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Music Festival | Cashiers, NC

Oh Play Me, Some Mountain Music ...

Oh Play Me, Some Mountain Music … Ever heard the Steep Canyon Rangers or Lizzie Long & Little Roy Lewis? Love the cool mountain air in July? Consider visiting Cashiers (pronounced like dashers) during July 2-3, when the Cashiers Mountain Music Festival will be held at the Village Green.

Bluegrass music is naturally infectious - guaranteed to have you smiling and stomping your feet. But that’s just one tiny reason to put Cashiers on your radar for a visit. (Pat Conroy and Cassandra King visit often, so you’ll be in good company.)

This tiny mountain hamlet has lots to amuse and delight, starting with hiking on Whiteside Mountain. To get there, go through Cashiers on Hwy 64 and after about five miles, turn left onto Whiteside Mountain Road. After one mile, parking is on the left. You’ll see gorgeous mountain views, and if you’re lucky, catch a glimpse of peregrine falcons soaring overhead.

Wow factor: Easy trail, with five star views!

Later, stop by Buck’s Coffee Café and try a cup of coffee mocha. We’ve been told it’s nothing short of dreamy.

If the weather’s warm and the chill of a mountain pool beckons, seek out your inner adventurer and take the family to Cashiers Sliding Rock (not to be confused with another sliding rock near Brevard, NC). This is true family fun, although supervision of little ones is a must. The pool at the bottom of the rock is a perfect watering hole to cool down and relax. Take a picnic. Half the delight is watching others slide down and splash. Years ago, moms sewed old washcloths on the bottoms of bathing suits to provide a little “bottom” cushion. Still not a bad idea.

Dinner time offers lots of options, starting with the Orchard Restaurant, ranked #1 on Trip Advisor. Be sure to start with the local Dark Cove Farms goat cheese antipasto.

Hint: Jackson County is dry, so come prepared. Bring your own favorite libation to the Orchard for a brown-bagging fee of $4.95. If you’ve been saving that remarkable pinot noir for a special occasion, this might be the time. In between eating and playing, there’s great golf, water sports and a treasure trove of antiques in this small town.

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Fly Fishing | Jackson County, NC

Jackson County - Fly Fishing

Photo Credit: AB’s Fly Fishing Guide Service, Jackson County NC

Put This on Your Bucket List

“Trout don’t live in ugly places.” That’s the observation of Alex Bell, owner of AB’s Fly Fishing Guide Service, and whether you’re simply trying to get fly fishing off your bucket list, or you’ve already discovered it’s the best way to spend an afternoon, Alex is the guy to make it happen and Jackson County, in Western North Carolina, is where you want to go.

It’s no accident that Jackson County is home to the first designated fly fishing trail in the United States. Alex Bell is co-creator of the trail and one of the area’s strongest advocates. He’s an expert guide who will take you to the pristine mountain rivers, lakes and streams of Western North Carolina and, at the end of the day, he’ll have done his level best to make sure you’ve caught some fish and had the time of your life.

“For first-timers, I start by having a conversation to discover what they want to get out of their day,” he explained. “Some want to simply try out the sport, while others really have a desire to learn how to cast, catch and release.” They’ll spend an hour or two on technique, then head to the water, perhaps the Tuckasegee River, with nearly 20 miles of prime fishing to be had. Veterans of the sport might prefer Panthertown Creek, or perhaps Caney Fork. No longer a males-only activity, in recent years, AB’s has been host to a number of ladies’ outings, in which the traditional spa day for a bride-to-be and her friends is abandoned in favor of a day on some of the most beautiful fishing water in the world.

WOW Factor: All of Jackson County is beautiful, but the water pathways making up the Fly Fishing Trail are nothing short of stunning. Writer Izaak Walton called fly fishing “the contemplative man’s recreation.” Reviewers on Trip Advisor use words like awesome, magical, peaceful, amazing, tremendous, and our favorite: “With Alex Bell as your guide, you will learn something, catch fish, have fun and make a new friend.”

Hint: Don’t worry about the supplies – he’s got everything you need. Remember, no gooey worms to bait – and the flies are small pieces of art that quite frequently fool the fish. Most catch and release, but some want a trout or two to take home for dinner. Either way, you’re sure to carry fond memories away from this Carolina adventure.

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