Dillsboro/Sylva, Blue Ridge Parkway, Waynesville

Dillsboro/Sylva, Blue Ridge Parkway, Waynesville: Visit Dillsboro, a quaint village of over 50 shops, including working artists studios, an antique bookstore and local crafts, and then continue East on the main street to Sylva (2 minutes away) whose downtown is coming back to life with its renovated General Store, outdoor outfitter, upscale home accessories store, and cafes. Together these two towns have a wide variety of restaurants for lunch or dinner. Waynesville, another nice town with a renovated downtown, boasts everything from a bakery to a kitchen accessory store to wine shops, and can be reached in 30-40 minutes via US 23/74 (with pottery and antique stores en route). For a more scenic drive enter the Blue Ridge Parkway off US 23/74 just after Balsam (Don't forget to pickup the "fixins" for a picnic lunch before you leave Dillsboro/Sylva). This section of the Parkway from US 23/74 to US 276 is one of the most scenic, and includes three great stops: Devil's Courthouse, a 15 minute cardiovascular hike to a fabulous 270 degree view, Graveyard Fields (No graves, be sure to read how it got its name.), a wonderful upland stream with a nice waterfall, and Looking Glass Rock, a pluton, brilliant when the sun hits it. Of course, if your traveling companion has to get to those shops before they close, take US 23/74 Waynesville and when the shops close go West on the main street in Waynesville and turn South on US 276 and pickup The Parkway on the way back to Sylva/Dillsboro - there are some great Western views to catch a sunset