Dillsboro, a tiny town with a group of craft and gift shops, is a destination on some excursions of the Great Smoky Mountains Railroad. Nearby Sylva has a classic small-town Main Street with stores selling furniture, hardware, watches, books, beer, and other necessities. The domed Jackson County Courthouse, built in 1914 in the Beaux-Arts style, overlooks the downtown from a nearby hilltop. Noted North Carolina mountains
author John Parris was a native of Sylva. Cullowhee is the home of Western Carolina University, one of the universities in the UNC system. Balsam is a small residential community, not a town.