by Kristen Bagwell
We were feeling the need for a series, and what better time to feature "summer visits"? Through the end of August, Triangle MOM will be featuring both day trips and weekenders that may be of interest, all within NC. We kick off this series with one of the prettier visits in NC: Maggie Valley.
Maggie Valley is surrounded by mountain ranges in all directions, and the higher elevations mean cooler temperatures, spectacular views, and cleaner air. Maggie Valley offers numerous festivals, bluegrass music, multiple concerts, dancing, clogging, much more all throughout the year. During the spring, summer and fall seasons you can enjoy Wheels Trough Time Motorcycle Museum, and Cherokee's Santa's Land Theme Park and Zoo.
Maggie Valley is just over 4 hours from Raleigh, past Asheville but before Cullowhee, home of Western NC University. Situated in the Smoky Mountains, Maggie Valley offers tons to do and see, whether you want to get out and do, or go shopping and do, or even hang out and not-do. Stay with me - we'll go through a little of each below.
Anyone who likes to poke around and shop the local shops will have a field day in Maggie Valley...there truly is something for everyone, whether you like art, antiques, gear, or flea-market treasures. The Maggie Valley area has a bit of all of it, and is a beautiful drive besides. Keep an eye out for roadside garden and farm stands for some of the freshest plants and produce around! Apple season is a particularly good time to vist. Yum!
In addition, there is something called the Quilt Trail that you can tool around and follow. From MaggieValley.org: Vibrant quilt patterns are painted on pre-built wooden squares ranging from two feet to eight feet in size. Cultural and heritage lovers inside and outside the area will experience the fun of locating blocks along the trails and learning the wonderful stories behind the site locations and the quilt patterns chosen for that particular venue. The Maggie Valley website goes on to detail the quilt square locations and history. This is a fun idea and a great way to tour the Valley!
If festivals and/or Arts & Crafts are your cup of tea, you're in luck. The annual July 4 Red White and Boom festival will feature live music & entertainment, food & beverage, crafts & novelties, games, kid’s zone and family fun. Fireworks will display over the venue at approximately 10:00pm. Following that, artisans from all over the Southeast show their wares at the July and October Arts & Crafts shows; the next one is July 7-8. In addition to pottery, glass, painting, jewelry, and other handmade wares, the shows also feature food and live entertainment for the whole family.
If you want to get away and relax, check out some of the links below. All of the lodging and food info you need will be there. I bet once you arrive you'll want to wander around, but we'll see. There is a way to relax for almost everyone in the NC mountains!
For more information or to reserve a room, go to www.visitmaggie.com or www.maggievalley.org. (Note - these websites did weird stuff in Internet Explorer and worked better in Mozilla Firefox. Just FYI.)
For more info on the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, visit www.nps.gov/grsm/index.htm. From their website: Acres upon acres of forest straddle the border between North Carolina and Tennessee in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. World renowned for its diversity of plant and animal life, the beauty of its ancient mountains, and the quality of its remnants of Southern Appalachian mountain culture, this is America's most visited national park.
More info on the Blue Ridge Parkway can be found here: www.blueridgeparkway.org with specific hiking trail details here: www.maggievalley.org/blueridgeparkway.html.
If you'd rather wait to go, the winter brings skiing, snowboarding and snow tubing. Cataloochee Ski Area in Maggie Valley opens in early November and closes in late March and boasts the longest ski season in the Southern Appalachian Mountains. Whatever your interests, we hope you choose to visit Maggie Valley! It is truly a great time for all ages.