Waynesville is the new Asheville.

By Perri Ormont Blumberg
February 04, 2020
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Heading to the North Carolina Smokies? You don't want to miss Waynesville, North Carolina. Its nearby neighbor, Asheville, may get a lot more buzz, but Waynesville is brimming with art galleries, natural splendors, and a humming culinary scene.  Below, how to make the most of your time in this winsome town of just under 10,000 residents.

1. Head to the Frog Level area of Waynesville.

Right off of Main Street you'll find the Frog Level area of Waynesville—thanks to the frog mural, this treasured nook of town is hard to miss. While here, grab a brew at Panacea Coffeehouse and Frog Level Brewing Company (pictured above). These spots share a deck perched on Richland Creek, ideal for a warm-weather hang. Keep your eyes peeled for works from local artists in this antiquer's paradise.

Credit: visitncsmokies.com

2. Get your flow on at Waynesville Yoga Center.

Seasonally, you can practice outdoors at this hippie hub where yogis of all levels are welcomed with open arms (and likely a hug). On the patio, you'll downward dog as the sun majestically sets over the mountains before your very eyes, a poignant reminder of just how small we all are. Or, practice in the indoor studio, which just begs for a thick pair of socks and yoga blanket canoodling.

Credit: visitncsmokies.com

3. Eat like a king or queen.

For a small town, the diversity in Waynesville's food scene is tremendous. Feast at Sauced (pictured above) and enjoy live music to chase pizza, tacos, and a dizzying array of craft brews. Or, enjoy the refined ambiance and fare at The Chef's Table or laid-back atmosphere and Southern cuisine at Sweet Onion.

4. Go shopping along Main Street.

Whether you're in the market for antiques, art, or clothing, Waynesville has an eclectic mix of independently-owned stores to please any visitor. Carve out an afternoon to walk along Main Street and pop into old-fashioned general stores, art galleries, book stores, and clothing boutiques as you please. Our personal favorites? Twigs & Leaves for wonderful crafts and jewelry, with an emphasis on Southern Appalachian artisans, and vintage signs store The Station on Main. If you're lucky, you may even be in town while Waynesville throws one of their much-loved block parties with live music and fun for visitors of all ages.

Credit: visitncsmokies.com

5. Attend Folkmoot.

If you can plan your vacation around this one-of-a-kind festival (pictured above), you'll be thrilled you did. The international folk fest celebrates the world's cultures—along with local Cherokee and Appalachian cultures—through music, dance and heritage arts (year-round, non-profit Folkmoot also serves as a performance center in Waynesville and host of regular "friendship dinners")  This year's festival takes place from July 18th through 26th.

6. See some elk with Cataloochee Valley Tours.

We'll be the first to admit the 5:00 a.m. wake-up call is not fun (you can also see these crepuscular creatures at sunset, but you'll faces less crowds at daybreak), but it's well worth it to see these majestic animals. Seasonally, you can book a tour with this award-winning outfitter, throughout which guides share many interesting tidbits about wildlife, history, and conservation.

| Credit: visitncsmokies.com

7. Visit Ten Acre Garden.

Head 20 minutes outside of Waynesville to Canton, and prepare yourself to be amazed by one of the prettiest U-pick fruit-and-vegetable farms you've ever seen. Hungry? On Saturdays, there's a donations-only wood-burning pizza oven that churns out incredible 'za, topped off with the farm's bounty.

Credit: visitncsmokies.com

8. Spot the legendary "Cowboy Coward" and his pet squirrel, Angel.

Only in Waynesville, folks. Herbert "Cowboy" Coward played a hillbilly villain in the hit 1972 film, Deliverance. Now, he's a beloved local whom you're likely to run into if you spend some time around town—just look for his leashed squirrel.

| Credit: visitncsmokies.com

9.  Take a ride on the Blue Ridge Parkway with Smoky Mountain Slingshot Rentals.

The Polaris Slingshot is a three-wheeled motorcycle that renders all passengers in a state of sheer ebullience as they cruise around scenic Haywood County, especially if you drive along the Blue Ridge Parkway at sunset or sunrise. Book your rental here or call 828-400-7597.

10. Call it a night at Boyd Mountain Log Cabins and Tree Farm.

Post up at one of the antique log cabins on an 130-Acre Christmas tree farm in Waynesville, North Carolina. Curled up by your fireplace or on a rocking chair on your porch, the pastoral grounds prove an ideal place to unwind after a busy day. You can blame us when you find yourself reaching out to realtors later.