The community has been a tourist town since the late 19th century when the railroad first brought visitors to the “land of the sky” to escape the summer heat. More than a century later, Dillsboro has changed very little — a small country village with pristine white houses, rustic old shops, galleries, restaurants and quaint country inns.
The town is located on the banks of the Tuckasegee River, which runs the length of Jackson County. Fishing is a favorite activity on the Tuck, and the river is filled with native and stocked trout and there are numerous spots and secret fishing holes. Dillsboro’s section of the Tuckasegee also boasts whitewater rafting for all ages. There is also a park along the river.
The Great Smoky Mountain Railroad still runs scenic passenger excursion trains to Dillsboro from its main depot in Bryson City. Just outside town, the century-old Monteith Farmstead is a town park with walking trails featuring interpretive nature signs along a creek.
• The Jackson County Green Energy Park — The park captures methane gas from the old town landfill, and then uses the gas as fuel. It houses studios for glassblowers, blacksmiths and a greenhouse. A gallery onsite showcases the work of the artists that use the “green” space. It has been lauded as a leader in the national sustainability movement. Located at 401 Grindstaff Cove Road. 828.631.0271.
• The Jarrett House — Founded by William Allen Dills, who the town is named after, this one-time boarding house has welcomed guests to Jackson County since the 1880s. Now a family restaurant, the Jarrett House offers home cooked, Southern food and a few lessons in history. Located at 518 Haywood Road. 828.586.0265.
• The Tuckasegee River — The Tuck, as it is called locally, runs along the southern border of Dillsboro and provides a cooling respite for travelers and fishing enthusiasts. Rafting or tubing are great ways to experience the Tuck, with several rafting companies both renting rafts and offering guided trips.