Special Events

Lees at the Depot features fresh and fermented


“I cannot rest from travel: I will drink life to the lees.” This line from Lord Alfred Tennyson’s poem Ulysses were words that stuck with Gary Long far beyond college where he first read it.

Long is the owner of Lees at the Depot, located in downtown Dillsboro.

Lees are the sentiments left over from the fermentation process and found in wine.

“The quote seemed appropriate because wine is our thing. Being by the railroad tracks, the travel part fits perfectly,” Long said.

Long negotiated a lease contract with the Great Smoky Mountains Railroad, which owns the building.  GSMR used it as its depot when the railroad was headquartered in Dillsboro.

Long took possession of the building in February. After extensive renovation, Lees at the Depot opened in August, 2016.

With a focus on an extensive wine list and fresh, creative food offerings, Lees at the Depot is gaining popularity among locals and visitors alike.20161116_163833

An extensive wine rack, a display of house-made desserts and catchy eclectic music greets customers as they walk in. A creekside patio offers patrons a relaxing atmosphere to sit back and enjoy a meal while watching the bustle in downtown Dillsboro.

“It’s kind of like Sunday suppers. It’s what you’d expect at Mama’s after church, and so much more,” manager Caroline Martin said of the restaurant.

“Everything is fresh. We don’t have a fryer, and you won’t find burgers and fries on the menu. But we try to offer a little something for everyone,” Martin said.

Some of the more popular items on the menu are the tacos, oversized baked potatoes, and house-made pimento cheese spread sandwich topping, Martin said.

“People have said it’s the perfect addition. They say it’s very laid back and comfortable, and they like that it is not a sports bar,” Martin said.

As the business continues to grow, Long and Martin said it will evolve to meet the desires of the customers. Future plans include live sets of acoustic music, featuring string and wind instruments, as well as possible adaptations for longer hours.

Lees at the Depot is located at 42 Depot St. in Dillsboro. Hours of operation are Tuesday through Saturday, 11:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. and Sunday 12 to 7 p.m.

For a menu and information on special events, find and Like Lees at the Depot on Facebook, visit www.leeswine.com, or call the restaurant at 828-339-1700.

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“There’s something for everybody” at Depot 40


The sounds of classic rock drift coolly through the store as shoppers browse the aisles and displays of anything and everything at Depot 40.

While you will find antiques and vintage items of all varieties, owner Dixie Mae Brendle wants patrons to know Depot 40 and Dillsboro are far more expansive than your average antique stop in a drive-through town.

20161116_171445Located next to the railroad tracks in downtown Dillsboro, in a building owned by the Great Smoky Mountain Railroad (GSMR) and leased by Brendle, shoppers will discover everything from a vast collection of cast iron cookware items to rare, old signs to soaps and salt scrubs, and much more.

Brendle said people are often impressed with the collection of unique, handmade necklaces, earrings, bracelets and other jewelry–a good amount of the collection made by Brendle herself.

“We get new items just about every day, from a wide variety of sources. You really don’t know what’s going to come through the door, but it’s never boring and there’s something for everybody here,” Brendle said.

Born and raised in western North Carolina, Brendle started her business seven years ago, opening a shop across from Depot 40’s location.

As inventory grew, Brendle opened a second location at what is now the home of Dixie Brendle Vintage in downtown Sylva.

With the GSMR providing a layover in Dillsboro on its Tuckasegee excursion, and the revival of Dillsboro, Brendle felt it was time to return, opening Depot 40 in June, 2016.

Brendle said she sees a good bit of traffic when the train stops in front of her shop, and that the store is popular among both locals and tourists.

“A lot of people say they love the music, the atmosphere, the items-everything really. They tell me it’s the best store they have been in for antiques and gifts,” Brendle said.

Depot 40 is located at 40 Depot St, in Dillsboro. Hours of operation are Tuesday through Saturday, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., and 1 to 5 p.m. Sunday.

Depot 40 and Dixie Brendle Vintage Market are each on Facebook, and new and unique items are posted regularly. To view some of the current inventory, search and like both businesses on Facebook.

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Special Food and Beverage Edition

Here is the December Special Food and Beverage Edition article that features four different locally owned restaurants and stores in downtown Dillsboro. Enjoy!


Haywood Smokehouse Ranks Top Choice in Dillsboro

The Haywood Smokehouse has quickly become a favorite choice for diners in Dillsboro. Since opening in June 2015, they have received a five star rating on Yelp.com and have been named the #2 Restaurant in Dillsboro by TripAdvisor.Screen Shot 2015-12-10 at 10.29.58 AM

Known for their slow cooked meats and southern side dishes, Haywood Smokehouse doesn’t want to be consiered “just a BBQ joint”. “Our process is long and difficult, but it’s what sets us apart from the rest. We begin with the highest quality, all natural cuts of meat, which means no hormones and no steroids. Our meats are high-quality, fresh, never frozen,” said owner Joe Beasley.

Their menu is the same for lunch and dinner, and is reasonably priced. They have sandwiches such as “The Cowboy”, which is sliced brisket on toast, and “The Dixie Dog”, which is house-made smoked sausage grilled and served on a toasted Hoagie roll. They also serve Smokehouse platters of pork, brisket, chicken, and turkey, as well as St. Louis style ribs. Their traditionally southern sides include: creamy coleslaw, collard greens, burnt-end baked beans, smoked mac & cheese, potato salad, campfire taters, and green beans.Screen Shot 2015-12-10 at 10.28.35 AM

The restaurant is located in the center of downtown Dillsboro, close to nearby shops and attractions. It is decorated in a rustic style that lends itself to being a part of the Southern Appalachian experience.

“Being born and raised in the south, our recipes are greatly influenced by traditional southern culture. Collard greens, creamy coleslaw, and crackling cornbread are always likely to stay on our menu. The same level of pride and effort that goes into our meat also goes into our sides, sauces, and desserts,” said Beasley.

The Haywood Smokehouse is located at 403 Haywood Rd in Dillsboro, North Carolina. They are open Tuesday through Saturday from 11a.m. to 9p.m., and on Sundays and Mondays from 11am to 3pm. For more information call 828-631-9797 or visit their website.



Enjoy samples, glasses, and bottles of beer/wine at Country Traditions

Have you ever heard of a device called a kegorator? No? Well, it is a keg and a refrigerator combined and can be found at a little store in downtown Dillsboro called Country Traditions.


The “Kegorator”


This gourmet food shop recently obtained its permit to sell beer by the glass and installed a kegorator to dispense three tasty beers on tap. The customer’s responses have been great, according to owners John and Janet Chinners.

But if you happen to be a wine connoisseur as opposed to a beer drinker, no worries! Country Traditions offers a wide selection of wines at affordable prices.

Their best selling wines include peach and mango Moscato, Riesling white wine from a North Carolina Vineyard and Big Red Monster from a California vineyard.

Check out what specials Country Traditions will be offering for Lights and Luminaries in Dillsboro this weekend!

The Chinners really make you feel at home when you walk into their cozy store by greeting you and asking if you’d like to sample some of their products. This married duo loves working side by side every day and sharing their unique products with their customers.

For more information, visit their website!



The Artsy Olive offers samples, splurges and service

Artsy Olive is a gourmet food boutique offering unique products, such as the best extra virgin olive oils and aged balsamicScreen Shot 2015-12-01 at 2.26.46 PM.png vinegars on the market, at affordable prices. It is the perfect place to purchase items for holiday entertaining or gifts for those on your list that enjoy cooking with healthy products.

Since opening in downtown Dillsboro in April 2015, owner Jami Smith has enjoyed offering free tastings and plenty of advice to customers about how to use their products. For example, the most popular product the Artsy Olive sells is their Tuscan Herb Extra Virgin Olive Oil. It is super flavorful and can be used for dipping, sautéing veggies, a healthy Vinaigrette salad dressing and more.

Customers may purchase two-ounce size bottles of all the oils and vinegars they sell for only $4.99 each. Screen Shot 2015-12-01 at 2.36.47 PM.pngOr, for a splurge or special gift, whip out that credit card and purchase the White Truffle Olive Oil–the most elegant of all the olive oils–for $34.99. The Artsy Olive offers an array of other gourmet items and definitely something for every taste and budget.

The Dillsboro location is the second Artsy Olive store. The first Artsy Olive opened in Gatlinburg, TN in June 2014. Both of these locations are thriving, and Jami Smith and her husband are extremely grateful for their faithful customers.

For more information, visit their website.



And last, but not least…

Coach’s Boast Dillsoro Only Full-Service Bar

Since its opening in April 2015, Coach’s has brought an upscale-bistro scene to downtown Dillsboro. Providing patrons with Dillsboro’s only full-service bar, Coach’s has opened its doors to new visitors and local natives alike.Screen Shot 2015-12-10 at 10.36.49 AM.png

Coach’s earned its name from one of the co-owners, Jim Hartbarger, a former basketball coach at Western Carolina University. Hartburger and his wife, Jean, owned the Jarrett house for over 40 years. They teamed up with Greek owner Constantine Roumel to open Coach’s adjacent to the Jarrett house.

Coach’s dining room brings patrons back to a “time gone by” with a cozy, yet classic American aesthetic. The walls are decorated with black and white photos of local residents of Dillsboro and the lights are dimly lit to give diners an intimate dining experience.

Screen Shot 2015-12-10 at 10.37.34 AM.pngAt the center of the main dining room you’ll find the bar area, lit by stylish Edison bulbs that give a warm invitation for diners to relax and enjoy a cocktail. The bar offers several beers on tap such as Lazy Hiker Stout, Shock Top, and Bud Light, a full range of spirits, as well as a red and white wine selection.

Coach’s Bistro offers classic American dishes with Europen flare. Their most popular dish is their Carolina Trout, which is covered in a honey-dijon glaze, lightly breaded and seared and served with Baked Potato Wedges and Asparagus. You can get a taste of Europe in trying their Grecian Baked Chicken which is seasoned with lemon, garlic, herbs and olive oil.

The restaurant was built in hopes that it would attract a broader group of people in addition to those who love the Jarrett House’s Southern comfort food. “It was nice to take the old building and revive it to make it a part of the local community,” said Roumel.

Coach’s is open seven days a week for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, and is located at 518 Haywood Road, Dillsboro. For more information, call 828.586.0265 or visit them online.

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April Video Feature

For this month’s video feature, Melvina Smith of Magnolia Jewelry demonstrated how to turn a winter scarf into a festive summer vest or tank top:

For more how to videos from Magnolia Jewelry: Long Scarf Vest, Two Layer Long Scarf Vest

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Dillsboro’s 27th Annual Easter Hat Parade Draws Highest Attendance in Parade’s History

Visitors gathered on a breezy but warm and sunny afternoon in Dillsboro which was perfect backdrop for the 27th annual Easter Hat parade. This year’s parade was the best attended of any in the parade’s history. Photo0163Dillsboro’s sidewalks were packed with visitors from throughout North Carolina and the Southeast, many sporting festive Easter hats. Classic cars and the newest addition to the parade, Mini Coopers, decorated with Easter bunnies, streamers, flowers and even hats lined up alongside Front Street.

Outside of Dogwood Crafters, volunteers helped visitors craft their own unique Easter hats with Easter eggs, yarn, flowers and streamers. Brenda Anders of Dogwood Crafters and head organizer of the parade, estimates that volunteers made 300 to 400 hats for the parade, and the parade brought in several hundred visitors. Other visitors

Photo0170could be seen throughout the town with elaborately and beautifully crafted hats they had brought from home.

Throughout the afternoon attendees visited stores where merchants greeted them with friendly smiles and compliments on their hats. A sense of anticipation built as the hour of the parade approached.

When the time came, the classic cars and Mini Coopers led the parade down Front Street and around the town. The drivers threw candy, waved and honked as they went.

Then came the hats! Boys and girls, men and women, old and young alike proudly paraded down the street smiling and waving at the crowd gathered on the sidewalks. Some carefully tilted their heads and pointed at their hats as they went, to show the carefully crafted nuances of their hats to the judges’ sharp eyes.Photo0180

After the parade, the winners were announced to a cheering crowd outside the Great Smoky Mountain Railroad’s former depot. Awards were given to youngest to oldest hat wearers to tallest and smallest hats, as well as awards for the best dressed dogs.

Chelsea Treadway, a recent college graduate, was also acknowledged at the award gathering. “Chelsea is one of our ‘original girls,’” Anders said. “She attended the parade throughout her childhood, grew up and went off to college and now has come back to the parade. It was great to see her again.”

Dillsboro’s Easter Hat Parade started off as an “off-the-cuff” event with three or four merchants deciding to parade down the streets of Dillsboro on Easter Saturday.  The parade has always been “about having fun” according to Anders, and she is glad to see that it has grown and become a family tradition to so many throughout the region.

For a video slideshow of the parade created by Our State Magazine, click here: http://visitdillsboro.org/hat_fest_ss/index.html

And for more information about the Easter Hat Parade and other events: http://www.dogwoodcrafters.com/events.html

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Make April 4 a delicious day in Dillsboro!

Do you want to spend a fun and rewarding day in Dillsboro but have no idea where to start? This itinerary was created for one of the most unique and exciting Dillsboro Spring events, the Easter Hat Parade! Although the parade is the main attraction, the entire day is full of family-friendly activities.

With Easter hat-making, food tastings, and pottery-painting, this day is the perfect way to welcome Spring. Hop in your car and make your way to Dillsboro by 10 a.m. on April 4, 2015 to begin your fun-filled day!

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Western North Carolina Pottery Festival heated up winter weather


Western North Carolina Pottery Festival

In spite of bitter cold and snow, organizers, vendors and Dillsboro merchants alike characterized the 10th Annual WNC Pottery Festival, held Nov. 1 in downtown Dillsboro, a success.

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Live nativity scene, College Night headline 31st annual Lights & Luminaries


Children enjoying the Lights and Luminaries festival

Visitors and community members attending Dillsboro’s annual Lights and Luminaries festival this year are invited to “Follow the Star” to a live Nativity scene, and Western Carolina University and Southwestern Community College faculty, staff and students will be welcomed as special guests on the opening night of the festival on Friday Dec. 5.

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ColorFest to feature fine art, crafters, entertainment and food


The 6th Annual ColorFest, Dillsboro’s Fine Arts & Crafts Fair, will be held Saturday, Oct. 4, from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m. on Front Street in downtown Dillsboro, NC.

Over 40 juried artists, crafters, literary works, entertainment and food will be featured in this colorful event that kicks off leaf season in Dillsboro.

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Dillsboro to celebrate 125th anniversary with Heritage Day

Dillsboro will celebrate the 125th anniversary of its founding on Saturday, September 6 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. with live entertainment, demonstrations, vendors, exhibits, a special celebration train and the release of a new book, The Guide to Historic Dillsboro.

Heritage Day will feature old-time arts and crafts and will provide attendees a glimpse into life in the past.

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