Touring Western North Carolina – Maggie Valley, Cherokee, Blue Ridge Parkway, Sylva
Joan and I branched out from Maggie Valley, NC and visited some of the surrounding towns and sites. Western North Carolina has so much to see and do and Joan and I took a few days to travel around to many of the small mountain towns and see the sites along the way. Watching the video below, we start at the edge of our campground. Located in the heart of Maggie Valley, we bordered a beautiful mountain creek loaded with rocks and contours that entertained as we strolled along the edge. But there as more to see in this area as we continue touring Western North Carolina.
Joan has been on the lookout for some turquoise jewelry. We have been to Cherokee, NC in the past and found a number of shops that specialized in high quality turquoise jewelry. It was a beautiful day in the mountains and we took the drive along Highway US 19 from Maggie Valley across the mountains to Cherokee.
We stopped at White Eagle Crafts and found a large array of high quality turquoise jewelry. Most of what was stocked is created by a Navaho guild located in Arizona. Jewelry ranged from the simple to the very elaborate and it wasn’t long until Joan found that perfect ring and necklace. After a quick lunch we wandered over to Saunooke’s Mill & Shop to check out the water wheel where they grind cornmeal and grits.
It’s easy to spend a day to two in Cherokee seeing the sites, shopping, and for those who want to cool off on a warm summer day, tube the Oconaluftee River.
Blue Ridge Parkway
From the north side of Cherokee along Highway US 441, we were able to access the south end of the Blue Ridge Parkway. We took this short drive back to Maggie Valley stopping at all the overlooks along the way. Once we reached one of the mountain summits, the views facing south were stunning.
Our last stop along the parkway was Plott Balsam Overlook at an elevation of 5,020 ft. Stepping out of the truck we found the temperature dropped almost 20 degrees from our start on the parkway. And the views were incredible – rolling hills, deep blue skies, a little cloud cover to offer just the right amount of contrast, and we found it hard to leave. Reaching the crossroad with Highway US 19, we headed back to Maggie Valley.
Maggie Valley Fairground – The Truck Show
There was something going on every weekend at the Maggie Valley Fairgrounds. On this weekend Joan and I dropped by to see the truck show. We found an amazing display of trucks from the 1930’s to present. Some of the trucks were ground-up restorations and looked as if they just rolled off the showroom floor; others had been highly modified with too many features to list. And the show was not limited to the highly polished. We found a number of rat rods with their fun, quirky mods that were just as entertaining to see.
Joan and I were finding it difficult to try and fit all the areas we wanted to visit during our stay. Each of the small mountain towns have something unique to share. Every weekend each area had festivals, live music and so much more to experience. Fortunately, we had a free afternoon and took a drive over to Sylva, NC.
Downtown Sylva has had a revival over the past several years with a wide range of businesses returning to the area. The main strip had restaurants, wine bars, small breweries, fly fishing wares, hiker goods, antiques, candy shops and more. Joan and I took the short walk through town stopping in the shops, snacking along the way, and visited one of the local breweries.
We capped the visit at the end of town with a walk up the steps to the old court house building. What an amazing structure and equally amazing is the view of downtown from the top of the steps.
The video below highlights the places we mention above and more. We’re having so much fun touring Western North Carolina and our stay in Maggie Valley, and plan to visit some of the nearby waterfalls. More to come in the next blog.
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