The town was originally called Charleston. In 1889, the people changed the name to “Bryson City” to honor Colonel Thaddeus Bryson for the many services he rendered the city and to eliminate confusion brought about by sharing a name with Charleston, South Carolina. In 1884, the Western North Carolina Railroad laid tracks through Bryson City greatly easing transportation to the previously-remote area. The Bryson City Bank opened in 1904 and the current Swain County Courthouse was completed in 1908.
Bryson City is a charming town. People come to ride the train and stay for the stores, restaurants and museums. There are two streets in town Everett and Main St. The Tuckasegee River flows through town and there are several places that offer white water rafting, kayaking, tubing and fly fishing. The shopkeepers are very friendly they greet you when you enter and exit their stores. I really like Bryson City.
The Great Smoky Mountains Railroad is why most people visit the city. The scenic rail excursion leaves from the historic depot and travels through the beautiful countryside. Check out the website: www.gsmr.com
Great Smoky Mountains Railroad Museum and Gift Shop has a collection of 7,000 Lionel™ engines, accessories and cars in operation.
Swain County Heritage Museum and Visitors Center – the visitors center is on the first floor and the museum is on the second floor. The life of early settlers, how the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and Fontana Dam was created is explained through exhibits, photos and video.
The Charles Heath Gallery is also a working studio. A North Caroline native, Charles uses a variety of mediums including acrylic, pastel, photography, pen and ink. 175 Everett St.
Bryson City Outdoors hiking, camping, stand-up paddle boarding, gear and supplies. corner of Everett and Main
McClanahan’s has an inventory that includes home décor women’s and men’s apparel, boots, shoes, handbags and more. 115 Everett St.
Calby’s Antiques and Gifts is located in the Historic 1905 Bennett’s Drug Store. Calby’s has antiques, collectibles, decorative items, jewelry and small furniture. 44 Everett St.
The Wild Fern is a gallery and working studio of regional artists. 19 Everett St.
The Cottage Craftsman features regional handcrafted items and artisans. Wood turned pieces, pottery, baskets, art and jewelry. They have wine and cheese tastings in season. 44 Fry Street
Madison’s on Main has ladies apparel and accessories, bath products, gourmet gifts, home accents and specialty chocolates. 110 Main St
The old Clampitt’s Hardware store was established in 1935 and has not changed much since. From buggy whips to washboards, churns to cow bells.