Category Archives: Smoky Mountain Cabin Rentals

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.

See Ancient Petroglyphs in Western North Carolina

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This photo from the 1930s shows the Judaculla Rock petroglyphs chalked in so they can be seen more easily

Few people know that there are ancient rock art sites in the Smoky Mountains. However, if you know where to look, amazing petroglyphs can be found right here in the mountains of western North Carolina!

The rock art found in the Smoky Mountains was created by Native Americans living in the area about 3,000 years ago. One captivating example is Judaculla Rock, located in Jackson County, which is only about a 30-minute drive from your Bryson City or Cherokee vacation cabin rental.  Judaculla Rock is a soapstone boulder with hundreds of petroglyphs resembling humans, footprints and geometric shapes.

The meaning of the Judaculla Rock symbols are a mystery.  According to local legend, Judaculla (which means Great Slant-eyed Giant) was a giant hunter who lived on top of a mountain. Judaculla had the power to control the wind, rain, thunder, and lightning. The carvings on the boulder are said to represent scratches made by Judaculla’s feet as he jumped from the top of the mountain to the creek below.  The site has a small park where visitors can relax and ponder the mystery of Judaculla Rock.

To get to Judaculla Rock from US 74, take Exit 85 to Business Route 23 through Sylva. Stay on 23 1.3 miles to NC 107, then turn left onto 107. Drive 8 miles south on 107 and take a left onto Caney Fork Road, County Road 1737. Go 2.5 miles then turn left onto a gravel road and drive 0.45 mile. The rock is on the right, and parking is on the left. Have fun, and ponder how many other humans have stood beside this 3,000 year old piece of history!

Biking Event – The Hilly Hellacious

If you are an avid cyclist, you won’t want to miss the opportunity to take part in the Hilly Hellacious, which takes place in the Asheville area on September 25th. This landmark event offers four challenging routes; a Full Century and a Metric Century, a Half Century and a Hilly Lite. Each course offers a challenging ride through the scenic rural and mountain byways of Western North Carolina. New cycling enthusiasts have the shorter options which are perfect to check out!

While you are in the area enjoying your North Carolina Smoky Mountains vacation cabin rental, plan to head over to Asheville to take part in this amazing ride through the Blue Ridge Mountains. You can register up to the day of the event and all proceeds go to support a local organization that promotes fitness through biking for area youth. The scenery will be incredible and it is sure to be a day you will never forget!  Asheville is an easy 1 hour drive from Bryson City, NC and the scenery along highway 74 is gorgeous.  For directions and registration information, click here.

Guest Appreciation Festival

Guest Appreciation Festival
Boats lined up for sale at Guest Appreciation Festival

For outdoor enthusiasts visiting the Bryson City area the weekend of September 23-25, Guest Appreciation Festival, or GAF at the Nantahala Outdoor Center is an event not to be missed!

The three-day end-of-season festival in the Nantahala Gorge is packed with fun activities for just about everyone, live music, races, demonstrations, great discounts on new and used gear, clothing and a gear marketplace which is like a giant outdoor gear yard sale. The Nantahala Gorge is only 20 minutes from downtown Bryson City, and the site of popular white water rafting on the Nantahala River.

This year’s highlights include Surfing School, a climbing wall, an Appalachian Storyteller, a pro-BMX demonstration, a bounce house for the kiddies and even live raptor and reptile shows! Competitive events include the Hometown Throwdown freestyle event, a climbing competition and a gate race for paddlers of all ages and abilities.

GAF is an exciting weekend with a something for everyone to enjoy (and great deals on outdoor gear and clothing!) It is only a few minutes away from your Cherokee or Bryson City vacation cabin rental. For a schedule of events, click here. See you there!

Fishing at Deep Creek

Brown Trout Deep Creek, Fishing Bryson CityIf fishing is your passion, you won’t want to miss the opportunity to try for a Rainbow Trout, a Brook Trout, or the elusive Brown Trout that populate the streams and rivers of western North Carolina. The area has long been a favorite destination for outdoor enthusiasts but has only recently become well known for fishing thanks to books like “Western North Carolina Fly Guide” by J.E.B. Hall, whose family has been fishing area rivers and streams for generations.

A great place to start is Deep Creek, located within the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. The park’s cool, clear streams are a popular destination and are easily accessible with well-marked and maintained trails. The best part is, Deep Creek is just a few minutes away from your Cherokee or Bryson City vacation cabin rental.

The trout season is open year round, but fly-fishing is at its best in the spring and Brown Trout season is best in the fall. Just make sure you purchase a fishing license before heading out. There are several outfitters in the area where you can pick up a fishing license and any other gear you require. You can also book your vacation rental cabin with a guided fishing trip package directly with Yellow Rose and save when you do.  Good luck!

Tubing at Deep Creek

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Familly Fun at Deep Creek in Bryson City, NC

A favorite activity of locals on hot summer days, tubing at Deep Creek in Bryson City, NC is sure to be a highlight of your trip to the Smoky Mountains. Enjoying the splash of cool water as you float down a beautiful mountain stream is an experience you will never forget!

Here are a few tips to help you make the most of your tubing adventure.

♦ Wear quick-dry synthetic clothing. Avoid wearing cotton, especially with young children. When cotton gets wet, it leaches body heat. Cold kids tend to complain and complaining usually puts a damper on the fun.

♦ Wear supportive footwear such as water shoes or an old pair of sneakers. Avoid flip-flops. They are likely to get lost in the water and are not particularly comfortable to walk in on uneven terrain.

Rent a tube from one of the vendors along the road leading into the park. They will help you load them onto your vehicle. Beware! The tubes are light so they easily blow off the top of your car even when tied down. You will likely pass at least one person pulled over attempting to rescue their tubes from the side of the road. Don’t let this happen to you! Drive slowly on your way into the park.

♦ When you enter the park, follow the road until it dead-ends at the main parking area. Unload the tubes and walk up the pathway until you reach the point you wish to enter the water. There are several entry points, the furthest being about ¾ mile from the trail head.

♦ We recommend that kids under 75 pounds put in at the bridge about half a mile up the trail for their first few runs. There is a rapid a bit further upstream that can flip over the smaller tubes. Suddenly finding yourself completely submerged in cold water can be a bit of a shock and may lead to crying. Crying is no fun for anyone. To avoid this, let kids build their confidence with a few shorter runs before going all the way to the top.

Little kids 30 pounds and under should wear a PFD, which can be rented along with your tubes. Though they may insist they want their own tube, this is not the best idea. Chances are, you will end up carrying the tube (and them) on the way back up and if they take a swim, there is likely to be quite a bit of the aforementioned crying. Have them ride with you. Trust us on this!

Tubing is a fun activity for people of all ages and is a great way to enjoy the beauty of the Smoky Mountains. The best part is that Deep Creek is located just a few miles away from your Bryson City or Cherokee vacation cabin rental!  Have a great time!

Deep Creek

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This beautiful waterfall is only half a mile up the trail at Deep Creek

While enjoying their vacation cabin in the Smoky Mountains, many visitors find that because there are so many beautiful places to visit and fun things to do, they don’t know where to begin! One place that has a little something for everyone is Deep Creek; located in Great Smoky Mountains National Park is just 3 miles from downtown Bryson City. With its cool streams and beautiful waterfalls, Deep Creek is a must-see when visiting the area.

Many park visitors choose to participate in one of the favorite local summer pastimes at Deep Creek – tubing! Floating down Deep Creek in a tube is a fun, memorable and inexpensive way to cool down while enjoying the area’s natural beauty. (More about tubing in an upcoming blog post!)  If tubing isn’t for you, there are many other things to do. Deep Creek is a wonderful place to go for a picnic and an afternoon hike or trail ride. There are several loop trails that lead to waterfalls, including Juney Whank Falls (0.6 mi.), Three Waterfalls Loop (2.4 mi.), and Deep Creek/Indian Creek Look (4.4 mi.) Longer loop hikes are also possible. There are some trails open for bicycling and horseback riding is also available in the park. Fishing is also permitted for those who purchase a license, which can be easily acquired in Bryson City. (More about fishing in an upcoming blog post soon!)

A trip to Deep Creek may be one of the highlights of your trip to the Great Smoky Mountains in Western North Carolina.  Your Bryson City or Cherokee vacation cabin rental is only a short drive away!

Gem Mining in the Smokies – Turn Your Treasure into a Unique Work of Art

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This is a beautiful example of a cut star ruby

So, while enjoying your vacation cabin rental near Bryson City,  you went on a gem mining adventure and found a beautiful native ruby or sapphire. Now what do you do with it? The stones themselves are interesting to look at but to the untrained eye, they just look like any other rock! When cut and mounted, however, they can be truly spectacular!

There are many artisans in the area who will cut and mount the stones for you. Most mines will be happy to refer you to a gem artist /jeweler who is both dependable and talented. Here’s a link to one of our favorite artist jewelers. Keep in mind that the cutting process can sometimes take a few weeks, so your stone will most likely be shipped to you once you are back home. When a stone is cut, the artist must around imperfections and determine the type cut that will produce the most beautiful finished gem. The cut stone you receive will be much smaller than the stone you now hold in your hand.

Some mines in the area are noted for a particular type of sapphire and ruby that produce six-pointed star when they are cut into a cabochon shape, with a smooth, rounded top. These are called Star-Sapphires and are considered to be rare. The star is the result of tiny inclusions that react with light, giving it a beautiful, lustrous star pattern.

Jewelry made from gems you found yourself is special and fun to wear because it has a story and will always remind you of the wonderful time your had on your vacation in Bryson City or Cherokee, NC and your rental cabin from Yellow Rose. Happy polishing!

Gem Mining in the Smokies – How it Works

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Rubies!
While enjoying your vacation cabin rental in the heart of the North Carolina Smokies,  you may want to try your hand at gem mining. Our previous posts discuss what kind of gems you might find, where to go and what to bring with you. Now, let’s look at how it all works!

Times of Year To Go Mining: Most mines in the area are open from spring through autumn. While some mines charge a daily admission fee, most sell gem dirt by the bucket or bag. A few allow you to dig your own dirt from a specified area.

Two Types of “Dirt”: There are two different types of “dirt” you can get. Some mines have only “native” dirt, which means that you are getting a bucket of dirt straight from the ground in the mine. You may or may not find anything in it but whatever you do find is an authentic gem from Western North Carolina. Others have what they call “enriched” dirt in addition to native buckets. These buckets of dirt are “salted” with gems bought at shows. They most likely are not gems native to the area.

For beginners or for young children who want the quick payoff, an enriched bucket is really the way to go. The colorful stones are easy to see and exciting to find. For those with more experience, the native buckets are a great challenge.

Step 1: After deciding which type of bucket you want, it is time to get down to business. You will be provided with a sifter box; a wooden box with a screen on the bottom that lets water and dirt rush out but keeps your gems and rocks inside. Take your bucket and sifter box and have a seat next to the flume, which is a shallow trough with water running through it. The running water will help you wash the dirt of the rocks and stones in your bucket.

Step 2: Pour some of the dirt from your bucket into the sifter and place it in the water. Shake the sifter from side to side and move it up and down in the water to rinse away the dirt. If you have an enriched bucket, the job won’t be too difficult. Stones are clean when mixed into the dirt, so it will wash off easily. If you have a native bucket, it will take more time and effort. Rinsing the dirt off native stones is a bit more challenging and the gems are still surrounded by their matrix, a crusty gray protective barrier.

Step 3: Push large rocks aside and gather smaller gravel into a mound at the center of your tray. Push your hands down onto the pile and move it in a circular motion to help remove the dirt. Rinse your stones and rub again. Repeat the process until no more mud is visible on your hands. Spread your clean stones into one layer and look carefully for glints of lavender, pink or deep purple-red.  Don’t forget to check those larger chunks you set aside. Chances are they’re just rocks but you never know – there could be something amazing hiding within!

If it’s your lucky day, the mud will be washed away to reveal spectacular treasures in your sifter! Rubies are silky red; garnets reddish brown; and note that sapphires come in just about every color there is! Quartz, a favorite among gem hunters, is a smoky clear color. Mine staff are usually on hand to help show you what to look for because gem stones in their natural state look nothing like the brilliantly colored cut gems we see as the final product.

We hope you have a wonderful time on your gem mining adventure! There are a lot of gem mines in the area, many just a short drive away from Bryson City, NC and your vacation cabin rental from Yellow Rose. Happy hunting!