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MAGGIE VALLEY, NC

ROAD TRIP

Maggie-Valley-NC-Cataloochee-Ride

What a way to see nature’s big reveal.
Enjoy the beautiful views at Cataloochee Ranch by horseback.
Photo by Bill Harbin.


Maggie Valley and all of Haywood County have treasures to uncover, from natural beauty, to fun attractions.  Start with the Blue Ridge Parkway and Great Smoky Mountains National Park, then move on to the picturesque peaks, valleys, waterfalls and trails that can be found everywhere.  Explore on your own, or take a tour from those who’ve known and loved the area for generations.  Go by foot, horseback, train, bike or car.  Stop often, take photos, enjoy the cuisine, try something new.

First, you’ll need accommodations and you’ve got choices, including cabins, campgrounds, national chains, inns and B&Bs. Here are suggestions to get you started.

Cataloochee Ranch. Up high, the historic ranch offers vistas that go on forever.  Guests return year after year for the hospitality, horses and that incredible view. Newcomers fall in love with their first visit. (Check out listings for their restaurant and horseback riding.)

Timberwolf Creek B&B. Choose a luxury cabin, or the B&B on the eight-acre property.  Guests love the pampering and the tumbling creek that soothes you to sleep.  And it’s green – local water, in fact much of what you will see, enjoy and taste is created nearby.

Ramada Inn. Just off 1-40 and close to the beauty and attractions, Maggie Valley’s Ramada Inn offers all the amenities you want, including private balconies with stunning views, fridge and microwave, and hot tub and heated indoor pool.

Laurel Park Inn. It’s family-owned, friendly and in a great location. Regulars love the people and feeling of the place, located on the east side of Maggie Valley. Friendships are formed on the porch, around the pool, or in the grilling area.

Black Bear Cottage in the Woods. This secluded retreat is perfect for small family gatherings, or getaways (sleeps four in two bedrooms).  Beautifully appointed, indoors and out, with a cascading creek. Fireplace, waterfront deck, kitchen. 2 queen master bedrooms, each with private bath and Jacuzzi tub for two!  

Quality Inn in Maggie Valley. Find it on the edge of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and two national forests.  Guests enjoy in-room fridge, a hot breakfast, indoor heated pool, hot tub, business center and laundry service.

Where to Eat

From Italian bistros to BBQ and everything in between, you’ll find elegant and casual cuisine to suit every taste and pocketbook.  Here are a few of our favorites, based on personal knowledge, reviews and advice from friends.

The Chef’s Table. With awards from Wine Spectator and Wine Enthusiast, it’s clear that wine is an integral part of this town of Waynesville dining experience.  Chef Josh Monroe pairs his innovative cuisine with wines from everywhere.  It’s great for tasting, with many wines available by the glass. Fresh, seasonal, local – delicious.

The Sweet Onion. Another Waynesville favorite offers regional cuisine with contemporary flair, including signature pastas as well as mountain trout and southern fried chicken.  Start with their sweet onion soup, but save room for a homemade dessert.

Haywood Smokehouse. In a state known for its BBQ, Haywood Smokehouse brings Texas-style to the table and with great reviews.  They are applauded for their smoked brisket, but consider the house-made sausages and sauces, and oh, those ribs and that smoked turkey breast!

The Cataloochee Ranch Restaurant. This is food created to be shared with friends and family. The arrival of Chef CJ has brought a background including French, Mediterranean, Asian, Middle Eastern and New Age Southern.  The results?  Delicious. Plentiful.  And always accompanied by fresh seasonal vegetables, hot dinner rolls and homemade jellies and desserts.

J Arthurs. This family business has more than 80 years of experience and it shows.  Order their gorgonzola cheese salad when you go, but consider their prime rib and natural steaks as well as their complete range of offerings.  In the center of Maggie Valley, families and friends will love everything about it.

Pin High Bar and Grille. Find this locals’ favorite at Maggie Valley Club, where the covered veranda offers outdoor ambience, and the atmosphere is casual and welcoming. Ingredients are fresh and varied.  Golfers love it, but so do others looking for a great lunch or dinner.

Rendezvous. It’s got something for everyone, include a fun poolside tiki bar and much-loved pizza with freshmade dough and sauce daily. Their burgers, salads, quesadillas, pastas and grilled steaks and chicken are really, really good.  You’ll find plenty of locals as well as travelers who’ve found the perfect way to unwind.

Maggie’s Galley Seafood Restaurant. Need an oyster fix?  This is where you’ll find lovelies from the gulf.  But don’t stop there.  Try the house-made seafood chowder – a favorite of all who visit. Got a meat lover in your midst?  No problem, with chicken, pasta and steaks on the menu.

Frankie’s Italian Trattoria. New to Western North Carolina, this Italian family has its roots deep in Italy, intertwined with almost 70 years in America.  Frankie’s has all the Italian favorites, plus some Southern twists.  One reviewer calls their homemade lasagna “the best I’ve ever eaten.”

Snappy’s Italian. With Trip Advisor’s Certificate of Excellence and almost 30 years in business, Snappy’s has all the traditional favorites including pizza and calzones, plus meatballs with red sauce and ricotta that diners love. And for a lighter touch, their salads earn rave reviews.

A Bit Extra …

Organic Beans. Get your latte fix indoors or at their drive-thru.  And Italiian soda might be just the thing, This specialty coffee shop offers a delicious brew and so much more.

Jelly Bellies. This mountain gift shop offers sweets of every kind, including more than 365 types of candies.  You’ll find a bit of nostalgia there as well, with BB Bats and Clove gum.  Visit in the summer for Creamsicle Fudge and in the Fall, try their Pumpkin Pie Fudge.

Attractions

First, you’ll want to visit the Maggie Valley Visitor Center, where you’ll find information and inspiration for your visit.  Itineraries include dog-friendly sites, artists, music, history and live-like-a-local sites as well. Special events and up-to-the-minute happenings will let you take full advantage of your time here.

Great Smoky Mountains National Park is a must and you can find great info on the Maggie Valley Visitor Center website. Depending on your location, you may find yourself on a winding road that alternates between lush valleys and mountain views for miles. Early morning may be your best time to catch a glimpse of elk, reintroduced into the park in 2001.

Maggie-Valley-NC-Elk-Cataloochee-Valley-Great-Smoky-Mountains

One of the biggest reasons
people come to visit Maggie Valley is elk watching. Come experience these majestic animals up close and personal.


Plan to hike for great experiences along rushing water, and under canopies of giant trees.  America’s most popular national park has crowd favorites, including Cataloochee Valley, with its historic homesteads and abundant wildlife, Cades Cove, with its 11-mile loop road, Newfound Gap. With its heavenly views, and Clingman’s Dome, the Park’s highest point.

Purchase Knob. A generous donation of more than 500 acres of land contiguous to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park includes Purchase Knob – more than 5,000 feet high, with historic buildings on the property.  Theirs is a learning center there, and scientists conduct research at the facility.  For the rest of us, simply taking in the views is awe-inspiring.

Blue Ridge Parkway. It’s an experience like no other.  Quiet and peaceful – at times exhilarating – always breathtaking.  Frequent stops to simply stand and stare at some of the most beautiful scenery on earth.

Maggie-Valley-NC-Blue-Ridge-Parkway

Haywood County offers
46 miles of beautiful Blue Ridge Parkway views. Conveniently access the parkway right in Maggie Valley


If you’re traveling along the Blue Ridge Parkway (and everyone should have that on their bucket lists), plan to stop near Waterrock Knob, it’s one of the higher peaks in North Carolina, offering great views of both east and west.  If you can, plan to tackle this hiking trail (steep at times) to coincide with sunrise or sunset.  The views are worth it.  

Soco Falls offers another breathtaking experience. This double waterfall can be found, a short walk from US Highway 19.  It’s on the edge of the Cherokee Indian reservation, about five miles from the town of Maggie Valley.

If you’d prefer expert assistance in your explorations, consider a tour.  Leap Frog Tours offers a variety of excursions, including customizing a trip to match your interests.  We suggest beginning with the History, Haunts and Legends Walking Tour of Haywood County.  Everyone loves it!

Cataloochee Valley Tours may give you your first glimpse of the magic of synchronized fireflies, or a black bear, or perhaps a breathtaking field of spring wildflowers.  You’ll be transported in comfort and guided by folks who love the Cataloochee Valley and want to share its treasures.   Check them out on Trip Advisor and you’ll find excellent ratings by every reviewer!  Note: some tours are dependent on the seasons.

Sports

There’s plenty to do and see in this great outdoors.  

Go horseback riding at Cataloochee Guest Ranch.

You can stay at the ranch, or reserve a ride as a day visitor.  Early morning rides seem to reach the top of the world, visiting such intriguing areas as Hemphill Bald, Devil’s Britches and Thunderbolt Knob.  The horses are magnificent and a Rider’s Guide helps you prepare for a memorable experience.

Want to try your hand at trout fishing?  Maggie Valley is one of the best areas you’ll find.  Jonathon Creek offers tips to enhance your experience and the scenery makes it a winner, with or without catching a fish. Check out fishing information on Mountain Heritage Trout Waters, Soco Gap Trout Ponds, Great Smoky Mountains Trout School, Sorrell’s Creek Trout Farms  and Hunter Banks Company  from About Maggie Valley

Maggie-Valley-NC-Fishing

Take on a new hobby
or dust off the old fishing poles. Either way, you’ll enjoy casting your line in the refreshing streams all over Maggie Valley.


Golfers can get their fix at Maggie Valley Club, a public course with fantastic credentials and rave reviews.

Winter travelers take note:  Skiing and snowboarding are lots of fun at Cataloochee Ski Area and frequently, you can drive to the slopes with not a flake of snow in your path (but plenty on the trails).

History
The Museum of NC Handicrafts will delight history enthusiasts and crafts admirers. Find it in downtown Waynesville, housed in the magnificent Shelton House, listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Exhibits include woodworking, quilting, dolls, dulcimers and lovely fired pottery.

Furniture displays date from the 18th Century, and the restored interior of the home features a labyrinthine second floor layout.  Check their website for opening times.

More Good Times
Boyd Mountain Christmas Tree Farm. Perhaps America’s favorite Christmas tree happily grows in Maggie Valley.  From November – Mid-December, Fraser firs are plentiful and searching for the perfect fresh tree becomes a great family adventure.

 

Maggie-Valley-NC-Boyd-Mountain-Christmas-Tree-Farm

Make family memories
this holiday season by choosing and cutting your own NC Smokies Fraser Fir. You’ll be coming back for annual memory-making family excursions.


Great Smoky Mountain Railroad. If you’re of a certain age, you’ll invariably remember train travel with delight. For children who grew up on Thomas the Train, riding the rails offers a new way to understand this mode of travel that many have never experienced.  Beautiful scenery entices, and everyone has a really good time.

Maggie Valley Puzzle Rooms. Perfect for adults and teens working in small groups, visitors enter a themed room and begin to solve puzzles within a one-hour time frame. The Plight of Corndog Crockett, or perhaps The Treasure of the Lost Shaman may be your ticket to a fun afternoon in a most unusual attraction.

Maggie Valley Rock Shop and Gem Mine. What a great adventure for all ages interested in crystals, minerals, fossils, geodes, and all kinds of jewelry! Mining for gems is especially fun, with mine dirt that has a combination of native stones and gems as well as gems and minerals from around the world. Rubies and sapphires?  Very possible.

Wheels Through Time. With or without a love of motorcycles, you’ll enjoy this trip through time.  We’ve written a Carolina Adventure about the experience so take a look and include a visit here during your time in Maggie Valley.

Maggie-Valley-NC-Wheels-Through-Time

This All-American motorcycle museum
houses over 300 of America’s rarest and most historic classic motorcycles. You don’t have to own a Harley to enjoy this fascinating stop.


A bit of refreshment.
At the end of the day, an adult beverage might offer just the thing.  Try these, and you may discover a new favorite, tasting responsibly, of course.

B&C Winery. Chris uses mountain spring water and juice and skins from around the world to produce amazing wines (40 varieties available).  There are limited edition selections as well as local favorites.  The perfect gift for yourself or someone you love.

Elevated Mountain Distilling Co. Choose morning or early afternoon to see their custom-built still in operation. Learn how they make your favorite beverage, then enjoy a tasting.  You’ll be glad the gift shop is open for your shopping pleasure.
Let’s Shop
For those who love it, shopping is a real delight and Maggie Valley and Haywood County have lots of options in terms of arts, crafts, and unique mountain gifts.  You can seek out all kinds of arts and antiques galleries (there are many) and spend a very satisfying afternoon searching for treasures.

Here are a couple of options to get you started:

Sutton & Sons Antiques. You can find just about anything at this fascinating shop, including primitive and eclectic antique furniture, clocks, toys, memorabilia and so much more.  Everyone will find something they’ve gotta have.  

A Cat in the Attic Treasures & Treats. Visitors love to explore this antique store, which truly has something for every taste.  Beautifully laid out, folks come from near and far to find treasures.

Let Them Entertain You

There’s no shortage of attractions, for sure, and if live entertainment is your thing, you’ll easily find an evening’s performance at one of these venues.

Haywood Arts Regional Theater. Check out their current season to see if one of your favorites is playing.  From The Fantastiks to Fiddler on the Roof, you’ll find top drawer theater here.

Stompin’ Ground. This huge dance hall features all kinds of music and live bands, with plenty of space to observe if you don’t want to dance.  But you will, after you watch the fun everyone else is having!

Maggie Valley Opry House. For almost 30 years, folks have enjoyed traditional bluegrass and mountain music here.  Renowned Bluegrass Hall-of-Fame member Raymond Fairchild picks his banjo and shares his love of the music of Appalachia.

And there’s more.  

Clearly, this valley, with its small towns and unique culture, have so much to offer visitors.  In fact, many have visited, fallen in love, and made Maggie Valley their permanent home.  We started our Attractions with the Visitor Center and that’s where we’ll end.  Before you go, visit them online.  When you arrive, stop and see what else is happening during your stay.  You will love Maggie Valley!

Maggie Valley Visitor Center, visitncsmokies.com


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