There’s nothing quite like hearing a good story, a web of tales spun with a lilting tone and a twinkle in the teller’s eye. Way before social media and the internet entered our world, there were stories, oral traditions that passed down the history and culture of the Appalachians from one generation to the next. Prior to the written word, these ancient mountains were filled not only with the iconic mystic fog but with stories and songs, prayers and proverbs, myths and legends.

Gathered around campfires, settled into front porches, squeezed along church pews, gabbing beside each other at a quilting bee – everywhere you turned stories were being told. The old instructed and entertained the young in an effort to preserve the collective memory of their culture.

The Heart of Appalachian Storytelling

The strong tradition of storytelling continues today. You can hear a tale being told all across Maggie Valley and the rest of the Smoky Mountains, but there are deep roots in our area’s stories and their meanings.

The Cherokee people are the original residents of Appalachia, and their rich oral history forms the very core of storytelling here. Their culture, traditions, and history were passed down by word of mouth through stories, and it is still an integral part of Cherokee life. Stories – like the ones you can learn about at The Museum of the Cherokee Indian in Cherokee, NC – have been passed down for many generations and serve to keep the strong and vibrant history of the Cherokee culture alive.

You’ll also find a deep Scots-Irish influence around Maggie Valley. When the Scottish first settled in the Appalachians, they brought with them the stories from home. In an effort to stay connected to their roots and keep their culture alive for the next generation, they told stories. Through a mix of spoken word, music, and emotional ballads, they honored their history and preserved their traditions.

Best Places to Hear Storytelling Near Maggie Valley

Everywhere you turn in Maggie Valley, you hear stories. Whether it’s an official event, a festival combined with bluegrass and moonshine, or a friendly local entertaining you with a traditional Smoky Mountain tale, you don’t have to bend your ear far to hear a great story. Scroll through the resources below to find a storytelling event near you.

Asheville Storytelling CircleAsheville, NC

Folkmoot FestivalWaynesville, NC

Haywood County Arts CouncilWaynesville, NC

Maggie Valley Arts & Crafts Festival – Maggie Valley, NC

Meadowlark MotelMaggie Valley, NC

The Museum of the Cherokee IndianCherokee, NC 

The National Storytelling FestivalJonesborough, TN

North Carolina Storytelling GuildGreensboro, NC   

Storytelling Center of the Southern AppalachiansBryson City, NC

“Unto These Hills” Outdoor DramaCherokee, NC