Cute Little Towns: Sylva, NC

Don’t you just love cute little towns on those backroads of the U.S.?

Yep, me too!  I grew up going up to NC so many times during my childhood and last weekend, I got the chance to go back to visit Angela’s beautiful Waynesville Cottage.  A girl’s weekend.  I took 2 of my single girlfriends and we meandered our way up to Waynesville on Friday afternoon.  Took our time about getting there and stopped by Sylva on the way and boy, is it a cute little town.

We lazed in the hot tub that night, bubbling under the stars and talked and talked.  It’s so fun to have girlfriends to talk to and get away with.

Long shot Sylva court house

Come with me to the pretty little NC mountain town of Sylva.  The courthouse immediately caught my eye as we drove into town.  Just like Mayberry, Sylva has that cozy and quaint small town feel that we all love.

tree framing court house

Stately sitting up on the hill.

Sylva court house

Jackson County Courthouse

Sylva, NC court house

Christmas decorations were still up and how about all those trees on the lawn with red bows?  CUTE!

Christmas Tree

Another pretty decorated tree at the bottom of the steps.

It was a beautiful blue sky day in Sylva and we walked down the sidewalks, peeking in the shops.

Church Steeple Sylva

This pretty church steeple rose high above the trees nearby.


We checked out Vance Hardware in  hopes of maybe finding one of those pretty HUGE Ball jars that Marc told me he found in Sylva.  It was not meant to be and she told me they didn’t carry any, that maybe one of the hardware stores that had gone out of business did at one time.   Oh well.

Crocks in Hardware store

They did have this pretty crockery in the window.

Lodge iron skillets

Lodge iron skillets and cooking pots were plentiful at the hardware store. All good Southern staples in the kitchen.

Shopping Sylva

B & B gifts and Interiors.


I just loved this shot of the chairs sitting outside the Sylva Barber shop.  Can you see Andy, Floyd and Barney hanging out here trading stories?  I know!!


Jackson’s General store was cute and quaint too.


With quilts and clothing.

Deerhead Sylva store

Deer Head on the wall


Vera Bradley


Just like an old general store.


Complete with worn pine floors.


And lots of Southern-isms to be found.


We Southerners are proud of OUR South!

Tervis tumblers

Don’t forget the Tervis tumblers.  Do y’all have any Tervis in your cabinets?  We love them down here!   My sister and mom have plenty of them.


A used book store caught our attention too.


We browsed in there and picked up a few 25 cent magazines.

Lulus Cafe

Finally, we stopped by Lulu’s Cafe for lunch.

Lunch Lulus

I had a delish salmon salad that was really tasty.

There’s nothing like driving through the winding mountain roads in NC and taking your time getting to a destination.  I love browsing and enjoying a small town so much, do you?  I think growing up in a small town would be fun, but not sure that I could do it all the time.  I like activities and action too much.

How about you?  Did you grow up in a small town and if so, are you glad you did? 

I know there must be plenty of positives about small town living. 

I’ve got plenty more to share from our weekend in Waynesville.  We hit Asheville on an all-day excursion and shopped several antiques and thriftstores along the way, so I’ll have lots more to show you.

My 2 friends found some slamming bargains at 2 of the thriftstores that I can’t wait to show you.  We pondered all the way home how they could get back up there with a truck to get them hauled back to Atlanta.  I have to find out if they figured it out this week.  

Note:  If you go on a girl’s weekend antiquing and thrifting, be sure and take a truck!

- Rhoda


  1. I Love Sylva! One of my sons went to Western Carolina so we spent a lot of time in Sylva and Waynesville and Cashiers during those few years! This brought back some wonderful memories! Thanks for sharing!

  2. I had the good fortune to grow up in a small town and wouldn’t trade it for the world. Unfortunately, it has changed and doesn’t hold the charm it once did. Now I live in Lexington, KY, (pop. 300,000 plus) and wouldn’t trade my adult home for the world either.

  3. What a beautiful town, that courthouse is gorgeous!

  4. Very pretty town. We recently moved to a very small town and love it! Very quaint and charming to us, the pace is so much slower than how we have lived for years. The people, oh the people, they are friendly and talkative. We are still in a state of shock at the difference living in a small town can make.

    • Can I ask what town you live in? We are looking for a slower pace, and I would just love to find a charming little southern town that would be a good place to raise a family.

  5. Thank you for featuring one of my favorite towns. We used to stay in that area often while going to the Biltmore Estate. I just love that whole Franklin, Sylva, Dillsboro area. Have very fond memories of that area. We used to stay at the Squire Watkins Inn in that area. I wonder if it is still there. That was so many years ago…..Just love the shops there!

  6. Thanks Rhoda! We are traveling the 13 plus hours from Ontario, Canada again this spring to visit the Outer Banks…….may have to take a day trip!

    • That would be one long day trip.

      • Terri is right – don’t try to attempt that trip in one day. You don’t realize how wide NC is until you try to drive from the mountains to the ocean. We live in Charlotte and it takes us 6+ hours to get to the outer banks – and we’re 2-1/2 hours from the mountains. Sylva & Waynesville are definitely worth the drive tho!

  7. Hi Rhoda! So glad you posted this – we are heading to the area in a month (Asheville-ish) for our 2nd fact finding tour. We are looking to move in the next year or so and after investigating places all around the country, keep coming back to NC. Had not heard of Sylva yet but will certainly be going there now – they should give you a cut! Have followed your ‘story’ since GI days and although it hasn’t always been easy, never doubted you would land on your feet no matter what. Best wishes for a happy & healthy 2012 and keep doing these NC infomercials !
    Deb (DLM2000)

    • Hi Deb-IL,
      I would love to hear how your fact-finding mission is going. We have been interested in finding a charming little southern town to settle into for years now. We finally made the move from Upstate NY to Central Florida — talk about a big change! We went from a rural town in NY to a much busier city outside of Orlando. We invested in some real estate down here, so we were visiting a couple times per year and just fell in love with the sunshine. We are both self-employed, so it wasn’t too difficult to make the move. Now that we have been down here for a while, we are craving something smaller, slower pace, and more personal than where we have landed. NC would be perfect… an easier trip up north to visit family, but still down in the sunshine and warmth. It would be great to hear more about what you have found out!

      – Theresa

  8. Love girls weekends and exploring new towns – this one is so charming!

  9. I didn’t grow up in a small town or a city. Not in the middle of nowhere either though. I grew up in a township. Which is basically just houses that hold people who work in other towns. We didn’t have a town or a restaurant or grocery store or ANYTHING but houses. I hated it. I live in a what I would call a small city now, but I don’t like it. Traffic is bad & you can’t go anywhere to just have a beer without having to wait for an hour for a seat. I really want to live in a small town actually. I want to be able to walk to get an ice cream cone in the summer & to know my neighbors & to walk into town for festivals & such. It seems very ideal to me.

  10. I love Sylva, too. We haven’t been to NC for years but we love it. Thanks for the tour.

  11. I adore small towns that have been able to preserve the quaint lifestyle that they are remembered for. I adore the little local shops and cafes that are found in little places like Sylva. They are so much fun to explore! Small town living has its ups and downs (we have lived in both). So many of these little places have let everything die out so that they are just a shell of a town. It breaks my heart. We are living in my hubby’s small town (for another month anyway) and it is so sad to see how it has died. There is so much potential here, just no one to do anything.

  12. I grew up in the country (you couldn’t even call it a small town). We were far away from stores, doctors, church, etc. We had to drive for miles to get anywhere. I rode a bus for 2 hours each day just to get to and from school. Although it sounds romantic to be in the country, it is a pain!! Also, no EMS, fire department, police. I live in the suburbs of a big city now and love it!!! Could never go back to the country – except for weekend visits.

  13. I grew up in a small north Georgia town about 90 miles up the road from Atlanta. When I went to Atlanta for nursing school, I LOVED it. I still love Atlanta, not sure if I would want to live there but I love to visit. I enjoy small towns as well. I live in a suburb of Huntsville, Al but I can find most of the things I need in my own little city. So I guess I am a blend…city/country girl. But I do have to say, I did not like all the work that I had to do as a country girl. 🙂 Loved the picture of the Deer Head right over the sweet Vera Bradley purses!!:)

  14. I grew up in and around Asheville and went to WCU…loved Sylva and my parents loved coming to to visit…Thanks for the memories and I must get back there soon!

  15. That looks like a beautiful place! I have never visited there but I love small towns. They have so much charm. It sounds like you had a wonderful time. I could really use a girls getaway…I could really use any kind of getaway!

  16. Elizabeth H says:

    Thanks for such a great small town tour. Love your blog.

  17. Looks like such a fun trip! I live in a small town now, and while I miss some aspects of living in a larger city, small town living suits me for this stage in life.

  18. Rhoda!! I can’t believe you came to Sylva and you didn’t call me!! 🙁 I would have loved to have taken to you to me favorite spots! Glad you had a good time!

  19. Thanks for a great tip…looks like a weekend trip for me and either my DH or sisters. I love small Southern towns. One adorable town in Tenn is Bell Buckle. If you’re ever up toward Nashville, it’d be worth a side trip.

  20. I love small towns. Taking the back roads and just seeing what you find is one of my favorite things to do, although its been a while since I’ve done that.

    Can’t wait to see what your friends found and if they got it back to Atlanta.

  21. Hi there. I grew up on Lookout Mountain about half an hour from Chattanooga, TN. I grew up there in a very small community which I STILL love going back to. I then married a United Methodist Minister and moved to Belmont, NC — what at that time was a small town. It is growing now but still beautiful! We were then moved to Drexel, NC not too far from Hickory. After a couple of years, we moved to SYLVA, NC. I LOVE, love, love it here. I live one street over from Main Street and I hope the Lord sees fit to keep us here for a long, long time. I simply adore our little town. OH – and those chairs out in front of the Barber Shop {where my husband and son get hair cuts} !!! I just had my kids picture made and we got a great one of the 4 of them sitting in those chairs. I love this place and glad that you loved it,too! Oh, and I would also love to know what thrift shops you went to around here, in Waynesville or in Asheville. I am longing to make some good finds myself!

  22. I love this town and I’ve never been there. Small towns are great. I grew up in a small town in Ga., Colquitt, Ga. to be exact. The home of the Mayhaw festival. My husband grew up in Climax, Ga. The home of Swine Time, celebrating the pig. Thanks for sharing. Maybe I’ll take a trip to Sylva. I think we live fairly close to there, just across the mountains.

  23. What a charming town. Thanks for sharing. I especially like the pics from the general store.

  24. I’m lucky enough to live in a small town just down the road from Sylva. Sounds like you guys had fun. What I’d give for a girl’s trip!

  25. What lovely pictures! It looks like a storybook. Thanks for sharing.


  26. I love the “be sure to take a truck” comment. There’s a group of 4 of us that grew up together and now, we live all across our state (MO). We get together several times each year and show off our junk shops! My sister has a big Durango, last time we were at her house, we nearly had to call the boys to rescue us! However, with some strategic packing (2 girls in the back seat, piled high with table legs by their head, etc) we made it home.

    Those trips are so so much fun!! Thanks for sharing yours.

  27. I enjoyed your pictures. I live in a small Southern town here in SC. There is something so enjoyable in the atmosphere of a small town—love the history behind the old buildings and sometimes you feel like you are going back in time. I love the barber shop picture!

  28. Love your pics! I love small towns-have always lived in one- and Sylva is a beauty!

  29. Small towns are so fun to wander around, especially when you see they still have their christmas decorations still up. 😉

  30. Hi, my name is Heather! Please email me when you can, I have a question about your blog!

  31. Rhoda,
    Lucky you! I went to college there and know the surrounding towns- including Cashiers, well.I love it and have wonderful memories. Did you stop in Dillsboro too? I travel to Asheville, one of my favorite cities, often but never make it the 40 mintues further west. It’s a short drive from ATL so I used to make the journey annually. Oh how I miss it.

  32. What a sweet little town, that’s what I love about the South, I adore all of the small towns that you find when driving down any road, just about.
    Hugs, Cindy

  33. I also love Tervis Tumblers and we have a whole kitchen full of them! My mom actually works there so I sent her a link to your post!


  34. Barbara Carroll says:


    My parents grew up in and around Sylva and it warms my heart to think of that special town. I never lived there, or anywhere in the South, but have visited several times. My last trip was about 5 years ago with my brother; we stayed at a B & B in Dillsboro and took side trips to Waynesville, Ashville and Highlands. My brother spent a lot of time researching genealogy in the libraries and cemeteries. Sadly, my parents and most of my relatives who lived there have passed away. But I still feel a connection and hope to visit again. Thanks for featuring Sylva.


  35. Loved this Rhoda!
    Yes, I grew up in a small town and would not have had it any other way. Although I haven’t lived there in more than 50 years, I am still close to and keep in touch with old friends I grew up with there. I live just outside a small town now.

    I’ve lived in Nashville, Shreveport, Dallas and other large towns. Even though I enjoyed living in the big towns I like the small towns best. I swear if we were to live anywhere in TN these days it would be Franklin.

    In Missouri, if we were to go to a larger town, it might be Jeff City or Springfield. Larger than our town in NE Mo, but with a small town feel.

  36. No one does stately court house like the US! I grew up in Northern Ontario, in the forest, with the nearest neighbour a mile away. That was great for nature loving me! Now, I live in a village 30 mins away from each of two cities and have the best of both worlds.

  37. Have you ever been to Dillsboro? It is not far from Sylva, and worth the trip!

  38. You had me at the deer head. LOL! I had to stop watching “The Biggest Loser” to read about deer heads and Vera Bradley. Thanks for the glimpse of small town life. Fabulous!

  39. YES….I grew up in the middle of nowhere USA. We call it God’s Country and I wouldn’t trade it for a million bucks! We were just close enough to several small little towns that remind me of Sylva. I’ve raised my daughter in the big city, for which I am grateful in todays time, but I will always call home the little settlement in the valley called Nellie.

  40. Denna Sherrill says:

    Hi Rhoda,
    Just wanted to thank you for spotlighting my home town. I have always lived here and don’t plan on leaving. Jackson’s General Store is my sisters store and the deer heads that are being commented on, well my husband killed them. There is also a boars head, a coyote, bobcat, elk and a blue marlin in the store, also killed by my husband. I told him there was not enough room in our house for his trophy kills. LOL
    If you look closely on the clothing side of the store we have displayed our Grandfathers and Grandmothers antiques. Two of the quilts you have pictured were ones handmade by my grandmothers. So glad you liked the store. Hope to meet you when you return to Sylva.

    • HI,Denna, it tickles me so much that you found my blog & this is your sister’s store we visited! How cool is that? Thanks so much for filling in the blanks on this beautiful little town. It sounds such a great place to be from. You all are very blessed! PS I took a pic of the marlin fish too, but didn’t get it up!

  41. Rhoda, if you like small towns like we do, you have to check out They have a great formula for finding true small towns (i.e., the real thing and not just put there for tourists).

    I checked, and Sylva is indeed on their list. We use them every time that we travel so that we can find fun little out of the way places to stop instead of boring chains right off the interstate.

  42. I once lived near Sylva in a little town called Cashiers… Loved both towns – very sweet and quaint. 😉

  43. Thank you so much for the beautiful feature on Sylva. Did you know that the Courthouse on the hill is part of the Jackson County Public Library complex. The historic courthouse houses a museum, the Jackson County Genealogical Socity, the Jackson County Arts Council, meeting and conference spaces. Across the Atrium is the new 20,000 square foot Jackson County Public Library which opened in June 2011. It is nearly 4 times larger than the old 1970’s vintage library and is decorated in a 1914 style which is when the Courthouse was constructed. BTW: regular county admistration and courts are house in the Jackson County Justice Center, in case you were wondering. Please come visit us again and I would love to give you a tour of our building including its orginial locally created art.

  44. So glad you spent some extra time in charming Sylva! I love Lulu’s–now you have me craving their tofu salad!

  45. I love Sylva and Dillsboro. My Dad’s family has lived there since before the civil war. So it’s a special place. The courthouse is amazing.The real focal point of the town.
    I live in a town much smaller than Sylva (under 1500 souls) in WA state. Can’t beat small towns.

  46. Jamie Lynn says:

    Hey! My husband I were just up there. We went to Cherokee to see snow (there was none) and decided to go into Sylvia. Unfortunately, LuLu’s was not open. We wanted to go in there because that is the name of our yorkie. Waynesville is also a nice little town that I believe is very close. Next time you are in the area let me know I would love to meet up and do some good shopping together.
    Jamie Lynn

  47. LOVE THIS blog entry! I go to school right near Sylva and forgot how beautiful it could be! The pictures are great! It is especially beautiful around Christmas with the decorations up and the courthouse is so pretty!

  48. So glad you have enjoyed our new “home town”. Please visit often.

  49. We have lived in Sylva since 1980 and feel so fortunate to call it home! Great little town.

  50. DiAnne Crisp says:

    I live in Sylva and love this little town sooo much! When you come back to Sylva bring a truck and check out Finders Keepers and The Nichols House Antiques downtown. Check out Finders Keepers on Facebook. You can go to the photos and see all the fabulous things in this store. love your blog.

  51. Hi, I just found your fab blog while searching for info on the town of Sylva, NC. I live in WA state and am moving to the South. I am shopping for a property online after taking a brief (just one hr and 45 min) trip to Bryson City near Sylva to view a small home for sale just 2 months ago. It didn’t work out, so now I am searching Franklin, Sylva and surrounding areas. But, I was really happy to have found your great blog. I love to decorate and find free things to re purpose or up cycle. I have a tiny house that is 8 ‘ wide x 24’ long , and I am forever changing it up and fluffing it. I will definitely be back on your blog for more inspiration for future décor ideas. Thanks, for such a quality blog.
    Tonita – Shabby Chic Tiny Retreat.

  52. Thank you so much for including us on your blog. Sylva really is a wonderful little town, and it’s nice to see other people appreciate it as much as we do.

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