John Preston Arthur, local historian and author, wrote this elegant description of ValleCrucis in his “History of Watauga County” in 1915: “There is, perhaps, more interest in this place and its romantic history than in any other inWatauga County. …There is a dreamy spell which hangs over this little valley…” And he was right!
Valle Crucis is a place that has been untouched over the years. The small community of Valle Crucis is North Carolina’s first rural historic district. It is where you’ll find the Original Mast General Store and the Mast Store Annex. Still the center of the community, the Original Mast Store houses the Post Office and offers up a 5¢ cup of coffee. Traversing its creaking floorboards, you’ll find country gourmet foods, cast iron cookware, speckleware, old-fashioned toys, footwear, hardware, and even a pair of galluses, if you need them.
The rustic countryside provides ample opportunities for recreational activities. Both residents and visitors alike can be found enjoying the amenities at the riverfront community park. It boasts multiple children’s playgrounds, athletic fields, picnic areas, and a walking/running trail around its border. Other outdoor enthusiasts can be found hiking from the sacred ground of the old Episcopal Mission, now the Valle Crucis Conference Center, up trails to Crab Orchard Falls or along other seemingly limitless trails along the Blue Ridge Parkway. Riding horses through old farm fields in the valley and fishing for trout from the banks of the streams and Watauga River also provide an enjoyable glimpse at the days of old.
Regardless of the choice of activity, unquestionably the best way to recap the day’s events is from a rocking chair placed outside in the crisp mountain air, with views of spectacular foliage and the quaint valley.
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