From the front door of your cabin at Asheville Cabins of Willow Winds, you are minutes from the Biltmore Estate, downtown Asheville and numerous hiking trails on the Blue Ridge Parkway. At the same time, you’re just a short drive from a wide range of other, exciting venues and vacation destinations.
A very popular day trip from Asheville, for natives and visitors alike, is the Cherokee reservation, its shows, casino and authentic Native American shopping and displays. Cherokee is only 52 miles from the heart of Asheville, about an hour drive if you take the more direct route on the freeways; a three-to-four-hour drive on the scenic parkway.
And once you arrive, you’ll find activities to suite the entire family.
The Cherokee Experience
Cherokee, North Carolina, actually is a sovereign nation within the state borders. It’s a base camp for hiking the Blue Ridge Parkway in Western North Carolina as well as a destination in itself. Attractions on the reservation include:
- Museum of the Cherokee Indian, an interactive experience that vividly explores the 11,000-year-old Cherokee traditions.
- Oconaluftee Indian Village gives visitors an interactive journey through the lifestyle of the Cherokee nation, where you’ll see traditional sacred rites, dwellings and work areas.
- Qualla Arts & Crafts Mutual, Inc. is where you can purchase handmade artwork, such as beads, wooden masks and clay jugs.
- Unto These Hills is a dramatic presentation produced in the newly renovated Mountainside Theatre. The critically acclaimed outdoor drama features Cherokee actors in a production that centers on the lifestyle and values honored through time.
- Sequoyah National Golf Club is an 18-hole course designed by Robert Trent Jones II set in the majesty of the surrounding landscape. Sequoyah National offers an intriguing challenge for beginners and scratch handicappers alike.
- Harrah’s Cherokee Casino has 150,000 feet of gaming space where you can play everything from slots and blackjack to roulette and craps.
In Cherokee, you’ll be able to engage in a wide variety of outdoor activities. The reserve is host to more than 200 species of birds, making it a bird-watchers heaven. Go hiking and check out the magnificent waterfalls on the reservation and spot elk roaming the hills. Spend the day:
- Horseback riding
- Motorcycle riding
Fill Your Soul and Your Stomach
While you’re in Cherokee, you won’t find an absence of food options either. Check with your Asheville Cabins staff for information about regular events in Cherokee, such as the Cherokee Indian Fair, the North American Indian Women’s Association Annual Strawberry and Blueberry Festivals and the BBQ and Bluegrass Throwdown.
You’ll also find plenty of interesting dining options serving traditional Native dishes, such as:
- Paul’s Restaurant — with rabbit, pheasant, and buffalo on the daily menu
- Little Princess
- Newfound Lodge
- Deer Clan Production
- Granny’s Kitchen
Asheville to Cherokee is worth the trip, especially if you plan an extended stay at the Asheville Cabins of Willow Winds. As you wind your way back to your cabin, you’ll feel closer to North Carolina’s original inhabitants and maybe even bring back a piece of that culture to hang on your walls or fit in your scrapbook.