Blue Ridge Explorer: Dillsboro to Sylva

Dillsboro North Carolina to Sylva North Carolina

After a brief stop in Franklin, my mom and I continued northeast on mountain byways.  The route winds wonderfully through the peaks of the Blue Ridge and crosses sweeping mountain valleys.  Each mile of the journey a window to a new adventure and breathtaking view.

“Hey mom, we should stop in Dillsboro, the home of the Jarrett House…” I mentioned, noticing a sign for the charming mountain town.

One of my youngest memories as a child was a family vacation with my mom and dad to the mountains.  We rented a cabin in Maggie Valley (near the Great Smokies National Park) and on the way we stopped in Dillsboro for dinner at the Jarrett House.  Being only 3 or 4 at the time, I wasn’t eager to each home cooked county style food, so I had a bit of a hissy fit in the car…I was quickly given an ultimatum – eat at the Jarrett House – or don’t eat at all…I calmed down and ate dinner at the Jarrett House and it was one of my most memorable meals.

My dad would often take me to the Jarrett House on subsequent trips.  I loved their mountain trout and sweet tea.  The historic restaurant and hotel was a beacon in the rural community – attracting troves of tourists from across the southeast – hungry for home cooked mountain fresh cuisine.

The Jarrett House Hotel (also known as the Mount Beulah Hotel and Jarrett Springs Hotel) was built in 1884 for railroad travelers and tourism to the mountain getaway.  It is a Victorian three-story frame hotel with a triple-tiered porch.  For years the hotel and restaurant were a central spot in the region.

I had hoped to find the Jarrett House still in business, but unfortunately times have changed and the historic Inn and Restaurant is no longer in business…However the building still remains – and hopefully will reopen with new ownership soon…


Dillsboro is known for it’s old time charm…with a year round population of 232 souls, it is home to artisans (pottery, blacksmiths and glass blowers) and lots of studios and art galleries.  Even with the closure of the Jarrett House, Dillsboro has plenty of great eateries, including the Dillsboro Chocolate Factory  and Haywood Smokehouse.  To learn more about Dillsboro click here.

A stone’s throw from Dillsboro is the equally charming neighboring town of Sylva.  Driving through downtown, we noticed an array of local shops and restaurants.  The most impressive landmark in Sylva is the Jackson County Courthouse.


photo credit

The Jackson County Courthouse is a classical revival building designed and built by Smith & Carrier in 1913.  Situated on a hill at the end of main street, the courthouse stands as a beacon over the city…107 steps lead up to the front portico from the fountain entrance.  The architecture is stunning and is sited perfectly amidst the surround mountains.  The building is considered one of the prettiest in North Carolina and a haunt for architecture lovers.

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