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Time stands still

Nestled in the foothills of the Smoky Mountains, Tellico Plains is a town holding fast to its Appalachian heritage. Small-scale agriculture and family owned businesses prevail here, where the cost of living is low and the level of natural beauty is high.

Outdoor opportunities abound in Tellico Plains, which boasts gorgeous forests, hiking trails and more.

BEST THING TO DO

Take the open road

• The Cherohala Skyway, a 43-mile scenic road that connects Tellico Plains with Robbinsville, N.C., offers spectacular views and vistas.

• The name comes from the road passing through both the Cherokee and Nantahala National Forests.

• Opened in 1996, the road has been designated as a National Scenic Byway.

Source: www.byways.org

SOMETHING ELSE TO DO

Take a hike

• The Tellico River and Bald River Falls offer not only spectacular views, but opportunities for swimming, boating, fishing and more.

• The Upper Tellico River is popular among kayakers when water levels rise in the spring.

• The waters of the Bald River Falls cascade over large gray rocks into a round pool, ideal for swimming.

Source: www.tellico-plains.com

BEST KEPT SECRET

A tasty slice of life

• Before heading off on the Cherohala, stop by the Tellico Grains Bakery, a local favorite spot.

• Homemade pastries, wood-fired brick oven breads and sweet scones make a fine treat.

• Saturdays feature made-to-order wood-fired pizzas.

Source: Tellico Grains Bakery

A festival for each season

• July 4th is celebrated in the town square each year on the Saturday closest to Independence Day

• A candlelight walk heralds the beginning of the holiday season each December. Businesses stay open, food samples are given away, and carriage rides are available.

• The Autumn Gold Festival in nearby Coker Creek celebrates fall with arts and crafts, a classic car show, gold panning, wagon rides and more.

Source: Town of Tellico Plains mayor’s office

It started on Independence Day

• Population: About 900 people

• Biggest employer: TSI factory

• Number of miles from downtown Chattanooga: 79

• Landmarks or geographic features: Tellico Plains is at the gateway to the Cherokee National Forest.

• Date founded: July 4, 1911

• Historic Info: In the early 1900s, Tellico Plains was a major lumbering hub. With trains bringing in coal and transporting the mail, the railroad was finally profitable.

• Odd/unique traditions: The town has been established as a haven for bluegrass and old-time music musicians.

• Unique characteristics/fun fact: There is a museum established in honor of former mayor Charles Hall.

Source: Town of Tellico Plains mayor’s office

WHERE TO EAT

Eat, Sleep, Listen at The Cotton Pickin’ Inn

• The diner features family friendly Southern and Italian-influenced food

• Four rooms and one suite available

• Live bluegrass and open microphone on Fridays and Saturdays

• Outdoor Sunday gospel brunch

Source: thecottonpickininn.com

— Compiled by Holly Leber, hleber@timesfreepress.com. Follow her on Twitter at twitter.com/hollyleber. Subscribe to her on Facebook at facebook.com/holly.j.leber.