to find what’s most suitable for you and your family. While some members of the group get settled, keep others entertained and head to Downtown Sylva to explore the coffee shops, bookstores, craft breweries and more within the charming town. For dinner, head to Lulu’s, a favorite on Sylva’s Main Street that offers eclectic dining complete with a kids’ menu. From robust salads to savory meatloaf to thai chicken soup, the dishes are sure to satisfy. Day 2: Grab breakfast at City Lights Café and afterwards, work off the calories with a hike at Pinnacle Park. Regroup and head on over to Tuckaseegee Outfitters to get wet and wild with a guided rafting trip. In the evening, visit Sylva’s neighboring town of Dillsboro for dinner at Haywood Smokehouse, followed by a trip to Dillsboro Chocolate Factory for some treats. Day 3: […]
In honor of Women’s History Month this March, we’re highlighting some of our most beloved shops and restaurants owned and operated by local women. While the list goes on, each of these women below play a key role in making our towns of Jackson County, NC feel more like communities: Crystal Cogdill, Jackson’s General Store Conveniently located on Sylva’s Main Street, Jackson’s General Store has a large selection of gifts and collectibles. Crystal first opened the beloved shop in 1999, and now it’s become a go-to store in the area for men’s and women’s clothing, gift and home décor, gourmet food and candy, toys and more. Bernadette Peters, City Lights Café City Lights is a Sylva staple. Not only do the locals frequent it, but this was the go-to spot of the award-winning “Three Billboards” cast for coffee and food when they were in town shooting. Named after its adjacent landmark bookstore, the café is a great place for guests to settle in and enjoy a variety of tasty vegan and vegetarian options after they pick out a new read, just as Bernadette intended. Jill Katz, Crossroads Custard & Coldbrew In the heart of Cashiers, Crossroads serves 24 flavors of premium frozen custard and homemade nitro cold brew coffee made with local and seasonal ingredients. The menu also offers healthy smoothies, homemade waffle sandwiches and treats (for dogs too!). Jill used her decades of restaurant and hospitality experience to open this successful community hotspot with her partner Badge Siler. Stephanie […]
Sometimes the best way to experience a new destination is by letting your palate guide you through it! Here are our recommendations for a sensory-inspired foodie experience in Sylva and Dillsboro, our perfectly paired mountain towns within Jackson County, NC. HEAR| the Tuckasegee River roar as you dine outside on Foragers Canteen’s spacious patio. Set right along the mighty river, which flows almost the entire length of beautiful Jackson County, this local restaurant serves up a fusion of locally sourced, farm to table ingredients. It’s also near the Great Smoky Mountain Railroad, so it’s possible you’d also hear the trains as they come by as you dine! SEE| Chef Santiago Guzzetti prepare Italian-Appalachian cuisine in the kitchen at ILDA, the space where his wife’s family opened her own restaurant nearly 40 years ago. ILDA has a growing reputation in the Southeast, and was even named “Mountain Restaurant of the Year” by Eater Carolinas in 2021. Its union of Italian and Southern Appalachian cuisine presents Instagram-worthy plates such as Saffron Paccheri pasta, Taleggio Crostinis to share, and eye-catching cocktail and mocktail creations. See for yourself here. TASTE | the farm fresh flavors at Guadalupe Cafe, like locally grown organic salad greens and regeneratively raised beef from Mountainside Family Farm. You probably wouldn’t think of the tropics when you think of dining in the mountains, but Guadalupe’s incredibly creative tropical fusion cuisine is not to be missed. When its menu was first developed, the intention was to take diners on a trip through Spain, the Middle East and the […]
In Jackson County, hilarity ensues during our annual Outhouse Races at Sapphire Valley Resort. Come for the races and stay to hit the slopes and enjoy some great dining, too! Off-Beat & Oh, So Fun The Sapphire Valley Outhouse Races is as quirky as it gets and it’s just the way it sounds. Homemade outhouses are secured to a pair of skis and pushed down a 120-foot, snow-blanketed racecourse by two team members while a third member sits inside. Taking place annually over President’s Day Weekend, (this year on February 18), the Outhouse Races are fun for all. Dozens of teams return each year to compete by using a variety of materials like wood, cardboard and plastic and other handmade items to construct their ‘thrones’. Each outhouse is uniquely decorated and appropriately named like “The Royal Flush,” and to add to the fun, team members and spectators are always encouraged to wear crazy outfits and incorporate themes! Skiing, Snowboarding & Tubing While at Sapphire Valley, don’t miss out on your chance to ski or snowboard! The resort is home to a 1600-foot run, a chair lift, and an introductory slope with a moving carpet, making it ideal for first timers and beginner skiers. Unlike most crowded ski resorts, lift lines here are short, and there’s even an on-site learning center with certified instructors who can teach the fundamentals. Don’t worry about bringing gear either because you can rent everything you need from skis and boots to poles and snowboards. There’s also a […]
Lace up those hiking boots because in honor of 2023 being the NC Year of the Trail, we’re highlighting our top trails to explore during each season in Jackson County. WINTER – Schoolhouse Falls Based in Panthertown Valley, this is one of our most beautiful waterfalls, and it’s definitely something to see when its frozen. While the navigation to it isn’t the easiest, nature’s beautiful display is well worth the effort. Just make sure you grab a map at one of our Visitor Centers before you hit the trail. **Why it made the list – for the mix of cascades coming down from a glorious 18-feet. SPRING – Pinnacle Park This one has some strenuous terrain including a 7-mile trek that ascends for than 3,000 ft, but we wouldn’t include it on this list if the views at the top weren’t worth it. Go in prepared with snacks and water, and discover flowing streams, waterfalls, budding wildflowers and panoramic views along the way. **Why it made the list – because it became the first Certified Forest Therapy Trail in the state of North Carolina in 2022! SUMMER – Richland Balsam Save this one for the summer months, because in that time you’ll smell the pleasant aroma of the spruce trees and experience surprisingly cool temperatures all along the route. With stunning views from Haywood-Jackson Overlook, this trail stretches a total of 6,410 feet and loops 1.5 miles. **Why it made the list – it holds the selfie-worthy […]
Finding the perfect gift for family members and friends can be difficult, but our NC Mountain towns of Cashiers, Cherokee, Dillsboro, and Sylva make it easier than you’d think. Avoid the crowded malls and take a shopping sabbatical to Jackson County – located about an hour west of Asheville for some of the best handmade gifts in the mountains.