Cullowhee, North Carolina, is situated in one of the most beautiful regions in the country. But you’re within easy driving distance of a vast array of small towns and mid-sized cities, each with its own distinct character. The weather stays temperate throughout the year — cool with occasional light snow in the winter and comfortable in the heat of the summer — due to the mountain breezes.
As a resident of the Cullowhee River Club, you’re within walking distance of a number of activities at the local university. But you can enjoy the splendor of the Blue Ridge Mountains from your porch. Whether you crave shopping, culture or outdoor adventure, you’ve got it all in Western North Carolina.
The town of Cullowhee, where your new home is located, is an unincorporated section of Jackson County. Cullowhee is in the Tuckasegee Valley, where the Tuckasegee River joins Cullowhee Creek. The Cherokee people originally founded this town and named it after Judaculla, known as Big Foot, who supposedly lives in the area. Cullowhee means Judaculla’s Place. After 1820, a small farming community of German, Scots-Irish, African and English settlers called Cullowhee home. Originally a small teaching college in 1889, Western Carolina University now dominates Cullowhee. WCU now enrolls more than 11,000 students from around the world. The mountain community around the university boasts a cost of living about 10 percent lower than the U.S. average, and home appreciation tends to hover above 8 percent per year.
At the Cullowhee River Club, you’re about 3.5 miles from the Jackson County Airport, a small county-owned facility open to the public. As a resident of Jackson County, you have full access to all the services and amenities of a strong local municipality.
Distance: 58 minutes
Asheville is called the Paris of the South because of its modern vibe, preserved art deco architecture and diverse culture that’s reminiscent of its namesake across the pond. Asheville is known for its vibrant culinary, brewing and arts scenes. The dome-roofed Basilica of Saint Lawrence, the Omni Grove Park Inn and the sprawling 19th-century Biltmore Estate are just three of the wonders that draw visitors from around the world.
You’ll find galleries, museums and funky, independent shops downtown. Buskers entertain on the sidewalks while a lively nightlife keeps everyone dancing. Former warehouses in the River Arts District are now filled with artists’ studios. Quaint bed and breakfasts, modern hotels and luxurious spas serve visitors year-round.
With a population of about 92,000, Asheville is the seat of Buncombe County. A half-mile above sea level, the city sits in a valley surrounded by mountains, where the the Swannanoa and French Broad rivers join. The Blue Ridge Parkway runs through it. Asheville tops many best-of lists for its culture and attractions. You’ll also find the best-connected regional airport in Western North Carolina.
Cullowhee River Club is the epicenter of adventure and fun in The Blue Ridge Mountains of Western North Carolina. Whatever direction you and your family decides to take for the day outside our community, you'll find wonder and magic awaiting you in these old mountains.
Distance: 13 minutes
Sylva is centrally located in Jackson County with a truly Americana Main Street. It’s a picturesque town with about 2,500 residents who’ll welcome you to their shops, restaurants, breweries, galleries, and bookstores. The town’s been featured in Hollywood blockbuster films such as The Fugitive and Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri.
Enjoy a host of events, such as the weekly Concerts on the Creek every summer and the Greening Up the Mountain festival each spring. Sylva also cooks up memorable meals in its local restaurants, and its coffeehouses — like the Farmhouse, White Moon, and City Lights — spark spontaneous conversations. This small town also offers three breweries: Innovation, Nantahala, and Balsam Falls.
Jackson County’s courthouse is one of the most photographed in North Carolina. It’s a historic landmark built in 1914. Climb its 107 steps to take in a fabulous view of the mountains. Bike the 7-mile roundtrip trail through Sylva-owned Pinnacle Park. Or if fishing is your passion, try your hand on the famous Western North Carolina Fly Fishing Trail. Renowned for its trout populations, it attracts anglers from all over the world.
Distance: 31 minutes
Some say that Judaculla still roams the mountains in and around Cherokee. The 57,000 acres on which the town sits is called the Qualla Boundary; it’s owned by the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians, kept in trust by the federal government.
Local Cherokee preserve their 18th century lifestyle and share it with visitors at Oconaluftee Indian Village, with live demonstrations given daily in the summer. Don’t miss the drama “Unto These Hills” at the outdoor Mountainside Theatre that portrays the tribe’s story.
A big draw in town is Harrah’s Cherokee Casino Resort. It features 150,000 feet of games, including roulette, blackjack, craps and an endless supply of slot machines. Catch national show tours at the casino, as well as the Chef’s Stage Buffet and your choice of suites or luxury rooms in the hotel. There really are so many great things to do in Cherokee, NC.
Distance: 33 minutes
Bryson City, your entry to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, is home to the Great Smoky Mountain Railroad and the Fly Fishing Museum of the Southern Appalachians, featuring historic fishing gear used over the centuries, such as 1800s’ fly rods. For more history lessons, visit the Smoky Mountain Trains Museum and the Swain County Heritage Museum. The Smoky Mountain Gold & Ruby Mine is a favorite stop for kids.
Most popular with adventurous locals is the Nantahala Outdoor Center. Pump up your adrenaline by whitewater rafting on the Nantahala River with its class III rapids. Test your skills with a paddling lesson or spend a quiet afternoon kayaking on Lake Fontana. You can rent all the gear you need for your adventure at what National Geographic Adventure rated as “One of the Best Outfitters on Earth.”
Explore our 125 acres and find your new home in this charming mountain community on the majestic Tuckasegee River in Cullowhee, North Carolina. Select a mountain or river view homesite for your Blue Ridge Mountain Cottage or Cabin.
Distance: 31 minutes
Head north from your new home at the Cullowhee River Club to Waynesville, which hosts the North Carolina International Folk Festival every summer. For two weeks in July, the festival showcases food, dance and exhibits from cultures the world over.
A small town, Waynesville’s downtown sports boutiques and local gift shops, restaurants serving farm-to-table offerings and a lively craft brewery scene. Waynesville also has its share of museums, parks, theaters and farmers markets. Located in Haywood County, the area has always provided rich soil for crops, which is why it’s become a travel destination for agritourism. Spend the day at a number of u-pick farms for veggies, fruit and flowers, or select a fresh Christmas tree directly from the growers.
Distance: 1 hour, 12 minutes
There’s no direct route to Hendersonville, but this quaint mountain city touts itself as pet-friendly, with plenty of dog parks and outdoor dining establishments, as well as cabins and hotels that welcome your furry companions. While it’s experienced its own growth in recent years, Hendersonville maintains its welcoming demeanor.
Downtown holds a place on the National Register of Historic Places, but it still offers a wide range of modern amenities like fine and casual dining, unique shopping experiences, art galleries, museums and even an aquarium. Don’t miss the annual NC Apple Festival, especially since Hendersonville County sports so many apple growers. DuPont State Recreational Forest, where scenes from the Last of the Mohicans and the Hunger Games were shot, provides 10,268 acres across Transylvania and Henderson counties, where you’ll find amazing waterfalls and more than 80 miles of trails and roads. Flat Rock, just past Hendersonville, is home to Carl Sandberg’s home and the famous Flat Rock Playhouse.
Distance: 1 hour, 30 minutes
Book an overnight stay at the Hot Springs Resort and Spa in Madison County, where you can luxuriate in a hot tub in your room that pumps water directly from the natural healing mineral waters. If you just want a day trip, book one of the world famous heated outdoor jet tubs filled with the clear carbonated water that comes from deep in the earth.
Native Americans first discovered the naturally warm mineral waters, followed by 18th century settlers and traders. Drovers who herded thousands of hogs, cattle, horses and turkeys through the area stopped to “take the waters” when they passed through on their dusty journey to the Southern markets.
The town of Hot Springs is small, with its own distinct air of tranquility. The Mountain Magnolia Inn is a memorable experience in fine dining in the well-preserved former home of stagecoach operator Colonel James Henry Rumbough and his family. Catch part of the Appalachian Trail from Hot Springs or enjoy one of the many festivals held in town each year.