Located in the North Carolina High Country, at 3,333 feet, Boone, North Carolina offers a cool summer retreat (summer highs average 75 degrees) while the rest of the South is sweltering during the dog days of summer.
Named after Daniel Boone, the legendary hunter who maintained a hunting camp in the area, several attractions in the area play homage to the famous explorer. Boone is also home to Appalachian State University, giving the town a college ambiance along with the cultural and community education activities that come with a large university. The University’s An Appalachian Summer Festival brings a six-week concert series, featuring such national acts as Lyle Lovett, The Band Perry and Mary Chapin Carpenter.
The summer also brings the Horn in the West Outdoor Drama, one of the nation’s oldest (2013 marks its 62nd consecutive season) revolutionary war dramas, depicting pioneers as they sought freedom from British tyranny. The adjacent Hickory Ridge Living History Museum features several log cabins and onsite interpreters are on hand to answer questions about what life was like in the eighteenth century.
Boone is an outdoor lover’s paradise with activities such as zip-lining, kayaking, river tubing, hiking and fishing, trying yourself in archery with the best crossbow, etc. River Girl Fishing Company in nearby Todd, can not only hook you up with an inner tube and take you on a leisurely float down the New River, but here you can also meet Petunia, their family pig and resident oinker. The newly opened Rocky Knob Mountain Bike Park provides mountain bikers with two separate trails, Rocky Branch Trail, a 1.6 mile loop and Lower Knob Trail, a 1.0 mile loop with another 5 miles of trails expected in the future. Several hiking trails are along the scenic Blue Ridge Parkway and the Appalachian Trail traverses through the area.
Adrenaline seekers have plenty to keep them busy. At Sky Valley Zip Tours, thrill seekers can traverse ten zip-lines, jump off a cliff and a walk across a 120-foot wobbly rope bridge on the 140-acre property. Big Momma, as one zip-line is nicknamed, is 300 feet above the ground and reaches speed up to forty miles an hour.
Don’t worry; there is plenty for the kids to do too with nearby Tweetsie Railroad, a western-themed amusement park featuring a three-mile steam-powered train ride. In nearby Blowing Rock, Grandfather Mountain has a mile-high swinging bridge and mini-zoo and Linville Caverns, offers daily tours through the stalagmites and stalactites.
West King Street in Downtown Boone is a shopping paradise with specialty shops, galleries and antique stores. You can enjoy chocolate malts at the old-fashioned soda fountain at Boone Drug Company or stop in at Mast General Store, located in the Old Boone Mercantile building, offering everything from “cradles to graves”. It’s a popular spot to pick-up local-made goods and candy snatched from the barrel and sold by the pound.
Restaurants in the area offer out of the ordinary dining experiences. Proper, located on Water Street is a traditional, meat-and-three, home-cooking restaurant, located in what was the old jailhouse. The Daniel Boone Inn and Restaurant has been serving meals family-style with southern favorites like country steak, ham biscuits and fried chicken since 1959.
When it’s time to rest your head after a long fun-filled day, Boone has a variety of lodging options ranging from the usual chain hotels and motels to the nearby, five-star Mast Farm Inn. If you need more space, the Yonahlossee Resort offers rental cabins with anywhere from one to five bedrooms.
So when you’ve had enough of the summer heat, head up to Boone and see for yourself why Boone is bursting with summer fun for the whole family.
Eat:Proper 142 S. Water Street Boone, NC 28607 828-865-5000 www.propermeal.com
Play:Grandfather Mountain US 221 and Blue Ridge Parkway Linville, NC 28646 1-800-468-7325 www.grandfather.com
Sky Valley Zip Tours Winklers Creek Road Blowing Rock, NC 855-475-9947 www.boonezip.com
Horn in the West and Hickory Ridge Museum 591 Horn in the West Drive Boone, NC 28607 828-264-2120 www.HornintheWest.com
Tweetsie Railroad 300 Tweetsie Railroad Lane Blowing Rock, NC 28605 828-264-9061 www.tweetsie.com
River Girl Fishing Company 4041 Railroad Grade Road Todd, NC 28684 336-877-3099 www.rivergirlfishing.com