The Quilt Trails of Western NC has more than 200 quilt blocks making it the the largest concentration anywhere in the United States. Six contiguous counties host quilt blocks, with the highest concentration in Yancey and Mitchell Counties. While in Yancey County, visit Mt. Mitchell, highest peak East of the Mississippi. Mitchell County is home to Roan Mountain (the rhododendrons are in full bloom in June – gateway through Bakersville) and Avery County offers Grandfather Mountain with its mile-high swinging bridge. Of course we have waterfalls, supreme hiking, great trout fishing, canoeing, golf, horseback riding, and great shopping. Burnsville, seat of Yancey County, has two quilt shops.
A trip to the mountains is not complete without a stop at Mast General Store, built in 1882, and one of the major attractions of the Mission Crossing byway. Quaint towns, rustic barns and beautiful fall colors are additional reasons to make the drive. The byway begins near the Avery County community of Cranberry and follows N.C. 194 through the Elk River Valley to Banner Elk. From here, the route descends into the Watauga River Valley and passes through Valle Crucis, home to the original Mast General Store and the 19th century Mast Farm Inn. Mission Crossing ends in the Watauga County community of Vilas at the intersection of N.C. 194 and U.S. 321/421 north of Boone.
Length: 17 miles
Drive time: 45 minutes
Counties: Avery, Watauga
Blue Ridge Parkway Scenic Day Trip
A 75-mile section of the paved recreational Blue Ridge Parkway, which follows the scenic crest of the Blue Ridge Mountains from Blowing Rock to the Virginia state line. This well-known scenic route was designed as a recreational road along the crest of the Blue Ridge and other mountains of the Appalachian chain. Hence there is little commercial truck traffic and few business establishments along the parkway itself. The road passes through a seemingly endless array of deep forests, pastoral fields, and breathtaking views. Historic sites, hiking trails, and numerous overlooks break up the trip. Though the parkway is hardly undiscovered, it is still one of the premier touring routes of the eastern United States.
Travel season: Year-round; best season is April through October.
Special attractions: Blowing Rock, Boone’s Trace , E.B. Jeffress Park, Northwest Trading Post, Dougthton Park, Brinegar Cabin, and Cumberland Knob, hiking, scenic views, fall colors.