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Nearby Neighbors of the NC Smokies

Bear Trap Gap on the Blue Ridge Parkway

The most fascinating thing about Mountain Folk is that they are all kindred spirits, linked by the heritage of the NC Great Smoky Mountains. Regional and state borders don’t define their Appalachian culture, and there are a few places outside of the westernmost NC area and just over the border that you definitely will want to include in your vacation or staycation itinerary.

Bear Trap Gap on the Blue Ridge Parkway
Bear Trap Gap on the Blue Ridge Parkway. Photo by Robert Stephens

What To Do

Explore “America’s Favorite Drive” on the Blue Ridge Parkway with the ultimate directory and travel planner from Blue Ridge Parkway. It includes visitor information, points of interest, and lodging information. Make your trip the easiest and most enjoyable with their free mobile app!

Contemporary-art and history buffs won’t want to miss the Appalachian Mural Trail, including works in Canton, Hayesville, Hendersonville, Asheville, and Robbinsville, NC, as well as murals in GA and VA. The historical outdoor masterpieces, telling the stories of the beauty and history of Appalachia, will be an adventure in exploration. Some of the murals are created by individual artists, but many are also the contribution from an entire community. You can even map your own trail based on your favorites.

The Blue Ridge Music Trail across Western NC takes you on a journey of traditional mountain music with trip tools, maps, videos, and more. Meet the new faces honoring traditional mountain music and the icons who have been playing bluegrass and old-time music for decades. Find local concerts, jam sessions, dances, and more at Blue Ridge Music Trails.

Over the state border, the Foxfire Museum in nearby Mountain City, GA offers visitors a trip back through history to an early Appalachian Village with 20 historic log structures and artifacts dating to as far back as the 1820s. There is so much to discover here, including on-site demonstrations of traditional weaving and basketmaking. The museum is open 7 days a week and includes a half-mile walking trail to enjoy.

We can’t get enough of Goats on the Roof in close-by South Tiger, GA! Plan to spend several hours browsing Amish foods and furniture and eating homemade fudge and nitro ice cream. The whole family will get in on the action gem mining and crushing rocks. But the best part is watching the goats actually leaping and frolicking on the skywalks and roofs! The kids can become official Goat Rangers, feeding the goats (adults also welcome.) Then close out the fun by roasting marshmallows around the fire pit.

Explore the 100-acre Hillside Orchard Farms in neighboring Lakemont, GA. They grow apples, blackberries, muscadines, and more. Purchase them fresh or sample them in the farm’s signature jams, jellies, ciders, and more. Or, enjoy the fresh fruits and berries baked into breads, pies, and piping hot fritters. Grab a thrill enjoying the hayrides, a corn maze, gem mining, and a barnyard- and farm-themed playground.

Where To Eat

You have a plethora of restaurants and eateries to choose from in any of these destinations, but we highly recommend grabbing a meal at the Cupboard Cafe in Dillsboro, GA. The proprietor, Charlene Johnson, is everyone’s favorite neighbor, serving up homemade biscuits, fresh foods, and homemade desserts  – all scratch made every day.

Where To Stay

For a luxurious stay, try the  Shoji Spa and Lodge. Featuring Asheville’s only outdoor hot tub, this spa also offers breathtaking views, a cedar sauna, and an invigorating cold shower. They specialize in couples’ massages, so why not add some romance to your time away? Book the charming House of Wind or House of Earth to complete your special getaway.r

If you’re more comfortable bringing all of the amenities of home with you, hook your motorhome up at the River Vista RV Resort in Dillard, GA and prepare for non-stop activities. Enjoy the large community center with two kitchens, a stage, and a double-sided fireplace. After a day of catch-and-release fishing in their pond, head over to the indoor pool and spa. Your view can’t get much more peaceful than the majestic waterfall cascading down the nearby mountain.

The beautiful town of Clayton, GA is home to the friendly, comfortable Mountain Aire Cottages. Choose from 1- or 2-bedroom private cottages or a cozy motel room. Take a short, 12-minute walk down cherry-tree-lined sidewalks to reach downtown Clayton’s shops and restaurants. The area boasts scenic lakes, rivers, waterfalls, and trails. Spend your day enjoying the nearby boating, canoeing, golfing, and rafting.

Once here, we think you’ll be tempted to make it a more permanent arrangement. Ridgetop Associates can help you set up a successful business move with their 30 years of public relations, government affairs, and association management experience.

Or perhaps you’d like to make a more lasting memory of these mountains by getting married here? Look no further than the Sky Valley Country Club in Sky Valley, GA! This perfect mountain venue offers water features, historic landmarks, and quaint bridges – perfect for once-in-a-lifetime wedding photos! The 13,000-foot clubhouse makes for a stunning wedding backdrop with high ceilings, ambient lighting, and farm-to-table menu options.

The Nearby Neighbors of the NC Great Smoky Mountains are a welcome extension to the wonder of this region. Visit them today, even for just a day trip, to see how special they are.