August 2013

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Collaborative spirit keeps historic Dillsboro beautiful

Dillsboro is a scenic town with a rich history that offers many unique features to entice visitors and locals alike. The town is located along the Tuckaseegee River and is well known for its shops specializing in local hand-crafted art.

This summer, merchants and the local government joined forces on a beautification initiative. In this issue of the Dillsboro Dish, we will highlight some of those projects and the merchants involved in making the town bloom.

The Dillsboro Dirtbags are actually flower fairies!


The Dillsboro Dirtbags plant flowers throughout the town.

David Marker, owner of Monkey Toes in Dillsboro, has taken a keen interest in the appearance of the town. He created a garden club called the “Dillsboro Dirtbags” and is actively working to improve the surroundings of downtown Dillsboro.

“The appearance of the community is an important thing,” said Marker. The “Dirtbags” have planted flowers such as day lilies and black-eyed Susans by the post office and in the median adjacent to the Jarrett House and Kostas Restaurant. At each of the locations the garden club plants flowers, they leave a sign that reads “The flower fairy strikes again!”

Keeping Dillsboro beautiful is a collaborative effort that is getting support from a wide variety of people. Ray’s Florist has donated flowers to the garden club. “We try to help as much as we can to give back to the town,” said Ray Nations, owner of Ray’s Florist in Dillsboro Court.

In addition to the flowers throughout Dillsboro, in July the local merchants put up hanging baskets in the front of their stores. The town of Dillsboro pitched in for half the cost of the baskets, making an already scenic stroll through downtown Dillsboro just a little more beautiful.

The Dillsboro Inn garden welcomes visitors


TJ Walker maintains a beautiful flower garden at the Dillsboro Inn.

T.J. Walker, owner of The Dillsboro Inn, is an avid landscaper and gardener that takes pride in the natural beauty that Western North Carolina provides.

“Where there is beauty, there is a duty, so to speak. That’s been my philosophy as a gardener, to beautify. I believe landscaping and gardening is a common denominator between all people, classes and races. When we embrace nature, we lose our preferences and our prejudices.”

Walker maintains a flower garden on the premises of the Dillsboro Inn. His intention is to “slow people down”, so that they might get back to nature and enjoy their surroundings.

The Dillsboro Inn is a riverfront property with a unique boundary. It is located at 146 North River Road in Dillsboro and offers amenities such as a hot tub, campfires and warm spring yoga classes. In addition, it has front row seats to world-class fly fishing, whitewater rafting and tubing.

This is Walker’s nineteenth summer as owner of the Dillsboro Inn, and he is a strong proponent of keeping Dillsboro beautiful. The inn offers a family-friendly atmosphere with seven suites facing the river where you can relax and listen to the sound of the Tuckaseegee River flowing peacefully.

To learn more about the Dillsboro Inn, contact the innkeepers at 828-586-3898 or send an email to


Historic mural to be unveiled


The historic mural will be unveiled Oct 5 in Dillsboro.

In addition to the natural beauty that Dillsboro has to offer, the town also has a rich history. Muralist Doreyl Ammons Cain is working on a mural depicting Dillsboro in the 1880s that will be proudly displayed in the heart of historic Dillsboro, near the Jarrett House.

This project is another example of the collaborative spirit of Dillsboro. The town is helping to build the frame and there will be an unveiling of the finished mural on October 5 at 10 a.m. during Colorfest.

Colorfest is an art festival that was formed to increase community awareness of the talented artists in western North Carolina. The festival is produced by Catch the Spirit of Appalachia, Inc. with support from the Dillsboro Merchants Association, Jackson County Visual Arts Association, the Jackson County Arts Council and the Jackson County Chamber of Commerce.

For more information about Colorfest, visit the website here: or call 828-631-04587.


New signage in Dillsboro

Existing signage in Dillsboro

New signs are coming to Dillsboro that will match the current theme.

The beautification efforts put forth by the Town of Dillsboro and its respective merchants is a positive initiative for everyone. The key factor is getting people to stop and see and we encourage travelers to make the turn off Highway 441 to experience Dillsboro for themselves.

Currently, the town of Dillsboro is working on putting up new directional signs on Haywood Road to promote the shops on Front Street located near the railroad tracks. “A lot of tourists drive through the main drag and don’t realize that all these stores are back here,” said David Marker, owner of Monkey Toes.

The signs will be 24×6” and will match the font and color of the red posts that are in place now. The town of Dillsboro is installing the signs, with each store that wishes to be featured paying $50 each for a sign.

Installing these new directional signs, continuing to increase the aesthetic appeal of the town and the unveiling of the historic mural are all worthwhile efforts to draw more visitors to the town. So slow down, explore the one-of-a-kind shops, take in the natural beauty and see for yourself why our front porch to the Great Smokies has so much to offer.

For more information about the town, go to

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