Wise Folks Still Seek Hills
North Carolina Travel Blog› entry 2 of 3 › view all entries
February 13th, 2007 – by: americandetour
BOONE (elevation 3,333), was once an inaccessible mountain town in Northwest North Carolina, hence ‚ÄúThe best way to get to Boone is to be born there.‚ÄĚ Deftly balancing old-timely Southern charm and ecological sustainability, the green movement is here and windmills are beginning to grace the undulating horizon.
The surrounding region is Mecca for ‚Äúbefore ‚Äėlectric powah‚ÄĚ archetypal bluegrass music. There‚Äôs no need for any folk revivals here, around random corners you‚Äôll meet people picking early American fretless banjos, accompanied by guitars, fiddles or harmonicas. This is also ground zero for hog calling legends and cloggers (a.k.a. country tap-dancers). The high country‚Äôs elevation also keeps mosquitoes at bay.
Dining at the Boone Drug lunch counter, a haven for satisfying artery-cement entrees and local color, I overheard two old-timers discussing America‚Äôs current economic woes --- quips included:
‚ÄúAs crazy as a duck in a thunderstorm‚Ä¶‚ÄĚ
‚ÄúLike eating crackers through a screen‚Ä¶‚ÄĚ
Joe Miller, part owner of Boone Drug and founder of Cheap Joe‚Äôs, a global art supply company, was literally born on the sidewalk under the Boone Drug sign (which makes answering ‚Äėwhat sign are you‚Äô a cinch).
Travel writer Charles Kuralt called Boone‚Äôs Mast General Store the heart and soul of the south. The multi-room store is on the National Register of Historic Places because it‚Äôs not budging from its 1884 origins. You can read a book there, or buy everything from molasses to high-tech hiking gear.
ASHE COUNTY, the Christmas tree province that‚Äôs frequently supplies the White House‚Äôs tree, boasts several gems, including artsy West Jefferson, a sleepy valley town that will likely double in size by 2020 (as urbanites give up on cement), and Glendale Springs Holy Trinity Church, a stop on the Ben Long Fresco Trail that‚Äôs open for mediation 24/7.
Grassy Creek‚Äôs River House flanks the New River, one of the Earth‚Äôs rare rivers, like the Nile, that flows north --- and behind the Nile, is the world‚Äôs second oldest river. Set on 160 acres, the River House‚Äôs nine rooms include a lavishly renovated chicken coop and a divine space previously used a cattle weigh station. The epic front porch of the main house has eight rocking chairs that overlook the river, and a simpler time. Their kayaking option is a leisurely downriver breeze that earns rocking chair time and a glass of fine wine. Owner Gayle Winston, a tenth generation Ashe County native and Manhattan resident/patron of Broadway from 1953-73, oversees the country kitchen gourmet dining and wine sampling in her living room. The River House defines North Carolina royalty.
The landscape of a county that‚Äôs the second largest Christmas tree producer after the entire state of Washington strives beyond native Fraser Firs; deciduous trees are an even match for the rolling rows of conifers. Indian legends survive here because when times are rough, it helps to heed the lessons of an American civilization that survived 11,000 years.
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