Dillsboro is one of a handful of smaller towns near Asheville and the Smoky Mountains that offers acres of national parkland, beautiful waterfalls, and a broad fine arts culture. With epic view of the mountains, a historical railroad, and a vibrant feel to the town, Dillsboro is the ultimate small town destination.
1. Visit the Dillsboro Chocolate Factory
Editor's Note: There's no photo available at the time of writing
Who doesn’t love chocolate? Well, even if you don’t you’re sure to find something here. Everything from fudge and chocolate covered coffee beans to candies and beef jerky; they even have a variety of different coffee blends. Even if you don’t get around to visiting, don’t worry - you can also order from them online!
Dillsboro Chocolate Factory
Address: 28 Church Street - P.O. Box 391 - Dillsboro, NC 28725
Price: from 7 USD for ¼ Lb (113 grams).
Opening Hours: Summer Hours: Monday-Thursday 10:00am-6:00pm, Friday & Saturday 10:00am-8:30pm, Sunday 12:00pm-5:00pm Fall Hours: Monday-Thursday 10:00am-5:00pm, Friday & Saturday 10:00am-8:30pm, Sunday 12:00pm-5:00pm, Closed: Thanksgiving Day Winter Hours: Monday & Tuesday closed, Wednesday-Saturday 10:00am-5:00pm, Sunday 12:pm-5:00pm, Closed: Christmas Day
Website: Dillsboro Chocolate Factory
2. Shop the local artisan and specialty shops
Photo is only for illustrative purposes
Dillsboro is known for its artistic side; there’s even a street in the town called Craft Circle, on which many crafty shops are located. Fine art galleries, pottery, a glass-blowing studio, a blacksmithing metal shop, a Green Energy Park, and a whole lot of festivals. Visit the third Saturday in August if you’d like to catch the Summer Arts and Crafts Market, or the first Saturday in October for their fall ColorFest, or of course the widely-known Western North Carolina Pottery Festival, which features over 40 potters, on November 4th; there’s even a Festival of Lights the first two weekends in December! While you’re there, you can visit shops like Tree House Pottery, Rabbit Creek Pottery, the Oaks Gallery of fine art, Riverwood Pottery, and Dogwood Crafters, which sells handmade items. You can also visit Claymates Pottery to paint your own pottery or fuse glass!
Address: 31 Front Street, Dillsboro, NC
Price: Prices of pieces range from 1 - 50 USD. (Studio time, paints, glazing, and firing is included in the price.)
Website: Claymates Pottery
Click here for more information about Dillsboro’s festivals and shops
3. Board the Great Smoky Mountains Railroad
Imagine, if you will, an idyllic, historical train ride through the Smoky Mountains. Sound good? Then all aboard the Great Smoky Mountains Railroad. Just pick from their many class varieties and climb aboard for a truly unique experience. Along the way you’ll see incredible mountain and lake views, as well as over 100 different kinds of trees, making for an unforgettable scenic ride, some of which is near national forests. The train departs from Bryson City (about 20 minutes from Dillsboro), and makes stops in Dillsboro and Andrews.
Great Smoky Mountains Railroad
Address: 45 Mitchell Street, Bryson City, NC 28713
Price: from 67 USD for adult in Crown class (Ticket prices vary greatly based on different experiences, excursions, steam powered, and diesel powered. Please visit their pricing pages for more information: Tuckasegee River Excursion, Nantahala Gorge Excursion, steam powered, and diesel powered)
Opening Hours: Click here for the train schedule.
Contact: Reservation Line: 800-872-4681
Website: Great Smoky Mountains Railroad
4. Visit the Appalachian Women’s Museum
This museum was founded in 2006 in order to spread awareness and knowledge of the societal, educational, governmental, and artistic contributions and accomplishments of Appalachian women throughout history. Right now they plan on using the Monteith Farmstead house as the museum’s location; the house is over 100 years old, so it is currently undergoing restoration. You can visit their website for more information.
Appalachian Women’s Museum
Address: Old Home Town Road, Dillsboro, NC 28725 (PO Box 245)
Contact: 828-506-9559 or [email protected]
Website: Appalachian Women’s Museum
5. Visit the Cherokee Indian Reservation
This reservation is 56,000 acres (22662.3 hectare) , and over 10,000 Cherokee call the land home. According to the Asheville Guidebook, the reservation is “still linked to ancient customs and traditions that enable them to live in harmony with nature as their ancestors did. The Reservation, known as the Qualla Boundary, has a number of outstanding attractions. Among them is the Museum of the Cherokee Indian, Qualla Arts & Crafts Mutual, “Unto These Hills” Outdoor Drama, Oconaluftee Indian Village, and Harrah’s Cherokee Casino & Hotel.” You can also camp at one of their 28 campgrounds, or stay at a cabin or motel.
Oconaluftee Indian Village
Address: 218 Drama Road, Cherokee, NC 28719
Price: Check with the box office for times and prices.
Opening Hours: Open from April 18, 2017 until November 11, 2017, Monday-Saturday from 10:00am–4:00pm with tours every 15 minutes except from 11:30am–12:30pm. Closed on Sundays.
Website: Oconaluftee Indian Village
Also see: Museum of the Cherokee Indian
6. Explore the Great Smoky Mountains National Park
One of the country’s more well-known national park’s, the Great Smoky Mountains are sure not to disappoint. There are a multitude of outdoor recreational activities to do - hiking, camping, fishing, biking, horseback riding, picnicking, or even just taking in the wildlife and surrounding nature. You can also take an auto tour (Newfound Gap Road is pretty popular), a program led by a ranger, or stop to see Clingman’s Dome, the highest point in the park, to see some awesome views.
Great Smoky Mountains National Park
Physical Address: Sugarlands Visitor Center, 1420 Little River Road, Gatlinburg, TN 37738
Price: No entrance fee.
Opening Hours: Open 24/7 year-round, weather permitting
Contact: Recorded information: (865) 436-1200 Road Updates: (865) 436-1200 select 2, then 2 again By mail: Great Smoky Mountains National Park 107 Park Headquarters Road Gatlinburg, TN 37738
Website: Great Smoky Mountains National Park
7. Visit Monteith Community Park and farmstead
Recognize the name from number 4? Thanks for paying attention. The Monteith Community Park is actually on the National Register of Historic Places; and while the Appalachian Women’s Museum will be in the farmhouse, this 16-acre (6.47 hectare) farmstead has even more to offer. There’s a spot for picnics and a recreational area, and there’s plenty of walking trails to explore. With a special use permit, you can even hold private events there.
Monteith Community Park
Address: Old Home Town Road, Dillsboro, NC 28725
Opening Hours: Dawn until dusk
Contact: (Town of Dillsboro) (828)-586-1439
Website: Monteith Community Park
8. Hike to some awesome waterfalls
There are some seriously cool waterfalls to see in this area, including in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park (such as the Grotto, Laurel, Abrams, Rainbow waterfalls). But there’s also some in other locations - hundreds, in fact. Some of the most popular include Hickory Nut Falls in Chimney Rock Park, Linville Falls in Linville Gorge, and Looking Glass Falls in the Pisgah National Forest, not to mention many more in the Brevard Area.
Address: Linville Falls Visitor Center, spur road off of Blue Ridge Parkway at Milepost 316.4
Price: None, but permit must be obtained at Information Cabin along top of Gorge in order to enter Gorge area. This cabin is open 8:00am-4:30pm.
Opening Hours: 9:00am - 5:30pm
Duration: Allow 6 hours minimum
Access: Turn off of the Blue Ridge Parkway at Milepost 316.3, and follow the paved road 1.4 miles to Linville Falls Visitor Center. Faster route is I-40 East from Asheville. Get off in Marion and take Hwy. 221 North for 26 miles to Linville Falls Community. At intersection of Hwy. 183, take right and go east ¼ mile to entrance.
Contact: Grandfather District Ranger Station: 828-652-2144 Linville Falls Visitor Center: 828-765-1045 U.S. Forest Service: 828-768-6062
Website: Linville Gorge
All aboard to Dillsboro
There is truly something for everyone in Dillsboro, but if you love nature, history, and the arts, then this little town is a must-add for your bucket list. Be sure to bring your camera, because this photogenic place is one you won’t want to forget. See Dillsboro’s websites for more information: Dillsboro, North Carolina and Asheville Guidebook
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