Refresh in North Carolina’s High Country
By Julie Matthews
Look no further than the North Carolina’s High Country to lift your spirits and fill your soul. Whether you are seeking peace and serenity or wild adventures, the High Country’s beautiful mountainous landscape offers an experience like no other..
Simply put, the High Country is an outdoor enthusiast’s dream come true. With the Blue Ridge Mountains as the backdrop, this destination is full of breathtaking views, from scenic overlooks to stunning waterfalls. There is always something amazing to see here, and the Blue Ridge Parkway, particularly along the Linn Cove Viaduct, is a central corridor for connecting people with the region’s remarkable nature.
While the activities change with the seasons, fun things are happening in the High Country year-round. During the colder months, the mountain slopes fill with winter sports, such as skiing, snowboarding and snow tubing. Sugar Mountain, Beech Mountain and Grandfather Mountain (also well known for its Mile High Swinging Bridge) are must-visit sites for wintertime adventures.
As the temperatures warm and the snow melts, the High Country transforms into a different setting covered in lush greenery and colorful wildflowers, including vibrant rhododendrons. During spring, summer and fall, visitors flock to the area’s nature parks, such as the Pisgah National Forest, for outdoor excursions like hiking and biking on park trails and exploring the woods for glimpses of the region’s diverse wildlife. In addition, water activities are huge in the High Country. From fly fishing to whitewater rafting, tubing and kayaking, the area’s rivers and lakes provide outstanding recreational opportunities. As more low-key options, visiting local farms and farmers markets are also great activities for getting outside and breathing in the fresh mountain air.
While the outdoor activities are undeniably incredible, the High Country offers many other attractions as well. The area’s towns—such as Boone (home to the Appalachian State University), Blowing Rock, Banner Elk, West Jefferson and Valle Crucis—are rich in history and heritage, not to mention rustic, small town charm.
During your visit, immerse yourself into this mountain community by attending theatrical performances at App State and other local venues or outdoor concerts, which occur frequently in nearby parks. Shopping at locally owned shops and sampling local fare are also excellent ways to get acquainted with the High Country. Enjoy family style meals and fresh, caught seafood, such as trout, at local restaurants, and spend time in taste rooms of the area’s breweries and wineries. And be sure to check out activities that are unique to this part of the country, such as gem mining or annual events like Banner Elk’s eccentric Woolly Worm Festival.
Embrace the boundless opportunities for creating a one-of-a-kind experience in the High Country. Whatever you plan for your mountain getaway, look forward to rejuvenating while making extraordinary lifelong memories.