North Carolina is known for gem stone mining since 1870, and for its slower pace of life. It is also a rock hound’s dream vacation spot. Weather a rock hound or not, this state is rich with history and colorful culture. One can take a plane ride to the nearest, large airport in Ashville and head over to Franklin, just a two hours’ drive to the west.
On route to the small city, you will go through several smaller towns filled with beautiful scenery and boutiques. Franklin has majestic mountains that border three states and the historical Trail of Tears, the path where many Cherokee Indians made history.
It is a pristine town with down-to-earth people. Franklin, North Carolina is also an impressively litter-free place with no debris on the roads, grass, and creeks. This is probably due to the existence of only a few fast food places and convenience stores there.
The nearest grocery store to the town of Franklin, North Carolina is a few miles away. The entire state is a refreshing get-away from the busy city life. This mountain country will not disappoint newcomers. The friendly people of Franklin will make visitors feel right at home.
Best Seasons to Vacation
While sight-seeing in Franklin, one can expect to see the streets wind and turn around and up mountains where the air is crisp and clean. Off the beaten path, clear water creeks can be discovered by the side of country roads. This land is forested with granite mountains. The creek water runs gently here and swiftly there.
Its water is sweet and clean like the water that cascades from the Veil Falls several miles away. Every morning the Smokey Mountains capture new comers with their water vapor rising from the tree tops, and every evening the Blue Ridge Mountains may be seen with a blue-purple hue. It can be a romantic sight.
The weather is fair and accommodation prices are reasonable during the off seasons. The off seasons are Autumn and Winter months in North Carolina, which means minimal visitors to the area and great savings on travel packages.
Places to Explore at the Gemstone Capital of the World
There are gem stone mines and Native American museums to tour. Visitors can also venture out to visit bucket-panning shops set up along the main highway for tourists. Or, one can drive up into the mountains and pan for naturally occurring sapphires at a retired mine.
Arts and craft shops sell locally-made pottery, paintings, and baskets. Tourists often find gems while panning at Cowee Mountain Ruby & Sapphire Mine which is just one of the inactive mines. It is located just 4 miles off of Highway 441, north of Franklin.
After exploring the gemstone capital of the world, visitors will return home with some gem treasures and memories of the beautiful view that the Smokey and Blue Ridge mountains have to offer. With all the adventure and site-seeing available in Franklin, North Carolina, travelers will want to return there on their future vacations.