Category Archives: Cherokee NC

2012 Winter Events in Western North Carolina

Got cabin fever and need to get out for a weekend retreat? Winter is a great time to visit the mountains, check our current listings of events and concerts for February and March 2012: Area Events, Outdoor Recreation and Activities, and Harrah’s Cherokee Casino Concerts and Events.

December Schedule for the Polar Express!

The Polar Express, Things to do in Bryson City, Things to do in Cherokee, Holidays in the Smokies The December Polar Express Dates are as follows:

December 1 –11am, 5pm & 6:30pmThings to do in the Smokies, Things to do in Bryson City, Holidays in Bryson City

December 2 –11am, 5pm, 6:30pm & 8pm

December 3 –2pm, 3:30pm, 5pm, 6:30pm, & 8pm

December 4 –5pm & 6:30pm

December 7 –6:30pm

December 8 –11am, 5pm & 6:30pm

December 9 –11am, 5pm, 6:30pm & 8pm

December 10 –2pm, 3:30pm, 5pm, 6:30pm & 8pm

December 11 –5pm & 6:30pm

December 12 –5pm & 6:30pm

December 13 –5pm & 6:30pm

December 14 –5pm & 6:30pm

December 15 –5pm & 6:30pm

December 16 –5pm, 6:30pm, & 8pm

December 17 –2pm, 3:30pm, 5pm, 6:30pm & 8pm

December 18 –5pm, 6:30pm & 8pm

December 19 –5pm, 6:30pm & 8pm

December 20 –5pm, 6:30pm & 8pm

December 21 –5pm, 6:30pm & 8pm

December 22 –5pm, 6:30pm & 8pm

December 23 –5pm, 6:30pm & 8pm

December 24– 5pm & 6:30pm

Get Your Tickets for the Polar Express!

Looking for some holiday fun while visiting your Bryson City or Cherokee vacation cabin rental? Then, Put on your favorite pajamas and hop aboard the Polar Express! Book your tickets for the Polar Express at the same time you book you cabin for a hassle free experience….just call us at 800-528-0760.

The Polar Express train excursion is inspired by Chris Van Allburg’s classic holiday story of a boy who takes a magical Christmas Eve train ride to the North Pole and learns that the wonder of life never fades for those who believe.

Enjoy music from the motion picture soundtrack as you sip hot cocoa and listen to a reading of “The Polar Express”. The train winds through the countryside on the way to the North Pole where Santa will be waiting. Santa will hop aboard the train for the journey back to the depot. As guests sing along to Christmas carols, Santa will visit with each child and present them with a special silver sleigh bell.

PEX 2013 BlockFor more information click here.


Over 48,000 passengers rode THE POLAR EXPRESS with the Great Smoky Mountains Railroad in 2012 and we hope to see you this year! The 1 ¼ hour round-trip excursion comes to life as the train departs the Bryson City depot for a journey through the quiet wilderness for a special visit at the North Pole. Set to the sounds of the motion picture soundtrack, guests on board will enjoy warm cocoa and a treat while listening and reading along with the magical story. Children’s faces show the magic of the season when the train arrives at the “North Pole” to find Santa Claus waiting. Santa will board THE POLAR EXPRESS, greeting each child and presenting them with a special gift as in the story, their own silver sleThings to do in the Smokies, Things to do in Bryson City, Holidays in Bryson Cityigh bell. Christmas carols will be sung as they return back to the Bryson City Depot. THE POLAR EXPRESS begins November 8th and operates through December 29th

Smoky Mountain Trains Museum admission is included with all train excursion tickets. Without train excursion admission is $9 for Adults and $5 for Children.

**THE POLAR EXPRESS is not afraid of a little winter weather!  No snow, rain, or gloom of night will keep the THE POLAR EXPRESS away!  Of course, we want all of our guests to remain safe on their travels. Rest assured THE POLAR EXPRESS will operate.  In the event that the North Carolina Highway Patrol or Department of Motor Vehicles deems travel unsafe on Interstate 40 or Highway 74 resulting in a closure, please call your reservations staff at 1-800-872-4681 for further details and instructions.

We encourage guests to plan ahead and stay apprised of the latest weather developments. YOU MAY RESCHEDULE your trip AS LATE AS 48 HOURS BEFORE YOUR SCHEDULED DEPARTURE with a $6.00 fee per ticket. If a cancellation occurs 48 hours before your scheduled departure a fee of $14.00 per adult ticket and $7.00 per child ticket will be applied.  Once you are WITHIN 48 HOURS OF YOUR SCHEDULED DEPARTURE, the tickets are NON REFUNDABLE.

Use our Physical Address 45 Mitchell St. Bryson City NC 28713 to find an alternate route  if 441 Smoky Mountains National Park road is closed.

                     -The Great Smoky Mountains Railroad

So get ready to come to Bryson City this Christmas season and enjoy the thrill of reliving one of your child’s favorite movies. See you soon!

Holiday Nostalgia at the Storytelling Center in Bryson City

There are so many great tStorytelling Center of the Southern Appalachians, Things to do in the Smokieshings to do near your Bryson City or Cherokee vacation cabin rental this time of year! This week, the Storytelling Center of the Southern Appalachians kicks off their holiday program. Join the Toymaker as he builds handmade wooden toys while sharing tales of holidays in the mountains. See and smell Frankincense and Myrrh as you hear the story of the first Christmas! Listen to sleigh bells ring as the story of St. Nicholas is told! Learn why oranges mean Christmas has come to the mountains! No matter your age, you are sure to enjoy a visit to the Storytelling Center of the Southern Appalachians.

The Storytelling Center of the Southern Appalachians is located on Everett Street in Bryson City, right across the street from the Train Depot. Their holiday program runs from November 5th through December 23rd. For more information call (828) 488-5705.

WNC Pottery Festival: Everybody’s Just Claying Around!

Things to do in the SmokiesWant to get a head-start on your holiday shopping? Then head to the beautiful town of Dillsboro, NC for the Western North Carolina Pottery Festival on Saturday, Nov. 5th. Dillsboro is just a few miles from your Bryson City or Cherokee vacation cabin rental and is just off the highway.

Enjoy a stroll along the tree-lined streets of this picturesque little town while enjoying demonstrations from some of the nation’s best potters. With so many great artists in one place, you are sure to find the perfect gift! This year’s featured potter is Elmer Taylor, an talented artist whose work can be seen in exhibits and museums throughout the country.

There will be vendors, a day-long raffle and lots of demonstrations. The fun begins on Friday, Nov. 4th with the WNC Clay Olympics and the lighting of a wood-fired kiln. Festival hours are 10 a.m. – 4 p.m., rain or shine. Admission is $3 per person; kids under 12 admitted free! Come see why the WNC Pottery Festival has become one of the area’s top arts events. For more information, click here.

Where to View Fall Foliage in the Smoky Mountains

Fall in the SmokiesThe fall leaf season is in full swing and the Smoky Mountains are awash with brilliant reds, oranges and yellows. The reason we enjoy such a spectacular color season is that the Smokies have a remarkable variety of trees. Nearly 100 different species of trees including sugar maple, scarlet oak, sweetgum, hickory and birch contribute to our annual show.

You can find brilliant autumn colors just about anywhere in the Smokies. There is no need to grumble your way along roads crowed with leaf-lookers! Chances are, you will have an amazing view of from the deck of your Bryson City or Cherokee vacation cabin rental! While the Blue Ridge Parkway is a popular destination that offers breathtaking long-range views, you may experience bumper-to-bumper traffic that can detract from the serene natural experience you were hoping to have. The most popular spot during this time of year is Cades Cove, which you may wish to avoid if you aren’t keen on the smell of muffler exhaust.

One great option is to board the Great Smoky Mountains Railroad to view the fall foliage while enjoying a relaxing train ride. No need to pull over and get out your camera every five minutes; just park in downtown Bryson City, hop aboard and let someone else do the driving while you take all the photos you like!
If you prefer to drive yourself, check out Cataloochee, on the eastern side of the Park. It is much less crowded because it’s away from the most traveled routes and is a little harder to reach from the Tennessee side of the park than Cades Cove. You will see the same spectacular colors and it is bound to be less crowded, even during peak color season. Most likely, you will even get to see some Elk!
Directions: If you are coming from Bryson City or Cherokee, take I-40 to exit 20 and follow the signs 11 miles to Cataloochee. The trip from Cherokee is approximately 82 miles round-trip and can take several hours, depending on traffic and road conditions.  Have fun!

Willie Nelson Performs in Cherokee October 22nd

American icon, Willie Nelson, will be performing on October 22nd at Harrah’s in Cherokee.  With his deep, gritty voice, heartfelt songs and tremendous talent, Willie really knows how to put on a show! Here is a chance to attend a concert by one of the original “outlaws” of country music!

The concert will be held at Harrah’s Cherokee Casino in Cherokee, NC on Saturday, October 22nd at 7:30p.m. Harrah’s Cherokee is now pulling in big acts to its concert hall, located right there at the casino complex. The hall has plenty of seating while maintaining a wonderfully intimate feel since it isn’t a gigantic concert hall. Any seat in the house is a good one! (We know, having just seen Credence Clearwater Revisited there in September. They rocked the house down!). Here’s a tip, if you like to boogie during concerts, get seats in the balcony where it’s easy to dance and no-one behind you can’t see. The big screens on either side of the stage are great for seeing closeups of the performance.

Harrah’s Cherokee is just a short drive from your Cherokee or Bryson City vacation cabin rental. It’s right in the middle of Cherokee, if you’re staying near there, or, if you staying in Bryson City, it’s less than 15 minutes of a scenic drive along the river.

For directions and ticket information, click here.

The 99th Annual Cherokee Indian Fair Is October 4-8th

Things to do in Bryson City, Things to do in Cherokee
Performance of a traditional Cherokee dance

If you are looking for a fun way to experience some local culture while enjoying your Bryson City or Cherokee vacation cabin rental, then check out the Cherokee Indian Fair. This local fall festival is in its 99th year and is an exciting celebration of art, music, dance and local tradition.

The festival has all the usual carnival rides and games but also adds local flare with activities such as the Baby Crawl Contest, Blow Gun Contest and the Cast Iron Lid Toss, Stickball games, traditional dances, crafts, storytelling, fireworks and bands such as the Drifters, Litefoot and the Charlie Daniels Band. This event is not your average fair! It is distinctly Cherokee and is sure to provide a good time for everyone. (It’s also an awesome event at which to do a little early Christmas shopping!)

The Cherokee Indian Fair is held from October 4-8 at the Cherokee Indian Fairgrounds in Cherokee, NC. It’s only 15 minutes from Bryson City on the scenic old Highway 19 backroad. For more information and a schedule of events, click here.

Nantahala Brewing Company: Bryson City Has Its Own Microbrewery Now!

If you enjoy a well-crafted beer, you will want to check out Nantahala Brewing Company, Bryson City’s very own microbrewery!

Located in downtown Bryson City, Nantahala Brewing brews a variety of award-winning ales. To find out more about the beer on tap, click hereThings to do in Bryson City, Things to do in Cherokee.

Nantahala Brewing Company is only a few miles away from your Cherokee or Bryson City vacation cabin rental. The beer is great and the atmosphere is fun and family-friendly. Live music is often played on the weekends. (Did you know – Bryson City is home to wonderful musicians!) The brewery serves beer only, there is no food on the menu. There are several restaurants in within walking distance, however.

The brewery and Tap Room are located at 61 Depot Street, Bryson City, North Carolina. It is directly across from the train depot station, and next to Bryson City favorites like Mountain Perks Coffee and Anthony’s Pizza. The Tap Room is open Monday, Thursday and Friday from 4 p.m. to 10 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday from noon-10 p.m. Click here for directions.

Mountain Heritage Day

Each year, Southern Appalachian culture is celebrated during the Mountain Heritage Day festival held at Western Carolina University in Cullowhee, which is only a half-hour drive from your Bryson City or Cherokee vacation cabin rental.

Cloggers perform at the Mountain Heritage Festival

The festival will feature a variety of regional arts and crafts, music, folk arts, clogging, storytelling as well as many interesting demonstrations. Vendors will be on site selling glasswork, basketry, paintings, pottery, woodwork and ceramics. You can even try some real southern fare!

The festival will be held at Western Carolina University’s Mountain Heritage Center from 10a.m. to 5p.m. on Saturday, September 24th. Admission and parking are free. For more information, click here.