Did you know that the Red Leaf River Inn is less than ten minutes from Downtown Waynesville, dining, shopping, grocery stores, US-74, and the Blue Ridge Parkway? We may feel like we are in the middle of nowhere, but visitors to the Inn are:
- Less than an hour from Asheville, NC, scenic Brevard, NC and Harrah’s Casino in Cherokee, NC
- Less than two hours from Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge, TN
- Less than three hours from Spartanburg, SC, Charlotte, NC, and Atlanta, GA
Check out some of the hundreds of things to do in the beautiful WNC mountains!
The Blue Ridge Parkway and Smoky Mountains
There is a never ending variety of national parks, waterfalls, and trails to find in the WNC mountains from beginner to advanced. Don’t feel like doing all the work? Take a drive on the historic Blue Ridge Parkway. Hop on just a few miles down the road from the Inn and visit the highest point on the Blue Ridge Parkway or just take one of the most scenic afternoon drives you’ll ever experience.
Local Waynesville Information
Known as the ‘Gateway to the Smokies,’ Waynesville exudes small town charm. Stroll down Main Street and visit Mast General Store or catch a movie or live music in the restored Strand at 38 Main Theatre (grab a beer while you’re there, too). Pick up a sandwich for your hike at the Smoky Mountain Sub Shop or wander down to Hazelwood and have a seat at Bourbon Barrel or one of a dozen other restaurants in town.
Visitors in July can experience Folkmoot USA, Waynesville’s celebration of international folk music and dance while visitors in December can travel back in time with the small town ‘A Night Before Christmas’ event just before Christmas. Summer and fall visitors can experience ‘Art After Dark’ on the first Friday of every month from May to December where art galleries on Main Street stay open until 9pm and feature special demonstrations and music and other events such as street dances, craft fairs, and the annual apple festival. The HART Theater is just minutes from the Inn and offers a variety of live performances throughout the year.
Looking for something different? Asheville is a rapidly growing art and food mecca. From the historic and opulent Biltmore Estate, former home of the Vanderbilt family, to the funky River Arts District with dozens of artists in all mediums gathered together, many offering live demonstrations during the day, there is something for everyone in Asheville. The Orange Peel is Asheville’s premier music venue (or just walk around downtown Asheville – you will be as likely as not to find a drum circle or impromptu concert going on) and there are hundreds of truly exceptional restaurants in and around Asheville. You will rarely see a chain of any kind in Asheville, instead you will find everything from five star formal dining to down home cooking and everything in between.
The NC Arboretum boasts 434 acres of public gardens while the WNC Nature Center has over 60 different native Appalachian animals to see including black bears, deer, wolves, and goats for petting. For the more adventurous, both Navitat and Asheville Tree Top Adventures offer an array of ziplining and other “tree-top” excitement via guided tours.
Area Breweries and Vineyards
We may love beer just a little. WNC has more breweries than any other part of North Carolina and North Carolina has more breweries than any other southern state. There are 23 just in WNC and you can sample many local beers at the breweries and taverns in town including Tipping Point Tavern and Frog Level Brewing Company or visit Wicked Weed Brewing in Asheville. If you like a little entertainment with your beer, Asheville Brewing Company is well known for it’s ‘Brew and View,’ where you can enjoy a late release movie for just $3 and have an entire meal (and your beer, of course) delivered to your seat.
Don’t forget the wine! Just because we love beer doesn’t mean we can’t love wine, too. With thirty nine vineyards in the area, you could spend days trying to visit them all.
Maggie Valley and Lake Junaluska
Just a short trip away, both Maggie Valley and Lake Junaluska offer their own attractions. Lake Junaluska is in fact a conference and retreat center, not a town, but much of the area is open to the public, including the central lake. Lake Junaluska offers one of the largest fireworks displays in the area for Fourth of July as well as a golf course and periodic concerts.
Maggie Valley is another small town haven with an array of shops and the Wheels Through Time museum, the world’s premier collection of rare and vintage American motorcycles, now part of American Restoration on the History Channel, as well as outdoor activities such as white water rafting, horseback riding, and hiking. Winter visitors can also visit the Cataloochee ski area, voted number one in WNC for three years in a row. Cataloochee features slopes for beginners to advanced as well as a terrain park with an obstacle course, a tubing hill, equipment rental, and more.