Tag Archives: Family activities in the Smokies

Top 5 Fall Lookout Spots Near Bryson City

The mountains that surround Bryson City, North Carolina provide some of the most spectacular in all of Western North Carolina. One of the most popular times to search out such viewing spots id during the fall, and that is why we have decided to fill you in on what us locals think are the top 5 best spots to take your family to enjoy the fall color!

5. Wesser Fire Tower (Wesser Bald)

Wesser Fire Tower is a summit located in Macon County, NC near the community of Wesser. A wooden fire tower at the summit provides hikers with unimpeded views of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and also the Nantahala Mountains. Hikers can park at Tellico gap then climb from Tellico Gap to the fire tower up a forest service access road (1 mile) or the Applachian Trail (1.4 miles). The summit is located at about 4500ft, and is within Nantahala National Forest. This may not be the highest peak in the area, but the 360 degree view is still amazing and the amount of people is minimal. The hike to the top is moderate in difficulty, the trail is well maintained but the elevation gain can be daunting, but the reward at the top is well worth it.WesserTowerFall

4. Wayah Bald

Wayah Bald is a high-altitude treeless open area in Nantahala National Forest, near Franklin, North Carolina. The Wayah Bald Observation Tower is located at the area’s highest point (5,385 feet). The Appalachian Trail and Bartram Trail cross at Wayah Bald. Wayah Bald is easily accessed by car and the hike from the parking area to the fire tower is short. In the fall be sure to encourage the Appalachian Trail hikers that are 4-5 days from completing their long journey a congratulations!

3. Hopper Bald

Hooper Bald is a grassy bald mountain in the Unicoi Mountain Range located in the Cheoah Ranger District of the Nantahala National Forest in Graham County, NC. The summit is 5,429 ft and can be reached via the 0.5 mile Hooper Bald Trail. The parking area and trailhead is located between mile marker 7 and 8 along the North Carolina side of the Cherohala Skyway. We chose this lookout not only because the easy access and the great views, but because the drive to get to it is just as rewarding as the view from the top. The Cherohala Skyway is a great section of road that does not get as much traffic as the Blue Ridge Parkway, but is just as worthy.

2. Black Balsam Knob

Black Balsam Knob is in the Pisgah National Forest southwest of Asheville, North Carolina, near milepost 420 on the Blue Ridge Parkway. It is the second highest mountain in the Great Balsam Mountains. The Great Balsams are within the Blue Ridge Mountains, which are part of the Appalachian Mountains. It is the 23rd highest of the 40 mountains in North Carolina over 6000 feet in elevation. Accessing this lookout is quite easy and the drive along the Blue Ridge Parkway from either direction is beautiful. Once you reach the parking area hike about .5 miles up along the grassy bald and enjoy a picnic lunch while taking in the views!

ClingmansDomeFall

1. Clingman’s Dome

Clingman’s Dome is a mountain in the Great Smoky Mountains of Tennessee and North Carolina. At an elevation of 6,643 feet, it is the highest mountain in the Smokies, the highest point in the state of Tennessee, and the highest point along the 2,174-mile (3,499 km) Appalachian Trail. East of the Mississippi River, only Mount Mitchell (6,684) and Mount Craig (6,647 feet). This well known lookout is well deserving of all the talk, from the parking area the hike to the the lookout tower at the top of the mountain is straight up, but the trail is paved. The views from the lookout tower on a clear day cannot be matched, however, the amount of people that venture to this spot during the fall can be overwhelming for anyone looking to take in the beauty of nature in peace. Despite all of the people we still consider this spot the #1 lookout close to Bryson City, NC.

All of these spots are great for their own reasons and we encourage you to try out each of these while you are in the area, because they all have different things to offer. Thanks for taking the time to read through this list and we hope we have inspired you to venture in to the mountains this fall season and catch some amazing views!

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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.

This years schedule:

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!

A Big Celebration in a Small Town

Screen Shot 2013-06-18 at 2.27.14 PMJuly 4th is quickly approaching on the calender, and if you are going to be in the Bryson City area around then that means gearing up for the largest street festival of the year! This festival is an all day long event filled with local music, artisan foods, hand-made crafts and jewelry, and much more. Bryson City shuts down the majority of Everett Street for the festival and the road is lined with tents full of fantastic items for the whole family. After the day has passed and the street vendors start to clear out a portion of the road stays closed until the fireworks show takes place around 10pm. There are many places around town that you can catch the fireworks from, but one of the best is right downtown from the Everett Street bridge.

Here is what the Chamber of Commerce has to say about the festival:

Come join us for an old fashioned street festival on the charming downtown streets of Bryson City.

Screen Shot 2013-06-18 at 7.36.46 AM
Photo from: www.greatsmokies.com

Our annual Fourth of July celebration begins with the Rotary Club Firecracker 5K, and then continues with local artisans and crafters, a full day of local entertainment, festival foods, and fun events including a watermelon eating contest and hula hoop off. Explore Kids’ Street where you’ll find a rock climbing wall, water slide, bouncy house & choo choo ride.

Even Fido is not forgotten – enter your best friend in the “Strut Your Mutt” event that awards ribbons for categories such as “Best Tail Wag” and “Looks Most Like Owner”.

Where else can you find “Elvis” as your emcee as well as performing some of his favorite songs? Actually there are 3 music stages – on the river, at the depot and on the bridge.

As the day wanes and the final band exits the stage, listen to The Star Spangled Banner as you view one of the most spectacular fireworks shows in the Smokies.

For more information about Freedom Fest call 828-488-3681 or toll-free 800-867-9246

Schedule of Events provided by www.greatsmokies.com:

Screen Shot 2013-06-18 at 2.27.45 PM

We at Yellow Rose Realty would love to see you at our small town’s big celebration and if you are still looking for a place to stay we can help, just visit us a www.yellowroserealty.com or call (800)528-0760. See you soon!

Why Vacation in Western North Carolina?

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Today I have decided to do my best to answer the above question for those asking because they are trying to find an awesome vacation spot for their family, and for those who are contemplating make a life changing move. Many times over you will see the western counties in North Carolina get mentioned because of their hardship, now this hardship is based on monetary value of assets and income, but can you compare us to the rest of the nation based on these facts alone? No, because the main thing you are forgetting to factor in is the wealth of happiness the people of these impoverished western counties have!

Yes our average household income may be way less than the national average, but the happiness factor is what makes up for all of that. Why are we so happy you may ask? Well, the easy answers is that we live in one of the most beautiful places in the United States, and yes I said “one of”, because I have been to the other ones and you need to go west to see them. The long answer I will get in to in below. I thoroughly enjoyed my journeys out west, and I will go back one day, but the one thing I missed the most while I was traveling was the “simple life” that seems to be so easy to find here in Western North Carolina (WNC).  The life that you can experience here is one encompassed by the amazing beauty of the mountains, rivers, and lakes that are as close as a stones throw away no matter where you are in WNC. Now if you do not enjoy the outdoors and can only see yourself spending your spare time inside of a “high-rise” shopping, or laying beside and pool that is awesome for you, because you are most like happy, but WNC may not be the best option, unless you want to experience something different.

This list of reasons is in no particular order, you must make that decision for yourself:

Reason 1: BEING SURROUNDED BY THE OUTDOORS

WNC is one of the outdoor capitals in the nation because you can enjoy almost any outdoor activity that you can dream up at some point during the year. Any day of the week you can find yourself dong any of the following in any order: IMG_1015Swim in a pristine swimming hole in a mountain stream of peaceful lake; sling mud up your back along mountain bike trails that line the ridges and valleys all around; Feel the adrenaline of taking on whitewater’s most impressive features in a raft, kayak, or stand-up-paddle-board; Fish endless miles of rivers, streams and lakes for native beauties; Hunt for wild mountain game that will keep your family full all year; Cling to the side of a rock crag while looking out over the vast landscape around you; Hike thousands of miles of trails that take you deep into the lush forest to experience serenity and natures beauty; Camp or backpack on forever undeveloped land that hides away some of the most spectacular features of WNC; Play in the snow, shred powder, or scale sheets of ice in the winter time; Find a cliff and jump off to experience your heart jumping into your throat until you splash into the glassy water. These thing and many more are what make WNC a playground for all ages, if we do not take advantage of being near all of these awesome activities then we have forgotten what truly matters!

Reason 2: SEASONS

Winter, Spring, Summer, and Fall are the four seasons, right? Well yes, but have you ever lived in a place where you get to experience all four of them? WNC is a place where the four seasons are very defined, and amazing each in their own way. In Winter you get to see just the right amount of snow, IMG_1029not too much and not too little, just enough where everything turns white, but you are not stuck without power and out of work for weeks. In Spring you get to watch the many plants and trees that make up our lush landscape bloom and come to life after being held dormant during the Winter, and the show is spectacular to watch! In the Summer activities abound and people come from all over to join in on them, from festivals to competitions, the outdoors are crawling with people having fun. The tress have covered the landscape with a layer of never-ending green, that creates awesome shade for all of our outdoor activities to shield us from the 80 degree heat. In Fall watch the mountains and valleys that surround you be transformed into a beautiful painting that will make even the most unimpressed people stand in awe. Experiencing one of the four seasons is just not enough for me, which is why I call this place home!

Reason 3: COMMUNITY

Bryson CityThis third reason can be one of the most important for people looking to call a new place home. The community in WNC varies some depending on what city you are in, but that is just another thing that makes this place great. However, one thing that all of our communities have in common is true “southern hospitality”, and I am not talking about the use of a country twang “Ma’am and Sur” being used to greet you, I am talking about people who truly want to listen to your story and help you out in any way that they can. We may be different in many ways, but the one thing a neighbor in the mountains will always do is help one another. We eat, love, argue, live, have fun, and mourn together and at the end of the day no matter how rough it was we still support each other and carry on. A community is hard to find when you go on vacation somewhere, but while you are here I hope you get a chance to experience it because it is unique.

There are other reasons that are grouped in with these three for now so that I do not write a 50 page blog post, but these reasons and many more depending on who you ask are all great reasons to want to visit and live in Western North Carolina! If you have been here before I encourage you to come back, if you have never been to WNC the what are you waiting for, and if you are looking for a new place to call home then I hope you are convinced now!

Get to the Mountains!

 

No More Rumor, US-441 is Open!

With an extra $500,000 dangling in front of the construction company working diligently on the road construction project would you expect anything less than a completion date over a month ahead of schedule? Well, if you did, they have proved you wrong; but in the end they have truly surprised and excited the businesses the rely on that section of road to bring in many tourists every year. Just in time for the tourist season to set in and having US-441 back open has changed the grim outlook many businesses had on the upcoming season to smiles and enthusiasm!

US-441 is one of our favorite drives in Western North Carolina because there are just so many things that you can do and see along the way! Here is a list of our favorite things to do while driving through the National Park on any given day, however, you may have to make multiple trips to complete the list.

The List:Screen Shot 2013-04-16 at 11.13.28 AM

– Mingus Mill: This neat old structure provides and easily accessible hike for all visitors and make for a nice little leg stretch and fresh air session.

– Picnicking – The US-441 drive is full of great secluded pull-offs that make for a great place to have a family picnic while enjoying the beauty of the park. Don’t feed the bears though! Picnic areas are located at Big Creek, Chimneys, Cades Cove, Collins Creek, Cosby, Deep Creek, Greenbrier, Heintooga, Look Rock, Metcalf Bottoms, and Twin Creeks.

– Newfound Gap – Just past/before the Clingmans Dome road turn-off is Newfound Gap, which is where a lot of cars stop to take a break and enjoy the view, have a picnic, or take advantage of the restroom. This is the about the mid-point of the drive and its all downhill from here on out, unless you go on a hike!

– Charlies Bunion – This popular day hike is about 8 miles round trip, but is relatively flat and well maintained. If you want to say that you have walked on the Appalachian Trail then this is the hike that you need to do, and the view at the end is pretty awesome. There is also a chance for you to see an Appalachian Trail shelter and drink out of a mountain spring!

Screen Shot 2013-04-16 at 11.13.53 AMMountian Farm Museum: These historic structures were once part of a functioning Appalachian community that was tucked away in the Great Smokies. Now these structure rest at the entrance to 441 and if you can catch the live demonstrations that go on you will most likely learn something new.

– Mount LeConte – This awesome peak is rare in the National Park because it offers the highest lodging and dinning facility to guests in the eastern United States! At 6593ft it is the third highest peak in the National Park but still provides awesome views. There are four different ways to hike up to Mount LeConte. The most popular along US-441 is going to be the Alum Bluff Cave Trail which will take you straight up the mountain and along cliffsides for about 4.9 miles. This is a great day hike for the family looking for a challenge, you legs will be soar, guaranteed!

– Chimney Tops – This hake is another one of those steep incline ones, but again it is worth the work once you get to the top. The unique jagged rock formations at the top make for some creative and careful climbing, but it is a great place to sit, relax, take in the view over a snack or picnic. This is a great day hike, and if you get to hot on the hike then the river at the bottom is a great place to let the kids play and cool off!Screen Shot 2013-04-16 at 11.14.26 AM

– Clingmans Dome – This is one of the most popular stops along this section of road. Clingmans Dome takes you to 6643ft in elevation and if you are there on a low smog day then you will be able to see forever! The hike up to the lookout tower is about a mile and a pretty good incline, but is is a paved trail, which make for easier walking. The hike is well worth the reward once you get to the top!

– Cades Cove – Now this place is truly breathtaking, however, you do have to venture off of 441 for a bit to reach Cades Cove but it is an awesome spot. This motorway creates a loop that visitors can drive along and view historic buildings and sometimes wildlife. In the peak of tourist season though you can bet on a line of traffic because I am not the first person to write about Cades Cove, it is a very popular spot! Now on the weekends if you get there early enough there are no cars allowed on the road, just bikes, you can bring your own or rent one, but the rentals go fast.

There are many more things to be enjoyed and seen along the US-441 section of road, I have merely skimmed the surface and provided you with some ideas to get you going. We hope to see you soon in Western North Carolina and if you are looking for a cabin don’t forget about Yellow Rose Realty and their great options!

See ya soon,

The Team at Yellow Rose Realty

Biltmore Festival of Flowers

Blooms and beauty abound at the annual Festival of Flowers at the Biltmore Estate Gardens! Hundreds of staff work together to to create an amazing flower tour from the minute you step on to the estate grounds until you leave. There are thousands of different species that you may find very commonly around your own home and others that you have never seen before.

Biltmore’s gardens, designed by Frederick Law Olmsted, are alive with color as spring arrives. Enjoy special events and the beauty of tulips, azaleas, and countless other flowers during Biltmore Blooms. For the first time, guests will be able to step down into the Winter Garden to enjoy a display of exotic orchids intimately, just as George and Edith Vanderbilt’s guests might have. Some of the plants will be the same species that were planned for the Biltmore Conservatory in 1894.Outdoors, enjoy a beautiful progression of blooms from tulips to pansies, azaleas, and much more.              – www.biltmore.com

The Festival of Flowers is a great idea for a family outing while you are staying in one of our beautiful mountain homes in Bryson City or Cherokee, NC. Staying in one of our cabins opposed to a hotel in Asheville gives you a true feel and experience in the great smoky mountains. Cleaner air and clearer water will well worth the drive back t you cabin after you have spent your day in Asheville/Biltmore! We have over 60 cabins for you to choose from and would love to see you this spring. Please contact us by calling (800) 528-0760 or by visiting us at www.yellowroserealty.com

We want to help you plan your Western North Carolina experience! Contact us today!

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!