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Top Outdoor Town – Check out Franklin, NC
“Thousands of tired, nerve-shaken, over-civilized people are beginning to find out going to the mountains is going home.” –John Muir
With mountain ridges as far as the eye can see and fresh water streams that meander through the hills, Macon County is home to nearly 250 square miles of United States Forest land, making it the perfect outdoor adventure mecca.
From unmarred national forests to pristine mountain waters, and its location as a gateway to the Great Smoky Mountains, Franklin, North Carolina is the ideal outdoor destination. With Blue Ridge Outdoor Magazine’s recent designation as a 2015 Top Outdoor Town, visitors from all over will soon find out exactly what makes Franklin the perfect place to get lost outside.
- Home to Nantahala National Forest
“The clearest way into the Universe is through a forest wilderness.” -John Muir
With terrain reaching 5,580 in elevation, the Nantahala National Forest spans 531,270 acres over six counties, with the majority being located in Macon County. As the largest national forest in North Carolina, the Nantahala National Forest houses three wilderness areas, including Ellicott Rock near Highlands. These unharmed wilderness destinations preserve the forests as close to their original state as possible, making for the perfect outdoor experience. These wilderness areas create the perfect opportunity for solitude in a rugged, natural setting.
- A day’s drive from three major metropolitan areas
“Between every two pines is a doorway to a new world.” – John Muir
Not everyone wants to get lost for long and by being located two to two and half hours away from Atlanta, Charlotte, and Greenville, Franklin makes for the ultimate day adventure. Franklin sits 130 miles north of Atlanta, 180 miles west of Charlotte, and 110 miles northwest of Greenville. After a couple of hours in the car, anyone can leave the hustle and bustle of the city and become consumed with crisp mountain air and pristine relaxation.
- Businesses and a community centered around outdoor recreation
“When one tugs at a single thing in nature, he finds it attached to the rest of the world.” – John Muir
From the Nantahala Hiking Club providing insider information about the best spots to put some miles on your hiking boots to businesses built on serving the outdoor enthusiast, Franklin is an entire community dedicated to the outdoor industry. From custom shoe fittings at Outdoor 76 or resupplying before heading back into the woods at Three Eagle Outfitters, to grabbing a beer at the Lazy Hiker Brewery, Franklin has grown into a one stop shop, all of which are locally owned and operated for premiere customer service, for the outdoorsman.
- Franklin was designated as the very first official Appalachian Trail Community
“In every walk with nature one receives far more than he seeks.” – John Muir
All 2,200 miles of the Appalachian Trail stretches through 14 states and the Appalachian Trail Conservancy has designated 36 towns from Georgia to Maine as certified Appalachian Trail Communities. Franklin, being recognized as a leader in community involvement to promote and protect the trail, was designated as the very first Appalachian Trail Community.
Macon County is home to 47 miles of the Appalachian Trail, with Franklin being just 11 miles off the trail. The Macon County Transit also provide a shuttle service to hikers during peak season. As a leader in the trail communities, Franklin has even worked to develop an annual month long celebration of the trail, April Trail Days, spanning from the first day of Spring until Earth Day. With events and celebrations hosted by various businesses and clubs in the community to promote the trail and welcome hikers to Franklin.
- Hiking, biking, climbing, paddling, and every other outdoor recreation opportunity you can possibly fathom.
“Keep close to Nature’s heart… and break clear away, once in awhile, and climb a mountain or spend a week in the woods. Wash your spirit clean.” – John Muir
The possibilities are endless. From hiking perfection like the Appalachian Trail and the Bartram Trail, to rock climbing at Pickens Nose, to paddling down the Little Tennessee, the miles and miles of forests and rivers encompassing Franklin lends itself beautifully to satisfy your wanderlust. Whether you want to throw on a pack and go off the grid in the Nantahala National Forest or if you was to suit up to test out your rod in a fresh mountain stream, there is no shortage of opportunity in Franklin.
Our fantastic town was named the 2015 Top Small Town by the readers of Blue Ridge Outdoors.
Check out the full story HERE.
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Fall in Franklin North Carolina is truly a sight to behold.
Here are 6 reasons why Fall in Franklin North Carolina is something you should not miss!
1) Experience the Wonders of Nature!
There is nothing quite like Fall in the mountains of Western North Carolina and Macon County has some of the best spots around to see the electric colors of the season.
2) Navigate the winding mountain highways.
Fewer sights are more remarkable than those found along U.S. 64 connecting Franklin and Highlands or those found along Wayah Road connecting Franklin and Nantahala.
3) Enjoy the last purely agricultural fair in North Carolina!
You might not find carnival rides and games at the annual Macon County Agricultural Fair, but as the last purely agricultural fair in the state, the annual event is nothing shy of a good time for the whole family.
4) Compete in the world famous Pumpkin Roll down Frogtown.
Its tough to pin down the best part of Franklin’s annual PumpkinFest. Who can chose between the Pumpkin Pie eating contest, the costume parade and contest down main street featuring the most darling princesses and adorable clowns, or the World Famous Pumpkin Roll that launches pumpkins 100 yards down Phillip Street’s steep incline. Whatever your vice, this annual Fall festival has a little taste of everything.
5) Corn Mazes and Pumpkin Patches
All Fall long local farmers such as Deal Farms have fresh picked harvests like apples and pumpkins and just when the cool crisp air begins to tingle your skin, the corn field is carved out in a maze for a fun day of adventure.
6) Race in the cool mountain air.
All year long Franklin has a busy schedule of foot races planned ranging from 80s themed 8ks to benefit for the Shriner’s Hospital to 5ks downs main street while sporting a kilt for the annual Father’s Day weekend Braveheart run, but there is just something about the Fall weather that makes races a little more enjoyable. If you’re looking for a longer distance run, check out the annual Conquer the Mountain half Marathon on November 7 or if you want to get funky, put on your best turkey costume and race along the Greenway for the annual Cold Turkey 5k on Thanksgiving morning.
Photos provided by Eric Haggart of Timeless Moments Imaging. Timeless Moments Imaging is Franklin, NC photographer specializing in weddings, engagements, family photos and stunning scenic portraits in and around Macon County.
Calling Franklin, North Carolina the Gem of the Appalachians maybe a bit cliché, as the word play has been used far too many times in reference to her abundant mineral deposits; however, cliché aside, I’m in the camp believing she is the gem of the Appalachians. It’s not solely for her mineral offerings; in fact, those offerings pale in comparison to the true rarities, treasures and secrets that lie and have lain beneath the dark soil of Franklin, adding greatly to Franklin’s mystique and reputation. A fine example of Franklin’s being a vault of secrets occurred in the hot summer months of 1898. Attempting to beat the Southern heat, several teenagers were swimming in the Little Tennessee River, nearest the edge of the ancient Nikwasi Mound. One child called out, after careful examination of something he’d seen sticking out of the earthen bank along the river, “Guys, I think I’ve found a skull!” The other teens, with wide eyes, and having found some sticks to dig with, began digging around the alleged skull. After several hours, and after running home for shovels, the teens placed on display their finds. Three entire, and intact human skeletons. Two of the skeletons were nothing but bone; however, the third was still wrapped in a rotting garment of some type. Not only that, a portion of a leather strap still crossed the chest of the skeleton and a piece of what appeared to be a hat still clung to his boney forehead. More shocking still, upon the strap and the hat were two different pieces of metal, both with a still-visible, carved name.
“His name was Danyl Crayne!” One of the kids called out.
The skeletal remains were carefully locked away until the year 1919, when a collector purchased them. His research and the later research of others identified Crayne as having been a Lieutenant in the British Army during the French and Indian War era. He’d been pronounced missing in action, after telling his men that he alone was going to speak with the Cherokee chief at Nikwasi.
The scenes that played out in the 1760s during and after the bloody French and Indian War were often set in Franklin, and many natives and Europeans lost their lives along Franklin’s winding rivers and deep in her vast wilds.
About the author:
Gregg Clark is a native of Macon County, North Carolina. He holds a BA in Professional Writing and a Master’s Degree in teaching English. He’s currently pursuing a doctoral degree in Executive Leadership at Lincoln Memorial University. He teaches English and History at Macon Middle School and he and his wife, herself a third-grade teacher at Iotla Valley Elementary, own and operate Where Shadows Walk, Historic Ghost Tours of Western North Carolina. They have three wonderful children: Erika, Aaron and Shade. Clark currently operates tours in Franklin, Bryson City and Sylva, North Carolina. 2016 will find tours in Highlands and Waynesville as well.
Have you ever visited a restaurant and devoured such savory treats that you just had to meet the chef in hopes of stealing some of his secrets? Well, here is your chance!
Throughout August, Ken Naron, Master Chef at The Bowery, one of Main Street’s newest restaurants, will be hosting cooking classes at the Historic Cowee School, just a short drive from Franklin.
During the classes, you will get to learn some of the south’s greatest recipes handcrafted by Chef Ken Naron of The Bowery. Chef Ken will be firing up the kitchen every Tuesday evening during the month of August to serve up some delicious flavors from the Great Smoky Mountains to the swamps of Louisiana, all while using locally grown foods from the Cowee Farmers Market.
Chef Ken and his sous chef will be working individually with class participants to learn how to create each weekly recipe with food ingredients from the Cowee Farmers Market NC. Each week you will go with Chef Ken through the market, picking out the food ingredients you will need to create a southern classic. After you browse through the market for your meal supplies, you will then return to the Cowee School kitchen, where the real fun begins.
Once you finish your southern style meal, Chef Ken and his sous chef will then have you sit down and present to you your creation. Every student will receive a copy of each week’s recipe to be able to recreate the treats for their families and friends.
Cost for the class is $70 per class (includes all food) (Students are encouraged to sign up the week before each class: Example- 7/28 for 8/4 class) or you may purchase all 4 classes for $250 (includes all food for each class). For info about the series, please email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
This blog was written by Dave Linn with Bringing It 2 Life Productions. Dave works to promote local events in and around the Franklin area.