The proud communities that make up Western North Carolina were once mountain towns that played host to several successful blue-collar industries. These companies found a crucial, much-needed balance alongside the serene beauty and endless natural resources of our forests, rivers and wildlife.
It’s just after 5 p.m. at the intersection of U.S. 64 and N.C. 107 in the village of Cashiers. Otherwise known as the “Crossroads,” the junction — atop a mountainous plateau at the southern end of Jackson County — is usually buzzing with tourists and second-homeowners spring through fall. And, normally, it’s relatively silent when winter rears its head.
Halfway up a steep hill in downtown Waynesville, and just a stone’s throw from the Haywood County Historic Courthouse, sits Orchard Coffee.
“I love coffee because I love people,” said Cabell Tice, co-owner of Orchard Coffee. “I’ve always really enjoyed connecting with people. Coffee is a vessel for reaching people — there’s nothing like a conversation over coffee.”
Though his fingers seemingly wrap around a walking cane more than his trusty banjo these days, Raymond Fairchild remains one of the finest musicians who ever picked up the five-string acoustic instrument — alive or six feet under.
From flip-flops to overnights to the quintessential northbound thru-hike, there are many different ways to experience the Appalachian Trail on its route from Georgia to Maine. An overnight along the trail at Roaring Fork Shelter near Max Patch was enough to meet a variety of hikers, all hiking the trail their own way.
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