Get the scoop first with our official blog about Franklin, NC!
In a small town hidden away between mountains, stories flow as quick as the Little Tennessee river.
Let’s explore some of those stories, and who knows—you may experience them yourself the next time you drift into town!
Cherokee Spirit Warriors
Long before European settlers and Spanish explorers roamed the land, Cherokee Indians lived in the valley with a central mound at its heart. They called the town Nikwasi, and legend says that Cherokee warriors would pour out of the mound to help defend the land. It’s even said that those very warriors saved the town of Franklin during the Civil War, thousands of years later.
You can still see the Nikwasi Mound near Main Street in Franklin to this day and read its markers here.
But what about those settlers and explorers? Scotsmen with hearts homesick for their craggy mountains and wild hills planted their homesteads here, and the town of Franklin was officially organized in 1820.
Our rich Scottish history runs in our blood, but you can also find it tucked away in our Scottish Tartans Museum. The only one of its kind in the United States, the museum is a direct extension of the Scottish Tartans Society in Keith, Scotland.
Ambush in the Valley
Long before Main Street in Franklin was a twinkle in the town’s eye, the French and Indian War raged in the East. In their efforts to stir up bad blood between the Cherokee and the British, the French incited a four-year war between South Carolina and the Native Americans in the mountains.
The two armies clashed right in the middle of Franklin. The South Carolina military was headed for Echoe, lowest of the Cherokee’s Middle Towns, to destroy it and force a surrender—but the Cherokee ambushed South Carolina forces on either side, and Colonel Archibald Montgomery lost almost 100 men before retreating from Echoe.
Now, a brick and iron marker stands on Main Street in Franklin to remember the battle where so many were slain. You can read the inscription online here.
Corundum Mining Unearths Rubies and Sapphires
Franklin’s history goes deeper, too. Below the surface of the green mountains lies stores of a crystalline mineral called corundum, which is second only to diamonds in hardness. As companies began mining the crystals in 1870, more than corundum rolled out of the cool dirt—rubies and sapphires caught the sunlight, and gem miners have been traveling to Franklin ever since.
Now, families and gem enthusiasts of all ages can grab a pail and sift through the earth to see what precious stones tumble out. You can learn more about gem mining and its history on our website here.
A Peaceful Family Retreat with a Wild History
Whatever brings you to Franklin—whether it’s the nearness to hiking trails and outdoor adventure or the cozy remoteness from modern life—there’s so much to discover about our history. Come visit and soak up the stories in Franklin with us; you won’t be quick to forget it!
Winter Wonderland 2019—A Franklin Christmas Tradition!
Franklin is full of Christmas magic on Winter Wonderland, which we celebrate on the last Saturday in November and the first Saturday in December. Main Street is glittering with lights, and musicians wave and wink from shop windows as you ride by on a horse-drawn carriage or wagon. Shop owners offer steaming cups of cider on the house as you welcome in the official Christmas season with local shopping in our cozy mountain town.
So what sort of festivities and fun can you expect on November 24 or December 1?
Night One: November 24
While any evening is wonderful for shopping in Downtown Franklin, the first night of Winter Wonderland is the best: November 24 is Small Business Saturday®, founded by American Express®, and that means discounts at participating stores.
Both nights of Winter Wonderland feature living window displays, where musicians and carolers perform from shop windows for all who walk by—including Santa Clause himself! Santa pays a visit to Franklin on both November and December dates to meet children and hear their Christmas wishes!
Don’t feel like strolling? There are some exciting ride options, too! On the November weekend, catch a train ride around Main Street on the Winter Wonderland Holiday Express! It’s fun for all ages and runs from 5pm to 8pm, as do the horse-drawn carriage and wagon rides.
You definitely don’t want to miss the annual tree lighting ceremony at 7pm, either—the big tree at the gazebo will be lit up in spectacular fashion for the rest of the holiday season! The lighting will be immediately followed by a candlelight service, where you can join in the good cheer with well-known Christmas carols.
Night Two: December 1
Just like that, December is officially here! It’s a month of lights and joy as the countdown to Christmas jumps into full swing. What better place to kick off the festivities than on Main Street during the last Winter Wonderland?
Santa will join us one more time before heading back to the North Pole for his busy season, so make sure to catch him as he walks around the shops! Our window musicians will make a comeback as well, treating shoppers to songs and free entertainment.
You can still catch a wagon ride at any point between 5pm and 8pm and clop around Main Street as the winter weather nips at your nose, but be sure to catch the special treat of the December weekend: The free ice slide! The slide is made completely out of frosty ice bricks and slabs, looking fresh out of a Christmas fairytale—you won’t want to miss it!
Whether you choose one weekend or swing by both, Franklin welcomes you to our Winter Wonderland on November 24 and December 5, from 5pm to 8pm on Main Street. There’s plenty of Christmas cheer to go around!
You know Fall is officially rolling in when it’s time for PumpkinFest in Franklin, North Carolina! Get ready for the 22nd year of the Pumpkin Roll, festival fun, costume contests, and a weekend the whole family will remember for years to come.
So what kinds of autumn activities can you expect Saturday, October 20th?
All Things Pumpkin: The World-Famous Pumpkin Roll and more!
That’s right—Franklin is home to the World-Famous Pumpkin Roll! Gather ‘round as a crowd sends bouncing pumpkins down Phillips Street downtown, and try your hand at rolling the furthest for a grand prize of $100! Last year, the winning pumpkin went on a whopping 985-ft. adventure. Can you beat that?
Bring your pumpkin (or purchase one downtown) and sign up for the World-Famous Pumpkin Roll between 9am and 1pm. The good times officially start rolling at 10:30am and don’t stop until 2:30pm.
But that’s not all the pumpkin fun to be had! There’s also a pumpkin decorating and carving contest for any artists who’d like to celebrate the season, and of course, you can’t have a fall festival without a pumpkin pie eating contest!
Off the Beaten Trail: The Chris Clark Bicycle Stunt Show
Whoa, bike stunts? Yep, we’ve got that, too! Professional stunt cyclist Chris Clark is taking Pumpkinfest by storm one 30-minute show at a time. Watch the breathtaking show as Clark tackles custom-built ramps and hairy obstacles with ease.
We’re also thrilled to be partnering with Clark to give away a brand-new Schwinn bike at the end of the day! Make sure to stop by the show and register to win!
Fun for Kids: Adventures galore!
PumpkinFest is great for the kiddos, too! Two bouncy-house Kids Zones will be set up downtown for some high-flying fun while you parents take a moment to enjoy some ice cream, blooming onions, or funnel cake. The kids zones will be open from 9am to 4pm, so make sure to stop by!
And don’t forget to saddle up for a FREE pony ride before the day is done! Hop on up and take a stroll with Little Rascal Pony Rides from 9am to the end of the day.
Fun for All Ages: Costume Contest and Parade
Last but not least, what would PumpkinFest be without a Halloweeny costume contest? Anyone of any age can sign up and hop in for our parade at 1:15pm—the contests will begin directly afterwards! We can’t wait to see what incredible costumes people come up with this year.
We’re thrilled to have you for the 22nd Annual PumpkinFest this year! As you wander from event to event, don’t miss out on more than 80 vendors including mountain arts & crafts along with great food! There is always live entertainment including roving street performers.
More information can be obtained by calling 828-524-2516 or drop us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also follow PumpkinFest on Facebook to keep posted on the latest information!
Let’s be real—if you’re visiting the mountains in Western North Carolina, you’d be hard-pressed to find a drive that isn’t spectacular. Wherever you go, you’ll wind your way through breathtaking sights like deep valleys, roaring waterfalls, and sheer rock faces dropping away into gorges.
That said, there are a few drives that everyone should experience at least once. Here’s our roundup of four scenic routes to jot down on your bucket list!
The Blueridge Parkway is probably the most well-known mountain drive, and for good reason. The entire parkway is a whopping 469 miles long, but don’t feel the need to tackle it all at once—you can enjoy segments at a time! Stop by one of the scenic overlooks, picnic areas, hiking trails, and tourist attractions along the way for the full experience. Access to the Blue Ridge Parkway is just over a half-hour from Franklin.
Mountain Waters Scenic Byway
The Nantahala National Forest is right on Franklin’s doorstep, so the Mountain Waters Scenic Byway is a beautifully accessible drive. Not nearly as long as the Blueridge, the Mountain Waters Byway still checks in at 61 miles and winds through some of the most spectacular country in the Nantahala National Forest, including multiple waterfalls, a roaring whitewater river, and tremendous mountaintop views.
While the previous route covers a lot of ground, the Nantahala Byway twists and turns through the Nantahala Gorge, where there’s plenty to see: The gorge is a world-class whitewater rafting spot, so make sure to pull off and watch some of the adventurers below! The byway passes through 20 miles of the gorge and passes by the Great Smokey Mountain National Park, Fontana Lake, and the Cherokee Indian Reservation.
Now, let’s say you’re in Franklin and you’d rather shoot for the road less traveled by—and much shorter. If that’s the case, the views from Onion Mountain are exactly what you need. Onion Mountain is a mere 25 minute drive from Main Street, and the overlook and trail are perched above a stunning view of the Blue Ridge Mountains. You’ll pass through residential area, and the road itself is pretty windy, so traffic is low and you’ll have a high chance of some sweet solitude up there.
Do you have any other favorite scenic drives? Curious about the Franklin area? Let us know on social media and explore our website for more information!
When you bring the family to our gorgeous Blue Ridge Mountains, you want to soak up every bit of trail magic, outdoor adventure, and good fun you can muster. For a great time in Franklin, North Carolina, here are our suggestions for families of all ages!
This is one destination that shouldn’t be mist! Get it? Okay, okay—but truly, you can’t just go on a vacation to the mountains without checking out a waterfall, and Dry Falls is perfect for a small family excursion.
You can park right beside the falls and follow the steps down to the water, complete with guardrails for younger kids, and even walk behind the roaring falls themselves! If the rain has been particularly heavy, the falls are truly spectacular. Just make sure to bring an extra shirt in case you get soaked!
There’s nothing quite like throwing on an old tee, ratty shoes, and last year’s jeans to go get muddy at a gem mine. You’ll get a bucket of soil and a sieve to run under a pure mountain spring, with plenty of opportunity to get dirty in the meantime!
Finding gemstones in all that mud is an added bonus, of course—and that bonus could make a great piece of jewelry for you to save forever! There are usually artisans on call to set your stones there at the mines themselves.
Playground? Check. Dog park? Check. Paved walking trail? Check. Oh, and throw in a miniature splash park, a pavilion for the adults to kick back in, and the picturesque Little Tennessee River rolling by, and you’ll have everything that makes an fun-filled afternoon at Wesley’s Park.
Wesley’s is a perfect stop for a hot day or an afternoon picnic with the whole family. Whatever your speed—a stroll by the river, a race up the slides, or a sprint through the water—check out this destination for a great time!
Wayah Bald Lookout Tower
You know, there’s just something about an old stone watchtower on top of a mountain that brings out the adventurer in people of all ages. The view is a breathtaking 180 panorama, too—not bad for your next Christmas family photos!
The Wayah Bald tower is at the top of a short walk from the parking lot, so families can access the area quickly and easily. For the more daring, though, the tower stands at an intersection of the Appalachian and Bartram Trails, so you could hop on to one of those at the bottom of the mountain and hike your way up.
The Factory Arcade
No family vacation to Franklin, North Carolina would be complete without an afternoon of fun at the Factory! This massive arcade has all the classic games you know and love with so much more—there’s laser tag, go carts, bumper cars, and mini golf to keep you busy for hours on end.
Plus, there’s also the Pizza Factory and Grill, located right inside the arcade, where you can grab a bite with the whole family without having to load up the car and drive somewhere else. Who wants to pause the fun for that long, anyway?
No matter what you end up doing in Franklin during your vacation, there are plenty of good times ahead for you and your family!