Category Archives: Bryson City NC

Music on Tap

_MG_0379Come on down to Nantahala Brewing Company Friday, October 24th as the Music on Tap concert series continues into the fall. Taking the stage at 8:30pm is Owner of the Sun. Visiting Bryson City from Atlanta, GA, they are a high energy, Americana band sure to please.  The band is made up of a group of six friends that each bring different musical loves and influences to the table.

Nantahala Brewing Co. does not sell food, but feel free to grab a bite to go at any of Bryson City’s fine restaurants and enjoy it in the taproom with your beer!

Chili Cook Off

58725_466285817106_8033232_nThis morning Bryson City is buzzing. Tourists and locals alike are being lured in by the smell of homemade chili. The Swain County Chamber of Commerce is hosting its 24th annual chili cook off. Starting at 11am today and continuing on until 3pm or the chili is gone. Some come taste some of the best and don’t forget to cast your vote for the People’s Choice Awards! The festival style event will be taking place right behind the Great Smoky Mtn Railroad depot. Live music will be provided by local favorites, The Freight Hoppers. We’re heading down there now. Hope to see you there.

The Pumpkin Patch Express

1928326_8034297106_4409_nThe season of pumpkin everything is here and the Great Smoky Mountain Railroad is getting ready to start The Great Pumpkin Patch Express. Each year Charlie Brown and all his friends show up at the depot to catch a ride with you and your family. Shake hands and take pictures with the entire Peanuts gang. Then, hop aboard and let the GSMR take you to the great pumpkin patch where there will be campfires, hayrides, bouncy houses, trick or treating, and lots more.  Departures start this Saturday, October 4th. Tickets start at $55 for adults and $31 for kids. Make your reservations now.

Departing Fridays – Oct 10, 17, & 24 at 3:30PM 

Departing Saturdays – Oct 4, 11, 18 & 25 at 12PM and 3:30PM

Departing Sundays – Oct 5, 12, 19 & 26 at 12PM and 3:30PM 

Autumn Solstice

1453352_10151934561347107_318920789_nThe end of September marks the official end of summer. The kids have all gone back to school. Tourists end their summer vacations. Things start to quiet down just a little, but this is only the calm before a storm of beautiful fall colors.

Every year western North Carolina sees a large influx in tourists we like to refer to as “leaf-lookers”.  Taking a drive for the weekend or using their fall breaks  to view the changing of the leaves. As nights chill and days cool to a comfortable temperature, autumn settles in. The trees begin a wonderful display that brings people from all over the country to drive through the Smoky Mountain National Park and up the Blue Ridge Parkway. The bright yellows of the tulip polar and daring reds of the sugar maple amid sunburst oranges of the oak  brighten the tree lines and mountain ridges.

Mid-October marks the peak of the color, so start planning your fall trip now. There’s no better way to enjoy a wonderful autumn morning than to wake up in a western North Carolina mountain cabin.

Among the Wildflowers

Picture 1059Tom Petty’s song Wildflowers comes to mind every time I see the colorful weed-like blooms along trails and roadsides. “You belong among the wildflowers. . .” What a beautiful image. Summer is slowly coming to an end. Autumn is trying to creep in, but the wildflowers of North Carolina aren’t quite finished doing their thing. Before the fall colors sink in there’s once last burst of purples and yellow, whites and reds. A sort of grand finale of summer’s beauty, going out in a colorful bang. The bouquet pictured is made of roadside wildflowers along Alarka Creek. They are all flowers currently in bloom such as, Joe Pye Weed (Eupatorium fistulosum), Queen Anne’s Lace (Daucus carota), Golden Rods (Solidago), Summer Lilac (Hesperis matronalis), and more.  Unfortunately, some wildflowers are potent allergens, so be aware of flowers you  may be sensitive to before bringing them in the house.  A handful of these and couple of river stones in an old mason jar make the perfect centerpiece for a mountain cabin or just the feel of one.

The wildflowers of North Carolina flowers are currently feeding summer’s last butterflies and humming birds. Wildflowers are also important to our honey bee population. More than just beautiful, these flowers are full of purpose in the ecosystem of the Appalachian Mountains.

The Tsali Challange

trailTsali (pronounced “SAH-lee”), named after a noted leader of the Cherokee,  is a series of trails used for horse riding and mountain biking on National Forest land.  Tsali Recreation Area neighbors Lake Fontana and  also offers a place to access the lake for boaters and swimmers.

This weekend Tsali will be the site of a popular triathelon, the Tsali Challenge.   Atheletes come from all over for a 3 mile flat water paddle, a mountainous 5 mile run, and a 12 mile loop on mountain bike. Whew! Now that’s a challenge!

Race registration is this Friday from 3-5pm at Nantahala Village. Solo races will be Saturday, Sept 6th. Team races will be Sunday, Sept 7th.

Looking for a place to stay during the race? Check out Yellow Rose Realty’s mountain cabin rentals. They have something for everyone.


BBQ & Brews Train

10356143_10152210817135905_3314804293052450675_nLooking for a a night out with the grown-ups? The Great Smoky Mountain Railroad tried something new last year, it went so well they did it again this year. The BBQ & Brews ride features slow-cooked BBQ and local craft beer. While you enjoy that, the train will take you to a trestle over Fontana Lake just in time for the sunset. Tickets start at $69 and get you 3 beer samples and dinner. Brewery employees join you on the ride to provide you with a craft brewing education.  Additional beer will be available for purchase.

This train ride is 21 years old  and up. There’s only one trip left. Leaving August 30th, make your reservations now. This ride will feature beers from Heinzelmannchen Brewery in Sylva, NC.

You’ll return to the depot at 9pm, plenty of time to check out Bryson City’s own brewery right across the street. Nantahala Brewing Company was last year’s BBQ & Brew featured brewery.

The Cottage Craftsman

2014-08-12In and around the Smokies live many talented crafters. People who are carrying on traditions and art forms from their ancestors. They are potters, blacksmiths, jewelry and soap makers, bee raisers, cooks and bakers. The Cottage Craftsman in Bryson City, NC offers a taste of all these artisans have to offer. In a quaint yellow house next to the Great Smoky Mountain Railroad depot, you can find everything from local honey and wine to pottery and jewelry. They even have CDs showcasing the talent of our local musicians. These arts reflect the beauty of the Smoky Mountains and the people who live there.  Take a little piece of our region home with you when you go!

Music On Tap Concert Series

week of rock

Nantahala Brewing Company is just minutes from the border of the Great Smoky Mountain National Park, in fact, the water used to brew their craft beer comes straight out of the Deep Creek watershed of the Smokies. On weekends the brewery serves up a heaping dose of great music as well as their award-winning beers. The concert series is aptly titled, Music on Tap.  This weekend brings Americana duo, The Rough & Tumble, to the stage.  Here’s August’s schedule. Shows are free! The brewery is a family friendly place, so bring the kids and the dog!

Fri. 8/8 – The Rough & Tumble

Fri. 8/15 – The Leveetoppers

Sat. 8/16 – Resonant Rogues

Fri. 8/22 – Wyatt Espalin

Sat. 8/23 – Rye Baby

Fri. 8/29 – The Moon & You


The Road to Nowhere


It’s the story of a road that was going to be built so you could drive from Bryson City straight through to Tennessee. But more than that, it was going to be a way for families to get to their property and family cemeteries made inaccessible by the flooding and creation of Lake Fontana. The road was started in the 1940’s to replace the flooded Highway 288 that passed through the towns of Proctor and Hazel Creek, which were also flooded. Only eight miles in, construction was stopped due to environmental issues. The road is now a scenic drive into the Smokies with views of Fontana. That road ends at a parking lot and a tunnel you can walk through before opening up to hiking trails that follow the north shore of Fontana Lake. This also makes a really great place for spooky evening hikes. The tunnel carries echoes and cool breezes though the mountain. Test your courage and try it without a flash light.

To read more about the story of Lakeview Drive, or The Road To Nowhere, click here.