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Gateway to the Smokies

About twenty years ago my grandparents began splitting their time between Clearwater, FL and Waynesville, NC and a few years later they built a house in the mountains and joined the other Florida transplants and became permanent Waynesville residents. As a result I spent most of my adolescent summers, spring breaks, and Christmases in the smokies. In 2011 when deciding on where to go to finish school my choice was obvious, I went to University of North Carolina Asheville, just a 40 minute drive to my grandparents in Waynesville. 

A few things have changed since then, my grandfather passed away in 2013 and the next year I graduated from UNCA and moved back to my hometown of Clearwater, FL. One thing still remains, Waynesville will always be my second home.

These are a few of my favorite places and things in Waynesville, NC. 

 

The top of Devil's Courthouse was a little foggy that day so we didn't get to see much of a view, but thats why they call em the smokies.

The top of Devil's Courthouse was a little foggy that day so we didn't get to see much of a view, but thats why they call em the smokies.

Graveyard Fields was one of my first hikes as a kid and is still one of my favorites.

Graveyard Fields was one of my first hikes as a kid and is still one of my favorites.

My mom and I decided to take our own little walking tour of town circling through Downtown, Historic Frog Level and Hazelwood. It may sound like a lot but I think total milage was about 3 mi.

My mom and I decided to take our own little walking tour of town circling through Downtown, Historic Frog Level and Hazelwood. It may sound like a lot but I think total milage was about 3 mi.

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I love this store. Located in Hazelwood,  Robin Blu  has only been around for a couple of years but it seems to evolve and grow every time I visit.

I love this store. Located in Hazelwood, Robin Blu has only been around for a couple of years but it seems to evolve and grow every time I visit.

Another one of my favorites in Hazelwood is  Hazelwood Soap Co.  They are family owned and operated and have some of the BEST soap around. (unfortunately I was so distracted that I forgot to take a photo inside the shop!)

Another one of my favorites in Hazelwood is Hazelwood Soap Co. They are family owned and operated and have some of the BEST soap around. (unfortunately I was so distracted that I forgot to take a photo inside the shop!)

Panacea  is the best coffee shop in town. Located in Frog Level they sell and brew their own brand of coffee and also offer a delicious menu which includes paninis and salads and wraps. Not pictured: outside picnic style seating along the river. 

Panacea is the best coffee shop in town. Located in Frog Level they sell and brew their own brand of coffee and also offer a delicious menu which includes paninis and salads and wraps. Not pictured: outside picnic style seating along the river. 

Mast General Store is a nifty outdoor supply/souvenir shop located downtown, but the main reason we go here is for the candy..... 

Mast General Store is a nifty outdoor supply/souvenir shop located downtown, but the main reason we go here is for the candy..... 

Sunburst Market  is a young shop, but I love going here for snacks and local beer and a variety of other foods. They recently moved into a space with a kitchen so now they are serving homemade yummy things!

Sunburst Market is a young shop, but I love going here for snacks and local beer and a variety of other foods. They recently moved into a space with a kitchen so now they are serving homemade yummy things!

Lake Junaluska is our go-to place for a scenic yet brisk walk/jog. The trail around the lake is a little less than 3 mi with a nice view to boot

Lake Junaluska is our go-to place for a scenic yet brisk walk/jog. The trail around the lake is a little less than 3 mi with a nice view to boot

During the summer there are a lot of youth groups kids staying in the cabins by the lake, and are usually spotted in and around the lake kayaking and swimming and doing other activities.

During the summer there are a lot of youth groups kids staying in the cabins by the lake, and are usually spotted in and around the lake kayaking and swimming and doing other activities.

One of Duke's many favorite spots in grandma's house.

One of Duke's many favorite spots in grandma's house.

My Grandmother and her horse, Emma. She has had Emma for over 20 years and will still throw on a saddle and take her for a ride.

My Grandmother and her horse, Emma. She has had Emma for over 20 years and will still throw on a saddle and take her for a ride.

Definitely not one of my favorite things, but one of the funniest/scariest. Living in the mountains means you have a few wild visitors now and then...

Definitely not one of my favorite things, but one of the funniest/scariest. Living in the mountains means you have a few wild visitors now and then...