Dillsboro Chocolate Factory

When you are roaming through the streets of downtown Dillsboro, you are going to notice a smell in the air.  The smell of chocolate. If you follow the fragrance through the air you will eventually end up at the Dillsboro Chocolate Factory.  In this beautiful building, you will find a world filled with chocolate, candy and other goodies along with a great selection of gifts.  They are constantly making their own candies and confectioneries, that are served up fresh everyday and some of the best fudge that you will ever taste.

One of the most interesting things that the Dillsboro Chocolate Factory has to offer is the Shooter.  This is a chocolate toasting cup (yes, you read the correctly, the cup itself is chocolate), filled with a chocolate ganache that has been infused with a a touch of alcohol.  Now, this is literally just a dab of liquor as there is less then 3% alcohol in these wonderful creations.  They come in flavors ranging from apple martini to Irish creme so you will certainly be able to find a favorite.  If you are still having a hard time wrapping your head around the concept, imagine an open faced truffle.

dcf2Along with their shooters, they have tons of chocolate creations.  From truffles ti brio to bark to fudge, their are more varieties of chocolate in this shop then you will find in more stores twice its size.  You can find those items from the past that were favorites of yours as a child to new creations that are fresh from their research and development department.  For instance, they have an Aztec  “Spicy” Turtle.  This creation is just the right blend of pecans, caramel and dark chocolate with just a bit of spice to make it interesting.  Or maybe you are in the mood for something a little strange, like – Dark Peanut Butter Ritz Crackers.  These are honest to goodness Ritz crackers that have had a layer of peanut butter spread on them and then dipped in wonderful dark chocolate.  The slight bitter of the dark chocolate with the sweet of the peanut butter and the savory cracker is a treat that you will not believe.

Along with the chocolate madness, they have candy galore.  Jelly Bellies, jawbreakers, jujubees and much more, there is a flavor or style of candy for everybody in your group.  Whether you have that unusual person that loves licorice or the person that can’t turn down a bag of chocolate covered coffee beans, this is an awesome candy store that has a little bit of everything.  Almost all of it is homemade and made fresh on a daily basis.

Along with the the sweets they have a gift shop that you won’t believe featuring gifts that celebrate the Smokies and of course, gifts to warm the heart.  They are located right near downtown Dillsboro.  Roam the streets and stop in for some treats.  Sit down and enjoy the smells and sounds of a candy factory, take some fudge home to the neighbors and have a great time while you visit the North Carolina side of the Smokies.

Dillsboro Chocolate Factory
28 Church Street
Dillsboro, NC

History of Dillsboro, NC

Dillsboro was originally known as New Webster to distinguish it from the older Jackson County seat town just 3 miles to the East. In 1889, the state legislature approved the change of name to Dillsboro to honor William Allen Dills who had selected the site, locating it on his farm.

The Dills house, which was the first house in Dillsboro, is still standing and is now occupied by Riverwood Shops, located on a hill overlooking Scott’s Creek and the Tuckaseigee River. Mr. Dills operated the town’s first post office from his home.

The town had started to come into its own in 1883 due to the new railroad and the advent of tourism in the area. Just before the turn of the century, Dillsboro was the largest non-county seat town west of Asheville with about 750 residents.

Dillsboro grew up around the railroad, providing goods and services for those who used the Southern Railway and became an important transportation center for local industry. Two passenger trains and two freight trains operated daily between Asheville to the East and Murphy to the West. The freight for Franklin was hauled in covered wagons, which camped twice a week on Depot Square.

The railroad was built by convict labor furnished by the state and they were housed behind stockades near the 836-foot Cowee Tunnel. It required eighteen months to cut through almost solid rock to complete the project.

There was no river crossing at Dillsboro until after the turn of the century, but there was a ferry at Webster and a bridge further West at Barker’s Creek. It was a full days trip to Franklin by stagecoach with a lunch stop on Cowee Mountain.

During these years, the streets of Dillsboro were lighted with Cape Cod lamps. Oil-burning lamps lighted the homes, hotels and boarding houses and the businesses. Dillsboro had the first telephone system installed in Jackson County; it connected the New Webster (Dillsboro) depot with the county seat and was used only for relaying telegrams.

Dillsboro has been a tourist town since 1886 when visitors began to arrive by train and spend several weeks. Word spread about the cool summers and beautiful mountain scenery. It is often stated that the first summer visitors were the Misses Nellie and Hattie Norfleet of Edenton, North Carolina, and perhaps were the first women cigarette smokers the locals had ever seen.

Jarrett House

Jarrett HouseThe railroad has always been a vital part of Dillsboro, NC and the town’s economy, especially during the late 19th century.  The train would bring travelers to town and many of those visitors would stop by the Jarrett House to rest, relax, and eat, while awaiting the connecting train.  The house itself has since become a historic landmark and currently serves some of the best food in Western North Carolina.

Frank Jarrett bought the inn in 1894 and was able to capitalize on the burgeoning tourism industry of the Smoky Mountains as people from other parts of the country flocked to the region.  The Jarrett Inn gave the people who rode on the railroad a place to stay. Meanwhile, the food made the Jarrett House famous all over the country.  From his wife’s fried ham and redeye gravy to the biscuits that seemed to float off the plate, this was truly southern food in an authentic southern setting.

Their menu is a huge draw still and whether you are there for lunch or dinner you are in for something special.  It’s family favorites with a southern flare and all the sides are served family style.  For lunch you get to pick your entrée from selections like fried catfish, fried chicken or chicken and dumplings (the chicken and dumplings are incredible).  For dinner you will see some of the same options as lunch but with the inclusion of country cured ham, mountain trout and pot roast.  Every meal includes a family style portion of the following:  Cole slaw, candied apples, buttered potatoes, green beans, pickled beets and hot biscuits.  You will feel like you are back in your grandmother’s house for Sunday lunch.  One thing will really stick out on the menu though and that is one of their desserts:  vinegar pie!  Don’t let the name fool you; it is delicious.  Imagine pecan pie without the pecans.

Jarrett HouseStepping foot in the dining room of the Jarrett House is like stepping back in time.  They have captured the feel of the early 20th century.  From the table cloths to the stem ware, there is not a detail they have missed.  You can look at the nick-knacks on the wall or the furniture in the hall and the look of the antiques really sets the scene.  You have just stepped off the train.  You are ready to check into your room and brush the travel dust from your clothes.  You are hoping for a good meal but you are not really prepared for the mounds of food that await you.

Next time you are in Dillsboro walk across the main street to the Jarrett House for a meal.  Step back in time and pull your chair up to the table.  Order the country cured ham and experience southern style salt cured ham.  Order the chicken and dumplings and sop up the juice with a homemade biscuit.  Be sure to order a slice of vinegar pie for dessert; trust me, it is better than it sounds.  Visit the Jarrett House; it will be an experience you will talk about for years to come.

Dillsboro, NC

“A charming 19th century railroad village”

Dillsboro is as close to stepping back in time as you will find in the Smokies.  This quaint little town is full of arts, crafts and 19th century architecture.  Hosting many events throughout the year and being a pass through point of the Great Smoky Mountain Railroad, Dillsboro is a great day trip while you are in the Smoky Mountain area.

Dillsboro, NC

Named for the founder of the town, William Dills, Dillsboro was founded due to the railroad.  When the Murphy Branch Railroad came to the area, a depot was founded at Dillsboro.  Soon after that, as the railroad started to transition from industries such as logging to being a vehicle to bring tourist and visitors into the mountains, the town began to grow with the founding of the Jarret House.  Throughout most of the 19th century, Dillsboro remained about the same, the downtown area around the old train depot has evolved into a series of craft shops and galleries.  If you are looking for a quiet spot to fill in a day on your vacation, go roam the streets and downtown area of Dillsboro.


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