Haywood County, NC Part One: One of the Youngest Sisters of the Six Siblings

Introducing Little Sister

I grew up in Haywood County, North Carolina. Most of my childhood was spent living in the most versatile, diverse, historical, and artistic place in western North Carolina. It was hard not to be proud of the southern mountain heritage that people there worked so hard to preserve. I lived 15 minutes away from Maggie Valley, usually between Waynesville, Canton, and Clyde. I had plenty of muse, plenty of stories filling up my head, as I explored the western half of my home state.

So, dear visitor, let me tell you about one of my favorite places in almost all of the world. She is the second youngest sister of the six siblings. From oldest to youngest: Canton (1837), Waynesville (1871), Clyde (1889), Maggie Valley (1907), and Lake Junaluska (1913).

Now before we go on, a little history about Maggie Valley. John Setzer established the first Maggie Valley Post Office in 1904 (which is interesting in itself because the surname is an occasional name that was German for market inspector or tax official, Jewish/yiddish for 'typesetter') and named the town after his 14-year-old daughter. If you look hard enough while traversing the highway of Maggie Valley, you will find a yearly tradition of Maggie waving to visitors and locals alike. There is always a woman or a girl dressed just like Maggie did in the historical times with her signature green dress with yellow apron and bonnet.

To me, all the towns in the Haywood County have a specific personality all their own. Canton is the oldest; a bit low-scale, worn, tired, but with sweet secrets of his own like being originally Cherokee Indian Territory, the night-time Christmas parade, and off the road trails. Waynesville is classier and sophisticated, with Downtown Main Street, historical exhibits, and clean roads with busy pedestrians. Lake Junaluska, the youngest child and the most religious, is quiet and calm, the central Methodist town, where people jog, get married, paddle boats on the lake, and enjoy Appalachian folk music. And last, but not least, Maggie Valley is the second youngest town to be recognized. I think her name is apt for having come from a 14-year-old daughter because the town shows youthful exuberance with explosive touristy feel while sheltered by the mystical Blue Ridge Mountains and Great Smoky Mountain National Park.

Maggie on the Map

Click thumbnail to view full-size
The Stompin' Ground of Maggie Valley! Picture courtesy of http://discovermaggievalley.com.
The Stompin' Ground of Maggie Valley! Picture courtesy of http://discovermaggievalley.com.
Fantasy Golf in Maggie Valley.  Picture courtesy of http://www.mtnawards.com/fantasygolf.html.
Fantasy Golf in Maggie Valley. Picture courtesy of http://www.mtnawards.com/fantasygolf.html.

Pretty Little Maggie

The main thing you will see in Maggie Valley is the Soco Road which is basically the thoroughfare of Maggie Valley. Once upon a time, there was a lodging on that road that I frequented often because my aunt worked there. The whole staff was a family. It was shaded by tall trees with thick branches. Nestled there, it had the look of a cozy mansion with rock exterior and red trim. The wide porch in front of the office had rocking chairs with a perfect view of the swimming pool and putt-putt that the Lodge had offered. Sitting there, the very beginnings in the high rise of the Blue Ridge Mountain was a powerful view. The mornings gave off a fog that shrouded the whole mountain in a mystical way. Unfortunately, that Lodge is no longer the same, but replaced by a new one. Still, anywhere you go on Soco Road, you will find yourself immersed in the view I described. It is highly recommended that you find inns that are easily accessible off of Soco Road.

Not only is the wonderful view the reason for finding an inn off of Soco Road, the incredible businesses and activities you find are easily found right off of that highway as well. Year-round, the distinct seasons makes tourism very easy for the pretty little town of Maggie Valley. They have too much to offer for each season that your head would spin in total delight. Everywhere you look, you will find artists, crafters, jewelers, authors, shops, theme parks, putt-putt, historical preservations, musical venues and festivals, and zoo.

There are artists who can create life-like structures of animals out of wood with a chainsaw, create beautiful metal models, and offer home-made metal, hemp, and rock jewelry. The musical venues vary wildly - classical rock, folk, bluegrass, jazz. The best folk music and dancing you will find would be at Stompin' Ground. At the Stompin' Ground, you get to witness a variety of perfomances by skilled dancers all dressed up in folk outfits. There is also an encouragement for interactive dances where audience are invited to join in.

Stompin Ground

Courtesy of...

This video was published by ccitycloggers on youtube.  The information on this video says:  1st Place at Nationals in Maggie Valley.  Jazz Choreo by Brittany Sibert.  

The cloggers here are from West Columbia, SC.  This performance was beautifully done in Maggie Valley, NC.

For more info, visit www.capitalcitycloggers.com.

The Sights [courtesy of discovermaggievalley.com]

Click thumbnail to view full-size
The Depot of Ghost Town where you get on the chair lifts up to the very top to get into Ghost Town beyond.The Map of Ghost Town.Carolina Nights - country music, comedy, gospel, etc!Most photographed view in the Smokies Overlook.Wheels Through Time Museum.Tony's Tube World, this pic is actually courtesy of www.tubemaggievalley.com.  This is where one of my first few dates were at. ;)
The Depot of Ghost Town where you get on the chair lifts up to the very top to get into Ghost Town beyond.
The Depot of Ghost Town where you get on the chair lifts up to the very top to get into Ghost Town beyond.
The Map of Ghost Town.
The Map of Ghost Town.
Carolina Nights - country music, comedy, gospel, etc!
Carolina Nights - country music, comedy, gospel, etc!
Most photographed view in the Smokies Overlook.
Most photographed view in the Smokies Overlook.
Wheels Through Time Museum.
Wheels Through Time Museum.
Tony's Tube World, this pic is actually courtesy of www.tubemaggievalley.com.  This is where one of my first few dates were at. ;)
Tony's Tube World, this pic is actually courtesy of www.tubemaggievalley.com. This is where one of my first few dates were at. ;)

Wheels Through Time

Maggie's Attractions

I suppose I should get to some of the bigger attractions. The next thing you will see will be very familiar and very well-recognized. I bet you guessed it already - Ghost Town in the Sky. When you pass by this, you'll see a deeply embedded trail of chair lifts that begins from the bottom of a mountain to the very top almost hidden by clouds. There is a new rollercoaster, The Cliffhanger Rollercoster, nearly finalized to be opened for public thrill. Ghost Town is the wonderfully stereotypical Saloon-themed park: Gun fight re-enactments plus other live entertainment. Another familiar attraction of Maggie Valley is the Cataloochee Ski Area. While I don't know much about this because I was never a fan of skiing, I do know it is [obviously] one of the most popular attraction for the winter season. A brilliant tourist attraction that confirms that Maggie Valley attracts tourists all year long.

No Maggie Valley article or piece would be complete without mentioning the Wheels Through Time Museum. "The museum that runs" shows premier collection of rare and significant American motorcycles from past to now. They often host displays and demonstrations of the motorcycles. The most recent news to come from WTT is that the museum "made its way to Washington, DC for the inauguration of our country's 44th president. The museum, which was invited to participate in the Presidential Inauguration Parade in November of 2008, would attend the parade both in celebration of the swearing-in of our new president and in tribute to the 90th Anniversary of the 1919 Transcontinental Army Convoy on the Lincoln Highway".

The other main attractions of Maggie Valley are:

1) Tony's Tube World. Tubeworld is located directly across from Ghost Town, so it's rather easy to find. I recall when I went with my family and my boyfriend at the time (as one of the first safe "13-year-old dates"). Basically, you rent their big tubes and slide down the hill. Even if there is no actual snow, Cataloochee is famous for snowmaking.

2) Carolina Nights. It's actually Carolina Nights Dinner Theater. Their website says "Carolina Nights Dinner Theater in Maggie Valley, North Carolina, brings the charm of the Smokies to the stage, delighting crowds with top notch song, dance and comedy.

We will entertain you, your family and friends in our beautiful smoke free theater, and make your trip to the Great Smoky Mountains a memorable experience."

3) The Smokies Overlook. There's actually two most photographed view of the Smokies. That's the Soco Tower and the nearby down the road parking space as shown in the thumbnail.

A note on tourism: Granted, tourism is incredibly 'commercial'. The nifty thing about Maggie Valley is they took out the commercialism and made tourism absolutely personal and unique. The variety of handmade and independent shops, even handmade ice cream, and the love and support of the locals, certainly makes up for the tourism attitude of the whole town.

Locals and Independent Shops

Speaking of personal and unique...

To ease off of tourism, there are plenty of backroads to be found and places that offers private horse-riding to locals and outsiders alike. This is actually found just at the entrance and the exit of Maggie Valley where the peaceful atmosphere collides smoothly into the exciting world on Soco Road Highway. Private homes are highly expensive and can be seen when passing through Maggie Valley. The typical homes are large log homes with wide windows way up in the mountains that offers comprehensive view of the world below passing by on Soco Road. There are businesses that cater mainly to the locals, as well, like textile and furniture artists, and real estate agents. Locals often frequent and rendezvous at saloons, little independent restaurants, cafes, lounges, and sports bar found all along Soco Road. It's surely there you'll find many locals greeting each other on first name basis and entertaining others with stories, much like an Irish pub.

Some of the more local and independent places that make Maggie Valley highly unique:

  1. Jimmy's Towne House Restaurant
  2. Lonesome Dove Saloon and Cafe
  3. Seven Silver Seas - Gorgeous jewelry, crafts, and sometimes clothing. I came here frequently with friends.  I highly recommend this place.
  4. Butts on the Creek BBQ dining.
  5. Green Thumb Nursery
  6. Different Drummer Pottery - Gorgeous website! Take a serious look at this one.

Somewhere in Maggie Valley, you will drive past a few places where there are wood sculptures of bears and other things.  You may even see an artist outside using a chainsaw to create a gorgeous piece! I'm serious.  Gorgeous, realistic pieces - with chainsaw!  I can't quite recall the names of the businesses, but they are very easy to find and right off of Soco Road as well!

I Present To You 'Personal and Unique'! [dininginthesmokies.com]

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Jimmy's Towne House RestaurantLonesome Dove Saloon and CafeSeven Silver SeasButts on the CreekGreen Thumb NurseryThe Chocolate ShoppeDifferent Drummer Pottery
Jimmy's Towne House Restaurant
Jimmy's Towne House Restaurant
Lonesome Dove Saloon and Cafe
Lonesome Dove Saloon and Cafe
Seven Silver Seas
Seven Silver Seas
Butts on the Creek
Butts on the Creek
Green Thumb Nursery
Green Thumb Nursery
The Chocolate Shoppe
The Chocolate Shoppe
Different Drummer Pottery
Different Drummer Pottery

Take It or Leave It

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A Parting Challenge

My days were mainly enjoying the pubs, the putt-putt courses, the Lodge I practically lived at in the summer of '04, and admiring the Blue Ridge Mountain. I often passed by these shops, noting the names, colors, and locals. I went to the Stompin' Ground perhaps three times my entire life. It was that summer of 2004 that I bid adieu to little Maggie and Haywood County as a whole. I left for Tennessee to live with my grandparents.

Then, it was the summer of June 27th, 2009 with my soulmate (Tennessee native that he is) that I passed through Maggie Valley once again to visit Cherokee. Please check back for personal photos and videos.

All the memories still hold true and, as a true lover of western NC, I challenge you to visit Maggie Valley just once and see if you don't fall in love with it.

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Comments 2 comments

ralwus 7 years ago

I've been through there many years ago. Ancestors from around that area too. Who doesn't like those cloggers or mountains?


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Tankadin 6 years ago

Good Hub. I have been through there. Like the area.

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