Western NC

Vol12 Iss12 017

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27 THE ORIGINAL RELOCATION GUIDE — WESTERN NC | VOLUME 12 — ISSUE 1 WAYNESVILLE Waynesville BY STUART JAMES As the county seat of Haywood County, North Carolina, Waynesville is not only the county's largest town it's the largest in Western North Carolina west of Asheville. Located just 30 miles from Asheville between the Great Smokies and the Blue Ridge Mountains, the town of around 10,000 residents along with Haywood County is part of the four-county Asheville Metropolitan Statistical Area, currently rated the 5th largest metropolitan area in North Carolina. Only Asheville to the east and Hendersonville to the south are larger in this MSA. But statistics are the least of this mountain community's attributes. Downtown Waynesville is a vibrant, friendly small town with magnificent mountain views of the Blue Ridge Parkway. There are great galleries, shops and restaurants all within easy walking distance of Main Street. The tree-lined brick sidewalks, historic buildings, unique public art, relaxing benches, and welcoming atmosphere are just some of the reasons people love Waynesville. Visitors and residents alike enjoy numerous festivals, parades, and other events reminiscent of days gone by in this friendly southern town near the heart of Appalachia. Home to the award-winning Haywood Arts Regional Theatre, The Museum of North Carolina Handicrafts Shelton House, The Strand Theater, Mast General Store, and numerous historic inns and B&Bs, Waynesville works to preserve its rich cultural heritage. Take time to peruse the town's book stores, bakeries, markets, brew pubs, fly fishing shop, antique and cultural, family style, the trail jewelry stores. Of course you'll never forget you're only moments away from great outdoor activities like trout fishing, hiking, rafting/kayaking, caving, zip-lining, snow skiing, horseback riding, even llama trekking. The area also boasts some of the most magnificent golf courses in the state. As with many Western North Carolina cities and towns, Waynesville hosts numerous festivals throughout the year but none as famous as the one started as the dream of a Waynesville surgeon, Dr. Clinton Border. Border accompanied a local square dance team to a folk festival in England (in the early 1970s) and became convinced not only that the United States was ready for such an international gathering but with its rich cultural heritage, Waynesville could be the perfection location. During the mid to late 1970s, Border traveled to festivals in places like Poland and France as well as England gathering information and developing relationships. After meeting with local Haywood County leaders to present his dream of an international festival and despite language barriers, scheduling difficulties, and impossible travel coordination, the first Folkmoot USA was held. This first festival was chosen to be held on a date coinciding with North Carolina's 400th birthday celebration. The first Folkmoot USA featured performers from nine different nations including well-known regional names like "Doc" Watson, The Berea College Dancers and the Peter Gott Family from Marshall, NC. Today's festival features more than 200 groups from over 100 different countries. The Southeast Tourism Society has named Folkmoot USA one of its top twenty events for the past 20 years. The Folkmoot USA non-profit organization is headquartered in the former Hazelwood Elementary School and for more information can be found on the web at: www. FolkmootUSA.org. Maybe you're thinking of moving the family? As far as education goes, Waynesville and Haywood County Schools excel. Currently their students are in the top 8% of schools in North Carolina. SAT scores place students in the top 5%. The alternative school is ranked number one in North Carolina. Four elementary schools are in the top 6% of the state. The Early College program is first in the region. They have four Schools of Excellence and last year alone graduates were eligible to receive over nine million dollars in scholarships. Festivals, outdoor fun, families – if any of that interests you then a trip west of Asheville to Waynesville, NC is warranted, in fact, encouraged. Where else can you be a step from the forest… a step from the city… and have so, so much right in your own front yard? []

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