The Mysterious Brown Mountain Lights of Morganton NC

Looking for Brown Mountain Lights at the Brown Mountain Overlook near Morganton NC

The history of the Blue Ridge Mountains is riddled with Appalachian folklore, including the Mysterious Brown Mountain Lights of Morganton NC.  They range from various age-old superstitions to mythical monsters such as Bigfoot, Mothman, and the Snallygaster, a half-bird, half-reptile chimera that reportedly terrorized 18th century German immigrants. One of the more famous Appalachian folktales … Read more

The 15 Best Boone NC Hiking Trails to Explore

Boone NC Hiking Trails

[Updated August 3, 2021] The Blue Ridge Mountain town of Boone NC is best-known for its Christmas tree farms and outdoor recreation opportunities, offering everything from mountain biking and rock climbing to whitewater rafting and snow skiing. The county seat of Watauga County has a population of around 20,000, which is pretty big for the Western … Read more

Things to Do at Grandfather Mountain State Park in Banner Elk NC

View from the Swinging Bridge on Grandfather Mountain

For me, the monolithic majesty of Grandfather Mountain preceded itself. On a few occasions in the past, my wife Emma and I visited friends who had a distant view of it from their mountain cabin. They were always thrilled to point the iconic summit out as a centerpiece of the High Country landscape. In a … Read more

How to Get to Otter Falls Near Banner Elk NC

Otter Falls Trail near Banner Elk and Boone NC

[Updated August 12, 2021] A relatively new tourist attraction in the Western North Carolina mountains, Otter Falls isn’t anywhere near the biggest of the waterfalls in North Carolina’s High Country. The waterfall doesn’t have a huge volume of water running through per second, or an especially impressive drop. It doesn’t even require an epic hike … Read more

Things to Do at Moses H. Cone Memorial Park Near Blowing Rock NC

Moses H. Cone Memorial Park

The short stretch of the Blue Ridge Parkway that runs from just east of Boone NC to just west of Blowing Rock is particularly packed with special sites and things to do. Over this 36-mile span, you’ll see the monolithic landmark of Grandfather Mountain, stunningly colorful mountain lakes, and jaw-dropping scenic vistas from the lofty NC High … Read more

Things to Do in Elk Knob State Park Near Boone NC

Scenery in Elk Knob State Park in Boone NC

There is no shortage of stunning state parks in the North Carolina mountains. We’ve been fortunate to visit a good number of them, staring up at wondrous waterfalls and conquering skyscraping climbs to mountain summits with panoramic views. Nevertheless, our trip to the oft-overlooked 4,400-acre Elk Knob State Park last week proved to be another unique … Read more

The Hickory Ridge Living History Museum and “Horn in the West” in Boone NC

Hickory Ridge Living Museum/Horn in the West

The Southern Appalachian Historical Association was formed to preserve the history and cultural heritage of Watauga County and the surrounding areas in the North Carolina mountains. It does this in a variety of ways– through theatrical performances, educational programs, and an excellent living history museum. Located in Boone, the seat of Watauga County, the Hickory … Read more

The Best Places for Snow-Skiing in North Carolina

Best Snow-Skiing in NC

[Updated 11/10/21]  The beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains may not have the jaw-dropping 13,000- to 14,000-foot peaks you’ll find in the Rockies of Colorado or Utah, but there are actually numerous great places to go snow skiing in North Carolina. There are impressive options for skiing near Asheville, not to mention top-flight North Carolina ski resorts … Read more