Eastern Tennessee and Western North Carolina are two of the most beautiful and diverse regions in the United States, offering a wide range of outdoor adventures, cultural experiences, and scenic drives. From the lush forests and rolling hills of the Great Smoky Mountains to the rolling bluegrass country of the Tennessee River Valley, this area is packed with natural beauty and rich history. Here are four of the top things to explore in Eastern Tennessee and Western North Carolina.
The Great Smoky Mountains National Park
The Great Smoky Mountains National Park is one of the largest and most visited national parks in the United States, and it’s not hard to see why. This incredible park covers over 500,000 acres of rolling hills, dense forests, and majestic peaks, and is home to an incredible array of wildlife, including black bears, deer, and hundreds of species of birds. Whether you’re a hiker, camper, or just someone looking for a scenic drive, the Great Smoky Mountains National Park is a must-visit.
One of the best ways to experience the park is to hike one of its many trails, which range from short, easy walks to challenging backcountry treks. The park is also home to several scenic drives, including the famous Newfound Gap Road, which offers breathtaking views of the surrounding mountains and valleys. And if you’re interested in history, be sure to visit the historic Cades Cove, a 19th-century settlement that’s now a popular tourist destination.
The Tennessee River Valley
The Tennessee River Valley is one of the most beautiful and diverse regions in Eastern Tennessee, offering a wide range of outdoor adventures, cultural experiences, and scenic drives. This area is home to rolling hills, lush forests, and rolling bluegrass country, and is a popular destination for boaters, anglers, and birdwatchers.
One of the best ways to explore the Tennessee River Valley is by boat, and there are several companies that offer guided tours and rentals. You can also enjoy fishing, kayaking, and canoeing on the river, or take a scenic drive along the winding roads that follow its shores. And if you’re interested in history, be sure to visit the historic town of Muscle Shoals, which was once an important center of music and industry.
The Blue Ridge Parkway
The Blue Ridge Parkway is a stunning scenic drive that winds its way through the rolling hills and dense forests of Eastern Tennessee and Western North Carolina. This 469-mile road offers breathtaking views of the surrounding mountains, valleys, and rivers, and is a popular destination for tourists and locals alike.
Along the way, you’ll find plenty of opportunities to stop and explore, including scenic overlooks, hiking trails, and historic sites. One of the highlights of the Blue Ridge Parkway is the historic Mabry Mill, a water-powered gristmill that’s now a popular tourist destination. You can also visit the beautiful Peaks of Otter, which offer stunning views of the surrounding countryside.
The Asheville Art Scene
Asheville, North Carolina, is a vibrant city that’s known for its thriving art scene, with a wide range of galleries, studios, and museums showcasing works by local and regional artists. Whether you’re a fan of contemporary art, traditional crafts, or anything in between, you’re sure to find something that interests you in Asheville.
One of the best places to start your exploration of the Asheville art scene is the River Arts District, a neighborhood that’s home to over 200 artists and artisans. Here, you’ll find everything from glassblowers and potters to painters and sculptors, and you can even take a guided tour to see the artists at work in their studios.
In conclusion, Eastern Tennessee and Western North Carolina offer a wealth of opportunities for exploration and adventure. Whether you’re a nature lover, history buff, or art aficionado, there’s something for everyone in this beautiful and diverse region. From the breathtaking beauty of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and the rolling hills of the Tennessee River Valley to the vibrant art scene of Asheville, this area is sure to leave you with memories that will last a lifetime. So pack your bags and head to Eastern Tennessee and Western North Carolina for an unforgettable vacation.