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Barnardsville/Dillingham

We'll be staying at a cabin in Dillingham/Barnardsville area in early October. We know Asheville pretty well, but would like to save gas and do as much as possible in the immediate area as we can.

Could anyone give any info regarding eating options in the area? Is there a grocery store there or would we need to go at least to Weaverville?

We plan to spend a good amount of hiking and nature-viewing in the area...anyone know of good trails, waterfalls or other sight-seeing items of note?

Also, the obvious route there is via I-26 to NC 197. But sone of my maps show a road that creates a "shortcut" between Dillingham and the Blue Ridge Parkway (at Craggy Gardens) My question is that, one map shows it paved and another shows it a dirt road...which is it? (Dunno if my Yaris would do good on a mountain dirt road!)

Any help anyone has is greatly appreciated. Thanks!