11 Best Things to Do in the High Country

The “High Country” of North Carolina includes seven counties: Alleghany, Ashe, Avery, Mitchell, Watauga, Wilkes, and Yancey. There are a plethora of things to do in the NC mountains, you just have to know where to look. Here’s a list of 11 things to do in the High Country.

1. Visit the original Mast General Store in Valle Crucis

Originally opening in 1883, the Mast General Store was a place for Appalachian Trail hikers to stock up on items needed for their journey. Today, the store is still an outfitter for hiking gear, shoes, and knives. Fill a bag with candy and soak up the rich history of the Blue Ridge Mountains while walking around the store. Don’t forget to spend some time on the rocking chairs on the porch, too.

2. Eat some cheese at the Ashe County Cheese Factory

Originally opening in 1930, Ashe County Cheese sells not only cheese, but also candy, fudge, meat, salsa, butter, and jams. This is Carolina’s oldest cheese plant. View events and watch the cheese be made.

3. Tour the Moses Cone Manor Estate

The Moses Cone Manor is a 13,000 square foot mansion off the Blue Ridge Parkway at milepost 294. The estate has over 25 miles of hiking trails, including one to a firetower overlooking the mountains. Take a look at the gift shop and find homemade crafts. Be prepared to see horses riding the trails, too.

4. See dramatizations of Horn in the West

Boone, NC’s, rich history goes all the way back to the Revolutionary War when Daniel Boone hiked the Appalachian mountains. See dramatizations in the outdoor theater during the summer months.

5. Sip at The Banner Elk Winery

The Banner Elk Winery is a crowd favorite among locals and visitors. Taste wines in their tasting room for as low as $10 a glass. Even stay in the Villa overnight for a private retreat or getaway.

6. Hit a few at the Boone Golf Course

The Boone Golf Club is located on Fairway Dr. off 321. Play a round of golf in the mountains overlooking beautiful landscapes. It’s a great course for experienced golfer and beginners alike.


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7. Hike Howards Knob

Howards Knob is a scenic point overlooking Boone and the Appalachian State campus in Howards Knob County Park. Get to it by driving winding roads to 4,396 feet elevation (King St. is 3,333 feet). Eat a picnic lunch at the tables or hike the short trails around the top.


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8. Grab a pint at Blowing Rock Brewery

Blowing Rock Brewery is a microbrewery specializing in handcrafted artisan beer. Their beer has been awarded medals:

  • GOLD / Midnight Raspberry Wheat
  • SILVER / Grandfather Breakfast Stout & Barley Wine
  • BRONZE / Pilsner, Red Rider and ESB

The cozy rooms are perfect for a small gathering of family or friends. Try some of their menu items such as the bison-burger, pretzels, chicken sandwich, or duck.

9. Drive the Blue Ridge Parkway

The Blue Ridge Parkway is a winding road from Virginia to North Carolina along the Blue Ridge Mountains. Cruise on 469 miles of paved roads to hike trails, witness overlooks, and observe rich history.


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10. Riverraft at Wahoo’s Adventures

Looking for a river adventure? Wahoo’s Adventure is perfect for your next water adventure. This is the High Country’s oldest rafting, kayaking, canoeing, and tubing adventure company. Grab some friends, a cooler, and tubes, and get to floating down the New River.

11. View art at Blowing Rock Art & History Museum

The Blowing Rock Art & History Museum is a place for reminiscing and learning. Tour exhibits and see paintings and sketches for a $7 entrance fee (FREE during the month of April). Tour and appreciate local artistry.


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Do you want to live in the NC mountains?

Seeking to live in the NC mountains? We have the best homes for you to tour. Click below to see North Carolina homes with mountain views.