Modern-day Brevard is like a smaller, more laid-back Asheville. You’ve got your independent record store, a few ethnic food restaurants, craft breweries and enough outdoor attractions to keep you occupied all year.
Did you know?
There are at least 105 named waterfalls in Transylvania County.
George Vanderbilt founded the Biltmore Forest School (aka The Cradle of Forestry) in Pisgah Forest, the first school of forestry in the United States. It operated during the late 19th and early 20th centuries.
Films shot in or around Brevard include The Hunger Games (2012), Last of the Mohicans (1992) and Thunder Road (1958).
Some information provided by the Transylvania Heritage Museum, http://transylvaniaheritage.org.
Where to go
Waterfalls: You can't throw a rock very far without hitting a waterfall in Transylvania County. Looking Glass Falls in Pisgah and Triple Falls in Dupont are popular, but if you want to go a little out of the way, check out Cathey's Creek, an 80-foot fall west of Brevard with cascades above and below. Connestee Falls, an 85-foot tiered cascade, is another choice, supposedly named after a Native American princess who took her own life by jumping off the falls. Lastly, White Water Falls features a stunning 411-foot cascade, though it sits about 30 miles outside Brevard on the N.C./S.C. border.
Cathey's Creek, Forest Road 471, just past water treatment plant; Connestee, head south on Highway 276, look for sign; White Water Falls, take 64 West to Highway 281 South, look for sign.
Kiwi Gelato was opened five years ago by a Brevard native and her New Zealander husband (the "Kiwi" in this scenario). The shop serves up punchy, rich flavors like blood orange, salted carmel and lip-smacking lemon. Add a shot of espresso on top for what the Italians call affogato, or “drowned,” ice cream. Euphoric.
67 E. Main St., Brevard, http://kiwigelato.com
The availability of ethnic food might come as a surprise to a first-time Brevard visitor. Yet Pad Thai and El Ranchero deliver spicy Thai and authentic Mexican flavors at a decent price. If you're looking for more upscale American fare, try the Asian pacific wrap at Jordan Street Cafe or the grilled pork over fennel grits at Square Root.
Pad Thai, 180 N. Caldwell St., Brevard, http://padthaibrevard.com; El Ranchero, 76 N. Caldwell St., Brevard; Jordan Street, 48 W. Jordan St., Brevard; Square Root, 33 Times Arcade Alley, Brevard, http://squarerootrestaurant.com.
Southern Comfort is not just a type of whiskey served with lime to college girls. It’s the new name of the 17-year-old Rockin’ Robin Records and Celestial Mountain Music, which have merged into one giant music outlet. The music store sells instruments, new and used vinyl, CDs and DVDs, with a wide selection to suit most musical tastes, from the new Steep Canyon Rangers to Daft Punk and Pet Shop Boys. Music lessons will also be offered.
16 W. Main St., Brevard.
Craft breweries: Brevard's got 'em. There's Brevard Brewing Co., which specializes in lagers, a relief for those seeking refuge from the hoppy bandwagon. If taste-bud slapping hops are your thing, check out the peppy ales at Oskar Blues, the newest outpost of the Colorado-based brewer.
63 E. Main St., Brevard, http://brevard-brewing.com; 342 Mountain Industrial Drive, Brevard, http://oskarblues.com.
Most unique or noteworthy
Pisgah National Forest and Dupont State Forest are veritable playgrounds for adults and children. From Sliding Rock to Hooker Falls swimming hole, there's no use wasting time writing about the natural beauty and fun to be had at these public parks. These multiuse hardwood forests are still used for lumber in addition to being reserved for wildlife and recreation.
Brevard's Lumber District is like a micro Asheville River Arts District. Taking the place of a defunct lumber factory and the surrounding buildings are the LumberYard Performing Arts Center, Haen Gallery and new live music venue 185 King Street.
170-200 block of King Street, Brevard, http://lumberyard.com, http://185kingst.com, http://thehaengallery.com.
Brevard's music scene is never dull. Brevard Music Center attracts world class musicians and artists to its covered outdoor space, while Phoenix Lounge and Trailblazers give locals a more laid-back drink and dance on Saturday night.
BMC, 349 Andante Lane, Brevard, http://brevardmusic.org; Phoenix, 14 S. Gaston St., Brevard, http://thephoenixbrevard.com; Trailblazers, 83 Forest Gate Drive (Bi-Lo shopping center)
Issue: Where are the jobs?
Jobs are a big concern here, with a county unemployment rate of 8.7 percent, which is significantly higher than neighboring Henderson’s or Buncombe's. According to the Transylvania Heritage website, "The beginning of the new millennium came with disastrous developments for Transylvania County. Within the span of one year, all three of the major industries closed. In August 2002 RFS Ecusta ceased production (laying off 600 employees), followed in the same month by AGFA (laying off 270 workers) and finally Coats American on Sept. 30, 2003 (laying off its 228 employees)." And that doesn't include the shuttered Dupont Corporation plant, which employed 2,000 people at its peak. The result has meant workers relocating, commuting or changing industries altogether, with some going into service and tourist-sector work.
In their words
“[Brevard] is a well-managed town that takes advantage of its natural resources and assets. … We have over 200 waterfalls, clean streams and rivers, and an exciting downtown that is managed by the Heart of Brevard. Our community is safe, clean and it’s full of people who care. And when you have all of that, that equals success.” — Mayor Jimmy Harris
“In a lot of ways, it’s almost like your fantasy: a small Southern mountain town. … A lot of the people who work here year round, we’re regular people. We’re about who’s got the best price and best deal.” — Christopher Fox, clerk at Southern Comfort music store