Cultural Attractions in Western North Carolina
There are lots of interesting things to do in our beautiful area, no matter where your interests lie. Below are some cultural attractions you might find interesting.
The Bascom, A Center for the Visual Arts, is currently located
inside the Hudson Library in Highlands. A new facility
is under construction and is scheduled for completion by the 2009
season. The new six-acre campus will host exhibitions, classes,
workshops and lectures in a 23,000 square foot art space.
Biltmore House is the largest privately owned home in America. This
incredible 175,000 square foot home has 255 rooms and was opened to
the public in 1956 as a house museum. Built as George and Edith
Vanderbilt's country home, the estate was originally 125,000 acres.
After Mr. Vanderbilt's death in 1914, Mrs. Vanderbilt sold 85,000
acres to the federal government. Today, the estate is made up of
8,000 acres. Visitors can tour the home, 75 acres of formal gardens,
winery, equestrian center, farm and much more. You can also dine and
stay overnight on the property. Biltmore House is open year round
and offers a full calendar of special events, including concerts,
wine tastings and exhibitions.
Gem and Mineral Museum
Franklin, North Carolina is known as the Gem Capital of the World.
Mining for rubies and sapphires in Macon County began in 1870. Gems
and minerals were shipped out by the wagon load. Today, rockhounds
and gem enthusiasts come to the area to try their luck at gem
mining. You can also visit one of the gem shops or stop in at The
Gem and Mineral Museum, located in the historic Old Jail in downtown
Franklin. Thousands of gems, minerals, fossils and artifacts are on
display; individual and group tours of the museum are available by
One of the most popular and highly rated family attractions in South
The Greenville Zoo is home to wildlife from across the globe.
Giraffes, orangutans, lions, elephants are just a few of the
exciting animals that visitors can see.
The Highlands Playhouse is a community theatre made up of Highlands
and Cashiers residents. The 2009 schedule features such favorites as
The Taffetas, Arsenic and Old Lace, Pump Boys and Dinettes and Dial
M for Murder.
Martin-Lipscomb Performing Arts Center
The Martin-Lipscomb Performing Arts Center is an intimate 200 seat
facility with exceptional acoustics. Bluegrass, jazz, singing,
dancing, story telling with local and international talents can be
seen at the Center.
Oconaluftee Indian Village
Oconaluftee Indian Village is an authentic, working Cherokee Indian
Village. Step back in time to 1750 to watch a
potter making and firing pottery using the methods that have been
used for 3,000 years; a canoe being made the traditional Cherokee way by burning away the center of the
log into dug out form; and the sharpening of
arrowheads and blades. Be sure to visit the dancing grounds and see
the drumming, song and dance, as well as the Council House, where the clans
gathered. Guests can participate in "Hands On Cherokee" and create
their own handicrafts, such as pottery, fingerweaving, baskets and
Peace Center for the Performing Arts
Just an 90-minute drive from Cashiers, the Peace Center for the
Performing Arts offers an impressive calendar of events.
The 2009/2010 season includes political comedian Bill Maher and jazz
superstar Diana Krall, as well as Broadway favorites like Wicked, Riverdance, Chicago the Musical,
The Sound of Music, and South Pacific.
Smoky Mountain Center for the Performing Arts
This new, state of the art facility features performances from a
wide range of artistic genres, including dramatic plays, musicals,
dance troupes, choral festivals and recitals, as well as an
array of popular musical artists. The 2009 season features
The Oak Ridge Boys, Charlie Daniels, Aida,
Annie, Blue Ridge Fall Colors Concert, Smoke on the Mountain and
Western Carolina University Heritage Center
Visit the Mountain Heritage Center at Western Carolina University
and celebrate the natural and cultural heritage of the southern
Appalachian region. Through exhibits, publications, programs
and demonstrations, you'll discover the rich traditions of the
mountains and come away with an enhanced understanding of its land,
culture and people.
Western North Carolina Nature Center
Learn about animals and their habitats and support the conservation
of endangered species native to the Appalachian region. The whole family will enjoy
touring the grounds and seeing domesticated and wild animals,
including black bears, otters, bobcats, red and gray wolves,
peacocks, owls, snakes and more. The petting zoo is a big hit with
kids. The Nature Center is open rain or
The Zachary Tolbert House
The Zachary Tolbert House was built 150 years ago in the Greek Revival style, which is rare to the area.
True to its history, the house has no plumbing, electricity or
interior paint. However, it does have a remarkable number of pieces of the original furniture built by
19th century furniture maker Mordecai Zachary.