So many High Country small towns are overlooked and often disguised as drive-through towns to get to bigger places, such as Asheville or Boone. And while we love our neighbors with high populations, we know the small ones offer just as much culture, shopping, food and outdoor recreation.
Recently featured in our latest blogs, Spruce Pine is home to some great spots for dining-in drinks. (See Where to Eat in the High Country and Your High Country Beer Guide for our recommendations!) Downtown is a quaint, art lover’s paradise, with lots of local shops, art galleries and public art projects. Spruce Pine is also known as “The Mineral City” for being one of the richest deposits of gems in the world. Residents like to celebrate it with year-round gem and mineral festivals. If you’d rather be fishing, Toe River has an abundance of trout, and Spruce Prince Footbridge has a view of all of downtown.
Crossnore is seven miles from Linville with a population of just over 200. Although it’s the smallest town in our list, it is home to the biggest resale shop in the area (The Blair Fraley Thrift Store) that benefits the Crossnore School and Children’s Home. For more than a century, this nonprofit has provided accommodations for North Carolina’s foster children and is well known in Avery County. Other stops to make include Linville River Mercantile & Bakery and Miracle Grounds Coffee Shop & Cafe, two of Crossnore’s hidden gems for the hungry.
To get the full Roan Mountain experience, visit during the peak bloom season in June for the Rhododendron Festival. Residents and tourists visit Roan Mountain for this two-day celebration to appreciate its natural beauty, eat traditional foods, and listen to live music by local musicians. Take a trip to northeast Tennessee to the Roan Mountain State Park to fish on the Doe River or camp out for the weekend. Roan Mountain is worth the short drive for an outdoor getaway.
Valle Crucis is a peaceful, rural community with a population of about 500. It’s known for its antique style shops and thrift stores. Valle Crucis Mercantile and Mast Store Annex are some of the well-known shops, but Mast General is our favorite. (So much so we mentioned it in our recent blog). Mast General has been part of the town since 1883 and is styled like it was when it first opened, complete with a post office and fireplace. Aside from shopping, outdoor activities are year-round with skiing and tubing in the winter, and horseback riding and hiking in the warmer seasons.
Seven Devils has always been a resort town, providing tourists with several recreational activities. Since devastating hurricanes, the golf course and slopes have closed, but year-round recreation continues to be a big part of the town and tourism. Horseback riding, fishing, ziplining, snow tubing, and hiking in Otter Falls Park all remain popular among tourists and locals alike!