A trip to the NC Mountains is a special trip! So much to see and do! But there are some hidden treasures and some special memories that you might miss if you don’t have someone like us to give you some inside info! Our NC Mountain Summer Bucket List gives you 10 treasures to start with when creating your trip plans this summer. Of course, there’s so many more! Check our our 101 Things To Do List for a REALLY good epic bucket list!
Bucket List Item #1 Mountain Views! Check! From one end of our community to the other you will have lots of opportunities to check this one off your list! From the Blue Ridge Parkway overlooks to the top of Roan Mountain, our area is truly breathtaking and will give you mountain views that make your breath slow down and your soul sing. No seriously….we know they will. We see them everyday and we still are in awe. Be sure to visit Roan Mountain while you are here. You will hike through cool shaded paths of evergreens and then open up to expanses of mountain top views. You will see rare flowers and plants only seen in this part of the world. If you come in June you can experience the 600 acres of blooming rhododendron. (that awesome view can be found on a Roan trail!) It is most definitely a bucket list item!
Bucket List Item #2 Waterfalls! You’ve seen pictures but have you ever stood behind a waterfall or watched one cascade from the top of a mountain? Mountain waterfalls are truly a beautiful natural wonder! There’s several here that you can add to your list too! For an easy, short hike to a local waterfall, check out Grassy Creek Falls in Little Switzerland. You can drive a portion of the way and then walk in the rest. For a more lengthy hike but worth it be sure to see Crabtree Falls. And of course you have heard of Linville Falls. Just 13 miles from Spruce Pine, Linville Falls is also a great one to put on your waterfall tour.
Bucket List Item #3 Gem Mining! You might have seen gem mines before, but have you visited one in the most important mining district in the world? Why do we make that claim? Well…it’s true! The purest quartz in the world comes from the Spruce Pine mining district, which without, there would be no computers! (Or lots of other really important and necessary items!) And in our area, also full of other rich minerals and gem stones, we have some really cool gem mines where you can bring the family to find treasures, shop and explore, but they also have mining museums, tours to real mines, blacklight tours and more! THIS is the place to check off your gem mining bucket list item!
Bucket List Item #4 Mountain River Adventures! Whether you want a slowing moving lazy river or a ride through the rapids, you can check them off your list! The beautiful Toe River winds its way through our county (and goes straight through downtown Spruce Pine). You can contact a local guide service to rent tubes and lazily float down the river with your friends and family. If you seek a little more adventure, the guides can put you on the rapids. Did you know the Nolichucky River is in Mitchell County? Check out our local guides to book a trip and check that off your list!
Bucket List Item #5 Dellinger’s Grist Mill. Do you love history? Visit the last water powered/stone ground grist mill of its kind left in the state of North Carolina. Meet Jack, 4th generation miller (and former IBM Rocket Scientist) who will tell you all of the great stories and send you home with fresh ground grits, polenta or cornmeal! Located just outside of Bakersville where you can grab a bite to eat a local eatery and visit arts galleries and shops.
Bucket List Item #6 Horseback Mountain Trail Rides There’s a horse for every rider so that the whole family can enjoy the beauty and serenity of a mountain trail ride. Through tree lined trails and through mountain streams, this bucket list item will be one you want to do every season!
Bucket List Item #7 Visit a Heritage Apple Orchard! Apple orchards are just for all apples! Our heritage apple orchard is right on the Blue Ridge Parkway and your family will love the storytelling hayrides, live music, homemade fudge, hiking trails and the monarch butterfly experience.
Bucket List Item #8 Experience the Quilt Trail! Drive through the beautiful roads of our communities and follow the quilt trail map to see large colorful quilt blocks painted on the sides of buildings and barns. Each quilt block tells a story!
Bucket List Item #9 Explore local artist studios and find amazing hand crafted art created right here! Did you know our area has more artists studios per capita than anywhere else in the country? From pottery to weavings, from hand blown glass to jewelry…our local talented artists display their work and sometimes even demonstrate in the own studios. Visit the Toe River Arts for artist maps and info!
Bucket List Item #10 Visit NC’s Most Famous Three Peaks! This is something everyone is wanting to do! Mitchell County sits right in the center of NC’s most famous peaks and from here you can visit each one and check them off your bucket list. From Roan Mountain (the world’s largest rhododendron garden) to Grandfather Mountain (think mile high swinging bridge) and Mt. Mitchell (highest peak east of the Mississippi), each peak offers a unique experience and you can experience them all from your vacation hub right here with us!