Nestled in the Appalachian Blue Ridge Mountains in western North Carolina is the town of Boone. The town was settled by one of America’s most famous pioneers, Daniel Boone. Boone explored and settled the area as colonial America struggled to separate itself from Britain. Today Boone is a beautiful place to visit with its mountain views and historic charm.
1. Horn In the West
If you visit Boone, North Carolina in the summer you shouldn’t miss Horn In the West. This year will be the 68th season where Boone, North Carolina honors its history and its namesake, Daniel Boone. The event was created by the Southern Appalachian Historical Association. Daniel Boone was one of America’s most well known pioneers. He worked with Cherokee allies to found settlements in the Blue Ridge Mountains and defeat the British during the American Revolutionary War. Boone, NC celebrates this legacy with a live performance of the drama Horn In the West in an outdoor Amphitheater and has done so every summer since 1952.
2. Hickory Ridge Living History Museum
The Hickory Ridge Living History Museum is also a creation of the Southern Appalachian Historical Association and should be on the list of itinerary for any visitor to Boone. The museum was established in 1980 but includes several historical cabins that have been rebuilt or recreated over the twentieth century. Six cabins are included that reflect the life of Blue Mountain settlers from 1785 to 1805. They include typical homes from the period, a Tavern/Trading Post and a Blacksmith Shop. The museum incorporates the cabins into their educational program which includes guides dressed in period costumes and the chance for visitors to experience colonial life including hearthside cookking, candlemaking, spinning and blacksmithing.
3. The Greenway Trail
A great place to experience the beauty of Boone is The Greenway Trail. The trail meanders along the South Fork of the New River and meanders through the backcountry of Boone. The paved and gravel trail is an easy walk or bike ride and stretches from 1 to 3.5 miles. Along the trail visitors will view forests, wetlands, meadows and a mountain stream. There are also the ruins of an early twentieth century hydroulic generation station that once powered a school and several homes. Signs along the trail note important human and natural history related to the area. Visitors can also enjoy observing the local plant and wildlife. There are picnic areas and shelters along the way.
4. High Country Wine Trail
Wine enthusiasts will enjoy the High Country Wine Trail. The trail includes five local wineries: Banner Elk, Grandfather Vineyard, Linville Falls Winery, Watauga Lake Winery and Villa Nove Vineyard Farm and Winery. Guests will enjoy touring the wineries and sampling wine made from the fruit of the High Country. Live music is played throughout the summer. There are events such as grape stomping held throughout the year.
5. Watauga County Farmers Market
Since 1974 the town of Boone has held a Farmers Market in its Town Square in Daniel Boone Park on Saturdays during the season. Locals sell fresh produce and fruits, eggs, baked goods, jellies and honey, flowers and other local items. Events held throughout the season include music, Kids at the Market, Kids Mini Market and Chefs at the Market. Visiting the Farmers Market is a great way for first time visitors to Boone to experience the local culture.
6. Aerial Adventure Park
For the more adventurous visitor, Aerial Adventure Park offers fun for all ages. The park is run by High Gravity Adventures and consists of two courses, the Blue Ridge and the Ultimate Adventure. Guests are guided for 3 hours in over 75 aerial experiences including climbing and rappelling stations at 3 different levels. There is also a giant swing that plunges 45 feet. Aerial Adventure Park is a fun and exhilarating way to experience the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains.
7. Tweetsie Railroad
Train buffs and young and old will enjoy visiting Tweetsie Railroad. The “Old West” style theme park includes 2 restored steam locomotives. There are rides, restaurants, a saloon and shops. Tweetsie Railroad maintains its goal to help restore vintage locomotives. The park has a Steam Locomotive Shop where train restorers can purchase all kinds of locomotive parts to aid in restoration. Whether your’re interested in restoring vintage locomotives, want to take a ride on a vintage train, or simply enjoy a day of fun rides, Tweetsie Railroad provides a fun time for all.
8. Dan’l Boone Inn
Dan’l Boone Inn is a restaurant located in one of the oldest buildings in downtown Boone and is a great place to enjoy a home style southern comfort meal. The building was first the home and office of Dr. R.K. Bingham and his family. It served as the city’s first hospital. It was later used to house students of Appalachian State Teachers College. The Whitaker Family bought the building in 1959 and turned it into the Dan’l Boone Inn. Guests will enjoy a delicious home cooked breakfast or dinner served family style.
9. Mast General Store
Mast General Store is a great stop for visitors to Boone. The mercantile store is filled with all things country including clothes, jewelry, knick knacks and jams. Half the store is dedicated to candy. Mast General Store is housed in two historic buildings on King Street. The red brick building on the left side opened in 1913 as the People’s Bank until it closed during the Great Depression. It would later house the Belk-White and then Hunt’s Department Stores. The other building opened in 1917 as the Boone Drug Company and was later a dime store, a beauty parlor and a restaurant. A radio station was upstairs.
10. North Carolina on Tap
North Carolina was at the forefront of the popularity of microbreweries. Once the 2005 bill Pop the Cap passed it allowed for microbreweries to spring up. Boone is home to four. North Carolina on Tap offers small group tours of each of the breweries. The tours are informative, fun and safe. They also touch on the importance of the breweries being eco-friendly. The tour includes Appalachian Mountain Brewery, Blowing Rock Brewing Company, Booneshine Brewing Company and Lost Province Brewing.