Escape to the Mountains

On June 28, 2020
hazy ipa on bar

Tucked into the picturesque Snowbird Mountains, Andrews, North Carolina is a hidden gem.  Andrews packs a big punch for a town of its size; boasting three breweries, two wineries and access to a wealth of outdoor adventures. As Hoppy Trout Brewery and Restaurant Owner Thomas Rodeck notes:

“Andrews has about 5 times more breweries per capita than Asheville which is impressive for an area this far west in the state.”

From rafting the world-class rapids of the Nantahala Gorge to trout fishing the pristine waters of the Valley River to walking along the picturesque downtown, Andrews, North Carolina is a true slice of Americana waiting to be discovered.

Best known for its trout fishing, Andrews is the “Trout Capital of North Carolina,” Andrews is distinctive among other area towns for the scenic valley in which it resides.   Also known as Valleytown, Andrews is surrounded by the Snowbird Mountains. The mountain escapes create a sense of wilderness and serenity as the rugged mountain peaks serve as a breathtaking backdrop for the town.

Better yet, it’s conveniently located around two hours driving distance from these major cities in the Southeast.

Consider driving time-distances from these major cities in the Southeast to Andrews, NC:

Atlanta, Georgia 2 hours 17 mins/133 miles

Chattanooga,Tennessee 2 hours 2 mins/107 miles

Knoxville, Tennessee 2 hours 15 mins/93 miles

Asheville, North Carolina 1 hours 46 mins/95 miles

Escape the city life to Andrews, NC and enter a world where the pace is slower and rest and relaxation are assured, but the home cooked food, craft beverages and outdoor activities are plentiful.

Places to Stay

Andrews, North Carolina offers a variety of lodging options. Each of these offers different perks and amenities to suit your taste and budget. Conveniently located downtown on Main Street, Lily Pad Suites offers comfy rooms with microwave, mini-fridge, and even a small back deck with grill. Right off Highway 74/129, Quality Inn features a seasonal outdoor pool, free hot breakfast, and even a volleyball court. For folks looking to stay closer to nature Cherokee Mountain Cabins offers unique cabins with amenities such as hot tubs, pool tables, and outdoor fireplaces.

Craft Beverages & Eats

After settling into your cabin or room, enjoy a glass of wine at FernCrest Winery located on Main Street. Owners Kurt and Jan Olsen began wine making at home, and in 2010 they planted their first vines in the Snowbird Mountain surrounding Andrews. Famous for their award winning Chardonel and Vidal Blanc, this hometown winery is one not to miss.

For a little bit of history and a lot of good wine head over to Calaboose Cellars and Andrews Brewing. This locally owned vineyard and brewery, is housed in what was once Andrew’s first jail. A perfect spot to sip a glass of wine on their rock patio and soak in the surrounding mountain ridges. Calaboose Cellars was at one time the smallest winery in the country.  A favorite among locals and tourists alike, the scenery alone is enough reason to visit, in addition to their wine and craft beer, Calaboose Cellars is a great place to catch live music several nights a week.

Located in the heart of downtown, Hoppy Trout Brewery and Restaurant is the mainstay in this small town. The incredible story of this craft beer and pizzeria is enough reason to visit alone. Entering this brewpub is like stepping into another world, the modern/rustic atmosphere with an intimate feeling while serving up some of the tastiest brick-oven pizzas and refreshing craft beer of all varieties brewed by owner and biermaster himself, Tom Rodeck. This is the perfect spot after a day rafting, mountain biking, or fishing to quench your thirst with a huge selection of carefully crafted brew and fuel up with their delicious brick-oven pizza. This brewpub has an incredible menu that features pizza favorites and unique specialties along with yummy appetizers like jalapeno sliders, paninis, salads and more.

Hoppy Trout’s award winning beer is worth the drive alone to Andrews, North Carolina. On par with the big city breweries, this small batch brewery (nanobrewery) features staples such as pale ales and india pale ales like “Juggling Molecules” and “Mountain Haze” and the award winning blonde ale, “Blonde Ambition”. Hoppy Trout’s beer list also pushes the envelope with new and exotic brews such as their signature “Best Day Ever,” Pineapple milkshake IPA and the medal winning “Pterodactyls in Suits” a jalapeno-cucumber saison. And dark beer lovers will be delighted with “Impress the King”, a noteworthy stout with cinnamon and Carolina reaper pepper heat on the finish. They’re beer can be taken to go in growlers or in cans.

Continue your beer crawl in downtown Andrews to another local brewery, located just across from the Hall Park, Snowbird Mountains Brewery. The newest brewery on the block, Snowbird Mountains Brewery is owned by Terry and Linda Vaughn. These owners have a passion for beer and brewing, and guests should try their signature “Riptide” , a citrusy, piney an American style IPA.

For some hearty American classics head over to the Burger Basket. Locally owned, this spot serves mouth-watering burgers, hand breaded chicken strips, catfish, philly steaks and much more. If you’ve got pasta on the brain, head over to Granieri’s Italian Restaurant for their delicious pasta dishes, pizza, calzones, wings and hot or cold subs. If a taco or fajitas is what your craving head to Monte Alban for sizzling fajitas, cheesy quesadillas, and $1.00 Taco Tuesdays.

The options are endless for outdoor lovers who venture to Andrews.

Mountain Biking

Mountain bikers will love the 15 mile stacked looped trails at Jack Rabbit Mountain Recreation Area. These trails are great for mountain bikers of all skill levels and hug the shores of the beautiful high mountain Lake Chatuge.  Intermediate and advanced mountain bikers can head over to Tsali Recreation Area for trails across the gorge where 7-13 mile single track trails switch up, down and around the crystal blue waters of Fontana Lake.

Mountain bikers and hikers alike will enjoy the locally hewn trails created by the Town of Murphy at Piney Knob Trail System. Located on the  700+ acre Murphy Watershed property off of Piney Knob Hill Road, this trail system currently has 22 miles of trails with more to be constructed in the future.

Kayaking/White Water Rafting

Andrews, North Carolina is well located near world class white water. Sandwiched between the Ocoee River and the Nantahala River Gorge, this town is a springboard for either with a wealth of options in rafting companies and kayak rentals. In addition to are more laid back kayaking and floating trips on the Hiwassee River and Valley River are also recommended. Murphy Kayak Rentals can provide kayaks, paddle boards, shuttles and more.

Fly Fishing

Named one of the top 100 trout streams in the nation, the Upper Nantahala near Andrews, NC is hatchery supported and stocked by the State of North Carolina. Anglers will delight in fishing these crystal waters with unbeatable scenery.  Another angler’s dream can be found fishing at Big Snowbird Creek northeast of Andrews near Robbinsville, NC. This remote and rugged stream with deep pools and hatchery supported areas that are perfect for catching a “grand slam,” rainbow, brook, and brown trout. In addition to these well known trout waters, the Valley River that winds its way through Andrews to Murphy is also well-known for trout fishing.

Hiking

A visit to Andrew’s is a great hub for heading out on a variety of hikes that culminate in overlooks with stunning 360 views. One such destination is Wesser Bald, this summit destination has a very short hike and climb up the tower climb to reward hikers with a panoramic view of Nantahala National Forest and The Great Smoky Mountains. Another incredible summit with extensive 360 views is Wayah Bald. This mountain peak sits at 5,342 foot in elevation and offers phenomenal views of numerous mountains spanning through North Carolina, Georgia, and Tennessee.  Wayah Bald also features a unique old stone fire tower built by the Civilian Conservation Corp in 1937, and it is listed on the National Historic Lookout Register. This area also offers access to the Bartram Trail, a  115 mile National Recreation Trail that stretches from northern Georgia to Cheoah Bald in North Carolina.  You can also access Wayah Bald from on a 3 mile jaunt via the Appalachian Trail from Wilson Lick Ranger Station.

Disc Golf

Not to leave any sport out, Andrews, North Carolina boasts a 18 basket disc golf course at their downtown Heritage Park. Heritage Park Disc Golf Course winds along a gravel trail through woods with lovely views of the fields and the Valley River that stretch through this “Valley Town”.

High Water Lakes

Finally, don’t forget the pristine blue waters of the four high water lakes surrounding Andrews for a picnic, boating or cool swim at Lake Chatuge, Lake Nantahala, Lake Hiwassee and Lake Santeetlah! Boasting several public access points each with many options for recreation. Boat rentals are available on Lake Nantahala from Lakes End Marina. Clay County Recreation Area offers campsites as well as public beach access. Lake Hiwassee is a pristine lake just outside of Murphy. This lake is unique in that there are no (very few) homes on the banks of the lake, giving you a true wilderness experience, with record breaking fish coming out of it.. Lake Santeetlah is another great lake in the area, with camping options and proximity to Joyce Kilmer Memorial Forest and the Fontana Dam, the largest dam east of the Mississippi.

Written by: Emily Eileen Carter