48 Hours in Brevard: A Forest Bird Never Wants a Cage

Being a small town doesn’t mean you can’t offer some of the finest charms Western North Carolina has to offer. Just ask the 7,800 residents of Brevard, the seat of Transylvania County. The town has distinguished itself as an epicenter for nearby outdoor adventures, education, art, and music.

Whether you’re vacationing or stay-cationing, Brevard offers residents and visitors alike many opportunities to Live the Life You Choose. Here’s a quick itinerary for a charming weekend in scenic Brevard, NC.

Friday Evening in Brevard, NC

48 Hours in Brevard: A Forest Bird Never Wants a Cage

Photo from Red House Inn


Several Brevard inns combine the best of history and modernity. In fact, at least three inns trace back their history as far as the mid-nineteenth century. The newly renovated Red House Inn began its life in 1851 as a local general store and served as the county’s first courthouse, a railroad station, a school, and a family home before settling into its current role. The Inn at Brevard has offered accommodations on Main Street since 1885. And just a few minutes outside of the town center, Key Falls Inn offers all the romance of a 1860s-era Victorian home on 30 acres of picturesque landscape.

Photo from Rocky’s Grill and Soda Shop


It’s a rare town that can boast of an equal number of barbecue joints and Asian restaurants—and just as many ice cream parlors—but in Brevard it’s true. Rocky’s Grill and Soda Shop has been a hub of classic Americana since 1942. They still serve all your favorites, from flat-top burgers and hot dogs to famous milkshakes, malts, and egg creams. After you eat, wander through to the connected shops. D.D. Bullwinkel’s offers the Southern charm of an old-fashioned general store served with a twist. Moose Tracks carries a wide variety of casual and stylish footwear, as well as some great travel gear.

Photo from Blue Moon Gallery on the Scenic 276 Corridor


There’s plenty to enjoy in the heart of Brevard. The town is a vibrant and walkable hub of independent shops, boutiques, galleries, pubs, eateries—and a diverse selection of local art! Put on a pair of comfortable shoes and enjoy a fun evening exploring downtown Brevard’s art galleries. Number 7 Arts on W Main Street is a fine arts and crafts cooperative that can’t be missed. Check out their featured works by 37 local artists in a wide variety of mediums.

More local arts are highlighted on the Scenic 276 South Fine Art & Craft Corridor, a 13-mile stretch of state road that showcases numerous galleries and studios.

Saturday in Brevard, NC

Photo from Sunrise Cafe


There are some great bakeries in Brevard, but for a hearty breakfast, we recommend Sunrise Cafe. Since day one, they’ve offered breakfast and lunch options designed to satisfy any craving. Their bagels and breakfast sandwiches are chock full of yummy fillings. Or for a sweet and savory profile, try the Belgian waffle with bacon or sausage. If you’re feeling feisty, enjoy the home fries breakfast nachos or the Southwest Bean Nachos, Sunrise Cafe’s version of huevos ranchero.

Looking Glass Falls


Transylvania County can justly claim to be “The Land of Waterfalls,” as some 250 waterfalls exist in the county. Some are relatively small and gentle. Others take big, breathtaking plunges into mountain pools. Looking Glass Falls, for example, drops 60 feet amid a stunning crop of boulders and is one of the most-photographed waterfalls in the country. The nearby and wildly popular Sliding Rock is a natural waterslide! Thousands of visitors slide down its long, slick surface into a six-foot-deep pool at the bottom. These two are easily accessed from parking areas, but many more waterfalls can be discovered just a short hike away.

Photo from Brevard Brewing Company


After all that playing in the water, you’re bound to be thirsty! Head back downhill to one of Brevard’s two hometown breweries. Brevard Brewing Company is a family-owned business on Main Street, specializing in handcrafted lagers. In 2012, they were the first brewery to open in Transylvania County. Just outside of town, Colorado-based Oskar Blues’ East Coast brewery is one of the largest beer producers in the region. Check out their calendar for regular music and community events.

Photo from Marco Trattoria


Locals consider Marco Trattoria to be one of the best lunch and dinner restaurants in town. Conveniently located on Main Street, the family-owned restaurant features Italian-inspired dishes with a creative twist. Share an appetizer like the grilled asparagus or antipasto platter. Choose from one of the fresh dinner dishes like the gluten-free crabmeat risotto. Or enjoy a crisp, wood oven pizza. Whatever you choose, it is sure to delight.

Brevard Music Center


The international summer institute and festival at the Brevard Music Center has hosted noted performers for more than 75 years. Its signature event is the annual Brevard Music Festival, which spans seven summer weeks and features more than 80 different acts. Local music aficionados also take in shows at Brevard College‘s Paul Porter Center for the Performing Arts.

Located adjacent to downtown, the small liberal arts school was founded in 1934 and contributes to the town’s special character.

Sunday in Brevard, NC

Photo from Square Root


You would be remiss to visit Brevard without sitting down at the Square Root. Tucked into a quiet alley in downtown, the Square Root is as well known for its ambiance as it is for its food. Enjoy your Sunday brunch with a mimosa, Bloody Mary, or locally roasted coffee from the Brown Bean. From smoked salmon omelets to chicken and waffles to the “bag of beignets,” the menu includes options for anyone who enjoys delicious, fresh food at reasonable prices.

The French Broad River is the 218-mile aquatic heart of Western North Carolina.

French Broad River


Remarkably, more than half of the land in Transylvania County is publicly owned and protected. This includes 88,000 acres of Pisgah National Forest, the 10,000-acre DuPont State Park, and the 7,600-acre Georges State Park. Together, these lands offer myriad opportunities for biking, camping, climbing, hiking, horseback riding, paddling, and sightseeing.

The headwaters of the French Broad River, one of the oldest rivers in the world, are located near Brevard. A few miles west of town, master guides at Headwaters Outfitters help residents and visitors alike take advantage of all the river has to offer. It’s a hot spot for tubing, canoeing, kayaking, and fly fishing. Nearby, the Davidson River, another renowned trout-fishing destination, flows through the Pisgah National Forest.

Photo from O.P. Taylor’s


You can’t spend a weekend in Brevard without at least poking your nose into O.P. Taylor’s toy store. It’s more than 6,000 square feet of hands-on fun and excitement! From dolls and marbles to board games, puzzles, and Lego kits, it’s no wonder that it’s the number one toy store in the South! We double dare you to leave without blowing your budget.

Plan Your Next Trip to Brevard, NC

Brevard has more treats than can be experienced in one weekend. Plan your next trip for March, when Brevard College hosts the world-touring BANFF Mountain Film Festival, a big-screen celebration of films and documentaries about life and sports in the wild.

On Memorial Day weekend, Brevard pays tribute its rare concentration of signature furry creatures with the White Squirrel Festival. The festival features a parade, free concerts, a “Squirrel Box Derby,” and other, well, “nutty” amusements.

Each summer, Brevard’s Main Street becomes a prime place to cut a rug. On Tuesday nights through June, July, and August, Old Time Street Dances are held to a soundtrack of live bluegrass. Not sure how to square dance? Don’t worry—free instruction is available before the music begins.

In September, the Mountain Song Festival brings the best in acoustic music to town. From bluegrass, newgrass, old time, folk, jazz, and traditional mountain music to the many branches that stem from it, the festival is designed to further encourage music in our everyday lives.  


See the community of Brevard for yourself! Read more about Brevard see more photos, or search for homes in the area, from our Beverly-Hanks Brevard community page.




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