Christmas in Jackson County: 8 Must-Do’s for the Whole Family

Jackson County Courthouse at Christmas

Christmas in Jackson County: 8 Must-Do’s for the Whole Family

Located in the Western North Carolina mountains, Jackson County overflows with the charm, nostalgia and wonder that help to create wonderful Christmas memories. With the towns of Cashiers, Dillsboro and Sylva decked out in their Christmas decor, visitors and residents alike can enjoy small-town holiday ambience perfect for an intimate, cozy holiday getaway. Teeming with holiday spirit, Jackson County boasts a full schedule of holiday offerings and special events – there’s something fun and entertaining for the entire family. Perhaps best of all, because of the area’s proximity to nearby major cities, Jackson County is exceptionally easy to get to for a quick mountain getaway. To help plan your itinerary, check out these eight must-do’s for the whole family. 1. Choose and Cut Tree Farms Thanks to a combination of elevation, location, quality soil conditions and abundant rainfall, Jackson County couldn’t be more perfect for growing Christmas trees. In fact, our regions landscape is ideal for growing the Fraser Fir which is known as the most desirable species of Christmas Tree. The area is home to many locally- and family-owned Christmas tree farms where visitors will find a gorgeous selection of Fraser Firs of all shapes and sizes. With tens of thousands of trees grown in Jackson County, there are plenty of trees to choose from. You’ll find your family’s perfect holiday centerpiece and make memories for generations to come. 2. Lights and Luminaries Nothing is more wondrous during the holidays than the glow of twinkling Christmas lights. That’s why […]

Discover Rich Heritage in Jackson County

Cherokee Bonfire

Discover Rich Heritage in Jackson County

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.

Find Your Perfect Holiday Centerpiece: Choose and Cut Guide to Jackson County

family with their dog picking out the perfect Christmas tree in jackson county

Find Your Perfect Holiday Centerpiece: Choose and Cut Guide to Jackson County

The return of the holiday season means reminiscing on years past, spending time with loved ones and sharing in traditions that are carried on through generations of families year-after-year. One such tradition that we enjoy being a part of in Jackson County is to choose and cut your own Christmas tree. Thanks to our county’s elevation, location, quality soil conditions and abundant rainfall, the county is perfectly situated for growing beautiful Christmas trees. In fact, genetics show our trees are the fastest-growing, most aesthetically pleasing trees in the region. As a result, Jackson County is home to many locally and family-owned Christmas tree farms offering a gorgeous selection of these holiday decoration centerpieces.

Why You Should Visit Jackson County, NC During Secret Season

waterfall surrounded by heavy snowfall in jackson county

Why You Should Visit Jackson County, NC During Secret Season

We all vacation in hopes to find a secret escape where we can experience our own little piece of paradise that is away from the large crowds. During the winter to early-spring months, the Western NC mountain towns of Jackson County, NC offer just that! Cashiers, Cherokee, Dillsboro and Sylva come alive during this ‘secret season’, offering visitors a wide array of hidden benefits to traveling during this less crowded and more affordable time of year. Within driving distance of many of the Southeast’s biggest cities, Jackson County is bustling with activities for every kind of traveler, including winter hiking to frozen waterfalls, scenic drives through the rolling mountainsides, quality shopping, a thriving culinary scene and much more. Winter – particularly midweek – is the ideal time to enjoy the best of winter travel without the crowds and the most affordable accommodations. Unplug, unwind, sit back and relax. The downtime you’ve starts here. Your adventure awaits When visiting Jackson County during the secret season, you’ll love being able to take advantage of front row “seats” at the prime scenic viewing spots, have the best photo backdrops all to yourself, or the grab the best seat in the house at the county’s most popular dining spots. Traveling during secret season provides visitors a chance to try the best eats in the county.  Plus, with minimal to no wait, you can select the best seat in the house for the perfect secret season dining experience. Another bonus? The potential of a snowy vacation. […]

Top Foodie Favorites in Jackson County

Top Foodie Favorites in Jackson County

A growing trend, food travel is becoming increasingly popular as travelers seek out the tastiest eateries and dishes across the country. In the towns of Cashiers, Cherokee, Dillsboro and Sylva, which make up Jackson County, you’ll find a true haven for all things delicious, making it the ideal spot for a culinary adventure. From barbecue to fresh farm-to-table cuisine to handmade chocolates, Jackson County has everything needed for a foodie’s perfect getaway. Proving that food really is the way to a person’s heart, a recent survey showed that dining at unique non-chain restaurants was the No. 1 activity people said they loved doing while in Jackson County. People value exclusive cuisine you can’t try anywhere else, and, with locally sourced ingredients from area farms, Jackson County is chock-full of options for every palate. Plus, with the Jackson County Ale Trail and cocktail lounges, visitors can find the perfect hand-crafted pairing for every meal. Where to Go Plenty of locally loved, award-winning restaurants are found throughout the county. While just a start, the restaurants below can serve as the perfect starter guide on where to dine and what to order when visiting. Sylva Named Southern Living’s “Favorite Restaurant in the Region,” Lulu’s on Main specializes in items that are both certified hormone-free and humanely raised. To dine like area residents, start with the Szechuan salad and the salmon, then wrap up the meal with the delectable peanut butter pie. Rated by Gourmet magazine as one of “America’s Best Farm to Table […]

Best Views for Experiencing Fall in Jackson County

Best Views for Experiencing Fall in Jackson County

Autumn has finally arrived in the Southeast, bringing with it cooler temps and spectacular fall foliage. Known for sweeping mountain views, the Western North Carolina mountain towns of Jackson County are expecting spectacular color this year. Whether this is your first or hundredth time visiting Jackson County, now is the best time to plan a trip to enjoy all the beauty the region has to offer. The best time to experience the fall colors with lighter crowds is during the week. Monday through Wednesday is the ideal time to plan your stay to receive the lowest rates, experience smaller crowds and have the colorful views to yourself thanks to the lightest foot traffic of the season. In addition, there will be low wait times at resident favorite restaurants, less traffic resulting in shorter drive times between attractions and more one-on-one time with the people that make Jackson County so special at locally-owned businesses. So, go ahead and take advantage of those unused vacation days to get the best out of the fall season here! Due to Jackson County’s geographic location between 2,000 and 6,000 feet above sea level, fall’s colors last well over a month here, ranging from early October to mid-November. Plus, the area’s mild temperatures lend themselves to a very vibrant season, with prolonged color in the lower elevations. Best views for fall hues Throughout Jackson County, you’ll find a wide array of opportunities to experience the brightest fall color. Whether biking, hiking or driving, you’ll find elevated […]

The Beer Lover’s Guide to Craft Breweries in Jackson County

Whiteside Brewing

The Beer Lover’s Guide to Craft Breweries in Jackson County

Flowing in the Western North Carolina mountain towns of Jackson Co., NC are over 120 unique brews from the six breweries located on the popular Ale Trail. Each beer and brewery boast a new and refreshing feel making Jackson Co. the new go-to spot for beer lovers everywhere. Ranging from IPA’s, Sours, Lagers and more, each brewery features a different vibe and atmosphere perfect for every beer enthusiast. There’s even something for non-alcoholic fans, thanks to locally crafted sodas and beverages utilizing locally sourced ingredients. To start your journey, download the Ale Trail map and plan out your visit. New Additions The Jackson County Ale Trail continues to grow and evolve every year thanks to new locations and offerings opening in the area. Now open in Sylva, the Nantahala Brewing Sylva Outpost showcases 40 taps in a family-friendly atmosphere. For those who prefer to try a variety of drinks, you’ll find a full-service bar along with customer favorites including the Dirty Girl Blond, Bryson City Brown Ale and Noon Day IPA. Pair your refreshment with a menu of tasty snacks, southern tacos and hand made burgers. The newest member of the Ale Trail, The Lazy Hiker Taproom in Sylva, features a large selection of brews, including flagship mainstays such as Trail Mate Golden Ale and Slack Pack IPA. This new location shares a home with Mad Batter Food and Film, where visitors will find a collaborative menu full of the popular “Designer Pizzas,” tasty wraps, sandwiches and house specialties. With […]

8 Insider Tips to Autumn in the North Carolina Mountains

Fall Lake Scene

8 Insider Tips to Autumn in the North Carolina Mountains

Listed as one of the “Top 10 Destinations for Fall Foliage,” by USA Today, the Western NC mountain towns of Jackson County are a must-visit for a seasonal getaway. According to WCU Biologist, Beverly Collins, “the mountains of Western North Carolina should produce a typically bright display of fall leaf color this year.” Beginning in early September, vibrant reds, yellows and oranges will start lining the towns surrounding peaks and inviting guests from all over to experience fall in these cozy, quaint mountain towns. Although well-known for our popular hikes, waterfalls and outdoor adventures, the area is also home to incredible sights and hidden experiences that are more under the radar. Some of the best parts of a visit to the area during the fall months involve attractions that may be more off the beaten path. Here are eight insider tips to fully experience fall in Jackson County. 1. Uncover the best spots for viewing fall foliage. Given Jackson County is home to the most named peaks in North Carolina, it’s no wonder also has the best locations for viewing the autumnal hues when fall arrives. Drive along the Blue Ridge Parkway in search of overlooks to take in the spectacular sights. A few favorites include Richland Balsam and Waterrock Knob. Another breathtaking view awaits high atop Whiteside Mountain. Set out on the Whiteside Mountain Trail to find yourself surrounded by glorious fall foliage. Another popular spot for leaf-lookers is the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, where you can check […]

Experience the Top Hikes for Sunset Views in Jackson County

Sunset Hike Blog - Courtesy hammeredartworks

Experience the Top Hikes for Sunset Views in Jackson County

Overflowing with stunning views sure to take your breath away, Jackson County spans across 494 beautiful and breathtaking square miles of sweeping, scenic North Carolina Mountains. Dotted throughout the area, travelers will find an abundance of hikes that take you to great heights, allowing you to see above and beyond. Although the views from Jackson County’s 185 named summits are mesmerizing, they become quite spectacular as the sun sets over the peaks and sinks into the valleys. There is no better way to end a day of outdoor adventure than with the beauty of a golden sunset hike. Top hikes for the best sunset views For a less strenuous way to catch the sunset in Jackson County, head to Cowee Mountain Overlook on the Blue Ridge Parkway at milepost 430.7. Here, you’ll experience a panoramic view of the gorgeous Smoky Mountains – and you’ll find what most consider to be the best sunset view in Jackson County. Drive to the overlook, park and admire the awe-inspiring view. For a more elevated sunset view, drive to milepost 431 to the Haywood-Jackson Overlook, park the car and set off on the Richland Balsam Trail. At 6,410 feet above sea level, this 1.5-mile trail takes you along the highest points on the Blue Ridge Parkway, where you can watch the sun go down. Although the trail ascends 700 vertical feet along the way, it’s not a difficult hike, and the sunset views are more than worth it. When it comes to beautiful panoramic […]

Splash right in! Visit these top swimming holes in Jackson County

Splash right in! Visit these top swimming holes in Jackson County

As the temperatures continue to rise, people are seeking out getaways to cool down for these remaining summer days. Summer and swimming go hand-in-hand, so escape this intense heat and cool off by taking a dip in one of the many swimming holes, lakes or rivers in the gorgeous Western North Carolina mountains. Whether you prefer to slide, wade or swim, the area is abundant in ways to take a dip that the whole family will enjoy.