No golf, but great food on trip to Cherokee, NC

It was supposed to be a nice weekend for some January golf in the Great Smoky Mountains. It would have been, if it hadn’t rained all weekend. The temperatures were fine, in the high 50s, but there’s something unappealing about playing when the skies are opening up.

The big stop was supposed to be Sequoyah National, right there in Cherokee, N.C. The golf course was designed by Robert Trent Jones and is owned by the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians. The course is supposed to be gorgeous, even in the winter. Sequoyah National has bentgrass greens, which we get to enjoy less and less in the Atlanta area now that more and more clubs are making the transition to Bermuda. But there’s something sweet about the feel of a putt rolling across a bentgrass green that can’t be duplicated.

Anyway, the all-day rainfall meant postponement of the visit to Sequoyah National. I’d heard so much about it, as well as the huge practice area, that I was disappointed. But there will definitely be a raincheck (no pun intended) for Sequoyah National later this spring.

The other place that didn’t get crossed off the list was Chatuge Shores in Hayesville. It isn’t as lengthy (6,498 yards) but is still plenty long for a mountain course. The golf course is set on the shore of Lake Chatuge in the heart of the mountains and supposed to be a pleasure to the eyes.

Instead of playing golf, all weekend was devoted to seeing a few sites in the area. Somehow we just missed Jeff Foxworthy’s act at Harrah’s, but we still managed to have a good time.

As far as food, here’s what I can recommend from our visit:

Nate and Nick’s Pizza: Locations in Sylva, Waynesville and Bryson City. We ate at the one in Bryson City and liked it so much we ate there twice. They bring you a bucket of salted peanuts when you arrive, but don’t eat too many of those because you’ll want to save some room for the meal. The half-pound hamburgers are outstanding and come with homemade chips (which are just average). The pizzas are excellent, whether you order one of their specialties or create your own. Salads are good, too. Phone for Bryson City location: 828-488-0500.

Cork and Bean, Bryson City: We had Sunday brunch at this cozy little restaurant on Everett Street, at one of the town’s busy corners. Our choice was a soup and salad, which on this day was bacon corn chowder and a spinach salad with strawberries and feta. There are grilled chicken sandwiches, hamburgers, tapas and crepes. Everything look outstanding and our food was excellent. The so-called “mountain social house” features a daily chef specials, homemade desserts, local craft beers and a wine vault. Phone: 828-488-1934.

Bocelli’s Itanian Eatery, Waynesville: Walking down Walnut Street (the main drag) is a great experience. It’s like a step back in time with all the shops and stores offering friendly service and good prices. Bocelli’s is two blocks away at 319 Haywood Street. It features authentic Italian cuisine; the pasta dinners come with fresh salad with an exceptional balsamic dressing and the wonderful things called garlic knots. The table next to ours ordered a calzone and it looked magnificent. Warning: This place gets very busy in the evening, so you might want to come early. Phone: 828-456-4900.

All the great food helped take some of the sting out of not being able to play Sequoyah National.

About the Author

Hello and Welcome to The Georgia Golfer I'm Stan Awtrey, the writer and administrator for this site. I love to watch and play, although my 19 handicap index would indicate that I'm better at watching. I've played more than 200 different courses over the years, including Augusta National (twice).