When you travel, do you like to go where the locals go, eat where the locals eat and do what the locals do? That is actually a very common request we get from visitors to Haywood County. We often get calls asking where the best local hang outs are, where the locals love to eat and so on. We are proud to offer one of a kind authentic experiences in our area and we have our locals to thank for providing these incredible offerings. No one knows this county better than our locals and they know where to find the best experiences in town. So this week, we wanted to share a very special itinerary we put together that has received the local “seal of approval” and highlights some our favorite local eateries and activities. Check it out the next time you visit Waynesville, Maggie Valley, Canton, Clyde and Lake Junaluska so you can live like a local for a few days. And a trust us…it is a pretty awesome way to live!
“Live Like a Local” Itinerary
Breakfast at Sherrill’s Pioneer Restaurant
8363 Carolina Blvd, Clyde, 28721
If you want to know where the locals go for breakfast, a good place to start is Sherrill’s Pioneer Restaurant. At “The Pioneer” (as the locals call it) you will find all the staples of a down-home country-style breakfast. Order up a helping of biscuits and gravy and ask your waitress to tell you a little more about “The Big Gun” across the street. We guarantee you will leave feeling like a local!
Time for an Agri-Adventure!
Haywood County locals are proud of their rich agricultural heritage, so what better way to learn about that than getting a first hand experience with the area’s local growers and producers. Stop by a Haywood Visitor Center and pick up a free copy of Buy Haywood’s “Find Your Adventure” Agritourism Guide. Spend your morning enjoying the area’s many “agri-experiences” that are featured around the county. From picking a bushel of fresh berries to visiting a sustainable trout farm at the foot of Cold Mountain, there are so many fresh experiences that you may have a hard time choosing where to start.
Lunch at The Imperial
117 Main St, Canton 28716
Head to The Imperial for lunch while you recap your fun in Haywood County. Located in a historic turn of the century building, it is the perfect place to grab a tasty bite among the locals. You’ll find a wide variety of local favorites in a relaxed atmosphere. If you love history, grab a handout from the hostess and take a stroll around the building to learn more about the restored Victorian styled Inn that was originally built in the late 1800’s.
Skinny Dip Falls
Cool down this afternoon at a local swimming hole, Skinny Dip Falls. Take Hwy 276 to the Blue Ridge Parkway and head south. Pull off near mile marker 417, which is near the Looking Glass Rock overlook. A moderate, short hike will take you to a natural waterfall and swimming hole on the Yellowstone Prong of the Big East Fork of the Pigeon River. Take a cool dip or sun yourself on the rocks. If you continue on the trail past Skinny Dip Falls on the Mountains to Sea trail you will reach Graveyard Fields where you will find more hiking trails and waterfalls.
Dinner at The Sweet Onion
39 Miller St, Waynesville, 28786
Ask any local for a suggestion of a favorite restaurant and The Sweet Onion will definitely come up in the conversation. Their regional cuisine brings together contemporary flair with classic comfort dishes to create culinary masterpieces like the bacon-wrapped meatloaf topped with frizzle-fried onions. Conveniently located in the heart of historic downtown Waynesville, it’s the perfect spot to unwind after a busy day of exploring.
Pick your Evening Entertainment:
An Evening at the The Strand
38 N. Main St, Waynesville 28786
The Strand at 38 Main is a boutique cinema and intimate listening venue located in the heart of downtown Waynesville. The Strand offers an ever-changing mix of classic films, second run movies, and live music. The storefront lobby serves classic movie concessions including organic popcorn, artisan sodas by the Waynesville Soda Jerks, fresh baked soft pretzels, home made ice cream from The Hop, coffee drinks, and more!
An Evening at The Maggie Valley Stompin’ Grounds
3116 Soco Rd, Maggie Valley 28751
Come see a variety of Appalachian and other American country dance styles performed in one place during the weekends at the Maggie Valley Stompin’ Ground. The Ivy Hill Band plays a variety of mountain and popular music‚ from old-time fiddle tunes to contemporary country hits. Dancers hit the floor dressed in fanciful outfits and perform line dancing‚ square dancing‚ clogging‚ and the two-step. Don’t be shy either! They will make you feel like a true local when they invite you to join in!
Breakfast at Clyde’s Restaurant
2107 S Main St, Waynesville 28786
Clyde’s has been a landmark restaurant in Haywood County since the 1940’s so it’s obvious the locals love this place. Priding itself on traditional down home cooking, you will find all the makings of a hearty mountain breakfast served with a side of genuine Haywood County hospitality.
Haywood’s Historic Farmers Market
250 Pigeon St, Waynesville 28786
Mid Apr – Mid Oct: Wed & Sat – 8:00am – 12:00pm
When the locals want fresh produce and local delights, they know the place to go is Haywood’s Historic Farmers Market in Waynesville. Enjoy a variety of just-picked produce, heritage crafts and other local offerings among the company of residents and visitors alike. You will see why folks come from far and wide to get a taste of Haywood County!
Smoky Mountain Sub Shop
29 Miller St, Waynesville 28786
Smoky Mountain Sub Shop has been a local lunch staple for over 20 years. Their bread is baked fresh every morning in-house and they only use the freshest ingredients in their homemade soups, salads and sandwiches. Check out their monthly specials for a local deal that is sure to satisfy.
Check out our Craft Breweries!
If there is one thing the locals love, it’s their craft breweries. Haywood County is the proud home of four homegrown microbreweries: BearWaters Brewery, Boojum Brewing, Frog Level Brewery, and Tipping Point Tavern. While they are all located within a small radius of each other in Waynesville, they each have their own distinct taste. Spend the afternoon at one (or more) trying their various taps. Order up a frosty flight and don’t forget to grab a growler of your favorite to take home.
Dinner at Haywood Smokehouse
79 Elysinia Ave., Waynesville 28786
You can’t call yourself a true Haywood local unless you know where to find some of the best BBQ in town. Haywood Smokehouse is the home of “old school BBQ” and serves up a variety of smoky favorites. From traditional chopped pork and sliced brisket to smoked prime rib and homemade pecan pie, this is the place for great BBQ. Make sure you get there early because they smoke it fresh daily and when it’s gone, they close their doors. And trust us…you don’t want to miss out!
An Evening at The Classic Wine Seller
20 Church St, Waynesville 28786
The Wine Seller is where the locals go for a relaxing evening of great music and fine wine. Owened and operated by a local husband and wife “wine connoisseurs” you will find an extensive list of fine wines and wide variety of craft beers. Grab a drink along with an after dinner cheese plate and enjoy some great entertainment by one of the many talented musicicans featured each week.
4309 Soco Rd. Maggie Valley, 28751
Start your day off with a big breakfast at an authentic mountain pancake house. Since opening in 1966, Joey’s Pancake House has been a favorite breakfast stop for visitors and locals alike. Make sure you order up a stack of their famous buttermilk pancakes because we guarantee you won’t find a better flapjack anywhere else!
Explore Cataloochee Valley
Spend the rest of the day in Cataloochee Valley. The valley is one the most remote parts of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and is where several of the Haywood County’s native families originally settled. The area is laced with abundant wildflowers and wildlife including elk, white-tailed deer, black bears, wild turkey, butterflies and many species of birds. With several hiking trails, streams, and historic buildings from the early 1900’s, there is plenty to explore in the valley before heading home.
To download a printable copy of the itinerary, click here: Live Like a Local Itinerary
The above itinerary is a SAMPLE itinerary. It was created to provide you with an idea of the many wonderful places to visit and dine while visiting the North Carolina Smokies. Other restaurants and attractions can be substituted based on your preferences and seasonality to create a unique itinerary customized just for you. We do suggest always checking for operational dates and times before traveling. For additional help planning your next trip to Haywood County, contact us!