Category Archives: Uncategorized

Devil’s Courthouse

devil's couthouseDevil’s Courthouse is an Appalachian mountain located at milepost 422.4 on the Blue Ridge Parkway. You can enjoy a picnic and the view of the mountain from the overlook parking lot where there is a picnic table or walk the moderate half mile hike to its peak of 5,720ft. The trail is very steep but partially paved. Tennessee, South Carolina and Georgia can all be seen from the top on a clear day. There are plaques at the summit showing which mountains and ranges you are viewing in the distance.

This is a great place to get out and stretch your legs. It is short enough to add to a long list of short hikes to make time for along the Blue Ridge Parkway.  We did this hike in the same day as our Frying Pan Mountain hike.

The Bryson City Chocolate Shoppe

choc shoppe for yr blogLocally owned and operated, The Chocolate Shoppe in Bryson City has been creating handmade candies in western North Carolina for over 17 years.  Chocolatier, Donna Rector, uses German recipes and techniques for her small batch chocolates. Given to her by the Drost family, these recipes have stood the test of time. They begin from scratch using only the freshest natural ingredients. Those who have tried their hand at making candy know how many variables there are in the process. A half-degree too hot or too cool and the whole batch is ruined. On top of remembering recipes for ten different varieties of fudge, each requires different cooking instructions and processing times can vary based on the weather!

Donna says, “making candy the old-fashioned way is a lot of work and extra effort, but the end products are well worth it.”  One bite and you’ll agree. Every Saturday, Donna comes out of the chocolate kitchen and makes fudge, caramel and toffee out front for all to see. She may even let ya try a bite while it’s still warm.

A candy store for kids and adults alike. The shop offers splendid truffles using real liquors and brandied cherries. Wine drinker? Coffee drinker? They can help you with pairings. Planning an event? They make plates and gift boxes for any occasions. Easter is just around the corner. Stop in now to find out how they can help you with your baskets!

The Blue Ridge Parkway

blue ridge parkway for yr blogThe weather is starting to demand Sunday drives with the windows cracked and after a long winter a little fresh air may do you good. The Blue Ridge Parkway is a great place to start.  It is a 469 scenic highway connecting the Great Smoky National Park here in North Carolina to the Shenandoah National Park in Virginia.  There is something for everyone here, all ages and abilities. Pack a picnic lunch and enjoy it from one of many amazing overlooks. Plan a day hike with the kids or an overnight backpacking trip with friends. You’ll also find that many of the areas to pull over offer exhibits with loads of information about the area. This is a great way to get the family out together and learn something too!

The Blue Ridge Parkway’s construction started in 1935 as a way to create jobs during the Great Depression. It was completed in 1983 and since has become a national treasure. The parkway is maintained by park employees and volunteers whose goals are the same, to preserve and protect the natural beauty surrounding the road.

Trail Magic

“Trail Magic” refers to a tradition of charity unto hikers. This is 299_30433462106_9435_ncommon on long trails such as the  Appalachian Trail where people hike for months on end. Trail magic is random acts of kindness offered to weary travelers from friends they have yet to meet. It is meant as hope and encouragement for their long journey. The AT is roughly 2180 miles long, starting in north Georgia and ending in Maine. 71 miles of that makes its way through the Smokies! Bryson City becomes a refueling and recharging destination for these hikers.

Spring break is here and we are starting to see north bounders. Lots of people are coming into town to eat, resupply, meet new people and enjoy craft beer. This weekend the  Nantahala Brewing Company heads into their 3rd year of Trail Magic Ale™ releases. Sure to please, Trail Magic #7 will be a Bourbon Barrel Aged Russian Imperial Stout.  nbc logoThe first keg will be tapped  on Friday, March 14th at 6pm exclusively at the Tap Room in Bryson City. 8pm the same night there will be a beer bottle swap and live music by local favorites, The Liz Nance Trio.

The party will continue on Saturday, March 15 with limited release bottle sales at noon and live music with Solidier’s Heart  at 8pm.

Not feeling social? Rent a cabin with a view and take a growler of beer to go!

Closing in on Winter’s End

IMG_3296The first day of March is here!  It has been a cold winter with lots of snow  for sledding and making snow cream. While we’ve enjoyed the snow days and sledding opportunities, we are all ready for a little sunshine.

This new month brings chocolatiers, kayakers, craft beer lovers and roller derby fans to Bryson City.

Saturday, March 1st is an eventful day for visitors and locals alike. The 7th Annual Chocolate Cook-Off is happening from 2:30 to 4pm at the Presbyterian Church located on Everett Street in downtown Bryson City. This is a fundraiser for our public library that offers delectable cookies, candies and other treats. Satisfy your sweet tooth for a good cause. After that, make your way down to the Swain County Recreation Center to be a part of the fun as Bryson City’s own roller derby team, The Smoky Mountain Roller Girls host their first bout of the season. This event will benefit Hawthorne Heights and the Cherokee Children’s Home. Doors open at 5pm. Bout starts at 6pm. Get a chance to meet these tough girls on wheels at the after-party taking place at Nantahala Brewing Company at 8:30pm.

Nantahala Racing Club’s Glacier Breaker will be held March 8 & 9th. This is the classic season-opener for both wildwater and slalom competition in the United States and it’s held right here in the Nantahala Gorge.  Come be a part of the action!

We may have a little winter left, but don’t let that keep you away!

Trails in Panthertown remain open to public despite government shutdown

Friends of Panthertown

Yes... we are open!
We are happy to report that all 30 miles of non-motorized trails in Panthertown Valley remain open to the public. Expect to see additional cars in the parking areas and increased visitation in the valley due to nearby national parks being closed.

All volunteer activities in our national forests have been put on hold by the U.S. Forest Service until further notice. Keep following Friends of Panthertown for updates.

Here is an interesting related article published this week in Smoky Mountain News about shutdown of Great Smoky Mountains National Park and a National Geographic article National Parks: Shutting Down America’s Best Idea.

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Did Someone Say Giveaway?

ImageSouthern Charm Traditional Wear And Yellow Rose Realty Have Teamed Up To Have The Perfect “Southern Charm Vacation Giveaway”!!! One lucky person will WIN a 3 day/2 night Stay In A Beautiful Cabin In The Smokies From Yellow Rose Realty, Plus 2 FREE TICKETS to see Lynyrd Skynyrd at Harrah’s Cherokee Casino Resort on Oct. 11th, And A TON OF NEW GEAR FROM SOUTHERN CHARM!!! This Is The Ultimate Giveaway So ENTER NOW TO WIN!!!

Visit Southern Charm Traditional Wear on Facebook to enter to win these great prizes!

Government Shutdown Impacting Fall Vacations?


Well, it happened….the government ceased to come to an agreement and therefore the government is shutdown for now. This means that the National Parks across the country have closed their gates and are limiting access for visitors. However, the popular section of 441 through the Great Smoky Mountains National Park will remain open during the shutdown and families will still be able to enjoy the beauty of one of the nations most popular parks during the government shutdown. The Blue Ridge Parkway will also remain open during the this time and visitors will be able to access this beautiful section of highway that stretches across the blue ridge mountains of North Carolina and Virginia. 

These two sections of road are some of the most scenic in the Western North Carolina area, asImage well as the most popular to visit. if these two roads would have been closed due to the shutdown the tourism in this area would have been affected dramatically. October is one of the biggest months of the year for this area and there are many small businesses that depend on this months visitors to help get them through the winter. No one is really sure how long this government shutdown will last, but the great thing about it is that we here in the mountains can still enjoy the beauty of the government property that surrounds us!

We hope that this shutdown does not alter your plans and that you still plan on visiting the mountains this fall, the colors are going to be great this year! As for all the government employees out there that have been furloughed during this time we are sorry to hear this and we hope this problem gets resolved quickly.

Mountain Leaf Lookers Contest


To celebrate the official start of the fall season in the Mountains of North Carolina Yellow Rose Realty is going to be giving away some tickets to take a ride on the Great Smoky Mountains Railroad this fall. The Railroad is a great way to see the colors of fall and relax while taking in all of the awesome views. Read on to find out hoe to enter.

Yellow Rose Realty is giving away two tickets to ride the Great Smoky Mountains this October, a value of over $100. The contest is located on their Facebook wall, all you have to do is find a post containing the picture you see above then like the photo and write a comment on it about why you love fall in the mountains! This contest is super easy to enter, so you should go to Facebook right now and enter. The winner will be chosen on September 30th, but the tickets must be used in October 2013 or they will no longer be good. Make sure to like the Yellow Rose Realty Facebook Page and Share the post with your friends. Good Luck!

Fall is on it’s Way!

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One of our favorite times of year around the mountains of North Carolina is fall! The mountains change from and endless sea of lush greens to a never ending canvas of splotched reds, yellows, oranges. These beautiful colors give the mountains a warm and rich feel that makes you just want to curl up next to a fire and sip some hot apple cider. Fall in the mountains also means tons of festivals and events, there are many things for visitors to enjoy when they visit during the fall and you can find a whole list of what will be going on in the area under out Area Events page.

We are almost to the middle of September and the Screen Shot 2013-09-10 at 1.30.40 PMcolors have already started to change a little in the higher elevations, but the peak season usually does not show up until early October in the high elevations and late October early November in the valleys. Once the colors really start to change, a ride on the Blue ridge Parkway or through the Great Smoky Mountains National Park will be breathtaking. The gorgeous view paired with the bright colors of fall make for some of the best memories of the mountains.

Fall color experts were saying that the colors this year might not be as good because of all the rain we had this summer. However, the experts did say that if we had a dry and hot September that the leaves would be bright and colorful, and let me tell you what, we have had a very hot September! Our weather over the past two weeks has been more like summer than anything we saw all summer, hot and dry has been the usual lately and that is fine with us because the brighter the colors in the fall the better!

Check out the Great Smoky Mountains Association’s Fall Color Report for updates on what the color is doing in the area and what the predictions are for peak season. We hope to see you in the mountains this fall! Make sure to check out for specials on vacation cabin rentals in the area.