Trip Report 7/29/07
Bryson City was a wonderful choice for our "Last Minute-Last Break before school starts" vacation. It's just a lovely, quaint, friendly small town with striking, layered Mtn views in any direction. Local shopping is OK, with several tourist type stores to venture in to. Still amazed at the prices. Ball Caps $9 - $12, Tshirts $12 - $16....and those were the EXPENSIVE ones.
- Family of 4 (2 adults, 1-12 yo daughter and 1 Boston Terrier)
- Rented a Cabin from Carolina Mountain Vacations, that was “Pet Friendly”. Can’t say anything bad – but can’t say anything great either. Was reasonably priced, clean, had all the amenities…but nothing more. To be fair, maybe what sours my taste has more to do with the Frat House that occupied the cabin directly next door (literally 30ft away) – and partied until wee hours. If you ever rent a cabin, keep that mental picture in mind
- Took a Raft ’n Rail excursion/package through the GSMR (Great Smoky Mtn Railway). General concensus was that the train ride was not as scenic as we had hoped, but was still neat-kinda fun and worth doing, at least once....
- 2nd part of that package was Whitewater rafting. We have NEVER had a bad whitewater trip, and this was no exception. Some Advice from someone who has rafted numerous times: Although in our package we were already assigned a guide, unless you have fair experience, spend the additional $5 for a raft guide. They know the water and can make the learning curve non existent – PLUS, avoid the weekends if at all possible. If you must go on the weekend, expect to be rafting with umpteen million of your closest friends.
When in Rome....
As to dining, we typically follow the locals, or at least follow the advice we get. Typically we have good experience doing so – and this was no different, including regretting experiences when we strayed from the rec list.
Keep in mind, even though this is a SMALL town (pop. 1,400 - without tourists), you still have some great choices for dining. Much of our experience was “OK”, including “The Station”, but we would not "choose" to go back there. We did however, have some outstanding experiences. Here are 2 that are truly worth mentioning;
- Before venturing out for the day, eat breakfast at the Everett Street Diner and Gallery, and go hungry. First indication we were in the right place, were the tables full of the local Police, EMS and county employees having breakfast. The second indication, was the age of the carpet and that none of the plates or dinnerware matched. With those features, and a local crowd this big, you know you are in for a decent meal, and it was. Unless you are expecting a buffet that rivals the Hyatt, you will leave neither disappointed – or hungry. (Price: very reasonable)
- Paskalinas (sp?) a neat, very well apopinted little Italian restaurant, was PACKED by 6pm, and for good reason as well. Although Italian, on the weekends they specialize in Prime rib. Not only was some of the BEST Prime rib I have ever had, but probably the largest. As the waitress was setting down the wife’s plate – I immediately got that “you know you’re going to have to help me with this” look. I’m only guessing, but I would swear these were 30 oz cuts - no joking.
Price was $68 for 2 adults and a child (who had the $14 Salmon entree), but that included 2 glasses of wine. By comparison though, the dinner was only $2 more than The Station - where we had nothing but tea, and was in a completely different class.
PS – do NOT sit in back of the restaurant! Like everything else in town, it’s an old, old building, with original hardwood floor (and floor joists!!) Our dinner toward the front was VERY pleasant, but on the night we sat in back, they were SLAMMED. As the wait staff “ran” back and forth to the kitchen, the floor bounced like we were sitting on the edge of a bed full of jumping children. I guess it was not ALL that bad, but if you have a choice - - - sit up front, or at least away from the bathroom/server area.
What a great little town.