Off the beaten path

Off the beaten path

May 26, 2013 

Falling Waters Adventure Resort in Bryson City has yurts for overnight stays.


So maybe you’ve lived in North Carolina a long time, and you think you’ve seen and done it all. These are some of the more unusual destinations readers shared with us. Now really, have you seen it all?

Falling Waters Adventure Resort

Bryson City

Welcome to the wonderful world of “glamping”! It’s camping, in that you’re sleeping in a tent, but it becomes glamorous when you find that your tent has queen-sized beds (yes, beds), French doors, ceiling fans and – hallelujah! – a coffee maker. Falling Waters calls its tents “luxury yurts,” and they’re a comfy place to stay after a day of rafting, mountain biking, fishing, kayaking or just walking around at the resort, which is next door to the Nantahala Gorge and near Fontana Lake, the Appalachian Trail and Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Bathrooms for the yurt village are indoors, but shared – so you can still claim you were roughing it.

Info: $84 plus 10.75 percent lodging tax. Closed December-February. 10345 U.S. 74 W., Bryson City. 800-451-9972 or

Grandfather Mountain Highland Games


July 11-14, 2013

If you like Scotland (or even just Scottish accents), you’ll find plenty to like at the annual Highland Games. You can work on your sheep herding, do some genealogy research, saw your fiddle or try your hand at tossing the sheaf. Or you can just enjoy watching others do that. You can also take in Scottish dancing, Celtic music, a Scottish Gaelic song competition and a whole lot of people in kilts.

Info: Four-day advance ticket adults, $75, children, $20. Tickets for individual days or events also sold; prices vary. MacRae Meadows on Grandfather Mountain, near Linville. 828-733-1333 or

Duffie’s Exotic Bird Ranch


If the most exotic bird you’ve ever seen around here is a backyard chicken, it’s time to expand your horizons. Bo McLamb’s bird-breeding business has a side aim of education and enjoyment of the birds for all, so visitors are welcome. The ranch generally has more than 100 bird species in spacious pens or roaming around, including swans, parrots, emus, peacocks and more duck varieties than you ever thought existed. “I have never seen so many cool birds,” said Natya Regensburger of Cary. “He has everything with wings.”

Info: $5 for self-guided tour. 242 Bryan McLamb Lane, Dunn. 910-892-4755 or

Underwater Bike Race


Discovery Diving’s annual July 4 event is just what it sounds like: a race to push, drag or pedal a bike along the ocean floor to the finish line. Before the race, participants gather to gussy up their bikes and themselves (prizes are awarded for Best Dressed Bike and Rider), and then it’s time for a trip out to sea and into the water. Back on land, everyone celebrates with a potluck and maybe a drink or two. And why not celebrate? Proceeds from entry fees go to the Children’s Mile of Hope, a nonprofit supporting cancer research.

Info: Entry fee $5 per bike. $65 for transportation to site; private vessels welcome. Discovery Diving, 414 Orange St., Beaufort, 28516; 252-728-2265 or

N.C. State Foosball Championships


Oct. 4-6, 2013

You knew North Carolina was first in flight, but did you know it’s also first in foosball? The annual state foosball championship, nearing its fourth decade, is the nation’s oldest foosball event. There are some serious players involved, but novices and spectators are welcome. Tables are available for casual play if you find yourself inspired to start warming up for next year. Tournament proceeds benefit local charities.

Info: Entry fees vary. Break Time Billiards Sports Bar and Grill, 127 S. College Road, Wilmington. 336-325-3183 or

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