Spring Fun BLOOMS in Pigeon Forge
When you’re ready to travel, Pigeon Forge offers new reasons to safely visit the Smokies in 2021. Located in the foothills of the Smoky Mountains, Pigeon Forge is just six miles from Great Smoky Mountains National Park and the perfect place to stay, play, and reconnect with your loved ones. Here’s a sampling of what’s new in Pigeon Forge this year to plan your trip today!
The all-new Camp Margaritaville RV Resort will offer three ways to kick back and relax. The
37-acre property will be the first of its kind and includes nearly 180 RV sites along with upscale bath and laundry facilities. The centerpiece of the property is a 79-room lodge that features a restaurant, bar, camp store, putting green and pool. The RV Resort opens in June while the Lodge with restaurant will open in the fall.
The Nashville music and dining venue, The Listening Room, is opening a location in Pigeon Forge’s Mountain Mile this summer. The new 10,000-square-feet venue will
feature a stage, indoor/outdoor seating, a full-service kitchen, two full-service bars, and at least one live music performance each night.
Titanic Museum Attraction will host a new exhibit sharing the stories of the Jewish passengers aboard the RMS Titanic. Visitors will learn about the ship’s kosher kitchen and chef as well as Ann Frank’s family’s connection to a Jewish family aboard the luxury liner.
The Tower Shops at Mountain Mile is adding some delicious new tenants this year including Azul Cantina, Cinnaholic, Cream & Sugar, Currahee Vineyard & Winery. Additionally, visitors can catch a free Friday evening Movies on the Lawn.
Pigeon Forge encourages everyone to travel responsibly. Please visit www.MyPigeonForge.com to learn more about current mandates or restrictions and to plan your trip.
The grown-up sense of discovery at every turn around the mountain will only be surpassed by the childlike wonder our natural playground evokes.
Even the smallest of us can be part of something very big.
Radford Has Come a Long Way
Radford, VA’s new craft brewery is up and running and helping to serve the community. Long Way Brewing took on the task of renovating the former Seventh-Day Adventist church off of West Main, further contributing to the West End’s revitalization. In that same location, Radford- Fairlawn Daily Bread carries out their mission to provide free lunch in their dining room or through the Meals on Wheels program that delivers food to those who are home-bound. In an effort to support their downstairs neighbors, Long Way Brewing is offering their
customers the opportunity to round their check up to the nearest dollar when settling their tab. All proceeds will be donated to Radford-Fairlawn Daily Bread, and Long Way will update a board in the taproom showing how their customers’ generosity has benefited those in need. It’s only a few cents, but it can add up quickly. So head over to Long Way Brewing and please consider those less fortunate when they ask you if you would like to Round Up for Down Stairs!
Co-founders Rob Gropman, Keith Weltens and Jeff Kleppin hope the new space will serve as a gathering
place for the community and eventually as a venue for special events. The name Long Way comes from the saga of Mary Draper Ingles who escaped captivity after she was taken by the Shawnee in the summer of 1755. Her story was retold for years in the local drama The Long Way Home.
Similarly, the co-founders took a long journey to make the dream of starting a craft brewery a reality and we are all excited to welcome the new addition to Radford, VA!
Radford Info & Welcome Center 701A W. Main Street
Surry Trail Reaches Milestone with Four New Wineries
The Surry County Wine Trail celebrates a milestone as a recent flurry of openings pushed the number of wineries to 20 along this popular trail.
Located in North Carolina’s Yadkin Valley, close to where the Blue Ridge Parkway crosses over from Virginia, the Surry Wine Trail showcases rolling vineyards at the foot of the Blue Ridge Mountains.
The flurry started with the August opening of Pilot Mountain Vineyards in Pinnacle. Next up, in September, was Serre Vineyards in Mount Airy, followed in October by Hidden Vineyard in Dobson.
The November debut of Golden Road Vineyards in State Road capped four straight months in which the trail gained a winery.
“It’s a huge accomplishment to reach 20 wineries on the Surry County Wine Trail,” says Jessica Roberts, executive director of the
Tourism Partnership of Surry County. “The addition of these four wineries sets up our visitors for many new experiences and return trips.”
tion makes it perfect for watching sunsets from the grass terrace just outside the modern tasting barn. Golden Road, like many Yadkin Valley vineyards, tweaked its operations to focus on outdoor tastings. Owners Chad and Crista Guebert built an open-air patio featuring three fire pits, and later added two more for use on busier days.
The newly updated Surry County Wine Trail map brochure also features four breweries and a distillery, plus info about vineyard lodging and the varietals of grapes in the region.
Serre Vineyards is perched on a knoll above the Fisher River, facing westward to the Parkway. The loca-
To download a PDF of the trail brochure or request a copy via mail, go to www.YadkinValleyNC.com/guides.
Franklin and Nantahala are towns born from gem mining and agriculture, which over the years have transformed from the small rural areas, into thriving outdoor adventure towns, inviting people of all ages to set out and explore the beauty of the Nantahala National Forest. Travel the Mountain Waters Scenic Byway and visit the waterfalls of the Cullasaja River and Nantahala Gorges. The area is known for our beautiful waterfalls, scenic views, and hundreds of miles of rivers, streams and lakes. What was once known as the “Gem Capitol of the World”, discover active gem mines where you can sit down with a bucket of dirt and sift for precious gems and minerals that are abundant to this day. Get to know your mountain side, in Mother Nature’s Paradise, Franklin and Nantahala, NC!
“Even with the pandemic, people want to get out, and wineries are a good way to get out and stay distanced,” Crista says.
2021 is the bicentennial of Sequoyah finishing the syllabary in 1821. Sequoyah had announced in 1809 in his blacksmith shop that the Cherokee could create a writing system to put their Cherokee words on paper. He spent 12 years of his life trying to create a writing system. We know he tried different types of writing systems, but these different systems would not work for him.
When Sequoyah discovered the sounds of the Cherokee language, he then realized that he could take
200 Years of Cherokee Literacy
each of the syllables and give it a symbol. He then could sound out the Cherokee word and using his symbols, could write any Cherokee word. The Cherokee speaker could spend some time learning the symbols and then could sound out and read or sound out and write their Cherokee words on paper .
This year Sequoyah Birthplace Museum will be celebrating Sequoyah’s achievement throughout the year. Plan to visit Sequoyah Birthplace Museum and celebrate 200 years of Cherokee literacy with Sequoyah’s creation of the syllabary in 1821.
2021 events include Statehood Day celebration activities
May 30th 12:30 to 4 Pm
On June 1, 1796, Congress approved the admission of Tennessee as the sixteenth state of the Union.
The 1809 Blacksmith shop will be open with demonstrations going on throughout the afternoon. Come out and share the afternoon with living history in our 1800’s dog-trot log cabin. Learn about Cherokees in the Civil War, corn husk doll making and other activities. All Statehood Day activities are free along with free admission to the museum.
August 1, 2021
12:30 PM – 4:00 PM (ET)
Sequoyah Remembrance Day and Sequoyah’s contribution to the Cherokee people by creating a writing system, the Cherokee Syllabary with free admission to the museum from 12 p.m. to 4 p.m. The 1809 Cherokee Blacksmith shop will be up and running with demonstrations all through the afternoon. Local demonstrators will also be
set up demonstrating pine needle baskets and Gary Holt will be talking about the Cherokees in the Civil War in a 1800’s dog-trot log cabin.
Monday through Saturday
9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Sunday Noon to 4:00 p.m. Adults $5.00 Children under 12 free
The museum is located off Highway US 411 on Tennessee 576 Hwy 360, in Vonore, TN 37885 in the Great Smoky Mountains of East Tennessee on the shores of beautiful Tellico Lake, 37 miles south of downtown Knoxville. All dates, times, programs and events are subject to change.
More information, Call (423) 884-6246
The Northwest Trading Post historic building in Glendale Springs in Ashe County, North Carolina is operated by a concessioner and offers a selection of regional arts & crafts and food gifts made in North Carolina’s northwestern counties. The Northwest Trading Post has featured handmade in America products since 1958.
This stop includes food, drink, and handmade crafts from over 500 artisans in 11 NC counties as well as a seasonal visitor center and restrooms. More info: 336 982 2543
All articles and information supplied are printed accurately to the best knowledge of the management. The Blue Ridge Digest is not responsible for errors beyond its control.
Best Kept Secret
One of the best kept secrets of the North Carolina Foothills is just 15 miles from the Blue Ridge Parkway exit at Milepost 276. It is the W. Kerr Scott Dam Reservoir, operated by the US Army Corps of Engineers (USACE). The 4,000 acre lake and 2,300 acres of adjacent public lands boasts much to attract those driving the Parkway. Recreational opportunities include biking, boating, camping, fishing, hiking, hunting, picnicing, swimming, disc golfing, and archery. User fees are collected at the entrance of most recreation areas either by park attendant or honor vaults. Costs are reduced for users of USACE day passes or America the Beautiful passes. Some of our favorite amenities include:
Seven boat ramps and three canoe launches are located around the reservoir
Three locations at Berry Mountain, Boomer, and Fort Hamby
Three locations at Bandit’s Roost, Fort Hamby, and Warrior Creek. All offer water and electric sites and tent sites. **Camping reservations are available and highly recommended. Reservations can be made by calling 877-444-6777 or online at www.recreation.gov/.
Six wildlife management areas. Fishing is permitted on the shoreline,fishing piers and open waters.
All trails are open for pedestrian traffic and three are open to mountain biking. Horses and motorized vehicles are not permitted on the trails.by J.P. Greene
Watchable wildlife opportunities
Many types of waterfowl can be viewed at various times of the year on and around the reservoir.
The W. Kerr Scott Dam Visitor Assistance Center: 499 Reservoir Rd, Wilkesboro, NC 28697. 336-921-3390 or the High Country Regional Visitor Center at 828-264-1299.
Conference Room Guest Laundry Restaurant on Site Free Wireless Internet 24-Hour Staff Open all year long
Easy Walks, Fresh Air & Beautiful Waterfalls
Aquiet walk beside any mountain stream in the Smokies will lead you past tumbling cascades as the sparkling waters rush down from the peaks. The sight and sound of falling water is magical. At the next turn in the trail, you might just discover one of the many, beautiful high falls in far western North Carolina. In the Bryson City area, there are seven spectacular falls that are easily reached by short, leisurely walks. If you want
to make a day of “waterfall chasing,” there are eight more falls worth the drive.
Here are some highlights: Bryson City – Minutes away, Deep Creek’s trio of waterfalls, on a wide, easily walkable trail. Cherokee – 120-foottall Mingo Falls, reachable by stairs to a viewing bridge. And Soco Falls, a double waterfall with a viewing platform (photo).
Cashiers – Whitewater Falls, the highest waterfall east of the Rockies at 411
feet. Highlands – Feel the spray as you walk under Bridal View Falls and Dry Falls. Franklin – Big Laurel Falls, spilling over a rocky outcrop at the headwaters of the Nantahala River. Come to Western North Carolina and explore beautiful waterfalls. From highest to the smallest, you’re sure to find a favorite!
Cure your cabin fever in Blowing Rock
This little town with the big backyard can cure your cabin fever. Blowing Rock, NC is located directly on the Blue Ridge Parkway about halfway between Asheville and Fancy Gap, where big views and lots of trails await. Just a stone’s throw from all the beauty and recreation of the Parkway, find charming shops, delectable restaurants, and cozy inns. The pace around town in spring is slow and relaxing, so no worries about traffic or parking while you enjoy smalltown hospitality at locally-owned businesses. As the weather warms, the Blue Ridge comes alive and beckons everyone outdoors for events and experiences!
Don’t miss the Blowing Rock Trout Derby, celebrating the
opening of Trout Season on April 3. Tweetsie Railroad, with historic steam locomotives and open-air rides, opens on April 2. The renowned outdoor arts & crafts show, Art in the Park, begins May 22. More incredible art can be found at the Blowing Rock Art & History Museum, which welcomes three new exhibits this spring. All events and attractions in Blowing Rock are implementing best practices for
social distancing and cleanliness, so you can attend with confidence.
]More outdoor activities, like ziplines, begin reservations in March. Watercraft rentals are available at Price Lake beginning weekends in April. Enjoy springtime horseback riding in Cone Memorial Park, or gather up some local delicacies from downtown shops to picnic under budding trees on the Flat Top Manor lawn. Nearby Parkway
Virginia’s Recreational Outfitters
Surrounding the historic James River, you’ll find the active and thriving city of Lynchburg, Virginia, with boutique hotels, chef-inspired restaurants, museums & galleries, and outfitters ready to help you get out there to explore the many amenities provided by the river and its tributaries.
James River Adventures’ Rob
pastimes include hiking, birding, fishing, and climbing. With more wilderness waiting in the adjacent Pisgah National Forest, nearby state parks, and along the Mountainsto-Sea Trail, there is no shortage of paths to wander near Blowing Rock.
See more on attractions and events, plus local COVID-19 information:
If you prefer your adventures on land, you can get striking views of the James River and the city skyline on the Percival’s Island trail.
Campbell believes the best way to get people to care about the James River is to get them out on the water to see the myriad of plants and wildlife who call the watershed home. JRA will rent you a canoe or kayak to experience the James for yourself, or bring a whole crew for a guided tour. You can also take a ride in their replica 19th-century bateau for a taste of history.
If you prefer your adventures on land, you can get striking views of the James River and the city skyline on the Percival’s Island trail. Rent or purchase a bicycle from Bikes Unlimited right near the trailhead.
They also supply maps to get you going in the right direction.
A few blocks from the riverfront, TaleTellers is your one-stop shop for fishing supplies, fly tying workshops and guided fishing trips. Owner Ethan Martin has been fly fishing since he was a young boy and ready to show you how to catch a Muskie right here in Downtown Lynchburg. Or, take a fly tying class and learn to make your own poppers and streamers.
For more information about these Lynchburg outfitters, visit LynchburgVirginia.org.LYH outfitters promote appreciation of the James River’s natural beauty and the life it sustains by getting people out on its rolling waters
A BREATH OF FRESH AIR IN THE SMOKIES
on the Courthouse lawn and pick up a free historic walking tour brochure to learn the history of this city center.
Explore What’s New in Sevierville This Year
Stroll through historic downtown Sevierville – where recently widened sidewalks, new art, and unique businesses welcome you. Two new murals, Wings of Wander and Red’s Café, were recently unveiled and provide fun backdrops for memorable photos. A soon-to-be-installed sculpture, Tracks of Time, will pay homage to the Knoxville, Sevierville, & Eastern Railway that once ran through the center of town. While downtown, plan a photo stop at the famous Dolly Parton statue located
The revitalization of downtown Sevierville has attracted new businesses as well. The Central Hotel, a boutique hotel that has made its home in a renovated bank building, features upscale two- and three-bedroom units that make a perfect place to rest after a long day of fun. Honeybee Coffee Co. anchors the ground floor of the hotel and specializes in house ground coffees ethically sourced from around the world.
Nearby, visitors to downtown Sevierville will find a collection of new restaurants and retail stores within a few blocks. The Appalachian is the latest restaurant to open and features a modern approach to traditional Appalachian dishes flavored by
the flames of an open hearth. Other new restaurants include Hickory Cabin BBQ & Grill and Graze Burgers. Ronel Raicsics
Design, a bespoke jewelry studio, also recently opened in downtown Sevierville – joining other longtime Sevierville businesses including the award-winning Cherry Pit Quilt Shop and D Garden Floratique.
Throughout Sevierville, new stores add opportunities to discover amazing finds! Explore home décor ideas at Gardenia Cottage Home, find something unique at Green Olde Deal Antique Mall, and pick up outdoor apparel at J Hardy Outfitters. Those looking for adorable Sevierville (and Dolly) branded merchandise will love the selection at Palmetto Moon, a new store at Tanger Outlets Sevierville. Discover new flavors in the Smokies at recently opened shops including Tennessee Homemade Wines, where the locally made libations have names like “White Knuckle Grape” and “Blueberry Bammer.” Cruze Farms Ice Cream also is scooping up fans of their rich dairy flavors at their new location beside Ogle Bros. General Store. Fans of moonshine will love a visit to Sevierville’s newest distillery, Tennessee Shine Company. In addition to a full distillery operation,
the location also features a 5,000 square foot moonshine museum.
Those looking for fun in the sun will love Soaky Mountain Waterpark - the area’s newest major attraction. With 50 acres of waterslides, wave pools, and family-friendly activities, this waterpark offers a day (or two) of fun. Check out the first-of-its-kind Avalaunch Watercoaster, ride the rapids in their not-so-lazy river, and let the little ones discover their own thrills on kid-friendly waterslides that are scaled-down versions of the big kid rides.
Fun abounds throughout Sevierville. Visit other recently opened attractions like Sevierville Axe House for an afternoon that’s right on target. Then make a stop at family favorite attractions like Sevier Air Trampoline & Ninja Warrior Park, Rainforest Adventures Discovery Zoo, or the Tennessee Museum of Aviation.
Plan your trip to Sevierville this year and enjoy your favorites, what’s new, and what’s just right for you.
Discover even more – including great places to stay like mountain cabins and waterpark resorts - at VisitSevierville.com.
This year, head back to the Smoky Mountains for all your favorite activities – and a few new things sure to make you smile!
Most Convenient Spots for Elk Watching in the Smokies.
When is the best time of day to spot elk in the Smokies?
In spring, summer and fall the best time to spot elk with the males is in the early morning or late afternoon. In winter only females and calves may be seen in the valleys in the late afternoon.
Where is the best place to see elk herds? In Cherokee, NC next to the Oconaluftee Visitor Center of the
Great Smoky Mountains National Park. With the Mountain Farm Museum buildings as a backdrop, you’ll have a great view of these majestic animals and get some great photos. Using your phone or other camera, remember to stay at least 50 yards away to not spook the elk. If you have binoculars or a telephoto lens you can definitely zero in on them. Occasionally, when walking
the 1.5 mile (each way) Oconaluftee River Trail near the museum, elk can be spotted in the water and on the trail, especially in fall.
In the fall mating season, the males can get aggressive while guarding their harems, and you’ll hear them bugling and see them locking antlers with other males. There are more visitors to this area in fall so be prepared for volunteers directing you to keep your car moving or instructing you about parking on the roadside.
You might even have to pull over for a herd walking down the road in Cherokee or share a mountain stream with them as they cross the water near your fishing spot. Expect the unexpected!
follow the Avery County Quilt Trail to further explore the natural beauty and heritage of the Appalachian region, with 20 squares within the Beech portion of the trail.
The quilt trail is comprised of a series of painted wood or metal hung or freestanding quilt squares installed along the route throughout the county representing the history of the land, a building or family –in some cases, serving as a form of family crest. Some traditional, others whimsical and even quirky, many of the blocks on the trail are inspired by everyday mountain life. These quilt blocks are a way to tell community stories and connect modern-day mountain life to the rich craft customs of Appalachian culture. Revitalization of the Barn Quilt Trails was enhanced by a grant from The Blue Ridge National Heritage Area Partnership.
More information: https:// beechmtn.com/averycounty-quilt-trail-blocks/
Spring means Rhododendron Bloom Season near Boone, N.C.
a striking backdrop
rhododendron blooms. From May 29 through June 6, guests can enjoy guided hikes to the mountain’s most colorful spots.
Ah, spring! In northwest North Carolina’s case, perhaps we should say, “Spring again!”
For many residents of hotter climates with an early spring, a trip through the naturally cool, Highland Region of the Parkway near Boone and Blowing Rock offers a chance to experience a second spring at the highest peaks of the Blue Ridge.
During May into June and July, the wildflower bloom is a big attraction.
The most sought-out wildflower by visitors to the Highland Region is the rhododendron, including several varieties that bloom light purple, reddish-orange, pink, or white, at elevations above 3000 feet.
Beginning in late May, wildflower and photography enthusiasts thrill at the clusters of pinkish-white flowers on the Mountain Laurel and of lavender to magenta shades on the Catawba Rhododendron. The orange Flame Azalea greet visitors late June into July as
do the pinkish-white Rosebay Rhododendron, also known as White, or Great, Rhododendron. Motorists will spot them while driving along the Parkway. Hikers get the eye-popping close-ups, though, and popular trails are those within Grandfather Mountain State Park, Julian Price Memorial Park, and Moses H. Cone Memorial Park (Mileposts 294-305).
Tip: To avoid the crowds, choose Parkway trails north or south of this area. Or, explore Segment 5 of the Mountains-to-Sea Trail
which parallels the Parkway in a series of hikes for dozens of miles. Want to learn more about rhododendrons from the experts?
Don’t miss the Remarkable Rhododendron Ramble, a 20-minute guided hike with staff naturalists at Grandfather Mountain. The Ramble happens each day at 2 pm, May 29-June 6, 2021, and is free with park admission.
Find lodging, attractions, and more information to help plan your visit at exploreboone.com.
Adventure awaits just a short drive off the parkway in scenic Shenandoah County.
National Forest and only minutes from Luray. Hourly, half and full-day guided rides are available as well as multi-day ranch packages with on site bunk houses and camp sites for guests looking for a true ranch experience.
mountain and take in the views. Visitors can also soar down their zipline at over 40 miles per hour as you criss-cross the mountainside over 80 feet off the ground.
With over 178 miles of trails throughout the George Washington National Forest, the majestically winding Shenandoah River running the
length of the county and , Shenandoah County offers , Shenandoah in the “Valley within the Valley” Fort Valley Ranch offers horseback riding throughout the George Washington
Thrill seekers can head to Bryce Resort for an afternoon on their custom designed bike park which features a variety of lift-accessed trails leaving guests to coast down the
For a more leisurely adventure visit Route 11 Outfitters who specializes in guided and self-guided river trips on the Shenandoah. Whether you’re looking to spend a couple hours tubing on the beautiful North Fork or two whole days kayaking, they have a trip for you.
888-367-3965offers for the vibrant hues of Photo by Victoria Darlington | Grandfather Mountain Stewardship Foundation
“Resilient” Coming to the High Country
The Alleghany Arts Council has commissioned muralist Doreyl Ammons Cain to design and paint “Resilient,” a new outdoor mural based on the agricultural heritage of Alleghany County. The 32 foot mural will be located in Downtown Sparta, North Carolina. In assembling the story of Alleghany County’s rich agricultural history, Cain consulted at length with Agricultural Extension Agents for Alleghany County, as well as with Cindy Atwood of the Alleghany Historical-Genealogical Society, Inc., and the American Folklife Center of the Blue Ridge Parkway
Folklife Collection. The result was an inclusive mural design that visualizes a small, brilliant window into a beautiful countryside and its generations of inspired farmers. Cain began her research by speaking with Amy Lucus, Alleghany County Extension Director, then sifting through photos supplied by Aaron Ray Tompkins, Agriculture Extension Agent for Alleghany County, NC Cooperative Extension, NC State University. The theme that became evident was all about resilience. As Amy Lucus so clearly states, “I think for me it’s that there is such a resiliency to agriculture in Allegh-
any. As you know, agriculture is a primary economic driver here and always has been. For me, it’s personal and professional. I grew up on a dairy farm here in Alleghany. During that time (in the 80’s) everyone had a dairy farm and did well with it. We had over 100 dairy farms scattered throughout the area at that time. We also had beef cattle, burley tobacco, corn and hay. As laws, governance and stipulations changed we saw our farmers change with it.”
The farming culture in Alleghany County ties many different lives, families and lifestyles together. The mural
concept is focused on the local stories that hold rich evidence of generations of farming families located on lush landscapes just off of the Blue Ridge Parkway, says Cain.
The mural is scheduled to be completed by the end of August in 2021. Once installed, Sparta’s mural will be included on the Appalachian Mural Trail, where it will be promoted to bring visitors into downtown Sparta to view the mural.
Spring Happenings 2021
culture of music, arts, local foods and spirits, and outdoor recreation. With near 40 miles of the Blue Ridge
Located atop the magnificent Blue Ridge Plateau in southwestern Virginia, Floyd is a haven of natural beauty renowned for our hospitality and for a vibrant
Parkway, Spring is a wonderful time to visit.
MUSIC is opening up in Floyd Spring/Summer 2021
Best way to check out the
details - www.VisitFloydVA.com events calendar. More events will be posted as scheduled.
Dogtown Roadhouse and Buffalo Mountain Brewery are doing regular live music now (inside)
Floyd Country Store will have some version of the Friday Night Jamboree as it warms up - presently it is online
Small Town Summer concert series plans to start up again in 2021 this summer in the town park on Thursdays
16 Hands Spring Art
Tour is May 1 & 2 - ONLINE
Restaurants and galleries are open - with more outdoor dining options as it warms up.
Outdoor recreation – Hiking and biking the Blue Ridge Parkway. Check out the Floyd County Bike Guide/Map in print and online. It’s available at the Floyd Visitor’s Center and at VisitFloydVA.com
For more info, go to VisitFloydVA.com or call Visitor Center at 540-745-4407
Get Outdoors in Elkin During NC Trail Days
NC Trail Days return June 3-6 to the Blue Ridge foothills town of Elkin. The festival coincides with National Trails Day (June 5) and celebrates Elkin’s abundance of trails with a fun schedule of events.
Elkin carries the distinction of being at the confluence of three major trails: North Carolina Mountains-to-Sea Trail, Overmountain Victory Trail and the Yadkin River Paddle Trail. Meanwhile, the Elkin Valley Trails Association has built an extensive trail network connecting to those three main trails.
Last year’s Trail Days were canceled because of the pandemic, but officials are confident the festival will take place this June. “It is newsworthy that we can forge ahead with the festival since it has such a good outdoor, social-distancing nature,” said Leslie Schlender with the Town of Elkin.
Popular events include guided hikes, paddling the Yadkin River, mountain biking, horseback riding and a cycle ride dubbed the Tour
de Trail Days. There will also be fly fishing demonstrations, river and creek clean-ups, and yoga sessions.
When not on the trails, folks can enjoy social events at Elkin Municipal Park and along Main Street. Those festivities include a Lowcountry boil, live music, food trucks, farmers market, beer garden and vendor village.
On Friday evening, there will be an “On the Road” screening from the 5Point Adventure Film Festival. On Sunday afternoon, Grassy Creek Vineyard hosts live music and a food truck on the lawn. Grassy Creek is one of several Yadkin Valley wineries in the area.
For more information, go to www.NCTrailDays.com.
Dining With Your Dog
Most restaurants in Hendersonville have outdoor dining sections that welcome well-behaved dogs (weather permitting). There are a variety of breweries, wineries and cideries that are dog-friendly both indoors and out! (One of the only exceptions to dog-friendly breweries is Sideways Farm & Brewery in Etowah because they are a working farm.) Call ahead to see if pets are allowed.
Vacationing With Your Pet:
Planning on bringing your furry friend with you on vacation? Hendersonville is very dog-friendly! There are wonderful parks and hiking trails for both of you to enjoy. Hendersonville has many pet-friendly accommodations that will make both you and your pet feel that right at home. Many of the local restaurants offer outdoor dining, so your best friend can join you for a delight ful meal. If you need to find a doggie daycare or a place to temporarily board your 4-legged buddy, there are several options available.
Things You Need to Know:
Downtown is pet friendly with the exception of special events taking place in the area. A Hendersonville City ordinance allows event organizers to exclude animals from the event space for the health, safety and welfare of the community, dogs, patrons, and vendors and their products. It is always best to check with the event organizer before venturing out to be sure pets are welcome.
A Henderson County animal restraint ordinance requires pets to be on a leash. The Visitor Center is pet-friendly, so free feel to bring your pet into the Center while planing your activities.
Make sure to always carry water for your pet. Many local parks have doggie drinking fountains too! Please be courteous and clean up after your pet! There are trash cans and bags available at various locations around Downtown, including the pet area adjacent to the Visitor Center parking lot. Waste receptacles are also available in most of the local parks. Be mindful of leaving a pet in a hot car. When the outside temperature is 70 degrees, a car can heat up to 89 degrees in just 10 minutes, and to 104 in 30 minutes. Have a pet emergency? Don’t worry help is not far away! The Western Carolina Regional Animal Hospital is located just a few miles from downtown, at 205 North Highland Lake Road, Flat Rock, NC 28731, 828-697-7767.
Sit, stay & down
Hendersonville has a great selection of accommodations that allow pets. The pet friendly lodging options range from hotels to bed & breakfasts and vacation rentals. If you plan to bring your pet and need to leave him or her alone in your room or rental property, make sure to check with the front desk and to bring a crate with you.
Henderson County TDA
201 South Main Street Hendersonville, NC 28792 828.693.9708 / 800.828.4244
Discover Hidden Gems along the New Blue Ridge Craft Trails
Travel along the new Blue Ridge Craft Trails in Western North Carolina to discover talented artists and the small, vibrant towns where they live and gain inspiration for their handcrafted work. You can craft your adventure by perusing more than 100 artist studios, galleries and hands-on craft experiences on this drivable trail throughout the North Carolina mountains and foothills.
Over the next 18-24 months, this project will evolve to highlight more than 200 craft artisans and cultural sites across the region. Travelers will also get tips on rounding out their experiences with nearby foods, breweries, music, outdoor activities, scenic views and places to stay.
The trails are anchored with renowned sites such as John C. Campbell Folk School in Brasstown offering hands-on experiences in traditional and present-day arts and crafts. There are boundless opportunities to connect with artisans in their studios and workshops along the trails. Tucked into hamlets and coves are galleries filled with original pieces from blown glass to pottery and handmade quilts.
Spring and Summer Adventure in Lexington
There’s nothing like fresh air and outdoor adventure to refresh your senses, and Lexington serves as a great base for climbing, hiking, cycling, paddling, and more. Consider these five experiences in Rockbridge County for an adrenaline rush or a slowpaced appreciation of nature.
1. The Chessie Nature Trail is a seven-mile parallel of the Maury River between Lexington and Buena Vista. Walk or bike the flat path to enjoy a vibrant ecosystem of flora and fauna. Wildflowers, birdsong, and river critters are key highlights.
2. Natural Bridge State Park is home to the iconic natural limestone bridge that soars more than 200 feet above Cedar Creek. Join in a Ranger-led program to learn about the history of the bridge and park or explore on your own to discover treasures like the Lost River and Lace Falls.
3. The Upper James River Water Trail includes the Maury River as it flows into the James at Glasgow. Paddle or float the three miles from Locher Landing in Glasgow to Snowden for Class II and III rapids. Be sure to exit the river just past the James River Footbridge along Route 501.
4. Cast your line into the stocked trout waters of the Maury River in Goshen, Irish Creek, and South River. Some of the best fishing with kids happens at Cave Mountain Lake. In fact, June 4-6, 2021 are feefree fishing days in Virginia; be sure to enjoy time with your little anglers.
5. Climbers love a nice challenge and there are several rock walls to conquer in Rockbridge County. Consider the Maury River Wall, Castle Rock, Chamber’s Ridge, or Tunstall’s Tooth. Ranging from
65 to 100 feet, these climbs are tackled trad style or top rope. Conclude your adventures with a meal in historic downtown Lexington or toast your conquest at a nearby craft brewery.
For more great ways to get outside check out RockbridgeOutdoors.com.
Bike, Float, Sip, and Sing in Picturesque Wilkes County
Explore Wilkes and discover more than 50 miles of mountain biking trails, including Warrior Creek Trail, rated one of the best trails in the U.S. Scale great heights rock-climbing the 600-foot granite face at Stone Mountain State Park or soak in stunning scenery as you float above the Blue Ridge Mountains on a paragliding adventure. Go tubbing, (not tubing) down the Yadkin River in a giant washtub that holds four or more people. Or, fly fish in the heart of historic North Wilkesboro and Wilkesboro enjoying the downtown rivers and streams.
If you appreciate local libations there are more than 50 wineries within an hour’s drive of Wilkesboro! Step into Tuscan-style Villa at stunningly picturesque
Vineyards for a taste of “Chianti in the Carolinas.” Enjoy Southern hospitality
sipping award-winning wines at Elkin Creek
Vineyards & Winery, Piccione Vineyards, Roaring River Vineyards, and Stardust Cellars & Taproom.
Wilkes County’s locally sourced fruits and grains yield lush libations. Holman Distillers produce
moonshine using corn meal from Linney’s Mill, one of the last mills in NC that grind with water power from an adjacent stream. They produce Applejack, the only spirit
invented in America. Explore the Wilkesboro connection between moonshine and NASCAR as you visit Call Family Distillers, whose founders’ family tree includes the Reverend Dan Call (who taught
Jack Daniel how to make whiskey), and the “Uncatchable” Willie Clay Call, legendary moonshiner. Mind blowing musical talent and heritage music is at the very heart and soul of Wilkes County. Generations of traditional music continue to be passed down. Visitors are marveled at the talent showcased in the Blue Ridge Music Hall of Fame located at Wilkes Heritage Museum. Take in an outdoor concert held May through October or be inspired at FaithFest in August. Visit and hobnob with music legends at world-famous MerleFest, the four-day Americana music festival. wilkescountytourism.com
Eat, Shop, Play, and Stay!
Nestled in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia, Patrick County is a jewel of a destination, offering activities for the whole family.
Drive the Blue Ridge Parkway, tap your toes to traditional mountain music along the Crooked Road Music Trail, tour our wineries— Stanburn and Villa Appalaccia. Enjoy a sun-filled day at the Fairy Stone State Park, the Gordon Trent Golf Course, or one of our eight annual festivals. History buffs can browse our local museum, visit Jack’s Creek Covered Bridge, tour our stone churches, step into the Victorian era at the Reynolds Homestead or at the Civil War Reenactment at Laurel Hill, the birthplace of Gen. J.E.B. Stuart. A variety of restaurants and local stores awaits you. And after a long day, relax in luxury at our 5 star Primland Resort, settle in at one of our cabins in the country or a locally owned bed and breakfast.
Stop and Smell the Lavender in Wytheville
This year is a great time to visit one of Southwest Virginia’s most interesting attractions—Beagle Ridge Herb Farm in Wytheville.
Celebrating their twentieth season of business, Beagle Ridge Herb Farm is a 160acre wooded retreat with over four miles of nature trails and numerous display gardens. While “herbs” are in their name, they specialize in
lavender with over a dozen types including many culinary choices. A walk-through butterfly house, Flying Flowers, is home to over 30 different species of butterflies with native and non-native plants. A gift shop onsite offers a variety of lotions, creams and other products made by the staff of Beagle Ridge.
7.5 wide x 4.5 tall or 3.75 wide x 9.36 tall.
The attraction hosts many events and classes throughout the year including multiple lavender academies for those who wish to learn how to grow and maintain lavender as well as classes on essential oils, wreathmaking, and a variety of other topics. Find all the details at beagleridge.org.
Blue Ridge Parkway TOP 5 WILDFLOWERS
The NC Blue Ridge Parkway is home to many unique species of flowers and shrubs that cannot be found in many other locations around the world! Here are some of the most popular spring blooms that you may see in the higher elevations. For the full list of BRP wildflowers, visit MountainsofNC.com
Bloom June-Early July
These shrubs are native to the Appalachian Mountains with pink to purple flowers growing above 3000 feet on exposed ridges. The rhododendron gardens atop Roan Mountain in NC/ TN are the largest natural rhododendron gardens in North America.
Flame Azalea Bloom June-July
The flame azalea are also a member of the rhododendron family. The flower color can range from pale yellow to scarlet red depending on how acidic the soil is. They can be found on grassy balds in the southern Appalachian Mountains from Virginia to Georgia.
Mountain Laurel Bloom June-July
Mountain Laurel flowers are round, ranging from light pink to white, and occur in clusters. The color can range from white to dark pink depending on the acid in the soil. The plant is naturally found on rocky slopes and mountainous forest areas. The plant often grows in large thickets covering great areas of forest floor.
Bee Balm grows 2-5 feet tall and has bright red 2-inch flowers. Wild Bergamot is similar but pink. The leaves of bee balm are used for tea. The Native Americans call it oswego tea. Rub the leaves between your fingers and take in the peppery scent!
Trillium Bloom April-May
The largest of several trilliums found along the parkway, grows to about 15 inches. Trilliums have 3 leaves and a single 3-petal flower. While they are beautiful to look at they are also extremely fragile.
Adventure awaits in Waynesboro!
Welcome to Waynesboro, where good nature comes naturally! Visitors become fellow adventurers and familiar neighbors in Waynesboro, VA, where southern hospitality meets small town charm. Located at the gateway to the Blue Ridge Parkway, Skyline Drive, Shenandoah National Park, and the Appalachian Trail, Waynesboro is divinely placed in a unique and remarkable setting with some of the best views and access to hiking trails in Virginia. If you’re looking for a new adventure, check out the Claudius Crozet Blue Ridge Tunnel for a unique hike that leads you through an abandoned railroad tunnel under Afton Mountain.
The South River flows right through downtown, providing the
perfect opportunity to catch trophy-sized rainbow and brown trout, or grab your kayak and enjoy a scenic four-mile float through the City on the Waynesboro Water Trail. Historic downtown boasts trendy restaurants including old favorites like Heritage on Main and our newest addition, The River Burger Bar, which features tasty all-beef creations, as well as vegetarian and vegan
options. Grab coffee and a pastry at the French Press or Farmhaus Coffee Co. to fuel your downtown stroll as you meander through art galleries, shops, and museums. If you’re looking for evening entertainment, the vaudeville-era Wayne Theatre attracts national acts as well as house-produced theater performances. Finally, tempt your taste buds at any of our three craft
breweries along the Shenandoah Beerwerks Trail, or grab a growler of tasty kombucha at Blue Ridge Bucha’s taproom, one of only a handful located on the East Coast. Whether you’re planning a trip for the whole family, a girls’ getaway weekend, or a romantic couple’s retreat, we have a little something for everyone. More information: www.visitwaynesboro.net
Say, Cheese Say, Cheese
has expanded to over 40 members representing farms, restaurants, and retail locations stretching from the foothills to the high country of North Carolina’s mountain region.
festival is a day-long celebration of regional cheese and other local food products; scheduled activities include demos, tastings, a chef’s competition, children’s area, and more.
The WNC Cheese Trail was founded in 2012 by a group of 8 regional cheesemakers, including Jennifer Perkins, co-owner of Looking Glass Creamery. The group’s focus, according to Perkins, was “building community and relationships” as well as “letting visitors know about the talented cheesemakers clustered in the region... and encouraging people to seek out and support small scale producers.”
Since then the Trail’s membership
“Spring ushers in the start of a busy time for cheesemakers” explains Katie Moore, who serves as the nonprofit’s Executive Director, “it’s a great time for visitors to learn more about the cheesemaking process at Trail member farms and creameries. It’s also the beginning of many seasonal tailgate markets which offer great locally grown produce, cheese, and other products.”
Additionally, the Trail’s largest annual event, The Carolina Mountain Cheese Fest (mountaincheesefest. com), is held each year in April. The
From farm to table, the WNC Cheese Trail encourages visitors to learn and shop local.
“We really want to showcase the collaborative nature of local food,” says Moore,”and give everyone a chance to be part of the process.”
Visitors can access resources on the Trail’s website to arrange tours, find events, and locate markets that carry members’ artisan cheeses. In addition to the online Trail map, a printed version is updated annually and distributed by Trail members and can be found at welcome centers
on interstate highways and visitor centers in cities around the region. The WNC Cheese Trail also hosts special events with regional partners throughout the year. Check out their website www.wnccheesetrail.org where you can learn more and sign up for notifications.
The Blue Ridge Digest can be found at these regional visitor’s centers!
Blairsville/Union CoUnty ChamBer
129 Union County Rec Rd. • Blairsville, GA 30512 (706) 745-5789
Fannin CoUnty ChamBer oF CommerCe
152 Orvin Lance Dr • Blue Ridge, GA 30513 (706) 632-5680
raBUn CoUnty WelCome Center
232 Hwy 441 North, POB 750 Clayton, Georgia 30525; (706) 782-4812
toWns CoUnty visitor Center 1411 Jack Dayton Circle Young Harris, GA 30582 (706) 896-4966 • www.mountaintopga.com
alleghany Co. ChamBer oF CommerCe
58 S. Main, POB 1237 BRD Sparta, NC 28675; (800) 372-5473
andreWs rest stop
50 Cover St / US 19 • Andrews, NC 28902 www.visitcherokeecounty.com
ashe CoUnty ChamBer & visitor Center
1 N. Jefferson Ave, P.O. Box 31 West Jefferson, NC 28694 (336) 846-9550 • www.ashechamber.com
avery CoUnty ChamBer oF CommerCe
4501 Tynecastle Hwy • Unit 2 Banner Elk, NC 28604 (800) 972-2183 • www.averycounty.com
Banner elk visitor Center 100 Main Street West Banner Elk, NC 28604
(828) 898-8395 • www.bannerelk.org
BeeCh moUntain ChamBer oF CommerCe
403A Beech Mountain Parkway
Beech Mtn, NC 28604
(800) 468-5506 • www.beechmtn.com
BlaCk moUntain ChamBer oF CommerCe
201 E. State St. • Black Mountain, NC 28711 (828) 669-2300
BloWing roCk ChamBer oF CommerCe
132 Park Ave • Blowing Rock NC 28605
BlUe ridge parkWay visitor Center
195 Hemphill Knob Rd • Asheville, NC 28803 828-298-5330
Boone area ChamBer oF CommerCe
870 W King St. Suite A • Boone, NC 28607
(828) 264-2225 • www.VisitBooneNC.com
Bryson City ChamBer oF CommerCe
210 Main Street • Bryson City, NC 28713
(828) 488-3681 • www.greatsmokies.com
BUrke CoUnty travel & toUrism
110 E. Meeting Street Morganton, NC 28655 (828) 433-6793
CaldWell CoUnty visitor Center
1909 Hickory Blvd. SE Lenoir, NC 28645
Cashiers area ChamBer oF CommerCe
202 U.S. 64, POB 238 BRD Cashiers, NC 28717
(828) 743-5191 • www.cashiers-nc.com
CataWBa CoUnty visitor Center 1055 Southgate Parkway SW Hickory, NC 28602
Cherokee CoUnty visitor Center 20 Tennessee Street, Murphy, NC 28906 828-557-2583 www.visitcherokeecountync.com
Cherokee CoUnty WelCome Center 805 W. US 64 Murphy, NC 28906; (828) 837-2242 www.cherokeecountychamber.com
Cherokee WelCome Center P.O. Box 460 • 498 Tsalis Rd. Cherokee, NC 28719
(800) 438-1601 • www.cherokee-nc.com
Clay CoUnty ChamBer oF CommerCe
96 Sanderson St • Hayesville, NC 28904; (828) 389-3704
davie CoUnty ChamBer oF CommerCe 135 S. Salisbury St. Mocksville, NC 27028-2337
(336) 751-3304 • www.mocksville.org
Franklin area ChamBer oF CommerCe 98 Hyatt Rd. Franklin • NC 28734 (888) 439-park • www.franklin-chamber.com
gaston CoUnty visitor Center 620 N. Main Street • Belmont, NC 28012 704-825-4044. www.visitgaston.org
greensBoro visitor Center 2411 West Gate City Blvd
Greensboro, NC 27403
hayWood ChamBer oF CommerCe
28 Walnut St. • Waynesville, NC 28786
hendersonville visitor Center
201 S. Main St • Hendersonville, NC 28792
hiCkory metro CvB
1680 13th Ave Dr. SE • Hickory, NC 28602
800 509 2444 • www.hickorymetro.com
highlands ChamBer oF CommerCe
108 Main St., P. O. Box 404 Highlands, NC 28741 (828) 526-2112
JaCkson CoUnty ChamBer oF CommerCe
773 W. Main Street • Sylva, NC 28779 (800) 962-1911 • www.mountainlovers.com
Jonesville WelCome Center
1503 NC Hwy 67W Jonesville, NC 28642 • (336) 526-1111
madison CoUnty visitor Center
56 S. Main Street • Mars Hill, NC 28754 (828) 680-9031
maggie valley ChamBer oF CommerCe
2791 Soco Road, POB 279 Maggie Valley, NC 28751 (800) MAGGIE-1 • www.maggievalley.org
mCdoWell CoUnty visitor Center
1170 W. Tate St. • Marion, NC 28752 (828) 652-4240 • www.McDowellNC.org
mitChell Co. ChamBer oF CommerCe 79 Parkway Rd • Spruce Pine, NC 28777 704-765-2761 www.mitchell-county.com
moUnt airy visitor Center
200 N. Main St. • Mt. Airy, NC 27030 (800) 948-0949 • www.visitmayberry.com
moUnt mitChell state park 2388 State Hwy. 128 • Burnsville, NC 28714 (828) 675-4611
nW nC visitor Center 2121 East US Hwy 421 North WIlkesboro, NC 28659 (336) 667-1259
nC high CoUntry host visitor Center 6370 US HWY 321 South, Blowing Rock, NC 28605 (800) 438-7500 • www.mountainsofnc.com
old Fort visitor Center
91 S. Catawba Ave • Old Fort, NC 28762 (888) 233-6111 • www.visitmcdowell.com
piedmont triad visitor Center 700 NC Hwy 700 • Pelham, NC 27311 (800) 388-9830
polk CoUnty visitor Center 20 E. Mills St. • Columbus, NC 28722 (800) 440-7848
smoky moUntain host oF nC, inC 4437 Georgia Rd. • Franklin, NC 28734 (800) 432-4678 • www.visitsmokies.org
sprUCe pine visitor Center 165 Locust St. • Spruce Pine, NC 28777 (828) 765-7008
statesville Convention & visitors BUreaU
118 W Broad St • Statesville, NC 28687 (704) 878-3480 or (877) 531-1819 www.visitstatesville.org
CoUnty visitor Center
1110 Soco Rd • Maggie Valley, NC 28751 (800) 334-9036 www.visitncsmokies.com
Wilkes CoUnty ChamBer oF CommerCe 717 Main St., PO Box 727 BRD N. Wilkesboro, NC 28659 (336) 838-8662 • www.wilkesnc.org
Winston-salem visitor Center 200 Brookstown Ave, Winston-Salem, NC 27101 336-728-4205 • VisitWinstonSalem.com
yadkin valley visitor Center 116 East Market St. • Elkin, NC 28621 (336) 526-1111 • www.yadkinvalley.org
yanCey CoUnty ChamBer oF CommerCe 106 W. Main St. • Burnsville, NC 28714 (800) 948-1632 • www.yanceychamber.com
yadkin valley heritage & trails visitor Center – 257 Standard St, Elkin, NC 28621 (336) 526-1111 – www.exploreelkin.com
ClairBorne Co. ChamBer oF CommerCe 1732 Main St., Suite 1 • Tazewell, TN 37879 (423) 626-4149 • www.clairbornecounty.com
elizaBethton visitor Center 500 Veterans Memorial Parkway Elizabethton, TN 37643 (423) 547-3850 • tourcartercounty.com
greene Co partnership/CoB
115 Academy St. • Greeneville, TN 37743 (423) 638-4111
117 Boone St. Jonesborough •TN 37659 (423) 423-753-1010 • Toll Free: 866-401-4223
Johnson City visitor Center 603 E. Main St. Johnson City • TN 37605; (423) 926-2141 • www.johnsoncitytn.com
Johnson CoUnty WelCome Center 716 S. Shady St. (Hwy. 421S) Mountain City, TN 37683 (423) 727-5800 • email@example.com
kingsport visitor Center 151 E. Main St., POB 1403 BRD Kingsport, TN 37662 (423) 392-8820
loUdon CoUnty visitor BUreaU 1075 US Hwy 321 • Lenoir City, TN 37771 (865) 968-3662 • www.visitloudoncounty.com
pigeon Forge visitor Center 1950 N. Parkway, POB 1390 BRD Pigeon Forge, TN 37868 (800) 251-9100 • mypigeonforge.com
The Blue Ridge Digest can be found at these regional visitor’s centers!
toWnsend visitor Center
7609 E. Lamar Alexander Parkway, Townsend, TN 37882.
800-525-6834 • www.smokymountains.org
UniCoi visitor Center
106 Unicoi Village Place PO Box 39 Erwin, TN 37692
www.unicoitn.net • 423-735-0426
1908 CoUrthoUse visitor Center
107 E Main St. • Independence VA 24348
alBemarle toUrism & adventUre Center
5791 Three Notched Rd • Crozet, VA 22932
appomattox visitor Center
214 Main Street. PO Box 246
Appomattox, VA 24522
(434) 352-8999 • historicappomattox.com
aBingdon visitor Center
335 Cummings St. • Abingdon, VA 24210
(800) 435-3440 • www.abingdon.com
aFton visitor Center
130 Afton Circle • Afton, VA 22920
(540) 943-5187 • www.visitwaynesboro.net
BedFord visitor Center
816 Burks Hill Rd • Bedford, VA 24523; (877)-HiPeaks • VisitBedford.com
BlUe ridge visitor Center
2577 JEB Stuart Highway
Meadows of Dan, VA 24120 • 276-694-6012
BUena vista visitor Center
595 E. 19th St. • Buena Vista, VA 24417
(540) 261-2880 • buena-vista.va.us.com
Carroll CoUnty visitor Center
231 Farmers Market Rd, Hillsville • VA 24343
(888) 785-2782 • (276) 730-3100
Charlottesville visitor Center
610 East Main St • Charlottesville, VA 22902
(434) 293-6789 • (434) 970-3641
CUlpeper visitor Center
111 S. Commerce St. • Culpeper, VA 22701
Phone: (540) 727-0611 Toll Free: 844-490-2577. www.visitculpeperva.com
danville visitor Center
645 River Park Dr • Danville, VA 24540 (434) 793-4636 • www.visitdanville.com
disCovery Center at mill moUntain
roanoke’s mill moUntain
215 Church Ave., Room 303 Roanoke, VA 24016 • (540) 853-1236
explore park visitor Center
Blue Ridge Parkway Milepost 115 Roanoke, VA 24014 • (540) 427-1800
Floyd visitors Center
109 E. Main St. • Floyd, VA 24091 www.VisitFloydVA.com 540-745-4407
Front royal visitor Center
414 E. Main St. • Front Royal, VA 22630 (800) 338-3576 • www.discoverfrontroyal.com
City oF galax toUrism department
110 East Grayson St. • Galax, VA 24333 276-238-8130 www.visitgalax.com
greene CoUnty eConomiC development & toUrism
9157 Seminole Trail, Suite 2 Ruckersville, VA 22968
hardesty-higgins hoUse visitor Center
212 S. Main St • Harrisonburg, VA 22801 VisitHarrisonburgVA.com
lexington visitor Center
106 E. Washington St. • Lexington, VA 24450
(540) 463-3777 • www.lexingtonvirginia.com
loUdoUn CoUnty toUrism
112 South Street • Leesburg, VA 20175
(865) 968-3662 • www.visitloudon.org
Visit Virginia's only Butterfly House, Flying Flowers. The structure is home to dozens of varieties of butterflies native to Virginia and the necessary plants which sustain them. Photograph, feed or have tea with the butterflies in their garden. Monarchs, Swallowtails, Frittilary and Dianas and many more will pose for your cameras or come light on your shoulder while you enjoy a butterfly program in their habitat. Located on the
lUray/page CoUnty ChamBer
18 Campbell St. • Luray, VA 22835 (540) 743-3915 • www.luraypage.com
lynChBUrg regional inFormation Center
216 12th St. at Church St. Lynchburg, VA 24505 (800) 732-5821 • www.discoverlynchburg.org
madison CoUnty visitor Center
110A N. Main St. • Madison, VA 22727 (540) 948-4455 • www.madison-va.com
martinsville-henry CoUnty visitor Center
191 Fayette St. • Martinsville, VA 24112 (888) 722-3498 • www.visitmartinsville.com
nelson CoUnty visitor Center
8519 Thomas Nelson Hwy., Lovingston, VA 22949 (800) 282-8223 • www.Nelsoncounty.com
orange Co. visitor’s Center
122 East Main St. • Orange, VA 22960 (877) 222-8072 • www.visitorangevirginia.com
patriCk CoUnty ChamBer oF CommerCe 334 Patrick Avenue • PO Box 577 Stuart, VA 24171 (276) 694-6012 • www.patrickchamber.com
patriCk CoUnty visitor Center
126 N. Main St Stuart, VA 24171 www.visitpatrickcounty.org
prinCe William visitor Center 200 Mill St. • Occoquan, VA 22125 703-491-4045 • firstname.lastname@example.org
pUlaski CoUnty visitor Center
4440 Cleburne Blvd • Dublin, VA 24084 540-674-4161 • www.pulaskicounty.org
radFord visitor Center
600 Unruh Dr. • Radford, VA 24141 (866) 605-6442 • www.visitradford.com
roanoke visitor inFormation Center 101 Shenandoah Ave., NE Roanoke VA 24016 (800) 635-5535 • www.visitvablueridge.com
roCkFish gap-WaynesBoro visitor Center
130 Afton Circle • Afton, VA 22920 (540) 943-5187 • www.visitwaynesboro.net
grounds of Beagle Ridge, classes are available as well as host plants so you too can attract butterflies to your gardens. Discounts available for tours and school groups, email ellen at email@example.com
1934 Matney Flats Wytheville, VA 24382 Phone: (276) 621-4511
salem visitor Center
1001 Boulevard @ Civic Center Salem, VA 24153; (888) 827-2536
shenandoah CoUnty toUrism
600 N. Main St, Ste 101 Woodstock, VA 22664 888-367-3965 • visitshenandoahcounty.com
gateWay to shenandoah visitor Center at hUpp’s hill Civil War park and mUseUm 33229 Old Valley Pike • Strasburg, VA 22657 540-465-9197 • strasburgva.com
smith moUntain lake visitor Center 16430 Booker T. Washington Hwy. #2 Moneta. VA 24121 540-721-1203 www.visitsmithmountainlake.com
smyth CoUnty visitor Center 408 Whitetop Rd. • Chilhowie, VA 24319 (276) 646-3306
staUnton travel inFormation Center 1290 Richmond Rd. (I-81 Exit 222) Staunton, VA 24401 • (540) 332-3972 www.VisitStaunton.com
staUnton visitor’s Center 35 South New St. • Staunton,VA 24401 540-332-3971 • www.VisitStaunton.com
tazeWell CoUnty visitor Center 163 Walnut St • Bluefield, 24605 (276) 322-1345
virginia teCh visitor Center 925 Prices Fork Rd. • Blacksburg, VA 24061 (540) 231-3548 • firstname.lastname@example.org
Western highlands visitor Center 241 W. Main St. • Covington, VA 24426 (540) 962-2178
WinChester-FrederiCk CoUnty CvB 1400 S. Pleasant Valley Rd. Winchester, VA 22601 (877) 871-1326 • www.visitwinchesterva.com
Wytheville CvB 975 Tazewell St. • Wytheville, VA 24382 (276) 223-3355 • Toll free (877) 347-8307 www.visitWytheville.com
West virginia WelCome Center 37 Washington Court at US 340 Harpers Ferry, WV 25435 (866) -HELLO-WV • www.hello-wv.com
91 Bartlett Rd • Middlesboro, KY 40965 (606) 248-2817
Come walk amongst the butterflies in Wythe county
Mountain Lodging Food Fun
NORTH CAROLINA ASHEVILLE, NC
Asheville East KOA-Exit 59 off I-40 big rigs & tenters welcome. Wooded sites, with pool, lake & river fishing. 800-562-5907 or (828) 6863121. 2708 Hwy 70E, Swannanoa, NC 28778. www.ashevilleeastkoa.com
Asheville West KOA-Exit 37 off I-40 Something for everyone, RV’s, tenters, cabins. In foothills, wooded sites, hiking trails, pool. (800) 5629015. 309 Wiggins Rd., Candler, NC 28715. www.ashevillekoa.com
Bear Creek RV Park - Exit Rt. 191 from Parkway; I-40 Exit 47; or I-26 Exit 2. 3 miles north of Parkway off Rt. 191. 5 mins. Biltmore House. 90 full hookups, paved sites, pool, laundry. Open year round. (800) 833-0798 www.ashevillebearcreek.com.
Discover a hidden gem rich with art and history. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, this 11-acre property is home to Grovewood Gallery, 8 working artist studios, the Estes-Winn Antique Car Museum, and the Biltmore Industries Homespun Museum. Adjacent to Omni Grove Park Inn. www.grovewood. com (828) 214-7768
Mast Store – 15 Biltmore Ave., Downtown Asheville. Dating to the 1940s, find home décor, camping gear, shoes, clothing, and hundreds of favorite candies. www.MastStore.com 828-232-1883
Rug & Home - Over 20,000 oriental rugs & home accessories. Finest rugs from India, China, Pakistan, Persia, Turkey, Egypt, Karastan, Milliken. Tapestries, needlepoints, oil paintings, antique furniture, brass, crystal, & Tiffany lamps, mirrors. Local & national artists. Sculptures and fine porcelain. Located at I-26, exit 33 behind Ethan Allen. Open 7 days. (828) 667-4585.
BANNER ELK, NC
Smoke Tree Lodge - 12 miles south of Boone on Hwy 105. Nestled at the foot of Grandfather Mtn. Condo-apts, heated indoor pool, ESPN, Jacuzzi, saunas. (800) 422-1880. www.smoketreelodge.com
BLOWING ROCK, NC
Alpine Village Inn - 297 Sunset Dr. Quaint cozy rooms & suites in the heart of town. AC, CCTV, & phones, WiFi complimentary. Some fireplaces & Jacuzzi. Pet friendly rooms. www.alpine-village-inn.com (828) 295-7206.
Blowing Rock Art & History Museum - Free admission, open year round. Must-see destination for visual art & Appalachian heritage. www.BlowingRockMuseum.org. 159 Ginny Stevens Ln (828) 295-9099.
Hemlock Inn & Suites - 134 Morris St. Downtown Blowing Rock. 1/2 mile to Parkway. Open year round. Walk to shops and restaurants. (828) 295-7987. www.hemlockinn.net.
Village Inns of Blowing RockNo Smoking, Wi-Fi/Breakfast. Suites/ Cottages/Rooms. Some Pet Friendly Rooms. (828) 295-3001
Foscoe Rentals - Cabins, Condos and Vacation homes centrally located to Boone, Banner Elk and Blowing Rock. (800) 723-7341. www.foscoerentals.com
Hidden Valley Motel- Birds, blooms and butterflies in the Foscoe Valley. Hwy 105 south between Boone and Banner Elk. Call 828/963-4372. www.hiddenvalleymotel.com or email: email@example.com.
KOA Kampground - From Boone, 194N 3 miles. Left on Ray Brown Rd. 1 mile. Beautiful view. Rec room, mini golf, laundry. 123 Harmony Mtn. Lane, Boone, NC 28607. 828-264-7250.
Mast Store – 630 W King St., Downtown Boone. Built in the 1920s, this charming store is filled with most everything you need for life: clothing, trail & travel gear, old-fashioned candy. www.MastStore.com. 828-262-0000
NC High Country Host Visitor Center- 6370 US HWY 321 South Blowing Rock, NC 28605; (800) 4387500 www.mountainsofnc.com
Alpine Village Townhomes
2+ Bedroom, special offers. Great Views, heated pool/summer, clubhouseand amenities, cable TV, special golf fees. 3 miles west of Parkway, exit Hwy 80. No pets. www.alpinevillagetownhomes.com 727-389-3404
CHIMNEY ROCK, NC
Chimney Rock at Chimney Rock State Park - More than a Rock, it’s a Mountain of Possibilities. Six unique hiking trails. 404-foot waterfall. 26-story elevator inside mountain. Woodland animal programs and exhibits. Pet friendly. Old Rock Café overlooking the river. Open all year. 40 min SE of Asheville. 828-625-9611. ChimneyRockPark.com
Mast Store – 527 N Main St., Downtown Hendersonville. Built in 1905 and embodying the essence of the era, this store is packed with clothing, gift ideas, country gourmet foods, & more! www.MastStore.com 828-696-1883
Discover Hendersonville! Check out our Stay & Play Packages & Room Availability! Hendersonville Visitors Center, 201 S Main Street, Hendersonville, NC. 1-800-828-4244. Open 7 days a week. www.visithendersonvillenc.org
Grandfather Mountain - Grandfather’s lofty heights offer guests opportunities for rejuvenation, excitement and family memories in a natural haven that will endure forever. Marvel at 360-degree views from the Mile High Swinging Bridge, stand eye-to-eye with native wildlife in natural habitats and interact with our friendly, knowledgeable staff. One mile from Blue Ridge Parkway; take th Linville exit at Milepost 305 to U.S. 221 South. Open daily, weather permitting, 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. $22 adult, $20 senior 60+, $9 child 4-12, under 4 freewww.grandfather.com (828) 733-4337 or (800) 468-7325.
LINVILLE FALLS, NC
Linville Caverns - 19929 US 221 N. Marion. 4 miles South of Parkway, MP 317. NC’s ONLY show cavern. 800-419-0540. www.linvillecaverns.com
Linville Falls Lodge & Cottages - BRP Milepost 317.4, US 221S, 1 mile to walk to falls & gorge. www.linvillefallslodge.com (828) 765-2658.
LITTLE SWITZERLAND, NC
Emerald Village - Real mines, mine tours, & gem mining. Other free displays: railroad, music museum, wildlife. MP334. 828-765-6463. www.emeraldvillage.com
Switzerland Cafe & General Store - MP 334 1/4 mile of the Parkway. Lunch and weekend dinners. Souvenirs and picnic items. 828-765-5289. www.switzerlandcafe.com
Switzerland Inn And Chalet Restaurant - A little bit of Switzerland in NC. Fantastic mountain views, rooms, suites, cottages, dining, shopping, tennis. Located directly on the Blue Ridge Parkway at the Little Switzerland exit near Parkway Milepost 334. Little Switzerland, NC 28749. (828) 765-2153 or (800) 6544026. www.switzerlandinn.com
MAGGIE VALLEY, NC
Boyd Mountain Log Cabins7 Authentic cabins, fireplaces, AC, cable, WIFI. Choose n cut Christmas tree farm, trout fishing, hiking. (828) 926-1575. www.boydmountain.com
Maggie Valley Area Chamber of Commerce - US 19, Eastern entrance to the Great Smokies. Escape. Explore. Exhale. Maggie Valley Area Chamber of Commerce, PO Box 279, Maggie Valley, 28751.
Jonathan Creek Inn & Maggie Valley Villas - MP 455.7 AAA 3 Diamond Rated. Creekside and Hot Tub Rooms, Creekside & Mountain View Villas, Indoor Heated Pool, Children’s Play Area. 1-800-577-7812. www.jonathancreekinn.com
Be sure to tell them you saw it in THE DIGEST!
McDOWELL CO., NC
McDowell Chamber of Commerce and Visitor Center - Shopping & food near center. Free coffee & area info. Clean restrooms. From Parkway MP 317, 24 mi. S on US 221. From MP331: 15 mi S on NC226. (828) 652-4240.
SPARTA & GLADE VALLEY, NC
Alleghany Inn - 341 N. Main St., Sparta, NC 28675. 64 Rooms - Free Wireless Internet - Cable TV 60+ Chan, Guest Laundry - Restaurant on site. 888) 372-2501 Reserve online: www.AlleghanyInn.com
SPRUCE PINE, NC
Gem Mountain - 13780 Hwy 226. 1 mile from Parkway. Gem mine. Rain or shine. Mine trips available. People’s choice for Gem mining. www.gemmountain.com
Peak Mountain Cottages & Retreat Center--On 300 acres, 7 miles N of Pkwy. Room to play or relax. Hiking trails, clear mtn streams. 460 Rabbit Hop Rd near Penland. Individuals,families or groups up to 25. 828-765-9559. www.peakmountaincottages.com
VALLE CRUCIS, NC
Mast General Store & Annex Highway 194. Est. 1883 & listed on the National Register of Historic Places, this authentic general store is filled with the best of yesterday and today including camping gear, shoes & boots, housewares, candies, and an impressive collection of knives. www.MastStore.com 828-963-6511
Mast Store – 63, N Main St., Downtown Waynesville. Serving the area since 1935, this store is brimming with clothing, shoes, cast iron cookware, candy, & camping gear. www.MastStore.com 828-452-2101
Ski Mountain Chalet & Condo
Rentals - 1-4 bedrooms , hot tubs, jacuzzis, pool tables, kitchens, fireplaces, privacy. (800) 824-4077. www.skimtnchalets.com
Peaks of Otter Winery & Orchards - 2122 Sheep Creek Rd, 24523. MP 86. Fruit wine, fruit, jams, jellies, free tastings. Vacation rentl house. 540-586-3707. www.iwineu.com or www.elmosrest.com
Gross’ Orchard & Apple Valley Homeplace - Vacation Home Rental. Open year round. $75 per couple per night. Mountain grown fruit & produce. Bedford, VA. Rt. 43 in Apple Valley. Open Year round. U-pick or U-select. Apple Festival 3rd Sat. in Oct. (540) 586-2436.
Montfair Resort Farm - Pet friendly cabins by lake. 30 min from Parkway. Wi-fi, linens & cookware provided. Canoe, hike, fish. (434) 8235202. www.montfairresortfarm.com.
FANCY GAP, VA
Skyland Lakes Golf Club - Right on Parkway at milepost 202.2. New 18 hole public course. Beautiful scenery. Motel & golf packages available. (276) 728-4923.
Chantilly Farm Campground 2697 Franklin Pike SE. RV sites: electric, water, sewer, tent camping w/ amenities. WiFi, ice, ATM. chantillyfarm.com. 540-808 -4984
Floyd Visitors Center 109 E. Main St., Floyd, VA 24091 Mountain town with unique music, arts, outdoor fun! 540-745-4407
Cool Breeze Campground
2330 Edmonds Rd.Galax,VA
MP215 off BRP, Full Hookups
Bathhouse,Laundry,Big Rig Friendly,Free WIFI,Rally Center,276-236-0300
Grand Caverns - 5 Grand Caverns Dr, Grottoes, VA, America’s oldest continuously operated show cave. Nature’s handiwork & gifts. 888-430-CAVE.
The Village Inn - 1 mile south of I-81, Exit 243, on US 11. American Automobile Association Three Diamond Award. (540) 434-7355, toll free reservations-1-800-736-7355. www.shenandoah.org/villageinn
NATURAL BRIDGE, VA
Natural Bridge Zoo - 5784 S. Lee Hwy I-81 exit 180A Natural Bridge 24578. 540-291-2420, naturalbridgezoo. com. Largest collection of birds and animals in Virginia. Elephant rides, giraffe, tigers, bears, monkeys, birds and more! Petting zoo, gift shop, picnic area. Open mid March to November.
PATRICK COUNTY, VA
Blue Ridge Real Estate Cabin Rentals-- Residential, land and commercial properties as well as Log Cabin Sales and Vacation Rentals. www.blueridgerealestate.net or 276-694-2001.
Buffalo Mountain Getaway-Perfect location for your getaway in Virginia. Get away from it all. Cottage or Cabin near the Buffalo Mountain in Floyd. 540.789.8335 buffalomountaingetaway.com/home
Laurel Point Villa - Breathtaking views of the Blue Ridge Mountains! Large vacation rental is a mix of modern conveniences and charm & is a great place for family gatherings. (850) 712-1139. www.laurelpointvillage.com
Pond View GuesthouseGuesthouse is conveniently located just off the Blue Ridge Parkway near Meadows of Dan, VA. www.pondviewguesthouse.com or (276) 952-2624.
Primland Resort - 2000 Busted Rock Road. Resort Lodge, Fairway Cottages, Mountain Homes. Spectacular views. Golf. Spa. Dining, Outdoor activities. 276.222.3800 www.primland.com
Willville Motorcycle Campground26 acre wooded park located less than one mile from the Blue Ridge Parkway in the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia. www.willvillebikecamp.com or (276) 952-CAMP.
Radford Visitor’s Center - Rt 8 to I-81 Exit 109 “Find It in Radford”-surrounded on 3 sides by the New River & overflowing with history 540-267-3153 www.visitradford.com.
Mast General Store - In downtown at 401 S. Jefferson St. Our newest old location dates to 1915 and is filled with old favorites and new ones too! www.MastStore.com 540-566-5661.
Virginia’s Blue Ridge. Take a drive on the Blue Ridge Parkway. Shop at the markets and boutiques in Downtown Roanoke and Salem. Hike on a trail in the Blue Ridge Mountains. Discover wildlife while kayaking on the Upper James River Water Trail. Dine at a local restaurant and enjoy fresh, amazingly prepared ingredients. Watch the sunset aboard a cruise at Smith Mountain Lake. All these things to do and more can be part of your Blue Ridge Day.No matter what you decide to do, every day in the Roanoke Valley in Virginia’s Blue Ridge Mountains is filled with friendship and old-fashioned hospitality. Discover what makes visiting Virginia’s Blue Ridge unique! (800) 635-5535. visitvablueridge.com
Come and visit Salem, Virginia that is only twenty minutes from the parkway. Take the walking tour of our historic downtown featuring quaint antique shops and restaurants. Stay for a while in one of our hotels or B&B’s and attend one of our many athletic events including NCAA National Championships in football, basketball and softball. Salem is also the home of the Salem Red Sox, advanced Class “A” affiliate of the Boston Red Sox playing their games in spacious and comfy Lewis Gale Field.
Be sure to tell them you saw it in THE DIGEST!
Grandfather Mountain: Wonders Never Cease
shop, special events and more.
A visit to the park’s environmental wildlife habitats lets guests come face to face with black bears, cougars, river otters, bald eagles and elk. Plus, the mountain’s staff of naturalists, rangers and keepers hosts a variety of interactive programs, such as animal encounters, interpretive talks and hikes, a Junior Ranger program for kids and more — all included with admission.
Grandfather Mountain is located at 2050 Blowing Rock Highway (U.S. 221) in Linville, N.C., 70 miles from Asheville, N.C., and just one mile from milepost 305 on the Blue Ridge Parkway. The park is open year-round, weather permitting, with the exception of Thanksgiving and Christmas.
Standing more than a mile above sea level, Grandfather Mountain has been celebrating and sharing the wonders of the natural world since 1952. Summer is one of the most ideal times to visit, as temperatures at the world-famous Mile High
Swinging Bridge are typically 20 degrees cooler than in the flatlands. The suspension footbridge spans an 80-foot chasm at more than one mile in elevation, offering panoramic views of the WNC High Country, as well as a view of the Charlotte, N.C., skyline — some
80 miles away — on a clear day. The nonprofit nature park also features access to 12 miles of hiking trails, some of which venture into the neighboring Grandfather Mountain State Park, as well as a nature museum, restaurant, picnic sites, eco-friendly fudge
As part of the park’s COVID-19 operating procedures, visits must be booked online at www.grandfather.com. To learn more, call 1-800-468-7325, or visit www.grandfather.com. Follow Grandfather Mountain at @grandfathermtn on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
Road trip with kids or a romantic getaway for 2
Spring has almost sprung, and there’s never been a better time to start dreaming up your big spring & summer adventure. Blooming flowers and immerging wildlife signal that warmer weather is on the way, giving joy to everyone who flocks here. Luray and Page County in the Shenandoah Valley offer wide-open spaces steeped in history and surrounded by beauty. From the storied Shenandoah River, the underground wonders of Luray Caverns, and the scenic serenity of Shenandoah National Park, to horseback riding through the forest
or ziplining through the trees, there’s always something for everybody to enjoy. With an abundance of shops, our Main Streets are home to a variety of small boutique and specialty shops that offer gifts for everyone on your list. Enjoy our art gallery, thrift stores, and flea markets that lie throughout Page County. Luray-Page County also is home to a variety of great restaurants. Whether you want to grab a sandwich and have a picnic, some pizza while sitting outside, Mexican, BBQ, or are looking for an elegant date night; we know you will find your new favorite spot to grab a
meal. The Cabin Capital of Virginia, Luray-Page County, also has a wide array of lodging to choose from. Our local cabins, campgrounds, hotels, motels & inns, and bed & breakfasts all offer a relaxing and peaceful escape from the hustle
and bustle of everyday life. If you have kids or a dog, many of our businesses throughout the area are kid and pet-friendly. So book your stay, pack up the family, and head to our mountains for a few days, where you’re sure to find out why Luray-Page County is your new favorite place to vacation. Luray and Page County Visitor Center give you the tools to plan your trip. More info: visitluraypage.com or (540) 743-3915.:The Mile High Swinging Bridge offers panoramic views of the WNC High Country from a mile above sea level. Photo by Skip Sickler | Grandfather Mountain Stewardship Foundation
The views are ancient. The experiences are all brand new.
PEAKS OF OTTER
Discover Heritage, History and Culture
This gateway to mountain adventures is a hub for lounging and exploring.
Majestic scenery abounds in Peaks of Otter, a historic landmark and haven of natural beauty. Three towering mountain peaks and the serene Abbott Lake are the cradle of this gorgeous Blue Ridge destination — offering 360 degrees of breathtaking wilderness. And here, sheltered among the ancient peaks and cooled by mountain streams, you’ll discover Peaks of Otter Lodge.
This long-beloved lodge is much more than a simple hotel. It’s a place where adventurers, families, couples and large groups can explore by day, and recharge at night.
With more than 60 rooms, meeting facilities, wedding facilities, a full-service restaurant, a lounge, and a gift shop, Peaks of Otter Lodge is a perfect basecamp for exploring the mountains, lake and surrounding forests. No matter the season, guests can explore the Blue Ridge Parkway’s splendor, then enjoy warm hospitality at Peaks of Otter Lodge.
From here, you can hike majestic Sharp Top Mountain, “leaf peep” along Blue Ridge Parkway, cruise a shuttle to nearby wineries, and encounter rare wildlife. Enjoy a springtime getaway or a long winter weekend in the perfect setting for year-round adventure and relaxation.
Peaks of Otter Area Visitor Center and Park Store - 5,000 acres. Three Peaks: Sharp Top [El 3,875], Flat Top [El. 4,004], and Harkening Hill [El. 3,364]. Self-guided trail, historic farm interpretive programs. Picnic area, campground, restrooms.
Explore the Blue Ridge Heritage Trail in the North Carolina mountains and foothills to learn the remarkable history and culture of the region. The driving trail is dotted with locations featuring interpretive wayside signs that share the stories of the people and places that have shaped our distinctive heritage.
With a focus on historic sites, music and the arts, Cherokee history, agricultural traditions and natural wonders, the trail provides a rich understanding of what makes this area unique. There are 70 sites along the driving trail across 26 North Carolina mountain and foothill counties. The trail includes 24 historic sites in Western North Carolina that recall the stories of Native Americans, explorers, mountaineers, revolutionaries, entrepreneurs, and more. It also provides a look at how the people of the Blue Ridge have distinguished themselves in a variety of art forms, such as music, crafts, storytelling, drama and dance. Gain an in-depth appreciation of Cherokee history and culture via the trail with exceptional museums and cultural events, as well as the sites of rediscovered Native American villages and 1,500-year petroglyphs. You will also enjoy scenic landscapes and locally grown foods.
To start planning your getaway or for more information on packages and deals, visit PeaksOfOtter.com or call 888.454.7711
BlueRidgeHeritageTrail.com for more information.
NC’s Newest Wine Country Takes Root in the Blue Ridge
Avery Fine Art & Master Crafts Festivals
Hendersonville, long known for its apple orchards and vibrant downtown, has evolved into a hotbed for wine enthusiasts.
Two wineries opened in 2020, giving the area a total of six.
The new wineries came on the heels of Henderson County receiving federal designation as the Crest of the Blue Ridge American Viticultural Area.
Federal AVA designation is only awarded to regions with distinctive soil, climate and elevations favorable for growing grapes. Conditions in this plateau of the Blue Ridge are ideal for several European vinifera and French-American grapes, including cabernet franc, cabernet sauvignon, chardonnay, merlot, petit verdot, riesling and vidal blanc.
“For visitors, the AVA desig-
nation lets them know we are serious about growing grapes in this region, and they can expect higher-quality wines,” said Sandra Oates, owner of Burntshirt Vineyards, one of the first wineries in Hendersonville.
The two newest wineries are Marked Tree and Stone Ashe. Marked Tree owners used their architectural background to design a multi-faceted tasting room with several open-air spaces showcasing beautiful vineyard views.
Stone Ashe brought a taste of Bordeaux to the Blue Ridge with steep-sloped vineyards, at 2,700 feet in elevation, planted with
legacy vines imported from France.
“We wanted an Old World feel,” said Craig Little of Stone Ashe. “A sommelier from France came to taste our wines and said, ‘This reminds me of my childhood with the steep slopes surrounded by greenery.’ We took that as a positive that we had recreated that environment.”
All six wineries are part of the Hendersonville’s Cheers! Trail.
For info, visit www.CheersTrail.org or call (800) 828-4244 to request a map.
Join the Avery County Chamber of Commerce and friends at Sugar Mountain Resort for the Avery Fine Art & Master Crafts Festivals July 16-18 and August 13-15. Juried crafters and artisans will showcase their wares in a beautiful setting and you may enjoy a game of golf, extreme biking and chair lift rides while visiting. Also, no trip to this area would be complete without a visit to Grandfather Mountain and the Mile High Swinging Bridge—Note: Tickets must now be purchased online at www.grandfathermountain.com
“Visit” www.averycounty.com or call 828 898-5605 for more festival details and information.
Burnsville: A Haven for Artists in the Blue Ridge
and once the mountains envelope them, they rarely leave.
There are potters and painters; quilters and crafters; blacksmiths and wood carvers. And a particular point of pride is the number of glass blowers. The father of the American studio glass movement – Harvey Littleton – relocated to these mountains in the 1970s, and his presence created a center for studio glass in America.
One of the largest crafts events in the southern Appalachians takes place on the Burnsville town square the first Friday and Saturday in August. The Mount Mitchell Crafts Fair began in 1956 and draws more than 30,000 visitors each year.
Burnsville has evolved from a locals-only place to a town where travel and tourism play a larger role. The Burnsville Town Center provides a modern venue for plays and concerts. New restaurants and wine bars have popped up, as has Homeplace Beer Co., a highly-regarded brewery founded and run by Burnsville native John Silver.
The Blue Ridge mountain town of Burnsville, roughly halfway between Asheville and Boone, offers a tranquil and relaxing getaway filled with amazing artists.
Burnsville is the seat of Yancey County, which is home to one of the largest concentrations of crafts people in the nation. The nearby Penland School of Crafts draws them to the region
A group of five glass studios are located within five miles of each other in the Celo community just outside Burnsville. They have formed a coalition called the Glass Studios of the Toe River Valley and are open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. most days.
Fly fishing, gem mining, birding and cycling are other activities that make Burnsville an ideal spot for a Blue Ridge getaway.
For visitor info, call (828) 682-7413, or go online to:
Spring in the NC Smokies The Other Color Season
There is nothing fresher than springtime in the North Carolina Smokies. As the mountains awake from their winter slumber and eagerly welcome the first blossoms of spring color, you will find the ideal seasonal getaway in the picturesque towns of Waynesville, Maggie Valley, Canton, Clyde, and Lake Junaluska.
Fondly referred to as “the other color season”, comes alive with the early blooming of daffodils, dogwoods and cherry blossoms.
Warmer days and mild evenings offer the perfect opportunity to enjoy a plethora of outdoor adventure and unique local hotspots amidst the scenic backdrop of the Blue Ridge Parkway and Great Smoky Mountains. Whether you’re looking for that special “off the beaten path” hiking excursion or an epicurean adventure, Haywood County serves up the freshest springtime experiences around.
With several trails offering easy year-round access, Haywood County is a basecamp for fantastic spring hiking. Purchase Knob, located in northwestern Haywood County along the border of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, offers butterfly and wildflower abundance, native wildlife, historical significance, and amazing panoramas. The Sam’s Summit LoopTrail, located just off the Blue Ridge Parkway on Hwy 215 is another hiking gem with year-round access. The compilation of trails offers a unique adventure that weave you through several
ecological systems and boasting incredible sights of the Shining Rock Wilderness Area. Both of these trails have been spotlighted by certified Blue Ridge Naturalist, Ken Czarnomski. His passion for hiking, mapping, and drawing brought to life a unique hand illustrated guides for both Purchase Knob and Sam’s Summit. The free guides are available exclusively in Haywood County through the Haywood County Visitor Center.
Virginia’s Franklin County is a vibrant confluence of gateways. It’s your gateway to landscapes, world-class outdoor recreation and incredible touchstones of Appalachian music and history. We are your gateway to Virginia’s mountains, a gateway to the Crooked Road: Virginia’s Heritage Music Trail, as well as Virginia’s Rail Heritage Region. Plug into the vibrancy of Smith Mountain Lake or quite literally unplug to the serene essence of Philpott Lake. Music lovers will be acoustically touched by the quality of the Harvester Performance Center in Rocky Mount. While known as the “Moonshine Capital of the World” during the Great Moonshine Conspiracy Trial of 1935, there’s much more to the area’s history. Experience regional heritage at the Blue Ridge Institute & Museum. Agriculture is highlighted at Booker T. Washington National Monument, birthplace of America’s prominent African American educator and orator.
20th Anniversary of the D-Day Memorial
and a link to purchase advance, discounted tickets. Once at the Memorial, the app enhances the visitor experience with an interactive map, virtual guided tour, and search features. Visitors can also follow the footsteps of the Bedford Boys with a special downtown walking tour, also featured in the app. For more information visit dday.org.
Set against a backdrop that includes breathtaking spring views of the Blue Ridge and a quintessential American home front community, the National D-Day Memorial tells the story of the Allied sacrifice of June 6, 1944 in a way that resonates with today’s visitors.
The Memorial, located in Bedford, is celebrating its 20th year in 2021 by inviting both new and returning guests to experience the Normandy invasion from planning, to landing, to victory and beyond; all while enjoying fresh air and the ability to social distance as they stroll the 50-acre outdoor monument site.
Download the free National D-Day Memorial app, available for Apple and Android, to start planning your visit. The app includes the Memorial’s operational schedule
While in Bedford, be sure to stop by the Bedford Area Welcome Center, located across from the Memorial entrance. The Welcome Center offers free Wi-Fi, a gift shop,
RV hook-ups, an electric car charging station, and more.
For information on lodging and other Bedford attractions, please visit DestinationBedfordVA.com
5 Reasons for a Summer Visit to Virginia’s Blue Ridge
If you’re looking for a getaway that has a bit of everything, Virginia’s Blue Ridge is a destination that fits the bill for any type of “Trailsetter.” Whether you’re traveling with kids, solo, or somewhere in between, we have five reasons a summer visit to the Roanoke Valley in Virginia’s Blue Ridge is just what you need!
Keep the Kids Busy: Find tons of adventure at Explore Park, just off the Blue Ridge Parkway at milepost 115, including an aerial treetop course and zip-line, glamping, and tubing and stand-up paddleboarding. Parents will enjoy the on-site Brewpub after a full day of activity.
Cool Down on the Water:
Warm weather calls for time on the water! Try launching a rented boat or jet ski onto Smith Mountain Lake or enjoy a relaxing float with Twin River Outfitters along the Upper James River Water Trail.
Outdoor Events: In Virginia’s Blue Ridge, anything from spectator sports to concerts can be enjoyed in safe and socially-distant outdoor settings. Watch future major league stars at a Salem Red Sox baseball game or enjoy a concert from the Harvester Performance Center’s outdoor series.
Mountain Biking: As the only IMBA-designated Silver-Level Ride Center on the East Coast, Virginia’s Blue Ridge is America’s East Coast
Mountain Biking Capital. The region has it all – ranging from easy downhill rides to challenging cross country treks. Either way, you’re in for a treat of scenic beauty!
Cheers Trail: Virginia’s Blue Ridge has over two-dozen craft beverage producers in the region! Use the VBR Cheers Trail Passport to guide your experience with local breweries, wineries and distilleries, plus receive discounts and deals along the way.
Plan your metro mountain getaway today. Find a full list of events, trails and more at VisitVBR.com.
Name Your Summer Mountain Adventure!
You dream it, Jackson County has it.
Visitors can cool down in a natural swimming oasis. Kayak, raft, or laze in the more than 50 miles of the Tuckasegee River; paddleboard, rent a boat and explore Lake Glenville; uncover the more than two dozen waterfalls in the area, all of which make for unique ways to cool down.
With over 494 square miles of wide-open spaces, the Western North Carolina mountain towns of Cashiers, Cherokee, Dillsboro, and Sylva, which make up Jackson County, are the perfect destinations to escape the crowds and enjoy a safe and memorable getaway in 2021. This destination is the perfect fit for a spring or summer road trip through the mountains.
With more named summits than anywhere else in the state, the country’s first and only Fly Fishing Trail, miles of hiking trails, endless breathtaking views and plenty of ways to dip your toes in the water, this area offers limitless adventure and is teeming with bucket list items worthy of any travel checklist. Due to being a naturally social distant activity, it is no wonder that
fly-fishing has seen an uptick in popularity over the past year. Jackson County is not only North Carolina’s Trout Capital® but is also home to the Western North Carolina Fly Fishing Trail®, the only fishing trail of its kind, making Jackson County a fisherman’s haven. Looking to learn the sport? Check out Brookings Anglers or Tuckaseegee Fly Shop for all the gear and guidance you need.
Virginia Bird & Wildlife Trail Mountain Region
34 loops through the Blue Ridge, Allegheny, and Cumberland Mountains help you explore the expansive vistas, scenic overlooks, back roads, forests, reservoirs, and rivers of the Appalachians. Look for over 20 species of warblers, migrating hawks, owls, and grouse. Additional wildlife includes black bear and white-tailed deer. During your travels, be sure to enjoy the unique Appalachian food, music and culture.
Perfect for a family outing, or a personal challenge, Jackson County offers endless trails, 185 named summits, and plenty of room to spread out. Enjoy the views from one of the oldest mountains in the world, Whiteside Mountain (390 to 460 million-years-old). Discover the “Yosemite of the East,” Panthertown Valley, which is home to more than 30 miles of mixed-use trails, over a dozen waterfalls, and some of the region’s best camping spots. Guests can round out their trip on the Richland Balsam Trail, a 1.5-mile loop that leads to the highest peak of the Blue Ridge Parkway. In Sylva, take on the challenging 7-mile round trip Pinnacle Park Trail that ascends more than 3,000 feet. There’s a trail for everyone and room to naturally social distance.
Enjoy unique Airbnb’s, cabins, home rentals and hotels to rest your head. Start planning your mountain escape, DiscoverJacksonNC.comPhoto Credit: Luke Sutton Photo Credit: Jackson County Tourism Development Authority
Yoga & Hiking with Mountains, Waterfalls, Sunsets and Full Moons
Iwas burnt out from a successful yet stressful corporate career, ended a toxic long-term relationship and was struggling with an autoimmune disease when I quit my job in 2015. That same year, I started backpacking & volunteering
around the world including: completing my yoga teacher training in India, meditating with Buddhist monks in Thailand/Myanmar and hiking through the Himalayas, Alps and Andes mountains.
What’s the 310 District?
The 310 District in Marion, NC continues to grow and is a popular 3/10 mile retail community surrounding the downtown area. The Spillway Bridge & Co. is a music hall hosting weekly jams, and ticketed events. Keeper’s Cut Meadery is one of a handful of North Carolina meaderies. The vintners raise their own bees using this honey to craft unique flavors blending fruits, peppers, and other ingredients to create an exclusive product with universal appeal.
Recently, Marion welcomed the Feisty Goldfish, a retro-arcade bar. This family-friendly environment features the games of the 80s and 90s with pinball, Mario Cart, Pac Man, and others. Remember Foosball? They have it along with Air Hockey, dart boards, Jenga towers,
After that, I felt drawn to start putting down roots in North Carolina; which is about an hour from where I grew up. Because I personally experienced so much health, healing and happiness through yoga, meditation and
nature, I decided to create a similar experience for others to enjoy.
In 2017, I started experimenting by myself with one trail and a handful of adventurous guests. I am so grateful that we have grown to become a team of incredible local yoga teachers that guide hundreds of guests each year to connect with their bodies, minds and with these ancient Appalachian mountains.
We welcome men, women, beginners, individuals, families, friends, couples and groups. We provide yoga mats, take pictures and lead small, public tours of 10 people or less. Contact for larger and private groups.
Every yoga hike donates some dollars to plant trees which offsets our carbon emissions and ensures the preservation of our planet and sustainability of our company. The commercial permit required to operate our business helps fund the management and preservation of the Blue Ridge Parkway.
a large, floor sized chessboard and more. Marion hosts a large number of special, year-round, downtown events. Visit online, check the event calendar, and include downtown Marion, NC in your Blue Ridge vacation plans.
Author: Miranda Peterson is the founder/owner of Namaste in Nature, which combines yoga, hiking and meditation with the best mountains, waterfalls, sunsets and full moons in Western North Carolina.
One of our most popular locations where you will see incredible views, sunsets and full moons is right here on the Blue Ridge Parkway about 30 minutes north of Asheville, NC.
Natural Bridge State Park
When traveling through Rockbridge County, visitors often seek its iconic namesake: Natural Bridge. The 215-foot tall limestone arch is the centerpiece of Natural Bridge State Park. The Natural Bridge was privately owned from 1774 when Thomas Jefferson purchased it until it entered the Virginia State Parks system in 2016. It was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1988, added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1997, and has been a tourist attraction for more than two hundred years. Its history includes that of Native American Monacan tribes.
Since the late 1700s visitors from all over the world have sought out this most well-known landmark. Natural Bridge is truly a place you must visit in person, enjoying its beauty as the seasons change. Pictures can’t express the awe-inspiring breadth of its
presence—its massive arch soaring above your head, how sounds echo through the archway, or the way the sun illuminates the limestone cliff walls. Visiting Natural Bridge State Park includes a walk along Cedar Creek, passing beneath the bridge to discover places like Salt Peter Cave, the Lost River, and the 30-foot cascade of Lace Falls. It also includes fishing, picnicking, dark night skies for star gazing, and a new Children’s Discovery Area where kids can explore the outdoors within the Nature Explore Outdoor Play Area and the 0.6-mile Kids in Parks Track Trail.
If the Natural Bridge isn’t on your Shenandoah Valley Bucket List, it should be! Natural Bridge State Park is open daily except for Christmas Day.
The Natural Bridge was privately owned from 1774 when Thomas Jefferson purchased it until it entered the Virginia State Parks system in 2016. It was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1988, added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1997, and has been a tourist attraction for more than two hundred years. Natural Bridge State Park is open daily except for Christmas Day.
www.dcr.virginia.gov/stateparks/natural-bridge and www.lexingtonvirginia.com
Alleghany County, NC
Allegany County, North Carolina, is in the Heart of the Blue Ridge Parkway and offers something for every age, for every season. If you are looking for mild summer days or if you dream of being surrounded by the endless colors of Autumn, Alleghany is the place to be.
Alleghany County is rich in natural beauty with the Blue Ridge Parkway, hiking trails, the New River
and serene unspoiled landscapes as far as the eye can see. Enjoy peaceful drives freckled with local farms, picket fences, and lush stretches of forests. Take a deep breath and take in the simplicity of rural living. Relax and unwind as you canoe, tube or fish on the New River, as you walk the counties winding trails or down its town sidewalks. Enjoy everything from nearby state parks, to the local
down-home fun of the demolition derby or annual mudsling.
Alleghany shares its culture and heritage through art, music, festivals, and events. Hear the sound of local and regional music as it fills the air, test your endurance and skills with outdoor cycling and relay events, attend festivals that honor our farmers, artists, and crafters, and embrace the opportunity to get wrapped up in
storytelling, theater and writing. Enjoy a delicious meal in one of Alleghany’s restaurants where you can find a wide range of cultures and flavors. Complementing the culinary selections, is a local winery and brewery. Find your peace among the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains right in the Heart of the Blue Ridge Parkway. Experience unspoiled views and quiet solitude. Take a road less traveled, escape to a place where life is still simple, the air is clean and the stars are brighter. Come visit, explore, and discover what Alleghany County offers; and imagine calling Alleghany County “home”.
Stop by the Chamber of Commerce and Visitors Center at 58 South Main Street, Sparta, NC! Visit: www.alleghanycountychamber.org where you can access the community calendar.