Navigating the serpentine Route 64 driving through the North Carolina Mountains, I found myself in in the small town of Brevard NC.
Although the town itself was small, there was a good amount of development going on in the area.
With all the beautiful natural setting surrounding of the North Carolina Mountains it isn’t any wonder why more and more people are calling Brevard their North Carolina Mountains Best place to live.
Brevard is known for the Brevard Music Center, a campus of music education set on a lake, in the shadows of the mountain ranges.
Annually there are many events at the Brevard Music Center, such as the renowned Brevard Music Festival, which features nationally touring artists.
After leaving Brevard, I continued on Route 64 through the North Carolina Mountains to another of the North Carolina Mountains best small towns ~ Cashiers.
The residents of Cashiers certainly love Golf. So much so that there were signs posted on the side of the road prior to the entrance of the Golf Club.
The first sign read…
“Pull over slowpoke, I’ve got a tee time.” The second… “Hurry up, my tee time is in three minutes.”
Following each of the signs were pullover spots. I found it interesting especially considering the curvy nature of the road.
But if you’re a golfer, maybe Cashiers is your North Carolina Mountains best place to live.
Cashiers was the quintessential mountain small town with spectacular views. There are several small eateries and tons of outdoor activities, from river rafting to llama tours.
Happy that no golfer had swung a nine iron at my head for driving slowly, I headed north to another North Carolina Mountains best small town of Sylva.
The best small town of Sylva in the North Carolina Mountains sits on the edge of the Great Smoky Mountain National Park.
The first thing that strikes you is the amazing beauty of this part of the North Carolina Mountains.
I was stunned by the size and beauty of the mountains.
Throughout the day this feeling only continued to grow along with the size and scope of the peaks and vegetation that grows in great abundance and vitality everywhere.
This North Carolina Mountains best place to live is a great small town with a Main Street set up that runs parallel to the mountain ranges in the distance.
Best Places In The North Carolina Mountains To Live GuideStart Your New Life In The North Carolina Mountains Right
There are a number of historical buildings and the town’s streets were spotless!
And busy in the middle of the afternoon. Most of the buildings were brightly colored, lending an air of festivity to the town.
What an amazing small town in the North Carolina Mountains. You have to check out Sylva!
A little fun and game anyone?
I drove north to Cherokee NC and to the Indian Reservation, home to Harrah’s Casino.
Both Cherokee and Jackson County are, “dry,” meaning that no alcohol is sold. The Harrah’s Casino on the Indian Reservation is a big economic pull for the area. From the Smokey Mountains of Tennessee to South Carolina.
Cherokee is literally right on the borders of the Great Smoky Mountain National Park. Take a 40 minute ride through some of the most beautiful mountains and you’ll end up in Gatlinburg Tennessee. Another Best place to live!
There are countless hotels, motels and restaurants catering to the tourists visiting the casino. If you love casinos be aware, the casino is all digital.
The closest thing you can get to cards and chips are the digital black jack tables.
The next morning after some much needed rest, I continued my journey to the best small towns in the North Carolina Mountains.
Today we’re starting out in Bryson City, NC.
Bryson City reminded me of an old western boom town.
It sits alongside the Nantahala River and caters to the tourist industry the waters attract.
There is a heavy presence of Native American culture in this part of the North Carolina Mountains due to its proximity to the reservation.
The town looked healthy and cozy with a little bridge crossing the river in the heart of the downtown and little shops.
Many of the residents of the Bryson City were walking about, many looked like they had the day off and were heading into the mountains for the day even though it was the middle of the week.
The small town of Waynesville NC had the allure of Hendersonville, in a smaller version.
Plenty of shopping lined the active downtown streets. However, the views of the mountains surpassed those of Hendersonville.
At about any point in the town, you were able to look to the west or north and see green mountains in the distance.
Once out of the mountains, the air started to heat up again.
Marion is an old railroad and mill town, and the heritage is evident in the buildings and outskirts of town.
You can still see the mountains in the distance. Most of the town’s buildings were a bit on the old side and the town itself was quite hilly.
New development and lots of land, close proximity to Asheville, Marion NC is worth considering as your best place to live.
Little Switzerland NC was the next place to see on the route. Heading there I got my first taste of the Blue Ridge Parkway.
On it I saw some of the most impressive views of the whole trip. Traveling the local roads also affords similar views, but with worse road conditions.
Little Switzerland turned out to be a little dot off the Parkway.
Surrounded by a couple of golf courses, Little Switzerland was comprised of one block of about five stores.A new and used book store, a general store, and a couple of restaurants.
Although it was in the heart of some of the most beautiful countryside I had seen so far, Little Switzerland seemed more of a stop on the way to other places, than a destination.
Although, if you are looking for a quiet golf and outdoor vacation or retirement, Little Switzerland might be your best place to retire.
Back on the Parkway on my way north to Banner Elk.
Banner Elk NC is a town to the west of Boone. It was a small town with a couple of strips of stores, at the intersection of Routes 184 and 321.
The shopping in the town was very quaint, made up of village style settings where many of the stores were connected. I was especially struck by how friendly the people were.
Banner Elk provides its residents and visitors with the perfect spot to access the mountains for winter skiing, and the town has a resort feel to it.There were a good amount of people walking around and shopping, as well.
The roads in and out of town are a bit curvy, so visitors should check their proposed route with locals before heading out.
After navigating the road to Boone NC I strolled along the streets for awhile to get a feel for the town. Boone is home to Appalachian University and the schools presence is heavily felt in the town.
A large section is devoted to the campus, and there were many college aged kids walking around and enjoying the sunshine.
As with most college towns, there was a good variety of services.
Many shops were centered around outdoor recreation, including one with its own outdoor climbing wall.
In addition, there were plenty of restaurants, night spots, galleries, and malls.
Some of the sidewalks were covered which would be perfect for shopping in the rain.
Leaving Boone, I began my journey back to the Piedmont region to the best places to live in North Carolina that I had missed on the way to Asheville.
The first stop was at Blowing Rock NC, just south east of Boone.
Blowing Rock is known for its assortment of artistic shops and galleries, and seemed kind of like Boone’s ritzier, and slightly older cousin.
If Boone, NC was a town for college students, then Blowing Rock would be perfect for their parents.
There were plenty of open air eating options, more expensive restaurants, and galleries, with everything from home wares to paintings and sculptures.
As with Banner Elk and Boone, Blowing Rock also enjoys a position ideal for outdoor entertainment, as it is actually located in the Pisgah National Forest.
Heading back east, the mountains of North Carolina have provided some the of best small towns for relocation and retirement.
Let’s see what the Piedmont region has to offer…
Learn about living in NC and find Your Best Place to Retire or Relocate:
Robert Bencivenga is a professional site locator for major corporations. Bob finds affordable best places to live in North Carolina and South Carolina. Bob Does Not Sell Real Estate!
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