New Heritage Trails in the High Country Region Two cultural heritage trails developed by the Blue Ridge National Heritage Area will give your visit to the High Country of Western North Carolina new meaning. Here is a list of sites on the trails located in the NC High Country:
Blue Ridge Heritage Trail Interpretive Wayside Stories
- Telling the story of the Hickory Ridge Living History Museum and Horn in the West Outdoor Drama, this heritage trail sign is located next to the farmers market pavilion as you enter the museum grounds. The museum and drama are open in the summer. The museum can be accessed year round on weekends.
- Tweetsie Railroad, a wild west fun park, often features traditional music concerts. Open May through October. Look for their heritage trail sign in front of the ticket office.
- Moses Cone Memorial Park and Flat Top Manor. Learn about the “Denim King” and his Gilded Age mansion at the heritage trail sign. The manor is on the Blue Ridge Parkway at Milepost 294.
- The historic village of Valle Crucis, located on Hwy. 194 off NC Hwy 105, has two sites on the heritage trail: the original Mast General Store and the Mast Farm Inn. A visit to these businesses will take you a step back in time. You can hear traditional music at the store on Saturdays and Sunday.
- Grandfather Mountain is on the Blue Ridge Heritage Trail. Get breathtaking views from the Mile High Swinging Bridge at the top. “Singing on the Mountain,” an all-day gospel sing is held annually in June in McCrae Meadows.
- Looking for native plants for your landscape? Visit Gardens of the Blue Ridge, just south of the Blue Ridge Parkway off NC 215 near Pineola.
- Continue on NC 215 South to the Brown Mountain Overlook and read about the mysterious Brown Mountain Lights on the heritage trail sign. You will also have a terrific view of the Linville Gorge.
Blue Ridge Music Trails of NC
- Catch some lively traditional tunes at the Jones House, 604 West King Street, Boone. Winter/spring indoor concerts, a summer concert series on Fridays at 5pm, and Thursday night jams year-round.
- Joe Shannon’s Mountain Home Music indoor concert series features performances in Boone and Blowing Rock from May-December.
- Contra dancing at the Todd Mercantile and a free summer concert series make the tiny village of Todd a great music stop.
- The Christmas in July Festival is great July 4th fun in West Jefferson. The town is a hotbed of music and art, with summer concerts in the backstreet park.
- Just up the road a ways from West Jefferson is the town of Sparta, another stop on the Blue Ridge Heritage Trail, but also home to the Alleghany Jubilee. Kick up your heels to bluegrass on Tuesdays and old-time music on Saturday nights.
- MerleFest, the “granddaddy” of music festivals in Western NC, is held annually the last weekend in April in Wilkesboro. Two heritage trail signs can be found in Wilkesboro as well. One is at the Old Wilkes Jail that tells the story of Tom Dooley’s incarceration there before he was hanged. The other is in front of the city police station on the main street and tells about the two Ben Long IV Frescoes at the nearby St. Paul’s Episcopal Church.