It’s strange, Maggie Valley, NC isn’t my hometown but every time I go there, I feel like I am home. I have fond childhood memories of Maggie Valley: of Santa Land, Ghost Town in the Sky (now closed) and the Soco Gardens Zoo (also closed). As a child, my mother and I visited the Soco Gardens Zoo and she took a picture of me with a boa constrictor draped on my shoulders. Years later, I went there as an adult with my mother and took another picture with a boa constrictor draped on my shoulders. I have no idea why, I just did it. I’m not sure how my mother heard about Maggie Valley but it was one of the places we often visited on our weekend road trips. I credit the trips there and other Western NC towns as part of why I enjoy and prefer visits to the mountains over those to the coast.
I “introduced” my husband, Brian, to Maggie Valley during Labor Day weekend in 2009. He fell in love with it! Until then, it had been several years since I had visited there and all the fond memories I had of it came back. That day, we had lunch at what is now called the Moonshine Grille but then it was bear-themed and had some really cute and interesting bear paraphernalia decorating it. The burger I had there was pretty tasty.
Since we first went to Maggie Valley together in 2009, Brian and I have been back several times including staying there a couple times for our honeymoon week aka anniversary week. We love the warm, small town feel of Maggie Valley and the quaint restaurants and shops along Soco Road. From the real Italian feel and taste at Frankie’s Italian Trattoria to the cozy mom and pop comfort-food restaurants like Joey’s Pancake House (now closed), Pop’s Grit’s and Eggs and Rock N Robins. There are restaurants to please every palate. There are even some nationally known restaurants there that have managed to make themselves at home there, J Arthur’s Restaurant and Subway. For the shopaholics, there are charming boutiques like Cabbage Rose for an accessory fix and Seven Silver Seas for some eco-conscience clothing and accessories. I’m no shopaholic but had to restrain myself in both shops because of the unique products they sell! Speaking of shopping, the first time you go to Maggie Valley, you will likely notice the many souvenir shops along Soco Road. All of them carry some similar products but have their own unique products as well. Our favorite souvenir shop is Maggie Mountaineer Crafts. When you drive up to it, you’ll notice one of the reasons why it’s our favorite and that’s its distinct parking lot décor. The second thing we like about it is its selection of homemade fudge! YUM!
Accommodations in Maggie Valley range from economy motels to nice cabins for rent that have spectacular views. We have stayed in 3 of the hotels in Maggie Valley but hope to stay in a cabin one day soon. Of the 3 hotels where we stayed, the Jonathan Creek Inn and Villas was our favorite. The prices are reasonable and for a little more, you can get a creekside room which allows you to fall asleep and awaken to the relaxing sound of the gurgling Jonathan Creek. If you choose not to get a creekside room, you can still sit, grill and eat by the creek thanks to the comfortable chairs and grill the hotel has set up near the creek.
Saving the best for last, the thing we love most about Maggie Valley is the breathtaking views of the mountains throughout the town as well as its proximity to the mountains. On one of our visits, we drove up to the Catalochee Ski Area and the views up there make you stop in your tracks and reflect on the Lord’s wonderful creation. It’s so beautiful up there! I can only imagine how much more beautiful it is when it’s covered in snow. I can’t talk about great views of the mountains without mentioning Soco Crafts & Tower which is outside of town and offers its unique souvenir selection as well as a tower that the adventurous can climb to enjoy a high altitude view of the mountains. Also of note, is that as you drive into Maggie Valley off the interstate, you pass Lake Junaluska which I recommend as a great place to walk or drive around because it offers some beautiful views. Lastly, on our last visit to Maggie Valley, we took Highway 19 (Soco Road) up to the Blue Ridge Parkway and drove down the Parkway to Asheville. The drive was a lot longer than heading straight for the interstate from Maggie Valley but the awe-inspiring views we saw at the various outlooks along the Parkway were well worth the long drive.
Maggie Valley is a small town but it has a big heart and so much to offer as a place to visit or live. There are yet places we have to explore there and we look forward to doing so. One such place is the Maggie Valley Sandwich Shop whose Facebook posts make you want to drop everything and drive up there. Another is the Moo Mountain Bakery which we briefly visited during our trip to Maggie for Independence Day. They offer a great, unique selection of pastries as well as some delicious coffee! Speaking of Independence Day, what better place to view a great fireworks display than one that offers the mountains at its backdrop? Below are some pictures taken from our visits there.
If you have some places in Maggie Valley that you recommend, please share them in the Comments.