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Monday, 02 June 2014 00:00

Maggie Valley

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In the heart of the Smokies lies Maggie Valley, a mountain getaway that rolls out the welcome mat to traveling tourists. 

The town is an epicenter of old-time mountain fun, with a variety of family restaurants and fine dining, gift shops and souvenir stores. Entertainment ranges from foot-stomping Appalachian song and dance to bars and nightlife spots, and by day there’s everything from putt-putt to elk-spotting to fishing.

The community is perched at the doorstep of the scenic Blue Ridge Parkway and the magnificent Great Smoky Mountains National Park, making it a perfect jumping off point to explore Western North Carolina.

From spring to autumn, the valley is also packed with motorcyclists from around the country who use Maggie as their base to ride the plethora of scenic roads and enjoy the camaraderie of other riders — and who come to visit the renowned Wheels Through Time Museum, which houses one of the largest collections of vintage motorcycles in the world.

The town has a dizzying array of weekend celebrations and events in summer, thanks to the festival grounds in the heart of town. From a tiny tourist hamlet to a bustling resort town, Maggie Valley has burgeoned into a scenic paradise with something for everyone.

 

Attractions 

• Cataloochee Ranch — The legendary property features cabins, horse stables, a grand old lodge and restaurant — all atop a 5,000-foot mountain, where the vistas are stunning and the atmosphere is as collegial as a campfire with old friends. Those who are not staying at the ranch are invited to join staff and visitors for evening cookouts, and you might even hear some local storytelling. 828.926.1401.

• Cataloochee Valley — Elk again roam free in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park just outside the valley, thanks to a re-introduction program. To find the majestic creatures, follow U.S. 276 north out of town and hang a left on White Oak Road, just before Interstate 40, then another left onto Cove Creek Road. It’s a half hour ride with some steep gravel sections to reach Cataloochee Valley. Dusk is the best bet for guaranteed sightings, but please, stay away from the elk — they have antlers for a reason. 

• Maggie Valley Opry House — Legendary banjo picker Raymond Fairchild can be found at the Opry House each summer, plying his trade. The venue seeks to be a guardian of the culture and music of Appalachia, and great mountain music is on tap nightly. The House opens at 8 p.m. nightly through October. Located at 3605 Soco Road. 828.926.9336.

• The Stompin’ Ground — To see Appalachian dancing at its finest, visit the “Clogging Capitol of the World.” This loose-tap dance style finds its roots here, and combines the drama of Irish dance and the down-home fun of mountain bluegrass. Home of the Clogging World Championships. Located at 3116 Soco Road. 828.926.1288.

• Wheels Through Time Museum — With over 250 rare and vintage American motorcycles, it is the largest collection of rare bikes in the world. Most of the motorcycles are still in running condition. Exhibits not only leave the motorcycle fanatic speechless, but even those without the faintest interest in motorcycles will appreciate the story of Americana as it is told through the lens of the motorcycle. Located at 62 Vintage Drive. 828.926.6266.

• Maggie Valley Club — Once the Maggie Valley Country Club, this resort offers golfing, dining and resort living in a newly renovated atmosphere. Located at 1819 Country Club Drive. 828.926.1616.

• Ghost Town in the Sky — The fabled mountain-top amusement park with an Old West theme has been closed in recent years, but a portion of it may reopen by mid- to late-summer. A chairlift offering sweeping views carries visitors up the side of the mountain to the theme-park rides. Located at 16 Fie Top Road. 828.926.1130.

• Visitor Center — Maggie Valley Area Chamber of Commerce. Located at 2961 Soco Road. 828.926.1686 or www.maggievalley.org