Just because it's raining doesn't mean there isn't still plenty to do in the NC High Country! Enjoy a morning shopping and an afternoon at one of our award winning spas. Or take the kids out to Linville Caverns, a museum, or gem mining! For more information, click the titles below.
There are plenty of areas in the High Country to enjoy shopping of all types.
There are several eateries and great shopping. The shopping in downtown Boone ranges from art galleries and local crafts stores to consignment shops. Be sure to stop by the Mast General Store and visit their candy barrel. Peruse art from many different artists at art walk. Every first Friday of the month, enjoy Art Crawl, where shops open their doors for wine tastings and deals on purchases.
In downtown Blowing Rock, you’ll find streets filled with unique boutiques, art, jewelry, antiques and home decor shops. It’s a great place to shop with friends or to do some serious holiday shopping. You’ll also find some great restaurants that provide the perfect opportunity to rest and rejuvenate for…more shopping!
At the Boone Mall, you are sure to have a great time whether grabbing a bite to eat, or meeting with friends. Fully indoors, you can shop and dine at any of the 26 different stores.
A great outlet shopping area where you can find great deals. Buy direct from more than 30 brand name manufacturer and designer outlet stores. Shop for bargains among nationally known brands like Banana Republic, Coach, J Crew, and G.H.Bass.
With several options to choose from in the High Country, gem mining is always an enjoyable family friendly activity. Pan as they did in the olden days and perhaps even take home something valuable with you!
The area’s largest and most established gem mine featuring over 24 different types of gemstones. With indoor and outdoor flumes, your visit will be enjoyable rain or shine. When you've finished mining, they will identify your gemstones and place them on a keepsake gemstone calendar to take with you. If you're interested in having any of your stones cut, you can visit the jewelry store and gallery, Facets, where experienced gem cutters can cut and polish your stones.
Emeralds, sapphires, rubies, aquamarine, tourmaline, garnet, amethyst, citrine, smoky quartz, topaz, and many others are waiting to be discovered! The finest in colored gems from around the world, museum-quality mineral specimens and unique gifts. GIA Certified Graduate Gemologist on staff, appraisal service available. View stones being cut and enjoy indoor winter gem mining.
You will have the chance to choose a bucket of rough stones and with the aid of the expert staff the mine has on hand you and your mining buddies will quickly learn the tricks to prospecting for precious gemstones in a practical and traditional way. The aim of this mining experience is to find a number of gems you feel will be perfectly suited to being cut into shape and used for making your very own piece of jewelry under the roof of the Sugar Creek Gem mine.
At Mystery Hill in Blowing Rock, the forces of gravity and popular physics are a little off! You can watch a ball roll uphill or experience water flowing up instead of down! Dating back 50 years, Mystery Hill is a nostalgic High Country attraction that families flock to for its unusual appeal.
The "Mystery House" is where gravity doesn't quite work the way it should. The "Hall of Mystery" gives children the opportunity to try hands-on puzzles and experiments. And Mystery Hill's Appalachian Heritage Museum is a noteworthy, historic 1898 home featuring authentic insight into 19th century life in the mountains.
Visit a Museum or Gallery
Whether you would enjoy viewing great art or learning about our history, there are several museums and galleries to visit.
Experience art and discover history at BRAHM. Located in downtown Blowing Rock, the Museum features year-round exhibits, cultural programs, art workshops, lectures and is home to the annual Art & Antiques Show. Current exhibitions are Romantic Spirits, 19th century paintings of the South from the Johnson Collection; The Sculptor's Voice; and The Picture Man, photographs by Paul Buchanan.
The largest visual arts center in northwestern North Carolina, eastern Tennessee, and southwestern Virginia, the Turchin Center’s exhibits focus on a blend of new and historically important art work. Featured are works of nationally and internationally renowned artists, as well as many of the finest artists of the region.
Visit a Winery
With a great wine trail to guide your way, you can visit several wineries with tastings rooms and enjoy an afternoon tasting.
The terraced mountain vineyard and winery is nestled right on the Watauga River at the base of Grandfather Mountain. They are the first producing winery in Watauga County. Warm breezes during the day and cool, crisp nights help develop the flavors and balance of our wine. With unique wines, enjoy and share with friends.
Banner Elk Winery is the most acclaimed commercial winery in North Carolina's High Country. Awards received to date in 2013 include two Gold Medals at the 2013 International Eastern Wine Competition for the 2011 Banner Elk Red and 2011 Marechal Foch. Whether you are interested in a wine tasting, learning more about the art and science of winemaking, or just relaxing with a glass of wine, you can do it all at Banner Elk Winery & Villa.
This 40 acre vineyard and farm is situated just north of the Blue Ridge Parkway and Linville Gorge in a fertile valley between hills filled with rows of lush, green vines. Our grape varieties include Seyval Blanc, Noiret, Marquette, Petit Verdot, Marechal Foch, and our flagship grape, Riesling, but you'll also find blueberries, blackberries, raspberries, heirloom apples, pumpkins, and Christmas Trees throughout our farm. At an elevation of 3,200 feet, the vines thrive in our mountain climate. Cool nights and low humidity allow our grapes to ripen slow, all the while developing fresh, vibrant flavors, giving way to wonderful wines.
Deep inside of Humpback Mountain lie the Linville Caverns, North Carolina's only caverns open for tours. These natural limestone caverns feature stalactite and stalagmite formations and an underground stream. Guided tours (30-40 minutes long) begin at regular intervals. The temperature stays a comfortable 52 degrees F all year, so it's definitely one of our Favorite Spots to Beat the Heat.
Since that time many upgrades to the pathways and lighting system have enhanced the safe touring experience that now exists. Courteous and experienced guides take you into the subterranean world, giving you the history of the caverns and allowing you to view the grand work of nature.
Enjoy a Spa Day
With award wining spa's, treat yourself to a relaxing day of massages and other treatments.
The Spa, which opened in Fall 2009, features a Mission motif with furnishings and décor by Bob Timberlake, Charleston Forge and local artists. Natural sea stones are accent the fireplace and inlays in the maple hardwood floors. The relaxation room invokes an aura of calm as a wall fountain cascades nearby. The Spa offers five treatment rooms (one for couples), a relaxation room, nail treatment area, the Swan Bar with complimentary teas, coffees and housemade granola, and women’s and men’s locker rooms. Adjoining the Spa is the resort's heated
The Spa features a wide variety of services including massage therapies, facials, nail treatments, cosmetic applications and a hair boutique. Whether you are visiting the resort or you live in the area, Chetola’s goal is to assure you of a wonderfully memorable and exhilarating spa experience.
The natural beauty and the crisp clean air of the Blue Ridge Mountains invite you to escape everyday tensions and find yourself refreshed. At Westglow, you may do as much or as little as you like, but you will find it difficult to do anything but relax. The historic manor house and grounds create an atmosphere of comfort and elegance, where our friendly and expert staff will help you unwind from the worries of the world and revive your inner spirit. With a staff to guest ratio of three to one, we attend to every detail to create a memorable stay for each guest. At Westglow, pampering extends beyond our luxury spa treatments to a level of service that turns the spa experience into an art form.
Westglow has earned numerous accolades including Travel & Leisure Destination Spa, Conde Nest Traveler, and Spa Finder.