Undulating mountains surround the town of Waynesville, a welcoming community that is the perfect combination of nature, tourism and Appalachian culture.
Downtown features working art studios, bookstore, cafes, two wine shops, cigar store, kitchen store, a retail storefront for the local Sunburst Trout Company, the famous Mast General Store, gift shops, a bakery, specialty chocolate shop, and even a dog bakery.
Waynesville is known for its preponderance of art galleries. Shops are filled with the work of local jewelers, potters, fiber artists, painters, metal workers and photographers. The first Friday evening of each month features a gallery stroll and artist demonstrations, dubbed “Art After Dark.”
Whether you want to kickback in a coffee shop with your laptop, relax at a wine bar, catch live music at a local pub or linger over fine dining, the town encompasses all of the luxuries and amenities one could want. In terms of dining, the town offers culinary treats from Thai to modern Southern to farm-to-table cuisines. For craft beer lovers, Waynesville is home to Tipping Point Brewing, Frog Level Brewing and BearWaters Brewing.
• Frog Level — This restored train district has gained recognition as a National Historic District and is now home to a collection of small galleries, antique stories, Frog Level Brewery, a thrift store and a local coffee roastery, where you will find comfy sofas and a deck overlooking a mountain stream.
• Hazelwood Village — An intimate shopping district a short distance from downtown Waynesville, Hazelwood was a blue-collar mill town back in the day. A revitalized retail district includes a pottery studio, Smoky Mountain Coffee Roastery, a collector’s shop, the Bourbon Barrel Beef & Ale and Hazelwood Soap Company.
• Lake Junaluska — This Methodist community is open to the public and features a two-mile paved walking path around the lake, with other walking routes extending off of it. There are ducks, geese and swans, benches, bridges, a dam, a butterfly garden and a rose walk along the path. Paddleboats can be rented on the lake, and there is a museum of Methodist history, a coffee shop, and a bookstore. The lake is just off U.S. 19 north of Waynesville and east of Maggie Valley.
• Balsam Mountain Inn — The inn at Balsam Gap was constructed between 1905 and 1908. It’s Colonial Revival architecture welcomed train travelers to the area. Over the years and under the management of several owners the inn has seen its ups and downs. It was restored in the 1990s and still operates as an inn, with dinners open to the public. Located west of Waynesville near the entrance to the Blue Ridge Parkway. 828.456.9498.
• Folkmoot — Based in Waynesville, Folkmoot is the state’s official international festival. Folkmoot brings more than 200 international performers who dazzle the mountains with a line-up of performances, parades, workshops and festivals for the last two weeks of July each year. www.folkmootusa.org.
• Haywood County Courthouse — The historic courthouse was built in the Neoclassical style during the Depression using the same stone that was used for the Washington Monument in D.C.
• Museum of North Carolina Handicrafts — Located in the historic Shelton House and features 19th century crafts, including pottery, quilts, basket and woodworking. Located on Pigeon Street/U.S. 276, three blocks from Main Street in downtown Waynesville. 828.452.1551.
• Cold Mountain — The mountain that Charles Frazier used to name his acclaimed novel, and the title of the subsequent movie starring Jude Law, Nicole Kidman and Renee Zellwegger is in Haywood County. Hiking the mountain requires a map and an entire day, but you can view it by following U.S. 276 out of Waynesville until you hit the Blue Ridge Parkway. The Cold Mountain overlook is right at the U.S. 276/parkway intersection.
• Haywood County Tourism Development Authority — Located at 44 North Main St. 828.452.0152 or www.visitncsmokies.com.
• Haywood County Chamber of Commerce — Located at 28 Walnut St. 828.456.3021 or www.haywood-nc.com.