What sounds like a mad cap 60’s movie is actually a recent phenomenon occurring in Robbinsville, North Carolina.
Graham County has become an international destination for visitors from over twenty seven countries and six continents in just the last six weeks.
Through the internet, the 318 curves in 11 miles on Highway 129 has become renowned to motorcyclists and sports car drivers as the Tail of the Dragon worldwide. Tourists from countries as far as China, Japan, Malaysia, Israel, Australia, New Zealand, Argentina, Columbia, Italy, France, Switzerland, Great Britain, Germany, Russia, South Africa and Tanzania as well as Canada and Mexico have all made a pilgrimage to the small town.
Mike Stewart, owner of Blue Waters Mountain Lodge, stated “we have been excited to host so many visitors from all over the world this summer and the overwhelming draw is the roadways of Graham County. Dragonslayers arrive speaking many different languages and each has the same reaction at the mere mention of US 129 - childlike enthusiasm”. In addition to the “Dragon”, the scenic Cherohala Skyway, Hellbender and the Devil’s Triangle offer enthusiasts a great ride with plenty of breathtaking views.
Others are drawn by the natural beauty of the Smoky Mountains. Many international guests say that they were taught in school about the ancient Smoky Mountains, part of the oldest mountain range in North America. Guests find themselves captivated by the majestic vistas, interested to discover the history of the Cherokee and impressed by the commitment to conservation the parks and forests exemplify.
Global conflicts and lackluster economic indicators aside, each visitor to Graham County appreciates the beauty with which local residents live each day. This can be summed up by a comment made by Andy Mills of England as he floated an afternoon away on Lake Santeetlah, “if I’m dreaming, don’t pinch me!