Located about halfway between West Asheville and Waynesville, just off Interstate 40, Canton is a modern snapshot of a classic mill town. The downtown district is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, and many of the unique and beautiful bungalows and buildings once built for mill workers and managers are still intact.
Whether you’re vacationing or stay-cationing, Canton offers residents and visitors alike many opportunities to Live the Life You Choose. Here’s a quick itinerary for a charming weekend in historic Canton, NC.
Friday Evening in Canton
CHECK INTO YOUR MOUNTAIN CABIN
Photo of Riverside Cabin from VisitNCSmokies.com
Enjoy an authentic Western North Carolina weekend excursion by staying in a riverside mountain cabin. There are many cabin rental options in and around Canton. Head south into the Nantahala National Forest for a number of cabins along the Pigeon River. Riverside Cabin, pictured, is only 20 minutes to Main Street Canton, or half an hour to the Blue Ridge Parkway.
BUILD YOUR OWN BURGER
Photo from J-RO’s Burgers
We can personally vouch for the juiciness of J-RO’s Burgers’ (pronounced JAY-rows) signature sandwich. Choose from the house (house-ground ribeye) or local beef patty, made from responsibly raised beef from Rice Family Farms in Canton. Pick your toppings and sandwich between the pretzel bun for a soft, sweet twist (pun intended). Hot sauce lovers will love the selection of sweet and spicy sauces available, as well!
GO PICKIN’ IN THE PARK
Photo of Canton Cloggers from CantonNC.com
On Friday nights throughout the summer, the City of Canton hosts Pickin’ in the Park. Grab a lawn chair and picnic blanket and head to the Canton Recreational Park to listen to live bluegrass and old-time bands. Don’t be afraid to get up and dance!
Saturday in Canton
CHOOSE YOUR DAILY BREAD
Photo of Our Daily Bread from VisitNCSmokies.com
Who doesn’t love fresh-made pastries for breakfast? Our Daily Bread is a traditional bakery located on Church Street in downtown Canton. Choose from local coffees, cinnamon rolls, crumb buns, doughnuts, and more for a sweet start to your day.
CHANNEL YOUR INNER CHILD
Photo of vintage games from Home Computer Services
Love comic books, figurines, anime collectibles, or retro video games? Main Street Canton has a few surprises up its sleeve. Not So Old Toys and Comics carries family-friendly and fun comics and toys from the 1970s through today. Around the corner, check out the up-and-coming Tokyo Toybox (or follow them to their latest convention) for a wide range of anime plush, figurines, and collectibles. Just down the block, Home Computer Services houses a Video Game & Computer Museum, an extensive collection of vintage computer and video gaming systems. Step back in time to play your favorite game or program!
HEAD OUT TO THE BLUE RIDGE PARKWAY
The Blue Ridge Parkway bisects Haywood County and makes for an adventurous drive. High-elevation hiking abounds, as the county is home to 13 peaks above 6,000 feet—including the famous Cold Mountain, just minutes from downtown Canton. All of county’s rivers and creeks originate within the county, making it a great location for waterfalls and wildlife. View elk from nearby Cataloochee Valley in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park or zipline through the Pigeon River area.
GRAB A CRAFT BREW WITH YOUR DINNER
Experience what happens when passion collides with creativity, a love for beer making, and the best ingredients. BearWaters Brewery is located a quick walk from the heart of downtown along the Pigeon River. Grab some grub from the adjoining Pigeon River Grill, including Martha’s “Mild to Wild” wings with 10+ house-made sauces from which to choose. Hang out on the patio overlooking the water, and stay for trivia, live music, or other events.
TAKE IN A SHOW
Dating back to 1932, Canton’s historic Colonial Theater was the first “modern motion picture theater” in town. Today, the fully renovated building is a multi-use facility with state-of-the-art film, video, and sound equipment. Enjoy a film festival, stage production, concert, or community event from its 300-seat auditorium.
Sunday in Canton
MAKE SUNDAY BRUNCH AN EXPERIENCE TO REMEMBER
Photo from Southern Porch
The beautifully restored Imperial Hotel officially predates the town of Canton. Built in 1876, this Queen Anne building began its life as a private home, transformed into “one of the state’s best two-dollar hotels,” served as low income apartments, and now operates as The Southern Porch restaurant. Enjoy quality service and diverse Southern fare, from fried green tomatoes to shrimp and grits.
IMMERSE YOURSELF IN CANTON’S HISTORY
Photo from the Mountaineer
The Canton Area Historical Museum tells the tale of Canton from its roots as a “boom town” upon the opening of the Champion Paper and Fiber Company to today. Scholars, students, and visitors alike enjoy the museum as a community educational resource for preserving and interpreting the unique history of Canton and its surrounding communities.
FANCY A STROLL?
Wrap up your weekend (at whatever pace you prefer) by taking a walk around town. Historic murals dot the downtown landscape, offering interesting viewing on Main Street. Or stroll along the Pigeon River Scenic Walking Trail. Located along the Pigeon River and trailing through town, the 1.5-mile trail features benches to relax and enjoy the local scenery and wildlife. Don’t forget to bring bird food for the ducks and geese that live along the river.
Plan Your Next Trip
Canton has more treats than can be experienced in one weekend. Plan your next trip for Labor Day weekend, when Canton residents come together for the Canton Labor Day Festival, the oldest festival of its kind in the Southeast! Stop back through during the holidays for the Canton Festival of Lights. You’ll be awed by the glow of thousands of holiday lights in celebration of the season!
See the community of Canton for yourself! Read more about Canton, see more photos, or search for homes in the area, from our Beverly-Hanks Canton community page.