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.
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 here.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
If 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.
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!
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!)
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.
Find Things To Do In The Area in and Around the Great Smoky Mountains of North Carolina! This blog provides info on events, happenings, and things to experience with your family while on vacation in the Bryson City and Cherokee, NC areas. The locals always know best!