Celebrating Independence Day in Boone, NC
Driving into Boone, North Carolina, I had a panoramic view of the Appalachian Mountains. The views of majestic purple mountains had me thinking of the extraordinary experience this visit will be, of all my varied travels. The captivating view, enhanced by the delicious Saturday breakfast I found in town truly said this is a great place to visit. It is.

That morning I managed to secure a canoe, taking it out on the lake, the mist still not risen from its surface. The views of lush forest, of wildflowers along the shore, and of curious fish rising to see who this intruder was, invading their aquatic paradise was pure pleasure. Country vacations is not my thing, being a city dweller all my life. New York, London, or Chicago are far more like home, but somehow Boone made me feel my roots were there. I felt welcomed; at ease; relaxed and comfortable. That’s what Boone seems to do to all its visitors, and that’s a damn good thing. Tourists and visitors are warmly welcomed to the area and graciously treated with Southern hospitality.

There’s more to Boone than meets the eye, the palate, or the ear. Indeed, Boone is a joy for all the senses. Isolated from the mainstream of North Carolina tourism, this picturesque hamlet is nestled in the western part of the state along the Blue Ridge Parkway – America’s most scenic road.

The area is filled with top-quality resorts, great hotels, excellent conference facilities and some of the most unique restaurants I’ve been privileged to dine at over the years. Last night, for example, I took friends and family to Gamekeeper, a truly individual and unique restaurant set high on a mountain. Serving wild game, this restaurant has extraordinary cuisine that is sure to please the palate of even the most tenacious environmentalist. The Charcuterie plate, comprised of salami, rabbit pâté, duck rilletes, bread, and pickled vegetables was perfect, considering that we’re thousands of miles from Europe. Served as an appetizer it could not have been better; made than by the hands of Chef-Proprietor Ken Gordon. The Grilled Elk leg, served with bleu mac and cheese and shiitake jus was outstanding. Even the children ate the veggies, and that’s saying something! The elk itself was cooked just right. Each dish was prepared to exacting standards. The menu included Trout, Emu and other wild game. Cooked as they are by this talented chef, the dishes are great, most filling and impressive, to say the least. An excellent wine list and a full assortment of fine desserts finalize this pricey, but value-packed restaurant. You will not leave hungry.  We strongly recommend dining at this fine eatery during your stay in Boone or Blowing Rock.
Magnificent Views in Boone, NC
In neighboring Blowing Rock, the Chetola Resort is a masterpiece (winner of Epicurus 5 Crowns, 2004-7). Lunch at The Manor House Restaurant could not possibly have been better. Extremely good food complements the historic dining rooms and its scenic property, complete with lake and waterfall. This all-inclusive resort can rent you a room, a suite or even a multi-bedroom condo for your stay at affordable prices. With impeccable service, a great menu, their creative, talented chef and a team of professionals in charge, this resort is a great place to bring your family on vacation or your company for a conference, seminar or meeting. Chetola offers a wide range of amenities for couples, families or business travel. Concerts, in summer are held on a lawn adjacent to the lake in park-like grounds. Chetola’s “Bob Timberlake Lodge” is a boutique hotel within a resort hotel, providing a range of luxury and pampering, with comfort and relaxation as if you were a guest in someone”s home rather than a hotel. Simply marvelous thinking and superb accommodations. Superb decor in its comforting rooms lends an air of country sophistication and a family-style kitchen area supplies all sorts of goodies allowing guests to ”raid the fridge”. What fun! Book early… these few rooms are hard to get. Chetola Resort will be the subject of further scrutiny as I plan to return for the Fall Foliage season.

Dining in Boone, there’s a wide range of choice including Black Cat Burritos a place that serves up a great meal.

The Dan’l Boone Inn is an historic inn serving great country food, family style. Their fried chicken is outstanding and it’s “all you can eat”. Service, done family style, is superb, and prices are absolutely reasonable. Worth a visit at twice the price. You will not leave hungry, but you best arrive that way!

There are many things to do for singles, couples, families, or business travelers in Boone and surrounding communities. It is a perfect destination for every season.

Grandfather Mountain is a must-visit place for hiking tours of the beautiful Appalachians. Tweetsie Railroad is a family fun place with games and amusements for children of all ages. In town and out there are many art shows, concerts, movies and activities to be enjoyed. Boone is also a great place for country antiques and if you like “hippie culture”, Boone is the best thing this side of Haight-Ashbury. I really enjoyed the flash-back to the 1960”s while visiting many of the great boutiques in town. The Downtown area is a flashback to the America of yesteryear, with retail shops and eateries along the main street. While there are a few big box stores, in Boone, the small business survives and thrives.

Visit www.exploreboone.com for more information. Addresses and links for the properties mentioned above are listed below, along with others. We suggest these as the best venues in town.

resorts & hotels
Chetola Resort and Conference Center
North Main Street
Blowing Rock, NC 28605

Courtyard by Marriott
1050 Highway 105
Boone, NC 28607
Courtyard by Marriott – Boone/

Fairfield Inn and Suites

2030 Blowing Rock Road
Boone, NC

Black Cat Burrito
127 S. Depot Street
Boone, NC

Dan’l Boone Inn and Restaurant

Junction US 321-421 next to ASU

Gamekeeper Restaurant

3005 Shull’s Mill Road
Boone, NC

Manor House at Chetola Resort
North Main Street
Blowing Rock, NC 28605

things to do
The Blowing Rock Brewery and Ale House Restaurant are located in downtown Blowing Rock. Our state-of-the-art facility offers a wide variety of mountain artisan craft beer. The Blowing Rock Ale House Restaurant offers a local, seasonal menu that both compliments and incorporates our brews.
152 Sunset Drive
Blowing Rock, NC 28605

25 miles of preserved Carriage Trails wind through the estate that once belonged to “Denim King” Moses Cone and his wife, Bertha. Wander the trails, fish at Bass and Trout Lakes, see the historic mansion, and hike up to the top of Flat Top Mountain to see the Cone family cemetery plots and breathtaking views of the area.
Milepost 294, Blue Ridge Parkway
Blowing Rock, NC
Cone Park Carriage Trails.pdf

The NC High Country’s 1st Ski Area-since 1962. 10 slopes including 2 Terrain Parks. 2 Quad Chairlifts, 1 Double Chairlift, 1Conveyor Lift, 1 Handle Pull Lift. Night skiing, outdoor ice skating. Open Friday before Thanksgiving through late March, 7 days a week. Ski & snowboard equipment, apparel, & helmet rentals available. Home of the French Swiss Ski College, the Southeast’s largest independent Ski School. Large Bavarian-style base lodge is smoke-free w/ wireless internet, Restaurant, Ski & Gift Shop, Nursery, Lockers, Video Game Room, Meeting Rooms, & 200 foot observation deck. Off season wedding receptions. Slopeside lodging and ski-and-stay packages available. Special rates for groups and early and late season.
940 Ski Mountain Road
Blowing Rock, NC 28605-0106

Laugh,scream, gasp and lose yourself in a world of adventure, comedy, romance and suspense. Escape to Barter Theatre and experience world-class entertainment. Let your imagination run wild and discover thrills like you never have before, watching stories unfold at the nation’s longest running equity theatre.
69127 West Main St.
Abingdon, VA 24212

Doc’s Rocks Gem Mine was recently recognized by the North Carolina Board of Education as the ONLY education based commercial gem mine in North Carolina and was classified as a special class of Geological Interpreters practicing Interpretive Methods to relay college level geology to all age groups young and old.
111 Mystery Hill Lane
Blowing Rock, NC 28605

Be inspired by the views from the highest point in the Blue Ridge and escape to anature sanctuary of global importance. Cross the famous Mile High Swinging Bridge, photograph native wildlife in natural habitats and hike some of the South’s finest alpine trails. US 221 two miles north of Linville and one mile south of the Blue Ridge Parkway at milepost 305, 15 miles south of Blowing Rock. Open all year, weather permitting in winter.
Hwy 221 South
Linville, NC 28646-0995

Welcome to the newest adventure experience in the High Country. Get harnessed up and climb your way through 75 different aerial challenges ranging from 15-50 feet off the ground. Whether you are a seasoned adventurer or in need of an introduction to the vertical world, High Gravity Adventures is where you belong. We offer active outdoor adventure for individuals, couples, families and groups of all kinds. Individual tickets range from $19 to $49 and Season Passes are available for ages 4 and up. High Gravity Adventures is open March through November. See their website for hours and more information on the vertical world!
215 Tweetsie Railroad Rd.
Blowing Rock, NC 28605

Open late June to mid-August. Shows nightly except Monday at 8pm. Exciting family entertainment of the history of the area. The adjacent Hickory Ridge Living History Museum is open before the show. Donations are encouraged. All seats reserved, walk-ups welcome.
70591 Horn In The West Blvd.
Boone, NC 28607

Julian Price Memorial Park can be found on the Blue Ridge Parkway, just 5 miles from Blowing Rock. Here, you can camp, hike, canoe, picnic, fish, or simply stand and take in the beauty to be found at Price Lake.
Milepost 296 Blue Ridge Parkway
Blowing Rock, NC
Price Park Trails.pdf

Guided tours through a natural limestone cavern featuring stalactite and stalagmite formations, underground stream and blind trout. North Carolina’s only show caverns. Open year round (weekends only December, January, February).
Hwy 221 North
Marion, NC 28752

Hiking, campground and picnic area. Trail to overlooks of falls and gorge. Falls are located within the Linville Gorge Wilderness Area and are among largest falls in the region. Climbing in the gorge is prohibited.
Milepost 316.5 Blue Ridge Parkway
Linville Falls, NC
Linville Falls Trails.pdf

Nestled in a secluded mountain valley, you’ll discover a place Charles Kuralt calls”…a destination.” Mast General Store in Valle Crucis. Outfitting the Appalachian since 1883 with traditional mercantile goods, comfortable clothing, rugged footwear and quality outdoor gear for all mountain seasons. Warm up by our potbellied stove, mail a letter at our antique post office, and discover why some times are just too good to leave behind.
Original Store/Mast Store Annex
Highway 194
Valle Crucis, NC 28691

Mystifying visitors to the High Country since 1948 Mystery Hill features a fascinating collection of hands on activities related to Optical Illusions, Natural Phenomena, and Puzzles. See your friends grow and shrink before your eyes on the Mystery Platform, experience the “gravitational” pull of The Mystery House, Lose your shadow on the Shadow Wall, learn to fly on the Flying Mirror, stand inside a giant soap bubble at Bubblerama. Tickets also include free admission to the Native American Artifacts Museum and The Appalachian Heritage Museum housed in the 1903 home of the founder of Appalachian State University. Open 7 days a week year round, rain or shine. Four miles from Blowing Rock on Hwy 321.
129 Mystery Hill Lane
Blowing Rock, NC 28605

In the Moses Cone Manor just off 221. Finest quality Appalachian Mountain hand-made crafts by members of the Southern Highland Craft Guild. Craft demonstrations on the porch. March 15-November 30.
Milepost 294
Blowing Rock, NC 28605

The 192,000-acre Grandfather District of Pisgah National Forest stretches from near Black Mountain, along the east side of the Blue Ridge Parkway, to just south of Blowing Rock. The forest provides outstanding recreation, spectacular scenery, a vast array of wildlife habitat, and sustainable timber.

Experience a true canopy tour and zip line adventure with Sky Valley Zip Tours! With over a mile of cable and elevations up to 300 feet, the course features 10 zip lines, cliff jumping, a swinging bridge, waterfalls & more.
634 Sky Ranch Rd.
Blowing Rock, NC 28607

Wild West family theme park featuring a three-mile, steam-powered train ride through the North Carolina mountains. Shopping, live entertainment, amusement rides and a petting zoo. Open on weekends from Mid-April -May (Fri.-Sun). Open 7 days a week after end of May through mid-August. Mid-August through October, open weekends (Fri.-Sun.). Operating hours are 9AM to 6PM. Please call ahead to verify operating hours and rates, or visit our website for more information.
300 Tweetsie Railroad Lane
Blowing Rock, NC 28605

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