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Small Town West Jefferson: Crafts, Murals, Music & the Blue Ridge Parkway

A visit to West Jefferson will take you to some of the highest mountains in the Blue Ridge National Heritage Area. Ashe County shares borders with Tennessee and Virginia and holds the nickname “The Coolest Corner of North Carolina.” Within a 30-minute drive from Boone, and only 20 minutes off the Blue Ridge Parkway, West Jefferson holds plenty that will make your Western North Carolina experience memorable!

Besides a unique photo opportunity at the iconic painted Dairy Cow Milk Tanks at Ashe County Cheese, find craft shops offering traditional handmade pottery, barn quilts, and musical instruments. There are beautiful murals painted by local artists on many downtown buildings. You can browse artist studios, galleries, and even have opportunities to schedule a class!

Let us introduce you to some special West Jefferson places:

Florence Thomas School for the Arts offers art supplies, a gallery, and a full slate of classes. Be sure to admire Birds at Work, the building’s gorgeous mural!

At Whiskey Mountain Pottery David Bridge uses glazes inspired by ancient Chinese potters in his barn-turned studio! See his functional pieces displayed and made in real-time.

Ashe County Arts Center highlights works from more than 100 artists. This historic stone school building is the perfect place for events too! Make sure to check the schedule for great local concerts.

Besides shops, galleries, murals, and painted milk tanks (#selfietime) Downtown West Jefferson offers great food at local restaurants and breweries and mountain music! Sit down for dinner or get a take-out meal. Perhaps enjoy a picnic and go on a hike. Remember, the Blue Ridge Parkway is only 20 minutes away!

Resources:

Additional Tourism Information:
West Jefferson:
VisitWestJefferson.org

Blue Ridge Parkway Road & Facility Operations:
https://www.nps.gov/blri/planyourvisit/roadclosures.htm

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:
Merlefest
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:
The Tavern
Home Slice
Boondocks Brewing
New River Brewing

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The Regions of the Blue Ridge

In planning the best use of your NC mountains vacation days, know that the region can be divided into three sub-regions for ease of exploration:

Far West

  • Cherokee
  • The Nantahala Gorge
  • Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Central

  • Asheville
  • Hendersonville
  • Chimney Rock State Park
  • The waterfalls of Transylvania County
  • Many more highlights

High Country

  • Grandfather Mountain
  • Linville Falls
  • Boone
  • Blowing Rock
  • High northern mountains

Foothills

  • Mt. Airy
  • Lenoir
  • Elkin
In light of COVID-19 precautions, some sites may be closed or events canceled. Please check directly with the sites listed for the latest information.