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Our adventure made its way to Cherokee, North Carolina, for a visit to The Museum of The Cherokee Indian.  Mom confirmed her family’s Cherokee roots last year and was very excited to visit their ancestral home.  Cherokee is in far western North Carolina and borders The Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

The Cherokee Indians have lived in this area for more than 11,000 years, and they are an amazing people.  The museum does a great job of telling the complete history of the Cherokee from the Paleo/ Archaic periods to the present using a combination of artifacts, life size displays, and multimedia presentations.  The tour begins with a movie illustrating some of the traditional tribal myths, and other stories are told throughout the museum in a variety of ways.

The kids loved this very cool holograph exhibit which told the Cherokee legend of how disease came into the world. It also explained the role of the medicine man once in the tribe.

Our eleven year-old and eight year-old daughters really enjoyed the exhibits and felt a strong connection to the Cherokee.  Mom enjoyed learning about her people and gave the museum a thumbs up.  We were all very affected by the section on the Trail of Tears, the forced relocation of the Cherokee people by the U.S. Government beginning in the 1830s.

The town of Cherokee is a tourist town that seems to be active mainly in the summer.  We found this to be true with many of the places that we visited in the Carolinas.  About half of the restaurants and hotels in the area were not open and the town had an old kitchy tourist feel to it.

Many of the older properties in the town promote old stereotypes of the Cherokee.


Beginning in June, an outdoor drama called “Unto these Hills” and the Oconaluftee Indian Village (circa 1760) attract many more visitors interested in learning the history of the Cherokee.  All around town were placed fiberglass bears that were elaborately decorated.  The entire family enjoyed driving around “hunting” for these bears.


The Cherokee tribal lands border the southern side of the Great Smoky Mountains NP.  Located in North Carolina and Tennessee, this is the most visited park in the National Park System.

After we finished our tour of the museum, we decided to take a scenic drive through the park.  It had been raining all day, and the temperature was cool.  The road up the mountain winds along the Oconaluftee River, and the day’s rain had created many waterfalls on the mountain side of the road.

We drove through one of the campsites to find a few hearty souls trying to set up camp in the rain.  They were in for a LONG night.  As we approached the peak of the mountain, the temperature dropped ten degrees and thick fog covered everything.  Ice lay along the sides of the road.  We pulled over at a scenic overlook to find a view of nothing but the fog.

Our time in the Smokies was cut short by the worsening storm and limited visibility.  The park was really beautiful and was placed on our list of places that we would like to return to in the future.

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