Dillsboro is a quaint village in Jackson County near Sylva, on the banks of the Tuckasegee River. Celebrating its 125th birthday in 2014, Dillsboro has been a tourist destination since the late 1800s. Many visitors then arrived by train. They still do it as well today on the Great Smoky Mountains Railroad aboard an excursion from Bryson City.
Although it's a tiny village, you'll find an impressive mix of specialty shops and galleries representing many local artists. Walk a loop around a five block area, stopping at landmarks like the Jarrett House, with family style dining since 1884. And don't miss getting a sample of gourmet treats from The Chocolate Factory!
Dillsboro is a must stop for art lovers. Within its few blocks, find works from hundreds of artists. Dogwood Crafters is a cooperative with 80 artisans from the Smoky Mountains. For pottery, don't miss Riverwood and Treehouse. Dillsboro is also home to the Western NC Pottery Festival held each November.
Sylva is a lovely small town in Jackson County (population of 2,500) situated amidst the Great Smoky Mountains. Downtown Sylva has many restaurants and shops along its tree-lined streets. The historic early twentieth century Main Street downtown area has been the social center of the county since the early 1900's. Its home to the annual Greening Up The Mountains street festival and Concerts on the Creek summer weekly concerts.
The historic Jackson County Courthouse on Main Street was built in 1914 and is considered to be the ‘most photographed court house' in North Carolina. The courthouse can be reached by climbing 107 steps from Main Street – look back for a nice view of downtown and the mountains.
Recreational opportunities are numerous and diverse here. The Tuckasegee River is known for its whitewater and trout populations. The Great Smoky Mountains National Park is a 30 minute drive away. There is great hiking nearby on the Blue Ridge Parking including hikes at Devil's Courthouse, Graveyard Fields, Waterrock Knob and Black Balsam Knob.
Cullowhee is home to Western Carolina University. The university was founded in 1889 to bring higher education and career opportunities to the western region of North Carolina. A member of the North Carolina system, WCU now provides an education to more than 10,000 students from many states and countries. The university is located just a few miles south of Sylva and about 50 miles west of Asheville.
The university's mission is focused on quality education and preparation for responsible citizenship in a changing world. Since its founding, WCU has grown in size to become a major cultural, scientific, and educational force in the region and the state—and still growing.
Spend a fabulous day or two in Bryson City, Swain county and the Great Smoky Mounains with waterfalls, hiking, rafting, food and shopping. It's home to the Great Smoky Mounains Railroad with daily train excursions. It's just a 90 minute drive southwest of Asheville, NC. This is a paradise for outdoor and nature lovers since much of the county is part of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. It's the whitewater rafting mecca for North Carolina, with the Nantahala River cascading through the beautiful Gorge and Nantahala National Forest. ABC's Good Morning America's "Vacationland" series named the Nantahala River the number one place to spend a wet and wild vacation in the U.S.
Downtown Bryson City is small-town America with a variety of shops with friendly owners. Many shops showcase area artisans who create one-of-a-kind musical instruments, handcrafted jewelry, hand-turned wood objects and pottery. Other stores feature gourmet specialty foods, clothing, Native American crafts, home décor, and several general stores.
Just 50 miles from Asheville is Cherokee, located in Jackson County at the main North Carolina entrance to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park (via US Highway 441) and home to Eastern Band of Cherokee Nation and many things to do. The Eastern Band of Cherokee Nation is one of the only three federally recognized Cherokee tribes. There are about 13,400 Eastern Band of Cherokee members, most of who live on the Reservation. Properly called the Qualla Boundary, the Reservation is slightly more than 56,000 acres held in trust by the federal government.
They welcome all visitors with many free things to do and see. Learn the story of the Cherokee people from the Cherokee in several outstanding museums, a legendary outdoor drama and at several festivals. Browse the many shops, clustered in several areas of town. Stock up on your moccasins, plastic tomahawks and mini totem poles. Or fine quality Cherokee crafts such as Cherokee Indian pottery, baskets and beadwork; as well as other locally made gifts such as dream catchers, dolls and woodcrafts. Also find a variety of home furnishings and leather goods, including handbags, belts, backpacks, hats and wallets; as well as biker apparel such as vests, jackets and chaps.
The impressive Harrah's Cherokee Casino is operated by the Eastern Band of Cherokee and is open 24-hours-a-day. Harrah's Cherokee includes a 1,108 room hotel, conference center, a 3000-seat events center, the Essence Lounge, food court, and Chef's Stage Buffet