Cultural and Educational Things to Do in the Smoky Mountains of North Carolina
As the home of the Cherokee people, early Scotch Irish settlers and countless generations of self-reliant Appalachian folk, the Smoky Mountains of North Carolina offer many opportunities to encounter the ways of the past.
Enjoy a performance of traditional Appalachian music while seated inside a renovated 1920s schoolhouse. Visit a century-old general store. Experience a local theater performance. Or learn a new hobby at a folk school, where you can try your hand at a time-tested craft such as weaving, carving or blacksmithing. Discover more about local craft traditions as you explore the Blue Ridge Craft Trails.
A visit to Cherokee is not to be missed. The Museum of the Cherokee Indian guides visitors through 11,000-years of Cherokee history. Step into the Oconaluftee Indian Village to find yourself standing in a recreated 1700s village. Watch skilled artisans at work making traditional wares, and experience re-enactments and traditional dances.
Watch the story of the Cherokee unfold beneath the stars at Unto These Hills, a powerful outdoor retelling of the Trail of Tears. The nearby town of Murphy was the site of Fort Butler, which played an important role in this chamber of American history. Visit the Cherokee County Historical Museum there to see artifacts and replicas from this time period.
Other museums in the N.C. Smokies focus on the culture and contributions of Scottish settlers, on the popular pastime of fly fishing, on the geological history of the mountains and on the enduring love of the American housecat.