We want to tell you about a few of our favorite things here in Western North Carolina. It just so happens that four of our favorites start with the letter “F.” First but not necessarily foremost, one of our favorite pastimes is fishing- not that I’ve (Andrea) done much of it. The quiet, peaceful, waiting by a beautiful body of water is great for clearing the mind, even if it’s just observing a fisherman (Mark) or reading a book while someone else (Mark) does the fishing – it’s all good! Then there’s the potential for a fish dinner (always have a back-up plan just in case the fish don’t show.) Western North Carolina is well known for its trout fishing. Mark purchased a non-resident, annual fishing license with a trout stamp a few weeks ago. $51 for this license to fish isn’t terrible considering the license is good through July 2020. There are quite a few fishing spots in this area, many of them “Mountain Heritage Trout Water Sites.” North Carolina residents and non-residents who want to fish in a stream that is designated as Mountain Heritage Trout Water but who do not want to purchase an annual license, may purchase a 3-day license for $5. That license is valid only for waters that are designated as Mountain Heritage Trout Waters. The North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission website has lots of good information about trout fishing including the following tips:
The cities designated as Mountain Heritage Sites stock their fishing areas on a regular basis. Maggie Valley and Dillsboro are just two of these cities. Maggie Valley boasts multiple access points:
We have enjoyed fishing at several beautiful sites here in North Carolina – no luck yet! Hopefully fish will be on the menu soon though.
Bryson City is also a Mountain Heritage participating city and it is the home of the Fly Fishing Museum of the Southern Appalachians. We first visited Bryson City in search of waterfalls. That brings us to #2 on this list of favorites: Falls. Deep Creek, located in Bryson City, is where we hiked to 3 different waterfalls one afternoon.
From the Deep Creek picnic area, we took a trail to: Juney Whank Falls, Tom Branch Falls and Indian Creek Falls. Many people were tubing down Deep Creek as we were hiking to see the falls.
We went back another day to try tubing. There are many tube rental businesses along the road to Deep Creek and at $4 a day for a tube, it’s a great, inexpensive way to spend a hot summer North Carolina day! There is a picnic area near Deep Creek so we brought a picnic lunch and made a day of it.
Our search for falls took us on another hiking excursion and brought us to the beautiful Schoolhouse Falls in Panthertown Valley. The drive to get there was a scenic adventure in itself as it took us by Lake Glenville, up mountains, across gravel roads and through an amazing Christmas tree farm. Once we parked at the trailhead we hiked Panthertown Valley trail #474 – about 2.5 miles to “Schoolhouse Falls.” On the trail to get there, we saw more mountain views, sandbars, bear scat, and finally a secluded, swimmer-friendly waterfall. There were just a few people there – it’s far enough off the beaten path that it’s not over-crowded.
Now, #3 – our next favorite is… fritters! Barber Orchards is about 3 miles from Moonshine Creek. It opens every August 1 and their “Fruitstand” serves apple everything! Fritters, donuts, pies, cakes and bread along with fresh fruit and vegetables- they can all be found at Barber’s.
We celebrate my dad’s birthday each year with an apple fritter because it was one of his favorites too. That gave us the perfect excuse (as if we needed one) to investigate Barber Orchards Fruitstand on August 6th in preparation for Dad’s August 7th birthday. We think he would approve! The “Fruitstand” is more like a combination coffee shop/ farmer’s market and we’ve been back to visit quite a few times because it’s SO close to Moonshine Creek.
Our fourth and final favorite thing is a new discovery. Our campground neighbors, Garry and Ann, gifted us a “fire stick.” It is a section of copper pipe with a section of rubber waterhose inserted in it. The copper pipe has several holes drilled through it. We were instructed that this “fire stick” should be placed in our campfire and assured that it will emit many beautiful colors as the fire burns down. It worked as advertised! We learn something new everyday at the campground from fellow-campers.
So there you have 4 of our favorite things, some old, some new – all readily available here in Western North Carolina. What are some of your favorite things? Leave a comment and let us know! Fall is on its way and we hear Moonshine Creek Campground is the best place to experience fall colors. The Sumac is already turning bright red here. If that is one of YOUR favorites give us a call to make reservations at 828-586-6666.