Come visit the High Country in Ashe County, North Carolina
Ashe county is in the northwestern corner of the state of North Carolina, approximately 2 hours northwest of Charlotte, and is the gateway to the Blue Ridge Parkway.
Art and Culture
You can begin your visit in West Jefferson where one will find a growing art culture. There are many art galleries, and the town features murals painted on the downtown buildings. There are antiques and other shops, a history museum, boutiques and emporiums, dining, coffee shops, and old fashioned ice cream and candy store. Make a point to visit the Church of the Frescos with work by artist Benjamin Long and the Museum of Ashe County History. For your own artistic approach, take a class at the Florence Thomas Art School located in downtown West Jefferson.
You can visit the Ashe County Farmer’s Market, conveniently located on the back street in downtown West Jefferson. When you are finished for the day, you may choose to stop by the Ashe Cheese Company and sample homemade cheese or take some home to enjoy with friends. There also is a hometown movie theater called the Parkway if you want to take in a current movie.
Take in some scenic drives along the Blue Ridge Parkway or High Country backroads, to viewing Ashe County Barn Quilts. Visiting some of our charming nearby towns such as West Jefferson, Lansing, or Sparta, there is so many things to see in Ashe County. A little further is Todd, Boone, or Blowing Rock, which feature wonderful shops and great restaurants. If the outdoors is calling you, a wealth of hiking can be found in our many parks.
State Parks and Hiking
Explore the nearby New River State Park, gateway to the New River, believed to be one of the oldest rivers in North America. The New River was dedicated as a National Scenic River in 1976. For great views locally, visit Mount Jefferson State Park and take in the gorgeous vistas. Spend some time in Grayson Highlands State Park part of the Mount Rogers National Recreation Area, with loads of great hiking trails and herds of wild ponies. Additionally there are great trails in Grandfather Mountain, Pond Mountain, Bluff Mountain Nature Preserve, Doughton Park, along with nearby Stone Mountain State Park, Three Top Mountain, and Moses Cone Park.
There also is the Virginia Creeper Trail stretching 35 miles from Abingdon Virginia through Damascus Virginia to the NC State Line near Whitetop Virginia. The Virginia Creeper Trail is open to hiking, mountain biking and horseback riding. The former rail bed passes through the back country of Southwest Virginia. You don’t even need to bring your bikes, there are great outfitters in Damascus or in Whitetop who rent bikes and arrange to take you back to your car. You can contact Adventure Damascus, Sundog Outfitter, Shuttle Shack, or Creeper Trail Bike Rental, and they will assist you with your adventure. More bike riding can be found along the Railroad Grade Road, a 10-mile stretch that runs between Todd and Fleetwood, River Girl Fishing & Rentals also has bike rentals or if you brought your own bikes try the Rocky Knob Mountain Bike Park just outside of Boone.
For the avid golfer, there is Mountain Aire Golf Course and Jefferson Landing, both located in West Jefferson. Additionally, there are great courses nearby at New River Country Club or Stone Mountain Golf Club in Sparta, and Boone Golf Club in Boone.
Disc golf can be found at High Country Disc Golf Club.
Ashe County offers a wealth of Fly-Fishing opportunities. March through November is the high fly-fishing season on the New River in North Carolina. Try your luck at catching small mouth bass, rainbow trout, brown trout, mountain trout, muskellunges, carp, flathead and channel catfish. Lansing offers several great fishing places at the State Road 1361 Bridge to Tuckerdale, and the Big Horse Creek, well-known for its amazing fly-fishing opportunities. Several fly-fishing guide services are available — Rock On Charters, Jeff Wilkins Fly Fishing, and River Girl Fishing, or try your hand at the Grandfather Trout Farm in Banner Elk.
One of the oldest rivers in North America, the New River was dedicated as a National Scenic River in 1976. It is the centerpiece of the New River State Park. Three areas with access to this waterway make up more than 1,500 acres of the New River State Park and provides spots for camping, canoeing, kayaking, hiking, picnicking and fishing. Several local outfitters are ready to help you plan your trip down the New River. Choose from New River Outfitters, Zaloo’s Canoes, and Riverside Canoeing.
Visit one of the local farms: Landmark Farm Alpacas, Heritage Homestead, Old Orchard Creek, and Foxfire Holler Farm, however, some are only open seasonally. Please check their individual websites for farm tour information.
Ashe County is well known for its Christmas trees. Our state is the second largest producer of Christmas trees in the nation. Nothing beats a fresh cut tree in your home for the holidays! We have many nearby “choose and cut” lots. Ashe County Christmas Trees has a list of all the local lots.
Festivals and Music
Ashe County has a variety of festivals to interest everyone! Join us for Christmas in July, the OlaBelle Music Festival, the Appalachian Summer Festival, Wayne Henderson Music Festival, MerleFest, Grandfather Mountain Highland Games, or the Wooly Worm Festival.