Displaying items by tag: travel

Turning onto 2nd Street from the hectic U.S. 19/74 highway, you find yourself cruising through downtown Andrews. It’s Saturday afternoon, and for most small towns in America, it is no surprise the center of a community is busy. 

But, for Andrews, this is a sight to behold. For a mountain town that’s been eerily quiet for many years, bordering on abandoned, the downtown is now abuzz with folks strolling the sidewalks, cars parked up and down the street. A sense of “well, hey, check this out” crosses the minds of those who used to only stop in this part of Cherokee County to refuel as a halfway point to their final destinations, which seemingly could be in any direction.

I call myself an adventurer.

While I do love to travel, adventuring isn’t just about experiencing new places and seeing new things. In my mind, a true adventurer works to find novelty and excitement in the seemingly mundane, in her everyday surroundings.

WNC museums

WNC Museums Although the rich history and culture of Western North Carolina is alive and thriving through the hands of our local artisans and performers, there are also numerous museums here preserving and perpetuating the heritage of Southern Appalachia. These buildings each pay homage to the crafts, sounds, and deeply held traditions of these ancient mountains and its people.

• American Museum of The House Cat

Over 5,000 items dedicated to entire history of the house cat, here and abroad. 4704 U.S. 441 South, Sylva.

828.421.0275 or 828.506.1236 • www.facebook.com/americanmuseumofthehousecat

• Andrews Art Museum

Exhibits and galleries featuring local and regional artists. Corner of Chestnut and Third streets, Andrews.

828.360.5071 • www.andrewsvalleyarts.com

• Canton Area Historical Museum

Displays focusing on the cultural history of Canton and Haywood County. 36 Park Street, Canton.

828.646.3412 • www.cantonnc.com

• Cherokee County Historical Museum

Artifacts and exhibits showcasing the Cherokee Indians, local history and artisans.

87 Peachtree Street, Murphy.

828.837.6792 • www.cherokeecounty-nc.gov

• Clay County Historical & Arts Council Museum

Displays exhibiting the history, art and people of the area. 21 Davis Loop, Hayesville.

828.389.6814 • www.clayhistoryarts.org

• Franklin Gem & Mineral Museum

Extensive exhibits on the region’s gems and minerals. 25 Phillips Street, Franklin

828.369.7831 • www.fgmm.org

• Glenville Historical Museum

Showcasing the history and culture of Glenville and greater Western North Carolina with exhibits and displays. 4735 N.C. 107 North, Glenville.


• Graham County Museum of Prehistoric Relics

A collection of prehistoric artifacts from North, South and Central America. 3204 Fontana Road, Fontana Dam.

828.479.3677 • www.thehikeinn.com

• Highlands Museum & Historical Village

Several restored buildings, with historical exhibits in the museum. 524 North 4th Street, Highlands.

828.787.1050 • www.highlandshistory.com

• Junaluska Memorial & Museum

Displays dedicated to preserving Cherokee Indian history and culture. 1 Junaluska Drive, Robbinsville.


• Macon County Historical Society & Museum

Antiques and artifacts showcasing the history of Macon and Western North Carolina. 36 West Main Street, Franklin.

828.524.9758 • www.maconnchistorical.org

• Mountain Farm Museum

Collection of historical log buildings and artifacts. 150 U.S. 441 North, Oconaluftee Visitor Center.

423.436.1200 • www.nps.gov/grsm

• Mountain Heritage Center

Extensive displays of Western North Carolina and Southern Appalachian history. 150 H.F. Robinson Building, Western Carolina University, Cullowhee.

828.227.7129 • www.wcu.edu

• Museum of American Cut & Engraved Glass

Presenting one of the finest collections of its kind in the world. 472 Chestnut Street, Highlands.

828.526.3415 • www.ashevilleguidebook.com

• Museum of the Cherokee Indian

Large exhibits showcasing the extensive and intricate tribe history. 589 Tsali Boulevard, Cherokee.

828.497.3481 • www.cherokeemuseum.org

• Museum of North Carolina Handicrafts

Unique works from some of the state’s most acclaimed artisans. 49 Shelton Street, Waynesville.

828.452.1551 • www.sheltonhouse.org

• Ruby City Gems Museum

Thousands of gem and mineral specimens on display. 131 East Main Street, Franklin.

828.524.3967 • www.rubycity.com

• Scottish Tartans Museum

Exhibit on Scottish history and culture abroad and in Western North Carolina. 86 East Main Street, Franklin.

828.524.7472 • www.scottishtartans.org

• Wheels Through Time Museum

Rare and extensive collection of vintage motorcycles and classic automobiles. 62 Vintage Lane, Maggie Valley.

828.926.6266 • www.wheelsthroughtime.com

• World Methodist Museum

Artifacts and memorabilia celebrating founder John Wesley and the worldwide religion. 575 Lakeshore Drive, Lake Junaluska.

828.456.9432 • www.worldmethodistcouncil.org

Biking hot spots

This is one of the fastest growing recreational activities in the Smokies, one easily witnessed by all the vehicles with mountain bikes strapped to the back or top. Pretty straightforward as to why so may partake of this sport: the Smokies contain some of the best bike trails anywhere. Here are the popular spots:

Tsali Recreation Area (Graham County)

This is the granddaddy of Western North Carolina mountain biking, boasting 40 miles of trails on four loops. Rated as one of top 10 places to ride in the U.S. Fast, hard-packed singletrack, and you can’t go wrong with any of the loops. Off N.C. 28 past Bryson City, or if coming from Robbinsville N.C. 143 until you reach N.C. 28, go east. Entrance on north side of N.C. 28, well-marked.

Santeetlah Lake Trail

A 15-mile trail open to mountain bikes, horses, and hikers. The trail follows a number of open and gated Forest Service roads with a short portion of single-track. Large sections of the trail hug the shoreline of Lake Santeetlah offering beautiful mountain lake views. The primary trailhead is located at the intersection of N.C. 143 (N.C. 1127) and Snowbird Road.

Jackrabbit Mountain (Lake Chatuge)

Located next to the huge Jackrabbit Campground at Lake Chatuge, this 14-mile trail system is gaining popularity fast. Mostly flat with rolling dips and berms and just a few technical areas. At Lake Chatuge get on N.C. 175, turn onto Jackrabbit Road, signed parking area on left.

Western Carolina University Trail (Cullowhee)

Recently opened 6.6 miles of singletrack across the street from main WCU campus in Cullowhee. Challenging but relatively short. The trail system has two trailheads. One is located near the softball field and picnic area on WCU main campus, east of N.C. 107. Trail users then travel through the pedestrian tunnel under 107 and access the trail on NCCAT property. The second trailhead is located at the parking lot of the Health and Human Sciences building.

Bent Creek (Asheville)

Located near where N.C. 191 intersects the Blue Ridge Parkway and I-26, this favorite among Asheville locals because of its proximity to this outdoors-loving city. Lots of hardpacked singletrack with very few technical sections, great place for beginner to intermediate riders and for children. www.mtbikewnc.com.

Dupont State Park (Brevard)

This has become one of the premier destinations in the region. 10,000 acres of trails, waterfalls, and rivers. Great spot with numerous trailheads. www.dupontforest.com.

Pisgah National Forest (Brevard)

Hundreds of miles of trails for bikers, some of it among the most technical in the region. For information on specific trails and trailheads, visit www.mtbikewnc.com.

Live music is an important part of the heritage of Western North Carolina. Here’s a listing of venues that regularly have bands in the region:


• Andrews Brewing — 828.321.2006 • www.andrewsbrewing.com

• Hoppy Trout Brewing Company — 828.835.2111 • www.hoppytroutbrewing.com

• Jimmy’s Pick-N-Grin — www.jimmyspickngrin.com


• John C. Campbell Folk School — 800.365.5724 or 828.837.2775 — www.folkschool.org

Bryson City

• CJ’s Grille 828.488.9880

• Derailed Bar & Lounge 828.488.8898  

• Great Smoky Mountains Railroad Depot — 800.872.4681 • www.gsmr.com

• Mickey’s Pub 828.488.9308

• Nantahala Brewing — 828.488.2337 • www.nantahalabrewing.com

• Nantahala Outdoor Center — 888.905.7238 • www.noc.com


• Colonial Theatre — 828.235.2760 • www.cantonnc.com

• Southern Porch  828.492.8009


• Ugly Dog Pub — 828.743.3000 • www.theuglydogpub.com


• Harrah’s Cherokee — 828.497.7777 • www.harrahscherokee.com


• Tuck’s Tap & Grille — 828.293.5400 • www.tuckstapgrille.com


• Lazy Hiker Brewing — 828.342.5133 • www.lazyhikerbrewing.com

• Mixers Bar and Nightclub — 828.369.9211 • www.mixersbarandnightclub.com

• Mulligan’s Bar & Grille — 828.349.3183 • www.mulligans-bar.com

• Smoky Mountain Center for the Performing Arts — 828.524.1598 • www.greatmountainmusic.com


• Chevelle’s — 828.835.7001 • www.chevellerestaurants.com

• Peacock Performing Arts Center — 828.389.2787 • www.peacockplayhouse.org


• Lost Hiker — 828.526.8232 • www.thelosthikerbar.com

• Martin-Lipscomb Performing Arts Center — 828.526.9047 • www.highlandspac.net 

• Satulah Mountain Brewing — 828.482.9794 • www.satulahmountainbrewing.com

• Ugly Dog Pub — 828.526.8364 • www.theuglydogpub.com

Maggie Valley

• Eaglenest 828.926.9658

• Maggie Valley Festival Grounds — 828.926.0866 • www.maggievalleyfestivalgrounds.org

• Maggie Valley Opry House — 828.648.7941 or 828.926.9336 — www.raymondfairchild.com

• Maggie Valley Rendezvous — 828.926.0201 • www.maggievalleyhotel.com

• Salty Dog’s Seafood and Grill 828.926.9105

• Stompin’ Ground 828.926.1288


• Chevelle’s — 828.389.6069 • www.chevellerestaurants.com


• Stecoah Valley Cultural Arts Center — 828.479.3364 • www.stecoahvalleycenter.com


• Balsam Mountain Inn and Restaurant — 800.224.9498 • www.balsammountaininn.net

• City Lights Café — 828.587.2233 • www.citylightscafe.com 

• Cut Cocktail Lounge — 828.631.4795 

• Evolution Wine Kitchen  — 828.631.9856 — www.evolutionwinekitchen.com 

• Guadalupe Café — 828.586.9877 • www.guadalupecafe.com

• Heinzelmannchen Brewery — 828.631.4466 — www.yourgnometownbrewery.com

• Innovation Brewing — 828.586.9678 • www.innovation-brewing.com

• Mad Batter Food & Film — 828.586.3555 • www.madbatterfoodfilm.com 

• No Name Sports Pub — 828.586.2750 • www.nonamesportspub.com

• O’Malley’s Pub & Grill 828.631.0554 

• Signature Brew Coffee Roasting Company — 828.587.6300

• Soul Infusion — 828.586.1717 • www.soulinfusion.com

• Sneak E Squirrel — 828.586.6440 • www.sneakesquirrel.com


• BearWaters Brewing — 828.246.0602 • www.bwbrewing.com

• Boojum Brewing — 828.944.0888 • www.boojumbrewing.com

• Classic Wineseller — 828.452.6000 • www.classicwineseller.com

• Frog Level Brewing — 828.454.5664 • www.froglevelbrewing.com

• Mad Anthony’s Bottle Shop & Beer Garden — 828.246.9249 • www.madanthonys.bar

• Smoky Mountain Roasters — 828.452.1212 — www.fb.com/smokymountainroasters

• The Strand at 38 Main — 828.283.0079 • www.38main.com

• Tipping Point Brewing — 828.246.9230 • www.tippingpointtavern.com

• Water’n Hole Bar & Grill 828.456.4750

When you’re a kid, there’s something magical about hotel pools. 

I’ve written before about growing up in a dance studio. Some of my fondest memories of dance competitions and conventions are the hours spent splashing and laughing in the hotel pool after all the formal events were over.

Ching Fu and Jerud Crandall had professional careers and a comfortable home when they left it all behind in 2015, trading their stable lives in Asheville to roam the continent in an RV. Now they’ve been on the road for more than two years, adventuring through Canada, Oregon, Utah and everywhere in between. 

“Our priorities were being outdoors and doing the outdoor activities we wanted to do and exploring outdoors, and it was a much lower priority for us to have a nice house and a nice car and eat at fancy restaurants and be physically luxurious/comfortable,” Crandall explained. “But the way we were living (in Asheville) we were physically very comfortable, and we carved out time to do the outdoor activities.”

I’m severely under-acquainted with the Midwest. 

My older son has a game on his Kindle that asks him to identify certain states or place them in the correct location on a map, and it’s the Midwest that always stumps me. Is that Kansas or Nebraska? And is that one there Illinois or Iowa? What do Missouri and Minnesota even look like? Which ones borders Canada? Are the Dakotas considered “Midwestern”? You get the picture.

I hadn’t slept that long in years.

After driving up and down the East Coast for the better part of the last two months, from Canada to the Texas Gulf Coast, I found myself awakened from a deep slumber last Thursday morning — almost 6,000 miles and 15 states total. 

I was in the Disney bubble for seven days straight, so it was rather depressing driving home with the daily grind looming up ahead. A blogger friend of mine coined this discombobulating experience “re-entry.” I’m sure you’ve experienced it yourself. An amazing vacation, a weekend music festival, a holiday vacation from work. “Re-entry” is when you leave that happy façade of a world and return to reality.

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