Photo courtesy Visit NC Smokies
Perched at the heart of Haywood County, Waynesville is as quintessentially Carolinian as they come: spectacular views, sweet townsfolk, and a charming city center. But in recent years, Waynesville has come to boast more and more big city style businesses, making this a must-do destination for locals and tourists alike.
Birchwood Hall Southern Kitchen
Southern, but make it classy. Such is the milieu at Birchwood Hall, where elevated dishes like filet mignon are paired with down-home classics like shrimp and grits, plus innovative twists on favorites like fried deviled eggs.
Another Southern-meets-fancy restaurant (we did say the town was classic Carolina, didn’t we?), Sweet Onion is a local favorite. For the kind of meal you can only get around here, try the fresh mountain trout (just be sure to save room for a house-made dessert).
Boojum Brewery Taproom
We debated whether this one deserved a spot in the Eat or Drink category, and the truth is, it’s both. It’s not really fair to call it pub fare when the menu includes items like “whistle pigs,” soft baked pretzel sticks stuffed with bacon and pimento cheese. But what we really love are the taps, featuring staples like the Hop Fiend IPA and seasonals like the Hibiscus Lime Gose.
The much-buzzed-about Orchard Coffee has settled in nicely to the Waynesville scene. Start your day with a cup of specialty coffee and scratch-made baked goods in the minimalistic digs. Then stop by our friends at Axe & Awl, who recently opened a brick-and-mortar location next door.
This year’s festival’s already in the rearview, but you should plan ahead for this annual 10-day international folk festival. The festival draws performers from around the world and some 100,000 viewers every year.
They may both be in Haywood County, but the trip from Waynesville to the Cataloochee Valley, part of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, isn’t exactly a short one—but it is worth it. Arrive early in the morning or in the early evening to catch a sight of the area’s famed elk.