haywoodThere was something markedly absent from the nearly $300,000 in tourism grants awarded by the Haywood County Tourism Development Authority this year: contention.

The clock is ticking for Ghost Town in the Sky entertainment park in Maggie Valley to get its humble trio of kiddie rides inspected and permitted before its target opening day of July 2.

fr ghosttownAfter lying dormant for the winter, Ghost Town in the Sky was once again showing signs of life last week with preparation work under way for a July 2 season opener.

op frHe was tall, maybe 6 feet 8 inches or taller, and was standing at an intersection studying a map. My wife, Lori, and I had just dumped out from a favorite trail at Bent Creek in Asheville onto the well-used Forest Service Road 491, jogging along as we enjoyed the warm early spring afternoon.

We gave him some directions, and he asked if he could just follow along for a while so as not to get lost. His strong French accent made it obvious he wasn’t a local.

fr sheltonhouseFor 10 years, museum curator Jackie Stephens has prepped The Shelton House for Civil War commemorations.

out frFrom paved 5K routes to epic trail runs and triathlons, Western North Carolina is rife with outdoor races of all types. But a peek at the history shows that the bulk of these events are new arrivals on the landscape, most founded in the past decade or so with new ones popping up each year.  

“Sporting events seem to be growing across the nation, and people are interested in taking their families on these trips,” said CeCe Hipps, executive director of the Haywood County Chamber of Commerce. “What better place to be in the great outdoors than Haywood County?”

fr terraceAbout 200 people gathered for the ribbon cutting of a $3.2-million renovation of the Terrace Hotel at Lake Junaluska, the anchor lodging facility of the conference and retreat center.

fr maggieTelling people what to do with their property is not an easy job, even when a town’s local economy may depend on it.

Jackson County’s Tourism Development Authority will soon launch a search for a tourism director, a milestone for the newly minted countywide tourism agency.

Tourism is a huge topic with a major impact on Western North Carolina’s economy.

Western Carolina University will host the second annual Tourism Conference next week to focus on one major aspect of the tourism industry — festivals and events.

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