With the highest average elevation of any county in the state, and bordering both Tennessee and Virginia, Ashe County is often called “The Coolest Corner of North Carolina!” It is VERY high in the mountains! You will find two fun facts in this itinerary. First, the oldest river in the United States and the second oldest river in the world is located in the county, and it is the New River. Keep reading to learn more!
Meet Makers of Unique Mountain Crafts
Red Salamander Pottery is nestled in the quiet mountains of Creston. Making the scenic drive is worthwhile, because there you will find Becki, a craft artist who hand-paints her pieces. Have you ever seen a yarn bowl, or apple baker? Well, they are at Red Salamander, and they are beautiful.
Dottie Baker is not only a gifted artisan, but also an instructor. Her pieces can be found at High Meadows Pottery, in West Jefferson. As a skilled potter for 50 years, her mastery of the craft is reflected in each piece of her work. What sets Dottie apart is not only her expertise at the wheel and with glazes, but also the decades of study and teaching experience that goes into each item she lovingly creates!
Need your very own bank at home? Well, you can purchase a handmade piggy bank at Grassy Creek Pottery in Crumpler! Along with many other items, craft artisan Cheryl still marvels at the entire magical process of producing wheel-thrown pottery. The uncertainty and the promise in making her creations motivate her daily. “Opening a kiln after a glaze firing is like Christmas every morning!” she says.
Second fun fact … Ashe County is the largest producer of Christmas trees in the country! Many tree farms welcome the public, especially during the fall and holiday season of the year.
Nearby natural sites, major hiking trails, or waterfalls:
New River State Park, Jefferson
Mount Jefferson, Summit Trail to 4,665 feet
Blue Ridge Parkway. Trails include:
Jumping Off Rock Trail (Milepost 260.3)
Thompkins Knob Trail (Milepost 272.5)
Lump Trail (Milepost 264.4).
Attractions (especially for kids and/or family-friendly):
Old Orchard Creek Farm, Lansing
Ashe County Cheese
Museum of Ashe County History
Major Festivals or Events:
Christmas in July
Ashe County Fiddlers’ Festival
Ashe County Farmers Market (Every Saturday)
West Jefferson Antiques Fair (September)
Stomp & Brew (October)
Local Dining and Libation:
Shatley Springs Restaurant, Crumpler
New River Brewing