Back Porch Jam

On the first and third Saturdays of each month, all year, you are welcome to bring an acoustic instrument and join in on this old-time jam. Not a picker? We’ll grinners are needed too! Come kick back and enjoy the sights and sounds as others play traditional Appalachian Music. The jam takes place on the covered porch at the Oconaluftee visitor center, located at the entrance of the Great Smoky Mountain National Park on Hwy 441 in Cherokee. 

Music on Tap 

The sledding adventures are over and Nantahala Brewing Company has their eye on spring. As the air warms, the main tap room reopens and the Music on Tap Concert Series begins. Over the last two years, this local brewery has consistanly brought quality music into Bryson City. The acts range in genre from country and Americana, to rock n roll and soul. There’s something for everyone. 

Saturday, March 14th the concert series kicks off with The DuPont Brothers. These songwriters wear their hearts on their sleeves and the harmonies are cause for melting.

Friday, March 20th The Freeway Revival takes the stage. These guys are rock n roll souls and shouldn’t be missed. They head out for a Europe tour later this year. 

Saturday, March 21st Fritz Beer & the Crooked Beat  is an acoustic/Americana rock band headed by songwriter, Fritz Beer. Beer writes songs “about good-hearted people who sometimes go astray”. 

All music starts at 8:30pm and continues until about 11pm. These shows are free. So grab a pizza from Anthony’s, take it to the brewery, pull up a pint and a seat to a good night. Cheers!

The Nantahala Brewing Company is located at 61 Depot Street. Parking is on the corner of Depot Street and Richmond. Check website in link at top for daily hours. Family and dog friendly. 


The Freeway Revival photo by Liz Nance

The DuPont Brothers photo by Liz Nance

Frita Beer & the Crooked Beat photo by Liz Nance

Hiking in the Smokies

Hiking Trails of the Smokies is a book that was originally published in 1994 by the Great Smoky Mountains Natural History Association. Filled with maps and detailed trail descriptions written by 15 different hikers, this is one of the most popular hiking guides for this area. This book aims to help you plan your hiking and backpacking trips, as well as guide you along the trails. The book provides such information as trail mileage to elevation gain, trail difficulty to trail cautions and highlights. Find trails that are great for viewing wildflowers, or maybe it’s a mountain top view you’re after. Find waterfalls and venture to spots you never knew existed. New editions of this book have been released so trail info is accurate and up-to-date.  The Great Smokies Mountain Association is a nonprofit and operates several bookstores within the park at various visitor centers and park ranger stations. You can also shop their online bookstore from home. 

Just a little winter left! Plan your spring hikes and backpacking trips. Not a camper? Plan a day hike then find a cozy little mountain cabin to stay in close by. There’s something for everyone in western North Carolina. 

Dreaming of Spring

Sure there’s snow on the ground now, but soon it will be melted by the spring sunshine. I can already see the daffodils poking through, ready to jump up and burst into a beautiful display of yellow flowers. So while you are stuck inside because of the cold, use this time to plan that spring break vacation. Find a place in the Great Smoky Mountain National Park to day hike or plan a weeklong backpacking trip. Maybe you’ve never been fly fishing, the guys at Tuck Fly Shop are always ready to guide a beginner or show you the best places to head out on your own. 

So pull out the maps and trail hiking guides and get to daydreaming. Hang on, all you winter bah-hum-bugs, it’s almost over. 


All Aboard



IMG_2502A season worth of Polar Express and Valentine train rides is over. Things are cold now, but the snow will soon be giving way to little sprouts of green. The Great Smoky Mountain Railroad is slowly creeping back to a full spring schedule. Currently, the railroad is running on Saturdays only. This is the Tuckaseegee River excursion. The 32 mile round-trip ride from the depot in Bryson City to the small town of Dillsboro, NC will keep you and your family entertained for four hours. You’ll be able to walk around town and check out the many artisans’ shops with a 1.5 hour layover time. From chocolatiers to potters, from wine to cheese, don’t let the size of Dillsboro fool you. This quaint mountain town has a lot to offer. The ride departs at 11am from Bryson City. Make your reservations now!

Winter Wonderland

Well we may have had to wait until February, but we’re finally having a real winter. The snow is on the ground and still falling here in the Great Smoky Mountains. Sitting in a rustic cabin on the hillside, feet kicked up by the fire, that’s how we enjoy our snow days. Currently we can’t see the ridge line in the distance for the wall of white. For the adventurous, the snow turns old familiar trails into new wonderlands. This weather brings sledding, snowmen, and snow angels. Ever made snow cream? We’ve got a bowl sitting out on the porch right now. Tonight we’ll bring it in and add a little milk, vanilla, and sugar. Mmmmm. A winter treat to keep the sweet tooth at bay while we’re stuck inside. Happy February. Hope this weather finds you all happy and warm.

Dining In?

After taking a month long winter break, Cork and Bean in Bryson City has reopened! Freshly renovated and already bustling proving that it is true what they say, absence does indeed make the heart grow fonder. This cafe is a favorite among tourists and locals alike. Whether you are looking for breakfast, brunch, lunch, dinner, or just a drink and a little break, Cork & Bean never disappoints. Stop in to see what’s new. The ingredients are always fresh and organic or local when available. Cheers y’all!

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!