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24 Hours in Waynesville, NC

 
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Waynesville, North Carolina is a beautiful town nestled at the foot of the Smoky Mountains along the Blue Ridge Parkway about 40 minutes south of Asheville. From the vibrant downtown area to the lush surrounding mountains, it's easy to understand why Waynesville has been a tourist destination for centuries.  Just as we did with Greenville, South Carolina in January, we're offering a small selection of our favorite spots to visit within walking distance of Mast Store at 63 North Main Street. Please come along.

24-wvl-2.jpgHaywood County Arts Council
A couple of blocks down the street from Mast Store Waynesville at 86 North Main Street is the Haywood County Arts Council. For nearly 40 years, this beloved community association has shared “the rich cultural heritage of the Western Carolina mountains by creating opportunities for artists to interact with the public.” 

In addition to offering a full calendar of performances, young artist enrichment, and the Art After Dark series, their public gallery, Gallery 86, features rotating works by local, regional and national artists. Check in their calendar of events by clicking HERE

 

haywood-co-quilt-trail-3.jpgNed Hildreth Memorial Downtown Walking Trail
Twelve years ago the Downtown Waynesville Association (DWA) received a $5,000 legacy gift from the estate of Waynesville resident Edward C. “Ned” Hildreth. For years, Ned Hildreth and Paul Germann shared daily walks through downtown Waynesville. This tradition gave rise to a very befitting walking memorial to feature the Arts Council’s Haywood County Quilt Trails project blocks on multiple buildings within the downtown district. Two of the quilt blocks are displayed right outside the doors of Mast Store.

Outside of the town center, the Haywood County Quilt Trails (HCQT) project aims to engage the community by providing yet another reason to explore Haywood County and enjoy the surrounding beauty. Brilliantly-colored quilt patterns are painted on pre-built wooden squares ranging from two feet to eight feet in size. Find out more about the quilt trail by reading our blog about it HERE.
 

24-wvl-1.jpgHistoric Frog Level
A few blocks downhill from Main Street, the revitalized railroad district, known as Historic Frog Level, offers an eclectic variety of cafes, shops, art galleries, and a brewery.  Art on Depot and Mahogany House offer a gorgeous assortment of pieces by local artisans that you may purchase. At the back of Mahogany House, just beyond the french doors, the public is welcome to see artists at work in their studios.

Be sure not to miss Panacea Coffeehouse, Cafe, & Roastery. On the day we visited, a fresh batch of delicious coffee beans were being roasting in house. The warm brick walls, wood floors, and cozy chairs make Panacea the perfect place to relax with a fresh cup of coffee. When the weather is warm, you might just want to stay and enjoy a light lunch on the back deck that's situated along the happily babbling Richland Creek.

Waynesville has been a part of the North Carolina Main Street Program since 1986. Their guidance and the efforts of merchants, elected officials, and community members continue to make this downtown a special place to visit and to live.

Outside of Main Street:

24-wvl-5.jpgBird’s Eye View
As you head out of town, be sure to make time to drive a few miles north on Eagle’s Nest Road.  You’ll quickly gain several hundred feet in elevation. Beautiful homes are perched on mountain cliffs, but the real show is the scene that unfolds below you as you climb winding switchbacks. There are a few spots to pull over and take in the view of Downtown Waynesville and the surrounding area. Eagle’s Nest Road ends at a gate where you can easily turn around and head back down the mountain. An item of note: When the road was open to public traffic, you could take Gaddis Branch from the summit and drive right down into the neighboring town of Maggie Valley.

 

24-wvl-3.jpgGreat Smoky Mountain Railroad
Another of our favorite excursions is about 40 minutes west of Waynesville, but definitely worth the drive! What better way to enjoy the beauty of the Smoky Mountains than by train? The Great Smoky Mountain Railroad (GSMR) offers a variety of train options and events from their historic depot in Bryson City through the stunning landscape of Western North Carolina. First class dining cars are hosted by private attendants or you can enjoy incredible views in an open air excursion cars. Click HERE for directions, special events, and more.

Next time, we're digging into exciting new research about the rich history of our Waynesville Mast Store's location at 63 North Main Street. Until then...