TOURS/Consierge/Guides: Carolina Bound Adventures, Cataloochee Valley Tours, Alarka Expeditions

CAROLINA BOUND ADVENTURES is a concierge vacation planning service in the Bryson City area. They are passionate about creating a memorable adventure for everyone, from the first time visitor to the experienced traveler. With their expertise and familiarity in the area, they help you create an unforgettable family vacation experience. Different adventure packages are available, ranging from day-long to week-long adventures, plan, stay, play, groceries stocked for you, bookings, waterfalls, biking, hiking, rafting, train & brewery trips…too much to name. Their team will use their area expertise to guide your way by making reservations for you or even offering fully guided Adventures. Get Started on Your Adventure on

Join CATALOOCHEE VALLEY TOURS on a guided Eco-tour to one of the best kept secrets in the Great Smoky Mountains — Cataloochee Valley!  See the elk on their guided Evening Elk Eco-Tour or a Sunrise Elk Eco-Tour, offered year round weather permitting.  In June you can journey to their “secret” location to witness the magic of the Synchronous & Blue Ghost Fireflies on a Firefly Night Walk. Travel back in time to one of the most beautiful and remote parts of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.  Cataloochee Valley…where the big elk roam and the black bears play!  You will be transported luxuriously in an eco-friendly Cadillac Escalade Hybrid over the rugged, winding mountain road once called the “Cataloochee Turnpike.”  Their tour is named  in Forbes 5 Great American Wildlife Adventures, Fodor’s Travel 10 Best Safaris in the US, and featured in Southern Living and Lux Life Magazines. Reserve your spot on

ALARKA EXPEDITIONS – Wild Your World!  Let them tailor your trip down the Little Tennessee River that caters to your unique preferences, offering endless opportunities to expand your knowledge of the riverine wilds of southern Appalachia for groups, couples and individuals. Tailor walks and hikes to your specific interests, including birds, botanicals or the fascinating cultural history in our wild mountains. They also offer backyard phenology workshops and art and literature sessions and excursions. You may agree with the 18th century botanist and artist, William Bartram, describing this area as “one of the most charming mountain landscapes perhaps anywhere to be seen.”  Make your tailored-designed expedition in the Nantahala National Forest and the Cowee National Historic District with the conservationist and educators of 

Ferncrest Winery Awards

FernCrest Winery is in the Snowbird Mountains above the Western Carolina Regional Airport, where we planted a small vineyard of Chardonel, Vidal Blanc and Cynthiana grape vines in 2010. We began making wine from them in 2013.  Both the 2013 Chardonel and 2013 Vidal Blanc won Gold medals at the Wine Maker’s Magazine’s International Amateur Competition in 2014.

We began making wine commercially in 2014. Our Vidal Blanc (Royal White) won a Gold medal and our Chardonel (Southern Lady White) and Cynthiana (Mountain Wood Red) won Silver medals at the 2016 Asheville Wine and Food Festival. Our Vidal Blanc won another Gold and our Chardonel won Silver at the NC State Fair 2016. Our newest Vidal Blanc and Cynthiana won Silver and Chardonel won Bronze at the NC State Fair 2018. Our blackberry/blueberry (all hand-picked in Western NC) wine (Black Lady) won a bronze medal at the 2017 North Carolina State Fair.

FernCrest Winery has been blessed that all wines submitted for judging have been awarded medals.

FernCrest Winery Tasting Room is open in downtown Andrews. Wine tastings, bottles and wine by the glass. Local cheeses, local jams and wine merchandise

1060 Main StreetAndrews, NC 28901

(828) 321-1600


Elevated Mountain Distillery Awards

Congratulations to Elevated Mountain Distilling Co of Maggie Valley  on beating out some of the best spirits in the world in three categories at the 2018 Cigar & Spirits Magazine’s World Spirits Competition.

2nd Place Vodka – Hurricane Creek

3rd Place American Blended Whiskeys – Purchase Knob Oak Reserve

1st Place Infused Whiskey – Raymond Fairchild Root Beer White Lightning

They are happy to give tours to show you how they make your favorite spirits, then treat you to a tasting! Morning and early afternoon tours are the best times to see the still in operation. Small batch quality and flavor create a sublime experience that ONLY comes from a craft distillery. Stop by to visit, you might even catch a night of live music. Call: 828-944-0766, 3732 Soco Road.


FONTANA VILLAGE RESORT – Worlds Away from Everyday Noise, Stress & Obligation

Guests who stay at Fontana Village Resort see the world differently because they find inspiration in unexpected places. From mountain biking and hiking trails, to time spent out on the lake, adventures and activities are united not by what makes them the same, but by the remarkable things that make them different. For those who crave fresh air, a quiet atmosphere, authenticity and destination immersion, Fontana Village is where you can explore the outside inside you amidst the best of the Smoky Mountains and all its natural beauty. Whether you want to curl up by the fire with a good book or have the forest waiting right outside your door, the best Nantahala mountain lodge, cabins, and campgrounds are here for you. Great place for groups, weddings and families.

Choose your adventure and set out in the morning sun, on the water, or under a canopy of stars. No matter how you need to step away from the daily grind, Fontana Village is there to help. Enjoy some of the best camping, canoeing, hiking, mountain biking, mini golf, disc golf, pools, and exploring for any Great Smoky Mountain vacation. The marina with all its equipment rentals, pontoon shuttle service for hikers and trout fishermen is at the southern boundary of the Great Smoky Mountain National Park.

Fun comes with the territory!

Seasonal activities include:

  • Campfires and Marshmallow Roasts
  • Live Music
  • Kids Arts and Crafts
  • Field games and Relays
  • Evening Softball Games
  • Guided Nature Hikes
  • Outdoor Movies
  • Talent Shows
  • Karaoke
  • Smoky Mountain Square Dancing
  • And so much more

Multi-tainment Centers in Cherokee & Murphy

The UltraStar Multi-tainment Centers feature “One stop, non-stop entertainment.” Guests experience adventure, competition, entertainment and relaxation all conveniently located under one roof. The Multi-tainment Center features state-of-the-art digital bowling, dining, sports lounge, live entertainment and arcade gaming as well as corporate and private event facilities.  

It is located in both Cherokee and Murphy, NC. For more information on the new UltraStar Multi-tainment Centers visit Follow UltraStar Multi-tainment Center on Facebook at UltraStarNC, Twitter @UltraStarNC and Instagram: UltraStarNC. For Cherokee location call 828-497-8818. For Murphy location call 828-422-5306.”

Christmas Tree Farms & Elf Village


North Carolina ranks No. 2 in the nation in Christmas trees harvested, producing about 19 percent of the country’s Christmas trees. Twelve North Carolina trees have stood in the White House — all of them Frasers. Wouldn’t you like to have one in your house this year? Two special places in the Great Smoky Mountains of North Carolina are listed here for you. (Both are pet friendly)

BOYD MOUNTAIN CHRISTMAS TREES –  Listed #2 in the Top 20 Farms in the U.S. in the October 2018 Country Living Magazine, is in the Waynesville/Maggie Valley area just west of Asheville. The farm has been in the Boyd family for over 100 years, and continues to be a working farm with restored log cabins for rental. One visitor this week wrote: “We were there this morning! We picked out our 3 beautiful 🌲, they cut them down for us, wrapped them, and drilled the center hole at the base. Even enjoyed a cup of hot chocolate and cookies too!! We also bought the Santa’s Magic Water Spout. What a nice back saver. Thank you so much!!!” Others return year after year-one lady from Atlanta has been purchasing her tree at Boyd farm for 11 years. For directions and more details, go to:

Another enchanting place to choose your tree is at TOM SAWYER CHRISTMAS TREE & ELF VILLAGE – A twenty-seven year farm with over eighty acres dedicated to growing the finest Fraser Fir Christmas Trees that range from 3’ to 12’ in height. Perfect elevation at 3800ft and a cool water lake providing moist rain-forest-like air, at Lake Glenville just six miles from the village of Cashiers. Also an event venue, where many say “I Do”. Nestled among acres of Christmas Trees is a haven of tiny little elf-sized cottages – each with its own elfish decor. Every year, in late November, the Elf Village comes to life with holiday fun for kids of all ages.  Your Holiday Experience at Tom Sawyer’s Tree Farm and Elf Village can include any or all of our fun festivities! On weekends you’re offered complimentary hot apple cider and cookies and popcorn… while supplies last, Tour of Trees, Santa on the weekends, horse drawn and tractor carriage rides, go to: for more information. ” Yesterday was AWESOME at Tom Sawyer’s! Great family fun!” is heard over and over! Start a tradition here! You will not be disappointed.


Whiteside Mountain among ’25 Best Fall Hiking Trails’

Wow, one of my favorite hikes was just named one of the “25 Best Fall Hiking Trails: Our Favorite Fall Hikes in the U.S.” by Conde Nast Traveler.  Whiteside Mountain, in Cashiers! The online article noted, “For a small $2 parking fee, hikers on this two-mile-plus loop are rewarded with majestic views of the Blue Ridge Mountains at multiple spots. On clear days, you’ll see to South Carolina, Tennessee, and Georgia; on cloudier ones, a misty mountain fog imbues a spooky feel. Look for peregrine falcons that nest in the mountain’s cliffs.” The loop trail features a view of the highest vertical drop in the Eastern US at 750 feet. Sheer rock faces are popular for rock climbing and rappelling.

Hundreds of miles of trail winds through thousands of acres of pristine wilderness in the Smoky Mountains of Western North Carolina. The Nantahala Forest, Pisgah Forest and the Great Smoky Mountain National Park all offer trails. Some trail to waterfalls, swimming holes, and heart-stopping views. See some of the hikes in the “I’m Interested In” section above.

Franklin, NC the Real Gem of the Smokies

If the beautiful scenery and Southern hospitality aren’t enough, Franklin, NC boasts rich history and unique museums. The Franklin Gem & Mineral Museum is situated in the “old jail”. Among the thousands of specimens of native and foreign stones is the 2 ¼ pound ruby pulled from a local ruby mine in the Cowee Valley. The Ruby City Gem Museum has a unique black light display and also is home to the “World’s Largest Sapphire”, a 385-pound gem as well as a 162-carat ruby found in a local mine. Looking to explore your roots in Franklin? Then head to the Macon County Historical Museum, where you can investigate your ancestors and add to your family tree. If you’re of Scottish ancestry, you must visit the Scottish Tartans Museum that not only displays the Scottish Tartans, but is a wealth of lore about the Scots history, culture, dress and migration.

Giddy-Up to the Smoky Mountains

Horseback riding never gets old, especially when you’re trekking through wildflowers, breathing in fresh air and gazing at the mountains in the distance. It’s a great way for the whole family to enjoy the beautiful region of the Smoky Mountains, no matter the level of each rider. Places like Cataloochee Ranch in Maggie Valley offer horseback riding experiences that are unforgettable. This ranch in particular has stunning trails to explore, and guided professionals to assist you when you need them. Arrowmont Stables in Sylva is another great spot with first-class horses and impressionable trails. They also offer private and group lessons for anyone who needs a refresher. And Smokemont Riding Stables in Cherokee has 4 different options, including hourly rides across the Oconaluftee River, a waterfall ride, a 4-hour ride crossing the river and the waterfalls, and a wagon ride where you can just sit back and let someone else do the driving!  Then there is Chunky Gal Stables outside of Hayesville; a great ride and an old Cherokee story about the Chunky Gal Mountain range. Open 7 days a week, year round, scenic rides, offering horse training, instructions and boarding.

The American Dream Told by The Copper Door