Lifestyle

Leaf Peeps and Maggie Gets Lit

leaves in WNC
Photo provided

by: Michelle Caiazzo, Account Supervisor at Crawford Strategy

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We know Greenvillians are on this move this holiday season—after all, it’s the most wonderful time of the year, right? With all that hustling, a little weekend escape to the mountains of Western North Carolina could just be the ticket to keep us hopping like Santa’s elves instead of “humbugging” like Scrooge.

Not sure where to tell your readers to venture? HAY NOW! We know just the place… and it’s less than two hours away.

Nestled in the heart of the Smoky Mountains, Haywood County, North Carolina is best known for its scenic drives, hiking trails, and spectacular views. Just look at this one from Max Patch—a great option for 360 views of unobstructed color:

Or, visitors can head to Graveyard Fields – one of the most popular spots for “leaf peeping” on the Parkway. The remarkable views you’ll find here feature rushing waterfalls so breathtaking, they’ll grow the heart of the most notorious holiday “Grinch” you know:

Graveyard Fields | Photo by: Michelle Caiazzo

When you’ve taken your best mountain selfie for Instagram (and added #HayNow to it, of course), Haywood County’s mountain communities of Maggie Valley, Waynesville, Lake Junaluska, Canton, and Clyde beckon weary travelers to prop their feet, fill their bellies, and embrace a truly authentic—even quirky—Appalachian experience.

Eat: Enjoy some of the best BBQ on this side of the Parkway at Willie Brooks BBQ, complete with homemade sauces, farm fresh veggies and incredible handcrafted desserts (stalk their Instagram and look for cake). Enjoy “farm to table” at its finest at Birchwood Hall Southern Kitchen in Waynesville, which uses local produces and ingredients from the area’s best working farms. Or, grab a fresh brew and enjoy a crisp fall night on the pooch-friendly patio at Boojum Brewing Company—their chocolate milk stout will make you feel like a kid on Christmas morning.

Do: When Maggie Gets Lit, you don’t want to miss it! No, seriously, the Saturday after Thanksgiving, Maggie Valley will get “lit” with holiday lights and decorations that would make a Hallmark movie jealous. From a “Santa Strut” and pictures with the Big Guy in red himself to an artisan Christmas market featuring handmade items from local artists and vendors, Maggie welcomes you to embrace the holiday season, Appalachia-style. Oh, and don’t forget to rock a tacky Christmas sweater for your chance to take home the title in the ugly sweater contest. Come watch the iconic “Miss Maggie” flip the switch when Maggie Gets Lit!

Stay:  When you can no longer keep your eyes open, Haywood County boasts a lot of affordable accommodations. Find everything from vacation home rentals and charming bed and breakfast options to Smoky Mountain Resorts and hotels.