Spruce Pine, a small town with a big town reputation
Once a mining and railroad town, today’s Spruce Pine is known for the arts, its galleries, small shops, and eateries. Located on the upper Oak Avenue is the Spruce Pine Gallery operated by the Toe River Arts Council. The large well-lit gallery offers changing exhibitions and a well-stocked gift shop.
Built on a sloping hillside, the main road through Spruce Pine splits to create an upper and lower “Main Street.” Oak Avenue runs along the upper edge of town with Locust Street along the lower section. Adjacent to Locust Street is the North Toe River and the railroad. Businesses here had easy access to rail transport. Their doors front a wide roadway that once accommodated shipping and receiving, today, the walkway allows for a leisurely promenade.
The Spruce Pine Mining District is a swath of the valley of the North Toe River in northwestern North Carolina that is home to one of the richest deposits of gems and minerals in the world. The area is mined for mica, kaolin, quartz, and feldspar. Open seven days a week, the Museum of North Carolina Minerals is nearby, located at Milepost 331 on the Blue Ridge Parkway.