By Linda Harbuck
Nestled in the foothills of the Great Smoky Mountains, the Franklin North Carolina area astounds visitors with its beauty, multitude of offerings and mountain charm! A land that is nourished and protected by the beautiful Nantahala National Forest called by the ancients the “Land of the Noonday Sun” and “sweet waters.”
Franklin was once called “Nikwasi” or “the center” of that Cherokee world that lived, loved, prospered and died on the banks of the Little Tennessee River. The Little Tennessee River winds its way through the Town of Franklin and is a wonderful asset. The Little Tennessee River Greenway, which is along the banks of the river, is a five mile walking path. It reflects the extraordinary rich diversity of Macon County’s landscape where visitors can experience wetlands, stroll through two railroad cuts left behind by the Tallulah Falls Railroad, wander alongside an old pasture, catch sight of a variety of wildflowers and birds, and experience wild geese floating along on the Little Tennessee River.
The county seat of Macon County, Franklin is a small town of 3400. The county is nationally recognized as the “Gem & Quilt Capital of the World.” The gem mines and shops are a mecca for rockhounds and families seeking a unique place to visit. Rubies, sapphires, rhodolite and pyrope garnets, as well as other precious and semi-precious stones can be found in the easily accessible mines. 3 gem, mineral & jewelry shows are held annually in Macon County for those who want to buy the finished products. Macon County has recently completed a “Quilt Trail” with close to 30 quilt blocks displayed on barns, businesses and historic buildings throughout the area. A detailed map of the locations can be picked up at the Franklin Chamber of Commerce Visitor Center and local quilt shops in town.
Located only 45 minutes from the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, the Blue Ridge Parkway, the Cherokee Indian Reservation and the Cherohala Skyway, Franklin is a bustling center of commerce with a comfortable down home lifestyle. Unique shops and restaurants can be found in the downtown area and several outlying shopping centers near town.
Franklin is surrounded by 420,000 acres of the Nantahala National Forest with unsurpassed recreational opportunities for such outdoor activities as hiking, fishing, hunting, canoeing and camping. The Appalachian Trail is located only 12 miles west of town and Franklin is an Appalachian Trail Community that welcomes hikers for supplies and rest as they enjoy their hiking experience on the AT.
You are always welcome in Franklin……… “Your friends are already here.”
For more information, visit www.visitfranklinnc.com.