Itinerary at a Glance: Visit NC Smokies is the place you want to gather. The Why the Elk experiences in Haywood County cover everything from elk watching and live theater performances to classic motorcycles and adorable alpacas. When you’re not on top of a mountain or in a national park, you can enjoy some of their local restaurants, shops, and museums.
Authentic Appalachian experiences are happening daily in Haywood County. Come explore 46 of the most scenic miles of the Blue Ridge Parkway, view Elk in the Great Smoky Mountain National Park, or take a guided tour of a family farm. It’s time to gather in the North Carolina Smokies.
Duration: 3 Days
Arrive by lunchtime in downtown Waynesville to explore its award-winning Main Street. Looking for something local, stop by The Patio Bistro, Smoky Mountain Sub Shop, or BooJum Brewery Taproom. Afterward, visit the local galleries and don’t forget to stop by Mast General Store to gear-up for the adventures that await.
Afterwards, 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, enjoy dinner at Harmon’s Den followed by a performance at the Haywood Arts Regional Theatre, known by the locals as the “HART.” This year-round theater features productions from classics like Macbeth to Broadway musicals like Mamma Mia!
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 also numerous hiking trails and streams to explore before having a picnic lunch.
It’s on to Maggie Valley and Wheels Through Time Museum. Celebrating its 20th anniversary, the 38,000-square-foot facility features a premier collection of Vintage American Transportation. The automobile and motorcycle collections are equally interesting and provide a walk-through transportation history.
Take time 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.
Enjoy a relaxing dinner at any of the area’s group friendly restaurants.
It’s time to recharge at Joey’s Pancake House which has been a go-to breakfast spot in Maggie Valley since 1966. And when you are done you can always grab a coffee mug or box of their pancake mix to take home!
Just outside of Waynesville with the Smoky Mountains as a backdrop, you’ll find Winchester Creek Farm, a 20-acre family owned and operated farm featuring alpacas and miniature farm animals. The family loves sharing their farm and animal knowledge with visitors. Register in advance for the 45-minute educational tour to meet some of the farm’s animal families.
Visit NC Smokies
YouTube link: https://www.youtube.com/user/SmokyMountainsNC