At Ashe County Cheese, you can purchase fresh cheese curd. Mmmmmmmm! This is the only cheese factory in the state of North Carolina. They have an observation room where you can look through a large window onto the factory floor and watch the cheese being made.
When you have not much to do...
"Not far from Boone"
Cute little town but don't blink. If you find yourself here, it's because you have a friend or family member that lives here. If not, it's because you are bored and feel like taking a pretty drive. It is an easy 40 minutes or so from Boone.
A trip to the simpler life
"Where in the world is West Jefferson?"
West Jefferson is located in Ashe County, the most Northwestern corner of North Carolina where North Carolina, Tennesee, and Virginia meet. Although 2004 was a banner year for new shops and restaraunts, it still very much maintains its small town mountain charm. Being located in the Christmas Tree capitol of the Eastern US, this small town charm goes on special display every year as the county celebrates this heritage with a Chrismas in July festival held in West Jefferson. Downtown is closed off to vehicle traffic for two days as hundreds of vendors line the streets with their mountain wares and food in abundance.
"Whats around it"
The area around West Jefferson provides ample opportunity to get off the beaten path. The "Mountain Faith" picture in the introduction was taken on highway 88 near the town of Creston to the west of West Jefferson. Mount Jefferson State Natural Area sits atop Mount Jefferson below which the city of West Jefferson is nestled (see the panaroma picture in my Ashe County album). Pictured in this chapter is one of the great summer activities available - canoing the New River.
"Art and Faith"
In West Jefferson there exists a very small quaint Episcopalian Church - St. Marys. It would be just one of many such chuches dotting the mountains of Western North Carolina except that a number of years ago artist Ben Long was induced to paint a series of Frescos in St. Mary's and its sister Church, Trinity Episcopal in nearby Glendale Springs(also in Ashe County). Together these two are known as the Churches of the Frescos and are well worth your time to both enyjoy the beauty of the art that adorns the sanctuaries, and just to spend some quiet time of reflection in an inspirational place the mountains.
West Jefferson, NC
I went with a long-time friend and her son to visit her father in West Jefferson, NC. It's a small town nestled in the mountains in the northwest part of the state, very close to the Virginia border (and not very far from Tennessee, either). Have a look at my travelogue and see what the immediate area looks like.
The town itself is undergoing a bit of resurgence, thanks to an influx of artists drawn to the remote beauty of the countryside and the availability of buildings for galleries and studios.
There are several cute cafes and coffee shops in town, a cheap movie theater, some wonderful shops, and the only cheese factory in the state (Ashe County Cheese; you can shop in their store or go across the street to their observation room to watch the cheese being made).
You can visit my Chimney Rock, NC page for travelogues about the park, or my North Carolina "main" page for a travelogue of our drive along the Blue Ridge Parkway.
A Trip to W. Kerr Scott Dam & Reservoir
My friend's stepmom had just returned from a business trip in the eastern part of North Carolina and said the trees "sure are pretty on the other side of the mountain." So when we were looking for something to do one of the days I was there, we drove to W. Kerr Scott Dam and Reservoir. It's on "the other side of the mountain!" For a little history on the dam, you can visit http://www.wilkesnc.org/history/wkerr.htm
Here's a picture of the dam that creates the reservoir.
Here are my friends at the reservoir--this is at a nice little boat-launch area with a covered picnic area and a visitor's center.
It was a crisp, blue-sky kind of day.
This is the view from the picnic area we stopped at, across the dam (you can drive across the top).
A little place to call home (if you're a bird) under the persimmon tree.
Enough with the trees and the water . . . let's have some FUN! Nicholas discovers the joy of a slide. (But I think we had more fun watching him than he did going down!)
From the "It Looks Better Than Its Name Implies" file . . . the view at Blood Creek Overlook. There is a fishing pier here and you can see some other hardy souls in their boat headed up the creek over there on the left of the photo.
Finally, Jill on the fishing pier. We have no poles, we have no bait, and everyone else is waiting in the car. I guess it's time to call it a day!