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Things to Do & See Around Boone, NC?

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Sep 1st, 2008, 03:20 PM
  #1
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Things to Do & See Around Boone, NC?

Dear Fodorites,

I have an opportunity to home exchange with some folks who have a vacation home in Boone, NC which appears to be in the "mountains" near the TN border. I would go during peak fall colors and they tell me that would be about the 2nd week in Oct. Is that correct?

Also, it looks like Ashville is close enough for a day trip. Any other things to see and do besides hiking? I'm a little concerned that a week will be too long for me in the mountains.

I've never been to the area before and might consider combining this with a few days in Charleston and Savannah to make it worthwhile.

Suggestions and comments? Thanks in advance!
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Sep 1st, 2008, 03:26 PM
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Oh good, its time for payback! You helped me with my Park City plans. Welcome to North Carolina. It is a gorgeous time to visit and there will be a great deal to do (and quite a few people here doing it!). Asheville, Black Mountain and that area will be easily reached in a day. You can also visit Blowing Rock and Banner Elk during your stay in Boone (home of Appalachian State University...where football is KING). Or you could take a day trip to Old Salem, in Winston Salem, NC . This is a marvelous restoration (as opposed to reconstruction) of an early American town. It is most extraordinary and worth a trip. www.oldsalem.org for more information.
Welcome to North Carolina, Dayle!
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Sep 1st, 2008, 03:32 PM
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Dayle, do you enjoy cycling? There is a wonderful trail between Fleetwood and Todd, all paved, very flat and quite scenic (except where the offensive new houses are being built). The Todd General Store is worth a visit!
Of course cycling the Blue Ridge is very popular, but I am an off road cyclist...big chicken here....so my recos are all with little or no car traffic.
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Sep 1st, 2008, 03:40 PM
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cmcfong,

Bless you! I gathered from other NC posts that you are from there.

I do like riding, but only where the cars can't get me. So we agree there too! These other sight seeing ops you mention are small towns? Not too tacky touristy? I'll resarch them.

Winston-Salem would definitely be of interest. I really enjoy history and architecture, outdoor activities and photography.

So far I've checked and can't find any non-stops between SLC and Charlotte. Should I consider a larger airport and would it be worth the drive?
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Sep 1st, 2008, 03:53 PM
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You might enjoy a drive to Valle Crucis, visit the original Mast General Store, drive the back roads up through Banner Elk to Beech Mountain. We also enjoyed driving the Blue Ridge Parkway, visiting/hiking by Grandfather Mountain. Don't miss walking around Blowing Rock, & a wonderful restaurant in Blowing Rock called Bistro Roca - ask for an outdoor table; they have these wonderful heating elements between tables so you can enjoy the brisk mountain air without freezing. Don't miss the fig appetizer on the menu!
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Sep 1st, 2008, 06:03 PM
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Winston Salem is about 2 hours from Boone, a straight shot on 421. If your passions are architecture and history, Old Salem is the place for you. It would be the perfect day trip for you. And if you want a bit of excercise on the same day, add a loop around Salem Lake. You could park at Old Salem, ride the greenway through a gorgeous park to the lake and then back. 13 miles, all off road which is just spectacular in the fall.

The other little towns, like Valle Crucis are not terribly touristy, but fall is a premium season for visitors to our mountains. They are pretty lovely that time of year. Many, many good restaurant choices.

Are you on Facebook by any chance? I have posted some pictures of Salem Lake there. Also you can write to me there, I am in the Fodors group.

USAIR and DELTA have the most flights to CLT, but I don't see either of them currently offering a non stop from SLC. That's a change, I think. You might have better luck with RDU but that would be a longer drive to Boone (4 hours est) however it would go right past Winston Salem and you could do your first night there at the Brookstown Inn.
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Sep 2nd, 2008, 09:55 AM
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Good thought cmcfong,

Since Winston Salem is a 2 hr drive one way, maybe I'll do it on the way in or out. Considering the price of gas!

I'm doing some research and it does look like I could do a week in the area.

Is the second week of Oct normally peak colors?
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Sep 2nd, 2008, 01:07 PM
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You can't really plan for peak colors in the area. Aim for a date and you may or may not hit it.

Tweetsie Railroad has the Ghost Train on weekends in October.
http://www.tweetsie.com/special_events/

If you have any interest in railroad history, I can point you to other places in the area.

Barter Theater in Abingdon, Va., for a show. www.bartertheater.com

Bike the Virginia Creeper Trail from White Top Mountain, Va., to Damascus, Va. (near Abingdon). It's strictly a biking/hiking trail, no cars.
http://www.thebike-station.com/ for rentals and shuttle.

Shop and stroll in Blowing Rock, NC.

Drive the Blue Ridge Parkway and stop at all the overlooks. Visit the Moses Cone Manor on the Parkway, it's beautiful.

And cmcfong, I agree about the "offensive" homes on the way to Todd! They look way out of place. My dad and I had lunch at the Todd General Store earlier this year and while the location is unique, I thought the lunch was WAY overpriced. River Girl Outfitters in Todd rents bikes and does fly fishing trips and rafting/float trips.
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Sep 2nd, 2008, 01:59 PM
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Dayle, I have to ditto xrae on the fall color prediction. It will be pretty if not peak. It is so hard to guess when the color will peak in that area.
Her suggestion about Abingdon is great. I did a trip up there about two weeks ago and posted a report about my ride on the Virginia Creeper if you want to check that out. Loved it!
The Craft shop in the Moses Cone park is lovely. Asheville has some very nice high quality crafts as well.
Another little town with some appeal is Weaverville. If you like spa treatments they have a very good one, the Secret Garden (www.secretgardennc.com) Excellent treatments in a lovely Arts and Crafts building. Two good restaurants, Stoney Knob and Welbread Cafe (recommended to me by LeahinSC on this board). You will definitely not run out of things to do!
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Sep 3rd, 2008, 08:43 AM
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Just have to second the Blue Ridge Parkway. Especially for photography. Linn Cove Viaduct and Linville Falls come to mind immediately in that area near Grandfather Mountain. You do have to pay to get into Grandfather Mountain park, but there are some great views there. There is also a short trail by a small picnic area with some great views that goes past a small outdoor chapel type place inside the park.

We also found a trail, not well marked at the time, that led up to a deck with fantastic views of the mountains and the viaduct. When we stopped at the visitor center near the viaduct they said that it was new and they were trying to keep it a secret because people were trampling on the foliage in the area. This was a couple of years ago -- so not sure what it is called now, but really worth seeing.

Chimney Rock State Park is also worth seeing -- watch Last of the Mohicans before you go. Also, is Biltmore Estate in your plans?
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Sep 3rd, 2008, 12:07 PM
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Thanks for the recommendations! Yes, Biltmore was the one thing I knew of in the area.

Now that I've made the decision, I'm getting excited. I just love going new places and researching a trip! Turns out one of my co-workers/carpool buddies has family in Banner Elk and so she has lots of recommendations too.

I can pick my week in Oct. Should I go later rather than earlier? I know fall colors can vary. Maybe they do so more in the East than in the Rockies, I don't know....on the other hand, having nice hiking and bike riding weather sounds good too!

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Sep 4th, 2008, 08:53 AM
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Fresco churches in Glendale and West Jefferson.
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Sep 4th, 2008, 10:55 AM
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Charlotte'a a pretty good sized airport!! And a hub for USAir. You could check for connections to Asheville but Charlotte is an easy 2 hour drive to Boone.
second and third week of October is a good target or the foliage. It will at least be changing at the higher elevations.
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Sep 4th, 2008, 06:10 PM
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Check to see if Appalachian State is playing. Last year they beat Michigan at home!

My family likes a little pool hall in Foscoe for hotdogs. There is no smoking and it is very family oriented.
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Sep 15th, 2008, 12:31 PM
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Dayle, please keep me in the loop as your plans develop. I would love to buy you lunch at Old Salem if I will be in town the same time as you.
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Sep 15th, 2008, 01:52 PM
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You could also easily hit some wineries 'en route' from CLT. www.visitncwine.com.
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Sep 15th, 2008, 03:25 PM
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Its been a while, help me out here. What about Cades Cove self driving tour. Where is that exactly, CMCFong?
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Sep 15th, 2008, 03:38 PM
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cheryl,Cades Cove is in the Great Smokies. www.cadescove.net

Very pretty spot, Dayle!
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Sep 15th, 2008, 05:17 PM
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check out if the Wooly Worm Festival will be in Banner Elk when you are there.

Hiking to Linville Falls is lovely (take the longer hike to the lower falls)

Linville Caverns, Tweetsie Railroad, tons of hikes/beautiful spots for picnics along the Blue Ridge Parkway, of course Blowing Rock is lovely (outlet shopping there is decent), Valle Crucis.

Charleston/Savannah are too far away. You could easily spend a week there in my opinion.

Where exactly is the vacation home (is it really in Boone?)
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Sep 15th, 2008, 06:52 PM
  #20
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Thanks for all the great ideas Fodorites! cmcfong, I'll let you know what week I plan. Lunch would be really great!

Yikes! OUTLET MALLS in Blowing Rock??? May have to skip that town. I consider our own Outlet Mall a plague on the mountains!
Definitely not a shopper here, especially on vacation.

Thanks all!

PS - I just got another exchange offer for Venice at Christmas. Very tempting! Too bad the real world limits vacation time.....
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