No trip to the mountains would be complete without some local exploration, and Jackson County has more than enough for all ages to enjoy!
The center of it all is Sylva, which has been the county seat since 1913. This charming mountain town was featured in 3 Hollywood motion pictures: Three Billboards Outside Ebbing Missouri, Fugitive, and Deliverance. It also features convenient access to the Blue Ridge Parkway, a lively Main Street lined with restaurants & shops, a booming brewing scene, and a wealth of exciting events year-round. Check out some of our personal favorites below!
ILDA is the award-winning, artisan passion project of our close friends Chef Santiago Guzzetti and Sommelier Crystal Pace. Located conveniently at the end of Main Street in Sylva, ILDA’s rustic Italian-Appalachian cuisine, inventive craft cocktails, and unique wine selection are a must-try when visiting the area!
The latest culinary venture from our friends Crystal Pace and Chef Santiago Guzzetti, Meatballs Pizzeria is all about family, community, and making memories over pizza pies. Meatballs was once owned by Crystal’s mother, Karen Martar, from 1983 – 2000. It was a true staple in the Sylva community, and now it has made its triumphant return to Main Street. Visit Meatballs for wood-fired pizza by the pie or slice, calzones, decadent desserts, and that famous family meatball recipe!
Santè – The Wine Bar
Featuring a fantastic selection of top-shelf wine handpicked by Sommelier Crystal Pace and located right next to ILDA, Santè provides a relaxed vibe true to the heart of Sylva. With rotating events, tapas by ILDA, tastings, and an open-air feel, patrons can also purchase wine by the bottle or case.
Combining Middle Eastern and Mediterranean influences with fresh, local ingredients, White Moon specializes in simple, nutritious, and delicious food & drink. Their menu is constantly evolving and features sandwiches, tea, coffee, smoothies, and more. They even have a secret speakeasy inside!
Jackson County Farmer’s Market
Featuring locally grown produce, herbal products, and crafts, the Jackson County Farmer’s Market is open every Saturday year-round! Visit them at 110 Railroad Avenue in Sylva, not far from Main Street. Their hours are 9am – 12pm April through October and 10 am – 1 pm November through March.
Shopping in Sylva
With five antique stores, three bookstores, and numerous other independent shops, there are plenty of great shopping opportunities in Sylva. Take a stroll down one of the Top 25 Cutest Main Streets in America as you hunt for the perfect keepsake!
Jackson County Ale Trail
If you consider yourself a beer connoisseur, the Jackson County Ale Trail is a must-drink adventure that TripAdvisor named “One of the Top 10 American Brewery Tours”. With four walkable breweries in downtown Sylva (Innovation, Balsam Falls, Lazy Hiker, and Nantahala Brewing Company), you’re sure to find some new favorite brews!
Greening Up the Mountains
Drawing crowds of over 10,000 people, the Greening Up the Mountains Festival is always one of the biggest days of the year in Sylva. For over 20 years, this heritage arts festival has celebrated the coming of Spring and “greening” of mountain trees with local art, music, food, drinks, and a 5K run. If you’re visiting in April, you won’t want to miss this!
Mountain Heritage Day
Featuring live music & entertainment, food, kid-friendly activities, a car show, a chainsaw competition, a 5K race, over 130 vendors, and much more, Mountain Heritage Day is a yearly festival celebrating Southern Appalachian Mountain culture. Visit us in September and make the short drive to Cullowhee to see why it’s one of the top 20 annual events in the Southeast!
Caney Fork Blueberry Patch
Visit Caney Fork Blueberry Patch for an incredible mountain blueberry-picking experience. Caney Fork Blueberry Patch offers U-Pick and We Pick options with 15 varieties of northern high bush blueberries available from June to August. Explore the 4-acre blueberry field, relax in the grassy areas by the river, and take in the scenic views. Open from dawn to dusk, you can explore on your own or arrange a guided tour by texting their team at 910-308-9339. Feel free to bring your own containers or use their available gallon buckets. The best time to pick is in the morning or late afternoon, with June being an especially fruitful month. Come to Caney Fork Blueberry Patch and enjoy the delights of nature and fresh blueberries.