Banner Elk is in the center of the High Country and is the ski capitol of the South, being the home to Sugar Mountain ski resort. Other activities in the area include golfing, fishing, horseback riding, hiking and rafting. The town has many charming shops and restaurants, perfect for tourists and residents alike. Banner Elk is also home to Banner Elk Winery, offering tastings and tours.
Beech Mountain is the highest town in Eastern America with an elevation of 5,506′ and is home to Beech Mountain Ski Resort. In the summer, it is a cool mountain getaway offering mountain biking, hiking, fishing and golfing, while in the winter, it is a hub for skiing, snowboarding and sledding.
Blowing Rock is a 100-year-old village, nestled in the Blue Ridge Mountains. The community has grown to be a popular resort area for vacationers and seasonal residents, seeking cooler temperatures. Blowing Rock is home to interesting shops, restaurants and the famous Blowing Rock-a cliff overlooking Johns River Gorge.
Boone is the largest town, population-wise, in the High Country and is the home to the Appalachian State University Mountaineers. Boone flourishes with local businesses, including restaurants and specialty stores, and also has an abundance of outdoor activities in the area. The town has been named “an ultimate outdoor destination” in the Southeast.
Jefferson is one of the oldest towns in Western North Carolina, being chartered in 1803. It is home to the 1904 Courthouse, which is now a Visitor Center and museum. The town also offers several local restaurants unique to the area.
Newland has been the county seat of Avery County since 1913. It has a traditional town square, complete with shops, churches, and annual festivals. The town also has a newly-built Riverwalk-perfect for the town’s many craft and fine art festivals.
Sparta is considered to be the central community for Alleghany County, featuring many hotels, bed and breakfasts, and rentals, with a gorgeous backdrop of the Blue Ridge Mountains. The town itself is complete with many historic buildings including the Courthouse and Farmer’s Hardware Store. The quaint town offers a pleasant break from hectic lifestyles.
West Jefferson’s downtown area is home to more than a dozen galleries, craft shops and restaurants. St. Mary Episcopal Church hosts three frescoes and is a popular tourist attraction, as well as the Ashe County Cheese Factory and Shop. The town also hosts the Christmas in July celebration during Independence Day weekend, which draws over 20,000 visitors.
Wilkesboro is known as the Gateway to the Blue Ridge Mountains, nestled in the foothills with a historic downtown area. The town is close to major roadways and interstates , making it a convenient place to visit. Wilkesboro is home to the famous MerleFest, a music festival, which attracts over 75,000 people every April. In the area there are also several vineyards, including Raffadini, MenaRick, Jones vonDrehle, Elkin Creek and Shadow Springs vineyard.