Wildflowers You Might Spot From Milepost 277-291
- Dwarf Iris – Mar-April
- Birdfoot Violet – Mar-May
- Buttercups – Mar-June
- Wild Strawberry – Mar-June
- Crested Dwarf Iris – Apr-May
- Flame Azalea – May-June
- Fraser Magnolia – May
- Catawba Rhododendron – June
- Beard Tongue – June-July
- Mountain Laurel – June-July
Birds You Might Spot From Milepost 277-291
- Red-tailed Hawks
- Chestnut-sided Warblers
- Black-throated Blue Warblers
- Canada Warblers
- Slate-colored Juncos
- White-breasted Nuthatches
- Rose-breasted Grosbeaks
Points of Interest – Milepost 277 to 291
Grandview Overlook – Gorgeous view–as the name implies! Located at MP 281.7 FREE
Daniel Boone Trace – The rich history of our area includes many visits from pioneer Daniel Boone. In the mid 1700s, Boone had a camping cabin in Boone (where ASU is now located) and regularly hunted the area. At this stop, (MP 285.1), there is a monument and a roadside picnic table. FREE
Raven’s Rock Overlook– Views of valley surrounding the Watauga River. No picnic access but great place to pull off and tailgate while enjoying the view. MP 289 FREE
Thunder Hill Overlook– View overlooks Yadkin River valley. Can see Hickory & Lenoir. Great views during the day and particularly at night. Also great place to pull off to tailgate. MP 290 FREE
Downtown Boone – 2 Hrs. – Featuring charming and distinctive shoppes, antique markets, boutiques and restaurants. From MP 276.4, take Hwy. 421 North until it becomes King Street – and you’re there! Be sure to see all the stores on Main Street like Old Boone Mercantile, but also turn on Depot Street and then right onto Howard to visit that area as well.
An Appalachian Summer Festival – The High Country’s Festival of the Arts featuring the finest in music, dance, theater and visual arts during the month of July each year. Sponsored by and held at Appalachian State University. From MP 276.4 take Hwy. 421 North until it becomes King Street. Turn left at Daniel Boone Inn Restaurant and then right onto Rivers Street. Events are held at various venues on campus. Call 800-841-ARTS or 800-438-7500 for a calendar, times and venues. www.appsummer.appstate.edu
Magic Mountain Mini-Golf & Gem Mine – 1 to 2 hrs. – A challenging and fun-filled course set on a mountainside amidst the beauty of nature and waterfalls. Mine for gems in NC enriched ore. All equipment provided. From MP 276.4, take Hwy. 421 North into Boone. Turn left on Hwy. 105, go through the 321 intersection. Magic Mountain is less than 1 mile from intersection on left. 828-265-4653 $
Daniel Boone Native Gardens – 30 minutes to 1 hour – Featuring a collection of NC native plant material in an informal landscape designed for education and preservation. See the wrought iron gates made by Daniel Boone VI, a direct descendent of the great pioneer. Seasonal operation. A great place to go before you hike so that you can “name that vegetation” along the way! From MP 276.4, take Hwy. 421 north to Boone, turn left onto Hwy. 105, turn right onto Hwy. 321. Turn right in between funeral home and Pizza Hut onto Horn in the West Drive. From MP 291.9, take Hwy. 321 into Boone, go through large intersection and turn right in between funeral home & Pizza Hut onto Horn in the West Drive. 828-264-6390 $
Watauga County Farmers Market– 1 Hr. – The Watauga County Farmer’s Market at the historic Horn in the West, Features the finest produce, fresh eggs, baked goods, crafts, cut flowers, garden and specialty plants. Open every Saturday May through October and also Wednesdays in July and August. Hours are 8:00 a.m. till noon. From MP 276.4, take Hwy. 421 north to Boone, turn left onto Hwy. 105, turn right onto Hwy. 321. Turn right in between funeral home and Pizza Hut onto Horn in the West Drive. From MP 291.9, take Hwy. 321 into Boone, go through large intersection and turn right in between funeral home & Pizza Hut onto Horn in the West Drive. 423-727-9370 or www.wataugacountyfarmersmarket.org
Horn in the West – 2.5 Hrs. – The nation’s third oldest outdoor drama telling the story of the Revolutionary War and warmly portrays Daniel Boone and his pioneer friends as they faced the danger of the British army and Cherokee Indians. in western NC. Open at 8pm nightly except Mondays from June-August. From MP 276.4, take Hwy. 421 north to Boone, turn left onto Hwy. 105, turn right onto Hwy. 321. Turn right in between funeral home and Pizza Hut onto Horn in the West Drive. From MP 291.9, take Hwy. 321 into Boone, go through large intersection and turn right in between funeral home & Pizza Hut onto Horn in the West Drive. 828-264-2120 or www.boonenc.org/saha $
Howard’s Knob – 1 Hr. – A great place for a picnic or to see Boone from above. Covered tables and spectacular views of the area. From MP 276.4, take Hwy. 321 until it turns into King Street, then turn right onto Depot Street at the Old Boone Mercantile. At the stop sign, turn left onto North Street and then shortly after, turn right onto Junaluska Rd. Take Junaluska almost to the top where it runs into Howard’s Knob Rd. FREE
Mast General Store – 1 hr. – Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the original Mast General Store is located in Valle Crucis. Once known for selling everything from “cradles to caskets,” this landmark still carries nearly everything you’d need for life in the past century and most of this one. From MP 276.4, go north toward Boone on Hwy. 421, turn left on Hwy. 105 and go about 3 miles. Turn right at stoplight just after bridge onto State Rd. 1112/Broadstone Rd. Mast General Store is approximately 2 miles on right (you will also pass the Mast General Store annex and Mast Farm Inn on the way–stop there, too!) 828-963-6511 or www.mastgeneralstore.com
Appalachian Ski Mtn. – Half Day to All Day! – Ski, snowboard and ice skate at Appalachian Ski Mtn. Featuring 8 slopes, 6 lifts, a 365′ vertical drop and an elevation of 4,000 feet. Family-oriented fun with spectacular scenery! Open mid November through March each year (depending on weather). From MP 291, Appalachian Ski Mtn. is just a very short distance up Hwy. 321 toward Boone. Turn left onto Edmiston Road (there is a traffic light at Edmiston during the winter months) 800-322-2373 or www.appskimtn.com $
Appalachian Heritage Museum & Native American Artifacts Museum – 30 minutes to 1 hour – The Appalachian Heritage Museum is housed in a 1903 house originally built by the founding father of Appalachian State University. It has been restored to portray the lifestyle of middle class mountain families from the late 1800s to the early 1900s. The Native American Artifacts Museum houses over 50,000 pieces of authentic Native American artifacts including arrowheads, effigy pipes, bowls, celts and awls. The largest collection of its kind in NC. From MP 291.9, take Hwy. 321 toward Boone and the Museums will be on the left beside Mystery Hill. 828-264-2792 www.mysteryhill-nc.com $
Mystery Hill – 1 to 2 hrs. – Mystery Hill explores the relationship of science, optical illusion and natural phenomena in a hands-on entertainment center. Enter the Mystery House where a stronger than average pull to the north causes some basic laws of physics to work a bit differently than normal. Stand at a 45 degree angle and watch a ball roll up hill. Also enter the Hall of Mystery to have fun with interactive optical illusions, puzzles and life-size bubbles. Appalachian Heritage Museum and Native American Artifacts Museum also on site. From MP 291.9, its a straight shot up Hwy. 321 toward Boone. Mystery Hill is on your left. 828-264-2792 www.mysteryhill-nc.com $
Tweetsie Railroad – 4-6 hrs. – Family theme park with three-mile train ride, crafts, live entertainment, Country Fair rides and a petting zoo. Featuring the Number 12 engine, part of the original “Tweetsie” which ran through the High Country–and is on the National Register of Historic Places. Open mid-May through mid-August every day and weekends from August through October. Featuring Halloween Festival on weekend evenings in October. From MP 291.9, go about 1.5 miles on Hwy. 321 and Tweetsie will be on your left. 828-264-9061 or www.tweetsie.com $
Origins of Area Names between milepost 276-291
- Seven Devils: Seven men on horseback who were interested in developing the mountain with seven peaks encountered a rumor that there was an old man who had seven sons “as mean as the devil.” The founders wanted a catchy, unique name that would bring attention to the mountain. They noticed the repeated appearance of the number seven, including the seven predominant rocky peaks surrounding Valley Creek–and also many coincidental reference to “devils”–people also commented about the mountain, “it is as cold as the devil,” or “as windy as the devil.”
- Valle Crucis: Means “Valley of the Cross,” named for two mountain streams that flow toward each other and when emptying into Dutch Creek, form a St. Andrews cross.
- Watauga County: Cherokee name which is said to mean “Beautiful Waters,” “River of Islands,” and “The Land Beyond,” but no one knows for sure.
- Tweetsie Railroad : Gets its affectionate name from the mountain people who loved the train’s shrill whistle. The train began in 1882 as the ET & WNC Railroad and finally ran from Boone to Johnson City in 1918. It is now a popular theme park between Boone & Blowing Rock.
- Meat Camp : Meat Camp was so named because of a cabin that stood on the land where hunters would store their meat and hides while they hunted the land.
- Aho Gap : Aho was actually named by a committee. When a name was in the process of being chosen, there was always a conflict with whatever was suggested, so the committee decided that the next word spoken, no matter what it was, would be the name of the new community. After a long silence, BB Dougherty (father of ASU) stood up, stretched, and said, “Aho.”
Facts and Folklore between milepost 276 – 291
- Daniel Boone Slept Here! – While Boone bears the name of the famous pioneer, he wasn’t born here and he didn’t die here. But Boone did supposedly have a hunting cabin here where he spent a great deal of time. The cabin was located where the campus of ASU is now. A sculpture of Daniel and his hunting dogs can be found on River’s Street near Stadium Drive.
- Boone Named Best Town- Did you know that Boone is a perennial member of “The 100 Best Small Towns in America,” and was Blue Ridge Country magazines’ 1998 readers’ choice as “Best Mountain Town”?