A Few of Our Favorite Things

Alexander

A Few of Our Favorite Things

Food scene
A wonderful local coffee shop that's just a short drive away. It's our go-to not just due to the proximity, but because they've got great coffee!
Cardinal Coffee
22 Needmore Rd
A wonderful local coffee shop that's just a short drive away. It's our go-to not just due to the proximity, but because they've got great coffee!
This is a great family friendly diner that has a little bit of everything. Great breakfast. Their biscuits and gravy is among the best I've had.
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Everett Street Diner
126 Everett Street
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This is a great family friendly diner that has a little bit of everything. Great breakfast. Their biscuits and gravy is among the best I've had.
Bryson City has a couple of great breweries now, but we really enjoy Mountain Layers Brewing Company. They've got a great selection and when you order whatever the special is, they give you a poker chip to drop in a box and 'donate' to a local charity. Out back, they have some covid-safe outdoor seating and rotate local food trucks.
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Mountain Layers Brewing Company
90 Everett St
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Bryson City has a couple of great breweries now, but we really enjoy Mountain Layers Brewing Company. They've got a great selection and when you order whatever the special is, they give you a poker chip to drop in a box and 'donate' to a local charity. Out back, they have some covid-safe outdoor seating and rotate local food trucks.
If you're in downtown Bryson looking for coffee, Mountain Perks is the place. A perfect pit stop before a morning on the Great Smoky Mountain Railroad. Try their chorizo quiche!
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Mountain Perks
9 Depot St
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If you're in downtown Bryson looking for coffee, Mountain Perks is the place. A perfect pit stop before a morning on the Great Smoky Mountain Railroad. Try their chorizo quiche!
A friend recommended this place our first time up. It's an old school drive in with exactly the kind of burger you'd expect at such a place. Inexpensive and tasty, but be aware — it’s cash only 🤯
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Naber's Drive In
1245 Main St
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A friend recommended this place our first time up. It's an old school drive in with exactly the kind of burger you'd expect at such a place. Inexpensive and tasty, but be aware — it’s cash only 🤯
If you're looking for a nice sit-down dining experience, this is the date night go to. Make sure to make reservations in advance!
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The Bistro at the Everett Hotel
16 Everett Street
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If you're looking for a nice sit-down dining experience, this is the date night go to. Make sure to make reservations in advance!
Legit pancakes and a great view of the river! If you're going to visit Cherokee this is a great family friendly place to get a bite to eat.
Peter's Pancakes & Waffles
1384 Tsali Blvd
Legit pancakes and a great view of the river! If you're going to visit Cherokee this is a great family friendly place to get a bite to eat.
Imagine if Willy Wonka had a thing for popcorn instead of chocolate, gobstoppers and thinly veiled sadism. We start off most of our trips with a stop at Pop-N-Jacks to load up for the week! Kathryn's favorite is dill mixed with white cheddar and a smidge of jalapeño. The kids usually get the super-duper movie theater buttery one combined with something desert-like, like key lime.
POP-N-JACKS Gourmet Popcorn
Imagine if Willy Wonka had a thing for popcorn instead of chocolate, gobstoppers and thinly veiled sadism. We start off most of our trips with a stop at Pop-N-Jacks to load up for the week! Kathryn's favorite is dill mixed with white cheddar and a smidge of jalapeño. The kids usually get the super-duper movie theater buttery one combined with something desert-like, like key lime.
Great sit-down restaurant located near the cabin on the Nantahala River. River's End is at the NOC so it can get crowded but the view is hard to beat.
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River's End Restaurant
13077 U.S. 19
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Great sit-down restaurant located near the cabin on the Nantahala River. River's End is at the NOC so it can get crowded but the view is hard to beat.
Great food, great beer, great views along the Cheoah river! A few times a year there's a big water release from the dam. If you time your visit right, you'll enjoy watching kayakers from all over the world tackle class 4 and class 5 rapids!
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Historic Tapoco Lodge Resort
14981 Tapoco Rd
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Great food, great beer, great views along the Cheoah river! A few times a year there's a big water release from the dam. If you time your visit right, you'll enjoy watching kayakers from all over the world tackle class 4 and class 5 rapids!
Essentials
This is the grocery store we use when visiting the area. It's just outside Bryson's downtown and is easily accessible. There's another Ingles in the other direction, but it's located in a dry county. So..
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Ingles Markets
19/23 Hughes Branch Road
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This is the grocery store we use when visiting the area. It's just outside Bryson's downtown and is easily accessible. There's another Ingles in the other direction, but it's located in a dry county. So..
If you get a little crazy with the trash and want to tidy things up a bit, this is the local recycling center. Just pull in and toss in your bags and/or your recyclables and off you go. Mountain living!
Swain County Recycling Con Center
1422 Old U.S. 19
If you get a little crazy with the trash and want to tidy things up a bit, this is the local recycling center. Just pull in and toss in your bags and/or your recyclables and off you go. Mountain living!
A quick access general store for your every day basics. They've also got a restaurant with a great breakfast and a EV charger for those that need it! It's in a dry county, so be warned. No booze.
Wolf Creek General Store Cafe
2620 North Carolina 28
A quick access general store for your every day basics. They've also got a restaurant with a great breakfast and a EV charger for those that need it! It's in a dry county, so be warned. No booze.
The BP gas station off of 19 has basic provisions as well as firewood. It's a little further away than Wolf Creek but you'll likely be passing it more often in your adventures. It's also in Swain County, which sells alcohol.
7530 W Hwy 19
7530 West Highway 19
The BP gas station off of 19 has basic provisions as well as firewood. It's a little further away than Wolf Creek but you'll likely be passing it more often in your adventures. It's also in Swain County, which sells alcohol.
Sightseeing
This place is so cool. Built in just 36 months by the Tennessee Valley Authority in the early 1940s, it's the tallest dam east of the Rockies at 480 feet. There's a well done observation area at the dam, and just across the street on the lake side there is a nice little park. If you go up the stairs at the park the lookout over Fontana Lake is superb.
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Fontana Dam
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This place is so cool. Built in just 36 months by the Tennessee Valley Authority in the early 1940s, it's the tallest dam east of the Rockies at 480 feet. There's a well done observation area at the dam, and just across the street on the lake side there is a nice little park. If you go up the stairs at the park the lookout over Fontana Lake is superb.
Clingmans Dome is the highest point in the Smoky's. It's also the highest point of the Appalachian Trail, which intersects with the hike up to the Dome from the parking lot. If you time it right, the view is astounding. When you don't, you're basically standing in a cloud. The views from the parking lot are wonderful either way though. The hike up claims to be 1/2 a mile. It might be, but be prepared because even though its well paved it can be steep. There's frequent benches to take a break if you need. On a clear day the payoff is worth it.
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Clingmans Dome
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Clingmans Dome is the highest point in the Smoky's. It's also the highest point of the Appalachian Trail, which intersects with the hike up to the Dome from the parking lot. If you time it right, the view is astounding. When you don't, you're basically standing in a cloud. The views from the parking lot are wonderful either way though. The hike up claims to be 1/2 a mile. It might be, but be prepared because even though its well paved it can be steep. There's frequent benches to take a break if you need. On a clear day the payoff is worth it.
The "Road to Nowhere" is a bit of a hidden gem. With the creation of Fontana Lake in the 40s, the old highway was lost. The Fed's promised to replace the road with a new one but ran into a bunch of environmental and cost issues and abandoned the project. So now there's this 6 mile long road that has a tunnel through a mountain and then it just completely ends. The tunnel has become a bit of a graffiti hotspot and has some creepiness to it, but nothing a flash light can't handle. At the other end of the tunnel is the trailheads for Lakeshore Trail and the Goldmine Loop Trail
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Lakeview Drive East
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The "Road to Nowhere" is a bit of a hidden gem. With the creation of Fontana Lake in the 40s, the old highway was lost. The Fed's promised to replace the road with a new one but ran into a bunch of environmental and cost issues and abandoned the project. So now there's this 6 mile long road that has a tunnel through a mountain and then it just completely ends. The tunnel has become a bit of a graffiti hotspot and has some creepiness to it, but nothing a flash light can't handle. At the other end of the tunnel is the trailheads for Lakeshore Trail and the Goldmine Loop Trail
Remember the movie "The Fugitive" with Harrison Ford? Much of the film was shot around this area. The spectacular train wreck scene used real trains, not CGI or models, and the remnants are still sitting right where they left them in nearby Sylva. You can look down from the public road and see them just fine. It's private property, so how close you're able to get will depend on if things are opened up or not. Check AtlasObscura.com for more details
973 Haywood Rd
973 Haywood Road
Remember the movie "The Fugitive" with Harrison Ford? Much of the film was shot around this area. The spectacular train wreck scene used real trains, not CGI or models, and the remnants are still sitting right where they left them in nearby Sylva. You can look down from the public road and see them just fine. It's private property, so how close you're able to get will depend on if things are opened up or not. Check AtlasObscura.com for more details
Activities
For us, a day on the lake is a must. Almond Boat & RV Park is located 5 to 10 minutes away. Bryson City Outdoors sets up camp here during the season and rents kayaks and paddle boards. Rentals can be by the hour or day. If you've taken or plan to take the Great Smoky Mountain Railroad, you'll encounter an old bridge that travels over Fontana. That's a short paddle away and is a fun place to catch the train from the lake side. There's also a rope swing hidden a cove or two away in Swain County Park. Ask the attendant and I'm sure they can give you more specific directions!
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Almond Boat & RV Park
1165 Almond Boat Park Road
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For us, a day on the lake is a must. Almond Boat & RV Park is located 5 to 10 minutes away. Bryson City Outdoors sets up camp here during the season and rents kayaks and paddle boards. Rentals can be by the hour or day. If you've taken or plan to take the Great Smoky Mountain Railroad, you'll encounter an old bridge that travels over Fontana. That's a short paddle away and is a fun place to catch the train from the lake side. There's also a rope swing hidden a cove or two away in Swain County Park. Ask the attendant and I'm sure they can give you more specific directions!
Tubing at Deep Creek is a family favorite. It's a great place to see a few waterfalls along a well maintained trail, and the river itself is an exciting run starting at the top. It's short enough that you can tube down and run back up. It's basically a completely natural, outdoor water park in the Smoky Mountains! It's also affordable. There's tubing rental companies all along the road heading into the campground and you can expect to pay <$10 per tube. We once used tubes from Walmart and I do *not* recommend that. The ones you rent are thicker and sit a lot higher up, and despite the name, the creek is not all that deep. Regular tubes will drag all the way down.
Deep Creek Campground Entrance Bridge
Deep Deep Creek Campground Entrance Bridge
Tubing at Deep Creek is a family favorite. It's a great place to see a few waterfalls along a well maintained trail, and the river itself is an exciting run starting at the top. It's short enough that you can tube down and run back up. It's basically a completely natural, outdoor water park in the Smoky Mountains! It's also affordable. There's tubing rental companies all along the road heading into the campground and you can expect to pay <$10 per tube. We once used tubes from Walmart and I do *not* recommend that. The ones you rent are thicker and sit a lot higher up, and despite the name, the creek is not all that deep. Regular tubes will drag all the way down.
If you've got kids, gem mining is a great way to create a memory and satisfy any potential case of the 'gimmes' they might have. We like this one and have found their buckets to be both affordable and filled with a lot of gems.
Smoky Mountain Gold-Ruby Mine
971 Tsali Boulevard
If you've got kids, gem mining is a great way to create a memory and satisfy any potential case of the 'gimmes' they might have. We like this one and have found their buckets to be both affordable and filled with a lot of gems.
Rafting, kayaking and zip lining along the Nantahala! The NOC has it all along with decent food and better beer. It's 10-15 minutes from the cabin, tops.
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Nantahala Outdoor Center
13077 Highway 19 West
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Rafting, kayaking and zip lining along the Nantahala! The NOC has it all along with decent food and better beer. It's 10-15 minutes from the cabin, tops.
World class hiking and mountain biking trail located 5-10 minutes away. Killer views of Fontana Lake and the Nantahala National Forest.
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Tsali trailhead
8105 Tsali Rd
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World class hiking and mountain biking trail located 5-10 minutes away. Killer views of Fontana Lake and the Nantahala National Forest.
Chances are if you're coming to the area, you're already familiar with the Great Smoky Mountains Railroad. BUT JUST IN CASE YOU ARE NOT. This is a wonderful half day activity to do with kids. It runs from Downtown Bryson to the NOC and back. Tickets include access to the model train museum which is sure to be a favorite. At Christmas Time the train turns into the Polar Express and is a super popular family activity.
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Great Smoky Mountains Railroad
45 Mitchell St
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Chances are if you're coming to the area, you're already familiar with the Great Smoky Mountains Railroad. BUT JUST IN CASE YOU ARE NOT. This is a wonderful half day activity to do with kids. It runs from Downtown Bryson to the NOC and back. Tickets include access to the model train museum which is sure to be a favorite. At Christmas Time the train turns into the Polar Express and is a super popular family activity.
For us, a day on the lake is a must. Much like Almond Boat & RV Park, the Prince Boat Dock is only 5 to 10 minutes away. They rent pontoons and houseboats, but not paddle boards.
Prince Boat Dock
237 Prince Boat Dock
For us, a day on the lake is a must. Much like Almond Boat & RV Park, the Prince Boat Dock is only 5 to 10 minutes away. They rent pontoons and houseboats, but not paddle boards.
The fishing hole here is *awesome*. It's a well stocked trout pond. They'll give you a pole, bait your hook if you'd like and teach you the basics if you're new to fishing. They'll also clean your catch for you and send you home with perfect, ready to eat rainbow trout filets. You only pay for what you catch, and you are basically guaranteed to catch something. You'll catch more in 15 minutes than you would all day elsewhere. It's located one neighborhood over from the cabin off of Panther Creek, perhaps a 5 minute drive. Take a right on 28 and then another right, then straight down Panther Creek a few miles until you see it.
Tumbling waters campground and trout pond
1612 Panther Creek Rd
The fishing hole here is *awesome*. It's a well stocked trout pond. They'll give you a pole, bait your hook if you'd like and teach you the basics if you're new to fishing. They'll also clean your catch for you and send you home with perfect, ready to eat rainbow trout filets. You only pay for what you catch, and you are basically guaranteed to catch something. You'll catch more in 15 minutes than you would all day elsewhere. It's located one neighborhood over from the cabin off of Panther Creek, perhaps a 5 minute drive. Take a right on 28 and then another right, then straight down Panther Creek a few miles until you see it.
With 100 foot trees that are 20 feet wide, this old growth forest has an easy to hike two mile loop. There’s not many places where you can see 400 year old trees! The main loop is easy enough for small children and is well maintained.
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Joyce Kilmer Memorial Forest, Cheoah Ranger District, Nantahala National Forest
5410 Joyce Kilmer Road
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With 100 foot trees that are 20 feet wide, this old growth forest has an easy to hike two mile loop. There’s not many places where you can see 400 year old trees! The main loop is easy enough for small children and is well maintained.
Darnell Farms is a perfect half-day "agri-tourism" located on the other side of Bryson. They've got a wonderful play area for kids, an outdoor farmers market for fresh produce and supplies, and special activities for all four seasons of the year. Pro tip: Darnell Farms actually delivers farm fresh groceries to the cabin most of the year as well. Order a day in advance on their website!
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Darnell Farms
2300 Governors Island Rd
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Darnell Farms is a perfect half-day "agri-tourism" located on the other side of Bryson. They've got a wonderful play area for kids, an outdoor farmers market for fresh produce and supplies, and special activities for all four seasons of the year. Pro tip: Darnell Farms actually delivers farm fresh groceries to the cabin most of the year as well. Order a day in advance on their website!
The Cherokee casino is one of the bigger draws in the area. It's about 30 minutes away from the cabin and a really easy drive!
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Harrah's Cherokee Casino Resort
777 Casino Drive
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The Cherokee casino is one of the bigger draws in the area. It's about 30 minutes away from the cabin and a really easy drive!
Neighborhoods
Our neighborhood, Tobacco Branch Village, has a great private swimming hole filled with fresh spring water, a giant valley to run around and play games in and a pavilion that's perfect for a picnic. It's located just down the hill from the cabin and makes for a great, quick hike. Pro-tip: In the winter when there's snow, it's the perfect place to sled and build snowmen!
Tobacco Branch Road
Our neighborhood, Tobacco Branch Village, has a great private swimming hole filled with fresh spring water, a giant valley to run around and play games in and a pavilion that's perfect for a picnic. It's located just down the hill from the cabin and makes for a great, quick hike. Pro-tip: In the winter when there's snow, it's the perfect place to sled and build snowmen!