Its just about time for the kids to head back to school, but before your daily routine turns into bagged lunches and carpools, pack the kids up and head to the mountains for a quick weekend getaway to end Summer with a bang.
Franklin is the perfect weekend get-a-way as it is just a few hours from Asheville, Knoxville, Charlotte, and Greenville and with endless activities for the whole family, its a great way to have one final relaxing weekend before getting back into the swing of things.
The Little Tennessee River is a 135 mile stretch of water that flows right through the heart of Franklin with access points all along the river, there are numerous opportunities for a quick dip or a day’s trip seeing Franklin by boat. Franklin’s business community has grown to cater to the asset of the river so you can rent a tube or boat at Primitive Outback in Otto or rent a stand-up paddle board from Outdoor 76 on Main Street and explore the Little Tennessee.
2) Gem Mining
After all, Franklin is the Gem Capital of the World, so what better way to see all the town has to offer than to stop in at any one of Franklin’s dozen gem mining shops to try your luck at finding some authentic mountain gems. Mining for ruby and sapphire began in Macon County in 1870.
3) Take a hike!
Franklin sits right off the Appalachian Trail making it an ideal location to get some mud on your boots and get lost in the woods. Franklin has hiking for all experience levels ranging from short .3 miles just out side of town to day hikes that can turn into a camping trip such as the Standing Indian Mountain Long Loop. Franklin is known for a trail town and the businesses and locals alike are natural pundits when it comes to steering you in the right direction.
4) Take in a show
The Smoky Mountain Center for the Performing Arts is in the middle of their summer line ups and still have a full schedule of gospel greats, country favorites, and world class tribute acts slated for the Summer. Before a night of entertainment at the center, stop into the Factory of Franklin and let the kids try out the newly opened trampoline park to burn off some energy.
Nothing screams summer in Franklin more than the annual BBQ festival held at the Wayne Proffitt Agricultural Center. This year’s two day event is scheduled to kick off on August 12 and makes the eight annual festival and will feature authentic, mouth-watering BBQ, live entertainment, a car show, crafters and tastin’ tent!
Whether you’re planning a day adventure, a weekend escape or a week’s vacation in the mountains of Western North Carolina, Franklin has plenty on the schedule to keep the whole family entertained and happy this Summer.
Gem Mining in Franklin, North Carolina
Franklin, North Carolina is renowned as the “Gem Capital of the World” for good reason. Spanish Conquistador Hernando de Sota ventured through the area in the 16th century, searching for gold and other treasures. That exploration established a tradition in Franklin, which morphed into gem mining in the late 19th century. During that time several companies constructed mines to discover and capitalize on the source of Franklin’s ruby and sapphire explosion in the 1870s. Ever since, folks have traveled to Franklin in search of precious gems, and quite possibly, a chance at finding the next big one. That person could be you!
Franklin and the surrounding area have various gem mines for families and individuals to choose from. Although Mother Nature seems to have bypassed spring altogether this year, the weather of late is perfect for those looking to continue the gem mining tradition in a beautiful part of Southern Appalachia. Just don’t be afraid to get your hands dirty!
Below is a list of mines in the Franklin area. Contact them for operating hours and rates. Good luck and enjoy!
Cherokee Ruby & Sapphire Mine
Located in the Cowee Valley at 41 Cherokee Mine Road off Ruby Mine Road
Rocky Face Mine
Located three miles North of Franklin at 268 Sanderstown Road
Rose Creek Mine
Located five miles North of Franklin on Highway 28 at 115 Terrace Ridge Drive
Gold City Gem Mine
Located about seven miles North of Franklin off Highway 441 at 9410 Sylva Road
Cowee Mountain Ruby Mine
Located about five miles from Franklin, at the foot of Cowee Mountain at 6771 Sylva Road
Jackson Hole Gem Mine
Located near Cullasaja Falls between Highlands and Franklin on Highway 28 and US 64
Located at 385 Sheffield Farms Road
Mason’s Ruby & Sapphire Mine
Located in Burningtown off Route 28 North
Old Cardinal Gem Mine
Located at 72 Rockhaven Drive
Mason Mountain Mine & Cowee Gift Shop
Located at 5313 Bryson City Road