Blue Ridge Books, Waynesville, NC

Aug 25, 2015

BACKROADS BOOKSTORES, literary ramblings from sea to shining sea.

Waynesville is the county seat of Haywood County, North Carolina located in a valley between the Great Smoky and Blue Ridge Mountains. The population is nearing 10,000 and the elevation is between 2500 and 3000 feet above sea level, though the town is surrounded by mountains reaching to 6000 feet. Small town, outdoorsy life in Waynesville offers the best of both worlds, as the city of Asheville is only a skip away.

Table top design at Blue Ridge Books in Paynesville

Table top design at Blue Ridge Books in Paynesville

I spend a good amount of time in Cashiers, North Carolina which sits proudly at the crossroads of U.S. Route 64 and North Carolina Highway 107. It is a world away from chaos. U.S Route 64 stretches from Whale Bone Junction, North Carolina to Teec Nos Pos, Arizona. I’ve found several Backroads Bookstores in communities along the western mountains section of Route 64: Hendersonville, Brevard, Highlands, and Franklin. And it is just a short detour to Tryon, Sylva and Waynesville, each sporting a vital bookshop.


Blue Ridge Books in Waynesville, NC

Blue Ridge

Jo Gilley and Allison Lee, owners of Blue Ridge Books

Tucked into this perfectly charming, artistic and thriving town you might ramble into Blue Ridge Books, established in 2007. The current owners are Jo Gilley and Allison Lee. Jo was born in Germany and raised in Winston-Salem, she moved to Waynesville in 2007 to manage Blue Ridge Books. Allison is a South Carolina native who began working at Blue Ridge Books in 2010 shortly before she and Jo bought the store from Robert and Betsy Baggette. Both women continue their love of literature through the store and many community activities involving the local schools and libraries.

Cold Mountain, made famous by Charles Frazier’s book and movie by the same name, is about 15 miles south east of  Waynesville. The town was founded by Revolutionary War hero Colonel Robert Love who named the town after his commander, the explosive and fiery personality General “Mad” Anthony Wayne.


General “Mad” Anthony Wayne got a town named after him.


Expansion in progress at Blue Ridge Books.


Blue Ridge books carries a wide selection of national and regional books of fiction as well as non-fiction. They also carry magazines and newspapers, all of which you can enjoy in their cafe which serves coffee, tea, bagels, and pastries.


Blue Ridge Books

152 Main Street

Waynesville, NC 28786