This little foray into Western NC had two stops: Sylva, to more easily access hikes west of Asheville that would normally be out of driving range, and Asheville, for our usual eating/drinking/hiking/city adventure and fun. (We had to cancel the Nashville portion of our plans, because the TN State Fair had taken over our usual camping spot for the month of September.) But the trip had a more practical purpose too: we recently got a new towing vehicle that we wanted to test out with the Airstream, and we wanted to knock the dust off the trailer (and our Airstreaming selves) in preparation for another Big Trip out West starting in a few weeks!
[If you follow us on Instagram, you may have seen a sad tow truck photo featuring our dear old black F-150. We had too many problems with it (I wrote about our trouble in Carrboro) and were ready to switch to a Toyota, but were underwhelmed by the Tundra’s towing capacity, and we did really love that F-150… so we got another F-150. Surely we won’t have problems with this one, right? Gene at Malloy Ford in Charlottesville was awesome to work with, by the way.]
We stayed at Moonshine Creek Campground, a pretty, woodsy campground centered along a zippy little creek. It reminded us a bit of a mini-Misty Mountain, our old home base near Charlottesville. The camp hosts were charming, and introduced us to the phrase “Chamber of Commerce weather,” which we now use as much as possible. Moonshine Creek is about a 15 minute drive from downtown Sylva, a sleepy, quaint little strip of businesses which played the part of Ebbing, Missouri, from Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri.
Originally, I had planned two hikes for our Sylva stay, but we got to Sylva a day late due to Hurricane Florence, so we had to choose only one. Both options are about 12 miles and rated 6-out-of-5 for views, but one is rated 4-out-of-5 for difficulty while the other is a 6. Hmm. We chose the loop over Devil’s Courthouse, Black Balsam Knob, and Sam Knob, and loved it, despite a couple navigational challenges. (When we started up Black Balsam, I thought that section of the trail looked familiar… we hiked it last year! Oops.)
Drinking and Eating
J wrote smart things here about the beer we drank. In summary: we visited Innovation Brewing in Sylva and enjoyed a sampler flight on the patio, until someone started smoking. Yes, they allow smoking on the patio. Boo. Then we went into downtown Sylva and sat out front at Balsam Falls Brewing watching zero activity on a Tuesday evening on Main Street.
A fellow navigationally-challenged hiker on Black Balsam Knob informed us that Innovation has a second location a town over from Sylva, in Dillsboro, in an old depot by a creek. We recovered post-hike there, with a beer and a snack and a seat on the deck overlooking the stream. My beet and basil saison was refreshing and interesting (I am a sucker for beer made with vegetables), and the tacos from the restaurant next door (they’ll deliver the food to you at the brewery) were stellar. Both Innovation locations are dog-friendly.
We ate one more meal out while staying in Sylva, and otherwise cooked at home and ate by the campfire. I had my eye on Lulu’s on Main for dinner, but they were closed temporarily, so we ate at Soul Infusion. The location is interesting, in an old house with a big porch out front and patio around the side, and the food was surprisingly tasty and creative for such a tiny town.
Overall, we were impressed with little Sylva, and would recommend at stay at Moonshine Creek!