North Carolina Itinerary: Why the Elk Stay Anywhere Else?
The Itinerary at a Glance
It’s time to gather in the North Carolina Smokies. This Haywood County experience includes everything from fireside s’mores and craft whiskey to elk- watching and live theater. When you’re not on top of a mountain or in a national park, you can enjoy the local restaurants, shops and museums.
5 Unique Experiences on This Trip
- Museum of North Carolina Handicrafts
- Great Smoky Mountain National Park
- Elevated Mountain Distilling Company
- Haywood Arts Regional Theatre
- Blue Ridge Parkway
Duration: 3 Days
This Itinerary is Ideal For: Adults over 21
Arrive by lunchtime in downtown Waynesville to explore an award-winning Main Street. For something local, stop by The Patio Bistro, Smokey Mountain Sub Shop or Trailhead Bakery & Cafe. Afterwards visit the art galleries and don’t forget to stop by Mast General Store to gear up for the adventures that await.
Head over to the Shelton House for a personalized tour of the Museum of North Carolina Handicrafts, a unique collection of traditional crafts and folk art created by some of North Carolina’s most renowned artisans. The charming farmhouse, built in 1875, is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
In the evening, head up the mountain to an elevation of 5,000 feet for an authentic dinner at Cataloochee Guest Ranch. Finish by roasting s’mores at the campfire and listening to a storyteller.
In partnership with Leap Frog Tours head into the Great Smoky Mountain National Park to see the elk and other wildlife in the Cataloochee Valley. While there, you can tour an old school, a church, several homes and other structures dating back to 1910. There are numerous hiking trails and streams to explore before having a picnic lunch.
Stop by the Elevated Mountain Distilling Company in Maggie Valley for a genuine whiskey experience. The 11,000-sq.-ft. facility includes the distillery, barrel storage, bottling area, product development and gift shop.
In the evening, enjoy dinner at Harmon’s Den followed by a performance at Haywood Arts Regional Theatre, known by locals as the “HART.” This year-round theater features productions from classics like MacBeth to Broadway musicals like Mamma Mia!
It’s time to recharge at Joey’s Pancake House, a go-to breakfast spot in Maggie Valley since 1966. And when you are done you can grab a coffee mug or box of their pancake mix to take home.
Before leaving, you need to drive the Blue Ridge Parkway, stopping at WaterRock Knob for some amazing views, a short hike and a talk with a ranger at the visitor’s center. There are numerous overlooks along this section of the parkway for group photos.