Loading Train in Bryson CityLoading the Train in Bryson City

If you head due west on US 74 from Asheville all the way to Bryson City, you will find the departure station for the scenic Great Smoky Mountains Railroad. The town sits just outside the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. The excursions offer a choice of steam or rail and two routes. We chose the Nantahala Gorge 44-mile route that takes about four hours. You could choose to take the trip to Dillsboro. Be prepared to purchase tickets well in advance for the fall foliage season.

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Brevard Music CenterBrevard Music Center

Considering the many music festivals in North Carolina, this facility tops them all and produces some 80 concerts during the summer. The Center is in Brevard NC, the county seat of Transylvania County. Brevard is located just a few miles off the Blue Ridge Parkway at the entrance to the Pisgah National Forest. The area between Brevard and Cashiers is a high-end mountain resort area with dozens of accessible waterfalls. In addition to the Music Center, Brevard is home to Brevard College and Blue Ridge Community College.

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Trinity Church frescoTrinity Church fresco

In a corner of northwest North Carolina close to the Tennessee border, you may find a unique set of frescoes. Ben Long created these frescoes in two Episcopalian churches. You can see three in St. Mary’s Episcopal Church in West Jefferson and a large one in Trinity Episcopal Church in Glendale Springs. The churches are only a few miles apart so they can be viewed on one visit. These are maintained by a non-profit foundation and are available to view only by appointment. To arrange, email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call 336-982-3076. Web site: www.ashefrescoes.org.

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