Harrahs Cherokee

Last weekend, my wife and I had a chance to visit Harrahs Cherokee. This casino is located in the Cherokee Indian Reservation in Cherokee, North Carolina. It is also situated in the Smokey Mountains just outside of Smokey Mountains National Park.
The surrounding landscape is jaw dropping beautiful. During our trip we were lucky enough to catch the local foliage in all of its’ fall glory. The Blue Ridge Parkway, which dead ends at the Smokey Mountain National Forest, extends all the way to Virginia. It is listed as one of the top 10 drives in the country. I whole heartedly agree. The beauty of the leaves as they turn, the vivid colors and fantastic views cannot be rivaled. You must certainly put this on your bucket list.

We also made the trip to Asheville, NC to visit the Biltmore, the largest private home in the US. Built by George Vanderbilt and complete in 1895, it is stunning in both sheer scale and beauty. Apart from the house itself, the grounds also feature a winery and very scenic drive thought the property.

The casino itself is nothing short of spectacular. Being that it is located within an Indian reservation, even with the Harrahs name attached, I was expecting the usual small low budget Indian casino. How wrong I was! The lobby features several fountains smartly arranged in a circle that provide an interesting diversion for the eye. The casino floor itself is quite substantial with lots of slots and many gaming tables.

After playing a few slot machines, my search for a $15 blackjack table took some time. There were many tables, but, few open seats. I sat thru a couple shoes and started out slightly down. Towards the end of the second shoe, I got on a run and made up the deficit and a $50 profit. Then, I cashed out. I found the wife who was hitting the slots pretty hard. She was playing a Zeus slots game and I sat to down next to her at a Hearts of Venice game.

She ended up around $50 and I won another $15. At this point, after two hours in the casino, we had to leave. Unfortunately, we had my wife’s folks with us and they do not gamble. So, we got back onto the Blue Ridge Parkway to take pictures of more leaves.
On the whole, I highly recommend Harrahs Cherokee. As fair as the surrounding landscape, it rates right up there with their properties in Lake Tahoe and New Orleans. Things to keep in mind: Valet parking costs $12 unless you have enough points on your card to cover it. And, the drinks are not free. You have to pay for them whether you are playing or not. I asked one of the slot hosts about this and was told that they only got permission to sell alcohol a few weeks ago and that they were not allowed to server complimentary drinks yet. They are planning to offer complementary drinks in the future, if they are able to.

On the plus side, unlike the Indian casinos in Oklahoma, they offer real roulette and craps. To me this are much better games than their card based counterparts that must be offered in Oklahoma where every game has to either be a card game or a bingo game.
So, in addition, the slot machine games you find there are the regular Las Vegas versions of the game rather than the class III version bingo games you find in Oklahoma.

So, drop by Harrahs Cherokee. Especially during the fall when the leaves are changing color. You will not be disappointed.

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