Get the scoop first with our official blog about Franklin, NC!
Picture this: The moment has finally arrived for you and your love to stand hand in hand, all your friends and family present, to promise your undying love and commitment to one another. All around you, the mountains roll in beautiful hues of blue and green, and the air is fresh and clear—as if the whole world is celebrating with you.
If you’re ready to fall in love a second time, here are four reasons why weddings in the mountains are utterly unforgettable.
A destination that feels like home
Even for those who are visiting the mountains for the first time, there is something about the easy-paced lifestyle and breathtaking natural views that feels like home. For destination weddings, this is the perfect match if you want to feel adventurous but keep that sweet, hometown feel.
It’s sure to charm your family and friends, too, because there’s something for everyone! Split up and chase waterfalls, go shopping, or hike a section of the Appalachian Trail, and then join back together to share stories at the reception after the wedding.
The romance of a blue ridge in all your photos
Truly, this point is a no-brainer. Who could pass up the opportunity to have a backdrop of mountains stretching out into the distance for your ceremony and photographs? Something in the view calls to mind the sweetness of the past and the excitement for the future, and the mountains themselves are to scale with your feelings on the big day.
Every season carries its charm
Think a mountain wedding is only pretty in the fall? Guess again! While leaf-looking season is truly a sight to behold, spring in the blue ridge is a riot of color and life waking up after the winter. Summer is a lush green that invites locals and visitors alike to enjoy the lakes, rivers, and swimming holes—all while striking a balance between warmth and refreshing cool under the shade of the forest canopies.
Even winter holds its charm—the mountains are silver against an icy blue sky, and you may even get a fresh sprinkling of snow to make your special day look like something from a fairytale!
Stay and honeymoon, too!
Once you arrive, you won’t want to leave—and why should you? There’s so much to do, explore, and experience in the mountains that you can save time and money on additional travel by simply staying put. After all, what’s more romantic than catching a sunrise or sunset at an overlook with your love?
Ready to start planning your mountain wedding?
We thought you might be! That’s why we’ve collected everything you need to know about lodging, food, and outdoor activities in one place—be sure to explore our website for more information!
Who doesn’t love a freebie, especially in Western North Carolina, where Appalachian adventures abound? If you’re looking for fun things to do in our lovely valley that go easy on your wallet, check out these five attractions that are absolutely free!
Note: Some of these items are unavailable during COVID-19—however, we’re staying strong and are hopeful to bring it all back as soon as we can!
Pickin’ on the Square
Nothing says mountain life like an outdoor bluegrass open mic on a warm summer night, and that’s exactly what you’ll get with our Pickin’ on the Square nights on Saturdays from late May to mid-October. Held downtown at the gazebo on Main Street, this casual but lively event is sure to get your feet tapping. Bring a chair and takeout from one of our Main Street restaurants for a perfectly Franklin experience!
Franklin Gem and Mineral Museum
Franklin isn’t called the gem capital of the world for no reason, but don’t take our word for it! Head over to the Franklin Gem and Mineral Museum for the fascinating story of how rubies and sapphires were first discovered in our valley—plus, learn how gem mining works, head out from there to try your hand at the mines yourself, or purchase a piece of Franklin treasure there at the museum itself.
Macon County Historical Society and Museum (Suggested Donations)
Franklin is the county seat of Macon County, and while you may assume it’s a small area given our cozy, small-town feel, Macon County takes up a sprawling 520 square miles and has an incredible history. For a taste of all the stories our beautiful county has to tell, stop in at the Macon County Historical Society and Museum downtown. Donations are suggested, but you’ll find the museum well worth any donation you make!
The Cowee School Arts & Heritage Center
If you want a true blast from the past, you absolutely must visit the Cowee School. This beautiful piece of Franklin history is now home to Appalachian arts, crafts, and lessons for all sorts of local traditions. Whether you want to learn contra dancing, hear a bagpiper up close, or browse the antique toy museum, you’ll have plenty to explore at the old school building.
Wherever you end up on your mountain adventures, we’re delighted to have you! Check out more information in our Explore section if you’re interested in lodging or more opportunities to see the Franklin side of life!
Of course, it’s exciting to think of all the things to do once you arrive in Franklin, North Carolina – the mountains rise on every side of the valley, calling you to hiking, fishing, kayaking, and other adventures, while the small town coziness rounds out a feeling of relaxation and rest – but have you ever realized that the journey in could be one of the best parts?
Let’s talk about going the long way round from Highlands, Cherokee, and Atlanta.
Highlands is a beautiful mountaintop town frequented by celebrities and locals alike, so if it’s your last stop on the way to Franklin, there are several ways to head down into the valley.
The most frequented route is US 64, which takes about 40 minutes. The views are beautiful, and several waterfalls dot the landscape as you wind up the tight curves and watch the world fall away. It’ll feel like an adventure without ever leaving your car, but if you choose to make a stop, be sure to walk the short trail behind Dry Falls to see a rare angle of the roaring water.
You could also drive down to Georgia and up through Sky Valley, which is only 50 minutes. While it adds around 10 minutes to your trip, drivers who would like a bit of cushion on the mountain roads can enjoy two lanes as they navigate the route’s sharper curves.
Travelling from Cherokee
Is culturally-rich Cherokee your last stop on the way to Franklin? We’ve got routes for you, too.
There are two main ways to travel: you could swing to the east on US 441 and pass through the quaint and lovely town of Dillsboro (about 40 minutes), or you could take US 28 to wind up through the mountains on an exciting stretch of road (55 minutes).
The choice comes down to how adventurous you are. The route through Dillsboro has some construction on US 23, but it doesn’t slow traffic much, and the highway has two lanes each way while traversing the mountains. US 28, on the other hand, takes a bit longer but treats avid drivers to the thrill of hugging each tight curve.
Travelling from Atlanta
Finally, if you’re heading up from the big city, we have routes for you, too!
Most will come up I-985 until it turns into US 23 – it’s an easy way to travel, since it’s a straight shot once you leave I-85 in Atlanta, and takes about 2 hours and 15 minutes. You’ll also be treated to a faraway view of the mountains breaking through the trees, and the North Georgia mountains are a great taste of what’s to come.
If the truly scenic route is what you’re after, stay on I-85 and take the exit for US 76 to ride through national forest land and arrive in Clayton, Georgia. The roads are two-way traffic but not too curvy – just enough to get you ready for Franklin. It adds more travel time than the traditional route, taking about 3 hours, but if you’re willing to spend an extra 40 minutes driving through beautiful forests, US 76 is the way to go.
Wherever you’re from, welcome!
Franklin is delighted to host your next mountain adventure! While you’re here, why not explore some of our housing, dining, and outdoor adventures? Getting here is just half the fun!
Planning a vacation in the mountains for an outdoor excursion? Getting away from the bustle of life is a prized part of a Blue Ridge adventure, but you don’t want to be so away from it all that you can’t easily get from one place to the next!
Here are some transportation options in Franklin, North Carolina, so you can see what sort of services are available to visitors.
Public Transportation – The Macon County Transit
If getting around the valley without hopping in your own car is the goal, the Macon County Transit is the way to go. The shuttle has stops everywhere from Main Street to the grocery store – perfect for any of your transportation needs. General public rates are $3 to ride per day.
Keep in mind that some services are limited, however – for instance, transportation from airports to Franklin have been put on hold during the Coronavirus pandemic.
You can either jump on the transit along the route or make a specific location request. Requests must be received by 11:00 AM the day prior to the date of the trip that is within Macon County. Appointments are taken on a first call first served basis.
Non-emergency Medical Transportation – Mountain Area Transport
If your needs are a bit more specific, the Mountain Area Transport has just what you need. Servicing different medical sensibilities is their specialty, from handicap persons to the elderly. Their services are also available for long distance travel, and you can quickly and easily book their services online. Rates and schedules are available when you request service.
Rental Car Services – Enterprise Car Rentals
If you simply prefer to save mileage on your own car and nab another ride while you’re in the mountains, head over to our local Enterprise Rental center. Pick from a convenient lineup of vehicles and rent based on your needs for the vacation duration. Rates and services depend on availability when the request is made, of course, so be sure to check the dates of your trip.
Private Flights – Macon County Airport
Finally, you might like to take to the skies and see the dazzling views from thousands of feet up—if flying is more your style, consider the airstrip at the Macon County Airport your welcome mat. You’ll descend into the stunning Iotla valley in an unforgettable sweep and watch the mountains rise up around you. Just arrange your arrival by filling out the contact form on the airport’s website, and you’ll be on your way.
Ride, Explore, and Enjoy!
Whatever you choose for your ideal mode of transportation, we’re excited to host you for your mountain getaway vacation! Stay tuned on the blog for more tips, ideas, and the inside scoop on Franklin, North Carolina – we can’t wait to see you here!
Technology is a wonderful thing, but everyone has been on that one vacation or weekend when you tried to get away from it all and “it all” somehow still found its way to you.
Unplugging from the internet and demands of work contacts can be difficult, but it’s definitely worth it—here are a few activities to help you put down the electronics and get outside in the mountains.
What’s a trip to the mountains without a hike? If you’re not an experienced hiker, don’t worry—not everyone is cut out for the Appalachian Trail, and there are plenty of smaller trails that just about anyone can manage.
If you want to get down to the root of the mountains and don’t mind getting a little muddy, gem mining is the way to go! Franklin has several placer mines where sapphires and rubies abound—you can choose to sift through unaltered buckets of stones and dirt for treasure, or you can always get an enriched bucket that has small gems added for a guaranteed find.
Macon County has several spectacular parks all over town, so there’s plenty to choose from depending on what your family enjoys doing. Frisbee, hammocking, batting cages, playgrounds, creek, and walking trails abound—check out the Parker Meadows Complex for starters and plan a fun day outdoors!
The Little Tennessee River Greenway
For anyone who wants to enjoy the outdoors a little closer to town, the Little Tennessee River Greenway is a lovely place to walk, bike, or run. The entire Greenway is around six miles, but there are plenty of entry and exit points with pavilions and parking lots if you’d rather not walk the entire way.
Putting away your internet access and phone contacts for a few days may seem daunting at first, but when you realize how much there is to do outdoors in the mountains, you’ll find it’s not too hard at all! We hope you enjoy your time to unplug and wind down—we can’t wait to host you in Franklin!