Economic development boom in Maggie Valley

After years of languishing in the shadows of a shuttered amusement park, Maggie Valley’s west end is now seeing substantial commercial development resulting in several major new or renovated businesses. 

Customer service should be a powerful connection

By Gerri Wolfe Grady • Special to SMN | Customer service is an important commodity for any business and particularly to those locations reliant on tourism. This is an area that isn’t necessarily taught or trained with new employees, often because of time constraints or because the business owner hasn’t given it any thought. This essay was developed to provide a different view of customer service and how it was conveyed for 20 years by my father, Jerry Wolfe, greeter at the Museum of the Cherokee Indian.

Swain chamber, TDA finances called into question

Swain County commissioners are going to be giving more consideration to who they appoint to county boards after hearing a long list of grievances from a member of the Tourism Development Authority.

Smokies reopens: DOI Secretary makes visit; Tribe, Parkway also increase public access

Visitors from 26 different states and Washington, D.C., traveled to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park last weekend after it opened for the first time since coronavirus concerns prompted a complete closure March 24. 

Look for the best in this new normal

By Nick Breedlove • Guest Columnist | Every May we commemorate National Travel and Tourism Week (NTTW) to celebrate the value travel holds for our economy, businesses, and personal wellbeing. This year’s NTTW theme is “Spirit of Travel.” As we look at the recent events and the unprecedented COVID-19 pandemic and how it has forever altered communities and lives around the world, it proves difficult to celebrate anything at the moment. However, now more than ever is the time for us to band together in support of the industry that offers so much hope, joy, and inspiration. 

Hope remains at Lake Junaluska amid pandemic challenges

The cross situated over Lake Junaluska has been lit at night for years to give railroad workers some guiding light and inspiration as they rolled through Haywood County.

Haywood TDA will be ready to call tourists back

Over the past year Haywood County’s tourism industry had been cruising along well above historical averages — until the Coronavirus Pandemic resulted in a substantial downturn. 

Caring for our own is what matters

By Catherine Sawyer • Guest Columnist | When I think of the stereotypes against Appalachia, what comes to mind is what popular culture has had to say about Appalachian people. The mockery, generalization, and misunderstanding that Hollywood has been producing for generations is the most glaring. I also think of the lesser known impacts of the stereotypes, such as the way the government and our fellow Americans treat the area. I’ve said before that growing up here, in a small town as widely known and simultaneously forgotten as Bryson City, was somewhat like growing up in a novelty store. “One of the cutest small towns in the country,” they boast. “Rated top in the nation for small town living” is displayed across the covers of national travel magazines. 

Maggie Valley looks forward to reopening

With the current stay at home order in place at least through May 8, the Maggie Valley Town Board of Aldermen is discussing putting a plan in place to begin reopening town businesses.

Vacancy, but no rooms available

Sitting on the side porch of the Fryemont Inn one recent sunny afternoon, Monica Brown overlooks downtown Bryson City. The lawn is newly green, and so are the trees. But, the main lobby is empty, so is the massive dining room and all 37 guest suites within the historic property.

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