New Years is a time we set goals that aspire to positive changes in our lives. This year has been filled with tragedy, sadness and challenges. Although these challenges have been difficult to navigate, they’ve brought us closer together and made us appreciate things more. Although the year may be halfway over, now is not the time to give up on 2020 as there is still time to fulfill your resolutions and set new ones. Hit the reset button and rediscover what’s important to you. The North Carolina towns of Cashiers, Cherokee, Dillsboro, and Sylva are here to help you get a fresh start, enjoy new experiences, and create a year that you’ll be proud of. This is still YOUR year, and now is the time to take back 2020!
Fresh Start 2020
Turn that NC Mountain getaway dream into a reality, whether solo or with family & friends. While it is essential to keep in mind and practice safe social distancing and traveling guidelines, the mountains naturally offer ways in which these guidelines are embraced (no need to draw a line in the woods). Jackson County’s 494-square miles of wide-open spaces give you room to roam, while the crisp, clean mountain air will cleanse your body and soul. Being outside has been proven to lower cortisol (stress) levels naturally, and when coupled with cardiovascular exercise, such as navigating the trails of Western North Carolina, it is a great way to be the healthiest version of yourself. With the most named summits (185 to be exact) of anywhere in the state, you can find that perfect peak to call your own.
With the stresses we have all been facing recently, it is time to take a breath and relax. One great way to do this is by exploring the Japanese practice of Shinrin-Yoku (Forest Bathing) with Pinnacle Forest Therapy. This Japanese health initiative highlights the importance of being in nature, as Dr. Mark Ellison leads you through a series of breathing and meditation techniques to help be one with nature. Another great way to get outside and to reap the health rewards is by learning about flora and fauna with Bigelow’s Botanical Hikes. Our portion of the Appalachian Mountains boasts one of the most biodiverse ecosystems in the temperate world, so you’re sure to learn something new.
Many of us have been dreaming for a day on the water! Paddlesports are not only a great way to try something new, but they also provide an easy way to follow safe social distancing guidelines. Grab a kayak, canoe, or standup paddleboard from one of our lake or river outfitters and hit the water. With 26-miles of shoreline, seven islands, and three hidden waterfalls, Lake Glenville is a great place to spread out and explore. Try your hand at fly fishing and cast a line while enjoying a relaxing and mentally therapeutic day on the WNC Fly Fishing Trail®. Our local outfitters and guides have the gear and experience you need, so just bring yourself out for a full day of fun on the water.
If you’re feeling a bit tense, make sure to schedule a massage at one of our spas. Our expert masseuses will take the stress away to make room for a healthier you. If you need more time to breathe, make sure to schedule a visit to the Mediation Center in Sylva. Offering a spiritual-based learning environment, the motto “find your peace” will help lead you to a place of tranquility.
From locally sourced Farmer’s Markets to farm-to-fork food offerings, our towns offer some of the best (and healthiest) dining options around. If you’re looking to dine in Dillsboro, head to Foragers Canteen for a non-chain, locally-sourced option. Make sure to check out the chalkboard as you enter to see where the day’s fare came from. If you’re into craft beverages, don’t pass up neighboring Innovation Station. Grab a cold pint at the bar or take a growler or six-pack along for your adventure. Sylva’s dining options are full of healthful flavor. Don’t miss Lulu’s on Main, Guadalupe Café, City Lights Café, or Mad Batter Kitchen for delicious locally sourced cuisine.
Dining in Cashiers offers an elevated experience in more ways than one. Sitting at 3,484-feet, this charming mountain town provides upscale dining options for every palate. Canyon Kitchen is a must-visit for fine dining in Western North Carolina. Offering an experience true to its agricultural roots, Chef Ken Naron utilizes seasonal crops to craft his masterpieces. The Library Kitchen + Bar offers farm-to-table upscale dining along with signature cocktails in an iconic historical setting.
Make sure to keep an eye out for “Count on Me NC” signage, proudly displayed in establishments across Jackson County as a promise to patrons that the business is committed to keeping you and your safety top of mind. Make sure, as a patron, you continue to do your part as we all have a role to play in keeping ourselves and the communities we live in and visit safe. Visitors can take the pledge too!
The year isn’t over, and we could all use a refresh! Make sure to check out our up-to-date listings of open restaurants and attractions in the area. Following local, state, and national guidelines, our attractions, lodging providers, and restaurants are doing everything they can to keep you and your family safe. Request a FREE Visitor Guide to inspire your fresh getaway to the NC Mountains.