Both located on hwy 194, and only a few tenths of a mile apart, these are good places to go for buying anything from old fashioned candy and soda, to camping gear and clothing. We made sure we came here every time we were in town. Check out the site below for more history on this, the first Mast General Store, since 1883.
Directly behind the annex and up the hill a ways is a trail head that climbs steeply through the woods about a mile to the foot of a waterfall. Often we would even take night hikes up this way. In my freshman year, myself and a group of kids from the dorm got it in our heads that we were going to be adventurous and hike as far along the stream as we could (while most people stop at the foot of the waterfall and turn back). We hiked what must have been four miles or so uphill where there really was no path, trudging through the stream itself at times until we came upon someone's property and a barb wired fence. Only then did we turn back. I have pictures somewhere of this belligerent expedition that I will post soon hopefully.
83 Reviews and Opinions
1451 Watauga River Road, Valle Crucis, North Carolina, 28679, United States
Good for: Couples
2543 Broadstone Road, PO Box 704, Valle Crucis, North Carolina, 28691, United States
Good for: Business
315 Lazy Bear Trail, Valle Crucis, North Carolina, 28692, United States
Good for: Couples
2171 Broadstone Road, Valle Crucis, North Carolina, 28604, United States
Good for: Business
1709 Broadstone Road, Valle Crucis, North Carolina, 28691, United States
Good for: Couples
Nearby College town and plenty of stuff to do. If Valle Crucis is too tame for you then come down the mountain aways and check out all the nightlife in Boone. Go to my Boone page for more info.
If you have been enjoying the serene scenery of the Blue Ridge Parkway and are beginning to feel withdrawal from 21st Century hustle-and-bustle, you may need a shopping break. At the Mast General Store in Valle Crucis, just off the Parkway at Milepost 292, is one of the oldest (almost) continuously operating general stores in America. It still sells pioneer products such as kerosene lamps and stone-ground grits, but you can find just about anything you really need there unless you need a dress from Paris or something of that type. Built in 1883, the store also pays tribute to its mountain heritage with occasional back-porch bluegrass jam sessions.
Henry Taylor built a general store in Valle Crucis in 1882 and opened it in 1883. With business booming at his general store, in 1897 Taylor sold half interest of the company to one of his employees, William Wellington Mast. The store was known as the Taylor and Mast General Store until 1913, when W.W. purchased the entire business which then became simply Mast General Store.
For the next 60 years, the Mast family carried all of the items their neighbors might need such as cloth, flour, sugar, coffee, boots, overalls, seed, cookware, plows, cradles, and even caskets at their general store. Credit was extended to those who needed it and payments were often taken in trade. As W.W opened the store each day at 5:30 a.m. and remained open until late in the evening, the Mast Store not only offered merchandise but also served as a community-gathering place. A trip to the store almost always included sitting a spell around the pot-bellied stove to share local news and gossip. When someone in the community was sick or needy, the word spread quickly and neighbors rushed to help each other.
The Mast family sold the store in 1973 and that year the site was placed on the National Register of Historic Places as one of the finest remaining examples of an old country general store. The store closed in November of 1977, supposedly just for the winter. However, the owners never reopened the store and it remained closed for two years.
A young couple, John and Faye Cooper, bought the Mast General Store in 1979 and re-opened the doors for business in June of 1980. The new owners built upon the traditions set by the Mast family by caring for their community, carrying quality goods at fair prices, and providing excellent service to their customers. In 1982, owners of the Mast Store re-opened the old Farthing building just down the road and it became the Mast Store Annex. The Original Mast Store and Annex remain as the cornerstones of the community. Other historic properties are still very much alive in the valley, if you care to stay a bit longer.
Somewhat akin to most other successful 20th Century businesses, there are now a total of eight Mast General Stores ranging from Knoxville, TN to Columbia, SC.
What to buy: Often known as "the store that has everything."
What to pay: Fair prices
Open since 1883 and carrying everything from cradles to caskets, the original Mast General Store is something to behold and it is on the National Register of Historic Places.
You can and will find items and staples from the 19th century as well as contemporary items.
Look for hard-to-find items or simply browse and check all the memorabilia from decades ago that adorn the walls, floors and ceilings.
You can close your eyes and imagine that 100 years ago the people were doing the same thing as they are today.
There is plenty of parking around back on the west side (gas pump) of the main building and they opened the 100-year-old schoolhouse the weekend I was there to hold a craft fair and sale.
Sit out back of the store and enjoy a Nehi Orange or Grape Soda while rocking in one of the many rocking chairs on the back deck.
Open Mon-Sat from 7:00 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. & Sunday 12-6 p.m.
What to buy: There is old-time mercantile specializing in old-fashioned candy and soft drinks; locally home-made food products; furniture; household goods; animal goods, etc.
Also, traditional clothing from flannels and boxers to wool shirts, silkwear, jewelry, sleepwear and hats.
You can also find travel and trail outfitters from backpacks & sleeping bags to camping stoves, Swiss Army knives, maps, compasses, GPS units, and tents.
Finally, rugged and casual footwear from flip-flops (USD $5.00) to walking, hiking and backpacking shoes and boots, socks and insoles.
Look for special old-time candies like Boston Baked Beans, Rock candy, rootbeer barrells, fudge, wax bottles, 1 pound jawbreakers and salt water taffy. Candy is USD $5.50 per pound.
What to pay: I found bargains of home-made household items (candles & rugs) that were extreme bargains plus hard-to-find items that were at or below normal retail prices.