Located only 20 minutes from the Blue Ridge Parkway, West Jefferson, North Carolina, is a quaint mountain town with a thriving downtown district that is home to a wide range of shops and restaurants, including two craft breweries. Ashe County Cheese and St. Mary’s Church of the Frescoes are two of our most popular attractions.
The Appalachian Mural Trail, distinctive public art, and numerous galleries abound in West Jefferson’s arts district. As a bonus, the pedestrian-friendly streets of West Jefferson are lined with flowering and green shrubs. Take a walk around West Jefferson and discover what makes it so unique.
During the summer months, West Jefferson hosts a variety of festivals, concerts, gallery crawls, weekly farmers markets, and other special events. If fall is your favorite season, we invite you to join us for our local fall festivals, corn mazes, and pumpkin picking in the midst of awe-inspiring autumnal scenery. All throughout downtown, there are Christmas lights, choose-and-cut Christmas trees at nearby tree farms, and community Christmas events to enjoy. There is no better time to visit West Jefferson than in any season.
The Arts District in West Jefferson is one of the city’s most popular attractions. Local and regional artists’ works can be found in numerous art galleries and studios here. Summer and holiday Gallery Crawls offer visitors the chance to stroll downtown and visit the many galleries participating in the Crawl with an open house type event. They have become a downtown institution. Local artists’ work is on display year-round at the Ashe County Arts Council in downtown Asheville’s rotating exhibits and special events. As a bonus, there are 15 murals scattered throughout the downtown area of West Jefferson. Incorporating the history of the region as well as its distinct mountain character, the murals were conceptualized and executed by local artists. To learn more about the mural, click here. Many cultural events and performances are held at the Ashe County Civic Center, including the Ashe County Little Theater.
West Jefferson’s Ashe County Cheese is a must-see, and it may be the most famous in the entire state. The oldest cheese plant in the Carolinas, this company was established in 1939 and offers visitors the opportunity to watch cheese being made. There are over 20 varieties of cheese made on-site at the Ashe County Cheese Store, which also features local wines, ice cream, snacks, and souvenirs for everyone.
The Fresco paintings by Benjamin F. Long IV, a world-renowned artist, are another major draw for tourists in West Jefferson. St. Mary’s Episcopal Church’s life-size fresco paintings are stunning and will leave you speechless. Three of the four frescoes on the Blue Ridge Fresco Trail are located in Ashe County, including Mary Great with Child, John the Baptist, and the Mystery of Faith, at St. Mary’s Episcopal Church. In Glendale Springs, about 15 minutes east of West Jefferson, you’ll find Holy Trinity Episcopal Church’s painting of the Last Supper. All ages, groups, and buses are welcome at the Fresco churches, which are open year-round.
At an elevation of more than 4,000 feet, Mount Jefferson provides a stunning backdrop for West Jefferson. Mount Jefferson, which was established as a state park in 1956, is a popular destination for visitors of all ages because of its numerous hiking trails, overlooks, picnic areas, and year-round interactive workshops with Park rangers. Mount Jefferson, now designated as a State Natural Area, is home to a wide variety of unusual trees, shrubs, and wildflowers, earning it national recognition from the National Park Service as a natural landmark.
Green grass, a small stream, and ancient oak trees abound in the Bowie-Seagraves Municipal Park, which is just behind downtown. There is a new lighted half-mile walking trail loop in the Park where you can read a book, picnic, play on the playground, and take a walk at night. Additional to that, just above the downtown area and next door to the Park is Ashe County Public Library. Every amenity and service you could possibly want in a library can be found in this beautifully renovated facility.
The Summer Concert Series is held on the third and fourth Fridays of every month from May through August at Backstreet Park, which is located on the Backstreet. Traditional bluegrass, country, and gospel music are among the genres featured in the concert series. You should bring a chair and relax.
The Annual Christmas in July Festival, held the first weekend of July every year, is another West Jefferson tradition. This one-day festival, which attracts tens of thousands to downtown, showcases the Christmas tree industry as well as a variety of arts, crafts, collectibles, and food vendors. This festival is a yearly tradition in West Jefferson and the surrounding area thanks to the performances of local musicians and dance groups.