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Carolina In The Fall

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Heart of Folk’s Carolina in the Fall™ presented by Wilkes Communications, Inc.


Insider’s Guide to Carolina in the Fall™

Hello Festival fans! With Carolina in the Fall being a brand new festival for 2015, getting the inside scoop is all the more important! So, here is what we know today and this Insider will be updated regularly to get the latest info out to you.


The festival is located in the heart of downtown Wilkesboro. Main Street is closed from West Street to East Street. Bridge Street is closed from South Street to North Street and Broad Street is closed from Main Street to North Street. Additionally, North Street is closed form West Street except for residents. Hope that helps!

The Hall of Fame Stage (main stage) is located directly in front of the Heritage Museum (the old Court House). The Hometown Stage is located in the Open Air Market Park.

Food trucks are lined up on Main Street from West Street to Bridge Street. The Beer Garden is located in the Open Air Market Park. Vendors are set up along North Bridge Street and the Kidz Zone is on Broad Street.

Artists Scheduled

This year’s festival will feature some of Bluegrass/Americana/Roots music’s best bands. The Kruger Brothers will serve as the Festival’s host band and will feature prominently throughout. Rhonda Vincent and the Rage, Balsam Range, The Secret Sisters are all headliners for 2015.

With over 100 awards, Rhonda Vincent and the Rage is the most award winning band in Bluegrass Music today. Balsam Range is the 2014 IBMA Entertainer and Vocal Band of the Year award winner. The Secret Sisters have been featured on late night television with David Letterman and Jimmy Fallon. They have been busy filming their own PBS special with Elvis Costello and Jakob Dylan, and recorded music for the platinum-selling soundtrack to The Hunger Games.

Other bands scheduled to perform are Mipso, Barefoot Movement (winner of 2015 IBMA Momentum Award), Lindsay Lou and the Flat Bellys, Zoe and Cloyd, the Snyder Family Band, The Hook and Bullet, the Idle Time Band, The Neighbors and Back Porch Bluegrass. Additional bands are to be announced.


The festival begins at 11:00AM each day and concludes at 9:00PM. Gates will open at 10:00AM. Seating is festival style and is first come first serve, so get there early for the best seats! For those that purchased a VIP ticket, The Carolina Jam™ sessions begin at 10:00PM at the Yadkin Valley Event Center at the Holiday Inn Express each evening. These sessions are scheduled for two hours, but you know musicians.


Downtown parking is available at area churches, public lots and private lots. My best advice is to take the Brushy Mountain Rd/ Oakwoods Rd exit off US Hwy 421 or the NC Hwy 268 exit onto Main Street. Each exit will bring you to downtown Wilkesboro. I am sure there will be lots of signage for parking, so pay attention and find the best spot.

What you can bring into the Festival

Like most other festivals… no coolers, no beverages, no drugs, no alcohol, no pets, no blankets. Bring your best folding chair, a jacket or sweater (this is Carolina in the Fall!), comfortable shoes and a camera to capture the memories.


The Carolina in the Fall Food Truck Championship™ will bring the region’s best food trucks to Main Street to serve up some great food to festival goers. There will be something for everyone as the Festival planners are working hard to bring trucks that serve every kind of food the region has to offer. Plan on NC Barbeque for lunch, fish tacos for dinner and some Thai for an evening snack! The next day, some southern fried chicken and turnip greens followed by some Italian creation for dinner. The food will be fun!

Of course, no one will stop you from bringing your own food in! Just remember… no coolers and no beverages can be brought in.


All of your standard beverages will be available at the food trucks. A local coffee shop, Talia Espresso will be set up onsite to give you that shot of caffeine to keep you going all day and evening.

As this region has become home to some of the nation’s best wines and craft beers, an area will be set up to allow our guests to sample the regions offerings. Details are still being worked out, so stay tuned and check back often to get updates.


This is first come, first serve festival seating at each stage. The Main Stage seating is on the lawn of the heritage Museum and in the adjacent streets. The Hometown Stage seating is located on the parking lot of the Open Air Market Park.

The Main Stage seating will fill up fast for the big name artists, so get there early and stake your claim. Regardless of the stage or where you sit, the sound will be amazing and the worst seats at this festival are only 200 feet from the stage!!

Where to stay 

Local hotels are offering festival packages. Local hotel rooms are very limited, so get your room now!! My best advice is to go online to the brand reservation website and give it a try. Camping is a great option and the Town of Wilkesboro is opening up Sewerfest for this event!! This is great news for all of the Merlefest® campers that want to come back in the fall and close out the festival season. To book your camping spot, go to and contact them to reserve a spot! They will begin taking reservations beginning in mid-July.

In Conclusion

The Festival organizers say that Carolina in the Fall ™ is about celebrating the region and the season. It is all about the music we love, the food we crave and the beverages that we share. This festival provides plenty of all three and more!

So what is Carolina in the Fall™?

My take on it is this… two days of Western NC magic that makes the other 363 days seem long. But then again, the wait makes it all the more special. The clock is ticking, the musicians are picking, the food trucks are cooking and the grapes are growing… see you downtown Wilkesboro the last weekend of September!!

Top 10 Things to Do in Wilkes


Recently we were asked what the top 10 things to do in Wilkes were.  We have put our heads together and come up with the list!  Below are the things we feel Wilkes does best.

1.  Local Shops.  Wilkes has some really great locally owned stores.  Each has such great character, wonderful owners, and speciality items you won’t find anywhere else.  A few of our personal favorites include; Cook’s Sporting Goods, Ivy Ridge Traditions, Quick Frame, and Gloria Sews.

2. Get Outside.  Located by a beautiful body of water, Wilkes residents have access to fishing, boating, hiking, mountain biking, and camping!  W. Kerr Scott Lake truly has something to offer for everyone.  Whether you want to drive out to the lake for a low key evening of watching the sunset on the water, or an extreme day of jet-skiing on the lake, you can do that here!  The lake also has 30+ miles of mountain bike trails that can not only be used for biking, but hiking or trail running (just look out for mountain bikers!).


3.  Take in a Movie.  Wilkes is fortunate to have two theaters, both offering a different experience for movie-goers.  The Liberty is nestled in quant Downtown North Wilkesboro in an original downtown building.  The Liberty offers movie-goers a more traditional theater experience with two screens.  Two Rivers Cinemas is a brand new theater in Wilkesboro, with six movie screens and stadium seating.  Both have delicious popcorn, fizzy drinks, and candy available to munch on during your feature film.

4.  Visit a State Park.  Stone Mountain State Park is in the northeast part of the county and a huge tourist draw.  Visitors come from all over the state and country to hike, climb and camp at Stone Mountain.  Whether you are an avid climber or just a beginner level hiker, Stone Mountain has something for you!  Check out the link below for more info!

5.  Do a Tasting.  Wilkes is part of the Yadkin Valley, which is known for its’ wonderful vineyards and wineries.  Visitors can check out the Yadkin Valley Wine Trail and pick and choose which ones sound the best to them.  Most vineyards have set hours for tastings and tours.  They also sell their wine by the bottle and case.

6.  Attend a Concert.  Due to the music history in this part of the state, Wilkes is known the ‘Heart of Folk’.  The last weekend of April brings a four day music festival to Wilkes known as MerleFest.  This festival is a tribute to Merle Watson and his father, Doc Watson. Americana and bluegrass music is the dominate genres to be heard at MerleFest, but there is truly a little bit of everything.  A new festival called Carolina In The Fall will begin in September 2015 and will be a celebration of the music, food and beverages of the region.  The festival will be hosted by The Kruger Brothers.  Music on Main is a concert series that features local and national bands once or twice a month.  This series features smaller shows at Talia Espresso in downtown North Wilkesboro, and bigger name bands at the Blue Ridge Music Hall of Fame at the Heritage Museum in Wilkesboro.

7.  Chow Down.  Most would assume since Wilkes is located in the south that we only have southern restaurants, but that is not the case!  We have Chinese, Japanese, Thai, Mexican, Italian, American, and several really great BBQ joints.  There are also several ice cream and frozen yogurt shops for those looking to satisfy their sweet tooth.  Check out the link below for local eateries:

8.  Appreciate the Visual Arts.  Wilkes is lucky to have a great art gallery featuring talented artists.  The art gallery also does wine & paint nights for the community.  These events are every 1st Thursday of the month and can also be scheduled for private groups on other nights.  The art gallery also does birthday parties, wedding receptions, and corporate events.

9.  Get Fit.  The Wilkes Family YMCA and the Wilkes Express YMCA have special classes available for individuals of all ages.  Whether you are interested in an intense pilates session or a beginner level swim class for kids, the Y has you covered.  There are leagues that also meet and play different team sports throughout the year.  Choose which activity sounds most like you and get active!

10.  Tie the Knot.  Wilkes is home to several beautiful wedding destinations.  It seems that the newest trend in weddings is to have an outdoor ceremony and if this sounds like what you are interested in, Wilkes has lots of options.  With everything from our local vineyards and wineries, to outdoor chapels and rustic barns, Wilkes has something to offer everyone!

MenaRick Vineyard & Winery


MenaRick Vineyard and WineryMenaRick Vineyard and Winery is a special treat nestled in the foothills of North Carolina. This family owned and operated vineyard specializes in Spanish and Portuguese varietals. With more than 8 acres of vines planted, including Syrah, Merlot, Chardonnay, Albariño, Grenacha, Tempranillo and Tinta Roriz every guest is sure to find a new favorite wine.

Mena and Rick have built this winery from the roots up! They cut the timber, cultivated the land and built the tasting room with logs from the property. Each year they make a trip to Portugal where they visit the vineyard operated by Mena’s family and search for special treasures to bring home for the winery. These treasures add a special touch to the tasting room and help to tell stories of their Portuguese history. For Mena and Rick, wine making is a passion and labor of love that they gladly share with all who visit. They encourage their guests to take in the scenery by taking a stroll by the pond, having a picnic on the hillside or relaxing with a glass of wine on the patio. This vineyard is a place to escape the bustle of everyday life and is a must see while you visit Wilkesboro NC.

How to get to MenaRick

• Head East on 421 from Wilkesboro towards Winston-Salem (about 10 miles)

• Take Exit 276 toward Red White and Blue Road

• Turn Left after exit and follow until road ends at NC-268 E/Elkin Hwy

• Turn Right onto 268 and follow for about 4 miles

• Turn Left on Hoots Road and follow for 1.5 miles

• Turn Right on Austin Little Mountain Road and follow for 2 miles

• Turn Right on Luffman Road and look for the MenaRick sign and gravel drive shortly on your Right

What to bringMenaRick Vineyard and Winery

Feel free to bring anything you may want for a picnic and be sure to pack your camera to capture the scenery. MenaRick Winery accepts debit and credit (except for American Express).

Where to stay

The Hampton Inn and Holiday Inn Express are only a short drive away and are located just off of Hwy 421 making them easy to find.  Both offer a delicious hot breakfast and cozy accommodations.  These two hotels frequently offer romance or wine packages which are sure to make your visit extra special!  


Click here for details.


Strawberry Fields Forever!



Strawberry Picking in Wilkes

Spring is a wonderful time filled with great weather (kinda rainy), beautiful nature and short sleeve shirts.  But each year as April arrives, the conversation at my house turns to…. Strawberries.  Yep, believe it or not, my wife and I begin to imagine the taste of locally grown, ripe to the center, red, delicious strawberries and strawberry pie.  As they say…. It is the simple things in life.

Brushy Mountain Apple Festival


The first Saturday in October brings the masses to North Wilkesboro for the Brushy Mountain Apple Festival. They come to town for what has become one of the largest single day arts and crafts festivals in the Southeast US. Over 160,000 people crowd the downtown streets enjoying a day of food, fellowship and downright fun.

How to get to the Apple Festival.

The festival is held on the streets of downtown North Wilkesboro, so regardless of where you are coming from, just follow the signs once you get into Wilkes County. If you are coming from the east, I would advise you to take the NC Hwy 115 exit and turn right on 115. This will take you to NC 268, turn left on NC 268 and you will run right into the festival.

If you are coming from the west on US 421, take “421 Business” into the downtown area. This left turn is the next left after the Taco Bell. Business 421 will take you directly into the down town area. If you are tech savvy, just enter North Wilkesboro into whatever device you have and hit the road.


Like most large events, parking is the challenge. The downtown area is closed off, so parking has to be in the surrounding areas. Many public and private lots are open for paid parking (the closer the parking, the higher the price). In addition, the Festival provides free shuttle service to and from parking at West Park where there is lots of free parking. Visit and click on the parking link for information on this service.

You will find a place to park, so be patient and decide if you want to walk in from paid parking or ride in from free parking. Also, a word to the wise, the neighbors around the festival are wonderful people, but they draw the line when you park in their yard or driveway, so play nice.

Food and Beverage

The Brushy Mountain Apple Festival is famous for its food selection. My wife always shows up early (7am) and enjoys a country ham biscuit or apple pie. Food is available throughout the festival grounds, so be sure to bring your festival map or pick on up the intersection of Main and 9th and do your food research ahead of time. (Nothing worse than eating something at one location only to realize that you missed out on your favorite just a block away)

Prices are reasonable and the food online casino quality is excellent. The variety is expansive and you will find more that you want to eat than you can eat (very frustrating J). Again, research is the key to finding just what you are craving. My favorites are always the ice cream, the homemade apple pies, awesome Carolina pit cooked bar-be-que, anything with grilled peppers and onions and that really greasy slice of pizza. But whatever your personal tastes are, you will find a place to chow down and enjoy.

An honorable mention here, a local water bottling company sets up a location at the Main and 9th intersection and gives a cold, clear drink of mountain water to every festival goer. Kudos to Brushy Mountain Water and Coffee Company!!

Things to do at the Apple Festival.

Every corner brings a surprise and every street a new series of crafts to enjoy. My favorite times at the festival are watching the artisans at work. Blacksmiths, quilters, potters, wood workers and many others are hard at work and you can quietly watch or ask questions as the work their magic. Where else can you watch cane be turned into molasses or hear southern gospel singers while your child is having their face painted? To say the least, diversity reigns supreme. Take your time, get into the crowd and see what each vendor has to offer.

And don’t forget, this is a celebration of the apple harvest on the Brushy Mountains. The orchards produce some of the best apples in the nation and are available for purchase at the end of almost every street. My favorite apple is the Pink Lady, a wonderful combination of sweet and sour that leaves your mouth watering.

The festival has added a Friday night event known as the “Apple Jam” that is centered on local music. It is held in the Festival Park located on the corner of 10th and Main in downtown North Wilkesboro. The Friday night festivities begin at 6 PM, so come early, bring your chairs and enjoy some beautiful mountain music.


1. The crowds are large, but the people are wonderful. If you are opposed to large crowds, show up early or arrive late and you will miss the biggest crowds.

2. Do your homework ahead of time; this will save you time and lots of walking, nothing worse than backtracking at a street festival.

3. Bring something to carry your awesome purchases in. Backpacks or shoulder bags are excellent choices.

4. If you bring children, allow adequate time for them to have a blast in the children’s area. My kids always loved the sand art and face painting.

5. Wear great walking shoes. You are on streets and sidewalks the entire time and some nicely padded walking shoes will seem worth their weight in gold.

6. Dress in layers. You are in the foothills of North Carolina and as Forrest Gump said… “You never know what you’re going to get”.

7. Get a good night’s sleep the night before and bring a big bag of patience. If you get in a hurry, you will miss something pretty special or you will be very frustrated.

8. Get a bag of apples! This festival is still months away and I am already craving one of those wonderful Brushy Mountain apples.

 Leaving the Apple Festival

Because it is an all day festival, leaving is no big deal. There is no mad rush or clogged highways, so take your time, leave when you want to and enjoy the view as you go. Before you go, be sure to stop by the Festival headquarters at the intersection of 9th and Main and get your free bumper sticker. See you there.

Shine to Wine

Shine to Wine

The Shine to Wine festival gets bigger and better each year.  The festival is held in historic downtown North Wilkesboro.  The festival includes regional wines and beer for the tasting, live music and art. The festival lasts from 12 PM – 6 PM and is free to the public.  However, if you plan on sampling the wines, a wristband must be purchased. (Proof of age is required)

Wilkes County was at one time known as the Moonshine Capital of the World and for good reason. Nowadays, the region is becoming known for it’s variety of wines.  Ideally situated with the right precipitation and temperatures, the Yadkin Valley is a perfect region to grow grapes. (Who knew, right?)  So the name, Shine to Wine is a throw-back to the old days with an eye on the future of the wine industry in our community.

Several of the downtown North Wilkesboro restaurants join in the celebration and offer a “Downtown Wine Dinner”.  Be sure to visit 6th and Main and Branciforte’s. Both of establishments offer special entrees paired with signature wines.  Reservations for this special evening is advised, so call ahead and ask them to save you a seat.  The food is always delicious and the prices are reasonable, so enjoy.

The festival always has a great band to listen to while you sample the wines.  Enjoy the distinctive sounds of some of the regions best bands as you walk the streets of North Wilkesboro.  These groups have always provided a great backdrop to the entire event.  Vendor tent hopping and wine tasting to live tunes played with true talent is a great way to pass a Saturday afternoon.

Should you attend?  If you enjoy friendly people, great music and art and a sip of the fruit of the Yadkin Valley Winegrowers, then this is a festival for you.  Check out their website for all the ins and outs and make your s plans now before all the hotel rooms fill up.  Salute!  (

How to get to the Shine to Wine Festival?

The Shine to Wine Festival is located in Historic Downtown North Wilkesboro.  If you are coming from the east, I would advise taking the NC Hwy 115 exit and then turn right on 115. This will take you to NC 268, turn left on NC 268 and you will run right into Downtown North Wilkesboro where festival signs and parking will be easily visible.

If you are coming from the west on US 421, take “421 Business” into the downtown area. This left turn is the next left after the Taco Bell. Business 421 will take you directly into the down town area. If you are tech savvy, just enter North Wilkesboro into whatever device you have and hit the road.

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Wilkes County Flea Market


Wilkes County Flea Market

(also known as the Cattle Sale)

Wilkes County Flea MarketIf you are visiting Wilkes you may hear many of the locals talking about going to the Monday Cattle Sale. What they are really talking about is not buying cattle but rather the flea market that occupies a large field near the actual Cattle Sale. The Wilkes County Flea Market has been going on for as long as I can remember. The Wilkes Monday Flea Market has all kinds of stuff from food and plants to antiques and live animals; sometimes you can even find pony rides and live music! This is a great place to find good deals on all things especially produce. I like to go early in the morning and stock up on my veggies for the week.

What to take:

  • Be sure to bring enough cash to get what you want. If you are making a larger purchase some of the vendors may be willing take a check.
  • Be prepared for the weather with sunscreen or an umbrella. Some of the vendors have booths and some setup tents but the market is mostly exposed to the elements be it rain or shine.
  • I have seen avid  shoppers equipped with tote bags and small carts. There is a lot to see and you may not want to carry your purchases in grocery bags as you walk online casino’s (though you could always make a quick trip to the car)

How to get there and where to park:

The Wilkes County Flea Market is located on Orange Street, just before the VFW Campground in North Wilkesboro.

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Wilkes County Flea MarketOnce you are on Orange Street you can”t miss the market parking area.  Cars will be parked in a grassy lot alongside the gravel road.  Just pick a spot and remember where you parked.  If you are there on a very busy day you may need to park further away…possibly at the VFW.  The VFW will sometimes charge a small fee for parking in their lot but it goes to a good group of people and is well worth it.

The flea market itself is not immediately visible but you are sure to see people walking towards a row of tightly planted evergreens.  A small stream runs along one side of the market and you will cross one of two small footbridges to enter.  Then you can pick a direction and explore!

Don”t miss The Barn Yard Opry as you walk through the Wilkes County Flea Market!

Elkin Creek Vineyard

Vineyards & Winery at Elkin Creek

All About Elkin Creek 

Located in the Yadkin Valley, Elkin Creek Vineyard is a wonderful place to do a wine tasting, have a wedding, or simply enjoy a nice dinner!  Southern Living called Elkin Creek “the best in the valley”, referring to the excellent wine and food!  The land was previously a century-old mill (which can still be seen from the winery), and today it is home to 6 acres of lush vineyards and a beautiful winery.  The vineyards were planted in 2001 and are used for the 8 different types of wine available at Elkin Creek.

The Wine

Elkin CreekThe first bottles of Elkin Creek wine were bottled in the fall of 2005.  Talk about an exciting time for the owners!!  Today there are 8 different types of wine available, which include; Chardonnay, Soft White, Sangiovese, Adequate Red, Rossa, Cabernet Sauvignon, Classico, and Remembrances.  These are all as unique as the land the grapes were grown on.  With the variety of wines, and bottles ranging from only $14 to $34, there is a bottle for every taste-bud and budget:)

*Hours & Wine Tasting- The winery is open Thursday-Sunday 11-5.  Tastings are available by appointment only (336)526-5119

The Kitchen

Elkin CreekThe Kitchen at Elkin Creek is currently only open on Sundays to the public.  The talented chefs create pizzas made to order that are cooked in their wood-fire brick oven.  YUM!  What goes better with a glass of red wine than pizza??  It is strongly encouraged that you make reservations if you are planning to make a visit, the space fills up fast!  The Kitchen is also used for weddings, receptions, special parties, meetings, and other events.

Weddings at Elkin CreekElkin Creek

Elkin Creek is a wonderful location to have a wedding!  The spectacular Oak trees, May apples, Rhododendron, and Mountain Laurel create a scenic backdrop for the special event.  There are two locations where the ceremonies can take place, one setting is by two creeks coming together as one, and the other is by a more intimate setting by a gentle waterfall.  Receptions can be held in the vineyard harvest barn.  There are proposal, wedding, elopement, and renewal of vows packages available.

Cabins at Elkin Creek

At Elkin Creek there are creek-side cabins available for visitors to stay in on a nightly, or weekly basis.  The cabins have a rustic feel, but provide modern day conveniences.  All cabins feature a queen size bed, a full kitchen, a stone fireplace, LCD TVs, and back porch swings…and that’s just mentioning a few!

*Rental Rates: Weekdays (Sun-Thurs) $119/night, Weekends (2 night minimum) $135/night, and Weekly Rate $109/night

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1. Go see the Vineyard.  Whether you want to do a tasting, or just see the 6 acre spread, Elkin Creek is a site to see!

2. Schedule a Tasting!  Grab a group of friends and try something new!  Chances are you have never tried their wine, and it will be unlike any you have had before.

3. Visit The Kitchen.  Try a pizza cooked in their home-made wood-fire brick oven!  If you love pizza, you will love this!

4. Take a Bottle Home.  If you find a type of wine that you like, buy a bottle!  If you have a birthday of a loved one, or holiday coming up, wine also makes a wonderful gift:)

5. Stay the Night.  The Cabins are located next to a creek and are a great little escape for your normal routine.  The setting could not be more peaceful!

6. Take some Pictures.  With the lush, green vineyards as your backdrop, you are sure to get some wonderful pictures!

Apples and Orchards


Every town has its claim to fame and it just so happens that Wilkes has several. We have MerleFest, Stone Mountain, W. Kerr Scott Dam and reservoir, Cycling, Tom Dula, Bluegrass and Apples!

Wilkes County Apples

A visit to Wilkes is a trip for the senses. See the beauty of the Blue Ridge Mountains, feel the breeze or the cool river waters, listen to local musicians, and taste apples fresh from the tree.

Ever since I was a little kid I have made several trips a year to visit the apple orchards of Wilkes. One of my earliest memories is one of my sister and me walking with our parents through an apple house during harvest. We watched as apples were sorted and each of us received a huge apple from a friendly man in overhauls. I remember peeking over the edge of the baskets filled with chocolate covered peanuts and cream drops at Christmas.  I still drop in to search the shelves for the perfect jar of honey and comb just as I did with my family when I was a child. For many families, trips to the orchards of Wilkes are part of a family tradition.  To them it is just as important as the yearly trip to choose a Christmas tree. Others have traveled to Wilkes in search of long lost apple varieties. One such individual described Wilkes as “mother load of heritage apples” and with more than 400 varieties having been found here it is easy to see why.

Where are they?

There are several orchards in Wilkes and each one is well worth a visit. The bulk of the orchards are along highway 16, between Wilkes and Taylorsville although there are several on Brushy Mountain, near Stone Mountain and throughout the county.  You can look at our list of orchards to find the one, or many, that you wish to visit.

When to go and what to get?

Many of the orchards sell apples throughout the year with the aid of refrigeration during the cold months. The right time for harvesting the apples depends on the weather and variety but apples are generally harvested from late June to early December. Other goods can be found at the apple houses besides the usual variety of fresh picked fruit. Some houses offer cured meats, local honey, various seasonal produce, traditional candies and caned goods.

Apple Festival

If you are a fan of the apple orchards be sure you don’t miss the Brushy Mountain Apple Festival. This festival is one of the largest events in the area and has far more than apples to offer. Each year, on the first weekend in October, the streets of Downtown North Wilkesboro are closed to traffic and filled with vendors and their goods. Food, music, art and crafts line the streets and people flock downtown to join in the spectacular.

Click here to read our Insider view on the

 Brushy Mountain Apple Festival.


Raffaldini Vineyards

Raffaldini Vineyards

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I have heard it said that life is a journey, not a destination and that is true, but in the case of Raffaldini Vineyards, the destination is worth the journey. Getting there is a little challenging, but don’t give up. There are a few lefts and rights, a few dirt and gravel roads, but the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow makes the trip seem fun.

Arriving at the vineyard, I was struck by the setting and the architecture. The Tuscan-style villa sits atop a gentle rolling hill with views in almost every direction. It was a clear day and the mountains were especially beautiful. I parked in the lot adjacent to the winery and took a stroll through the flower gardens that lead to the entrance. Being greeted by roses and seasonal flowers, put me in a great mood before I entered the tasting room. I must admit, leaving the beauty of the setting and the amazing vistas was difficult, but I tore myself away and ventured into the villa.

The winery was no disappointment. While I have not been to Italy or visited a vineyard there, I would imagine that this is a faithful reproduction. I was certainly transported to somewhere other than the foothills of North Carolina. I was greeted with a online slots warm hello and given instruction on how the operation works. I paid my dues and stepped up to the wine bar and was given a list of available wines to taste. I am certainly no wine connoisseur, but I know that if I must taste wine… the sweeter the better. I found a few that tilted towards the sweet side, but even the dry wines were enjoyable.

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The experience was excellent and the stories told by the tender filled the time with interest. My problem was focusing on the wine when the view was so incredible. I left the tasting room and found a comfortable chair on the patio outside and just soaked in the setting. I could try to communicate what I saw and how I felt, but I am telling you that you need to go and see and hear and touch the place to fully understand. Several couples purchased bottles and made their way onto the ornate patio and sat together to enjoy the wine and the day.

I was informed that the vineyard had become a wedding destination and that they were booked up nearly a year in advance. I fully understand! What a setting to make a vow to the one you love. The only thing that I can think that would rival the beauty of the setting is a glowing bride on her wedding day. So, if you are making those types of plans, call early and often to book your weekend.

My wife and daughter enjoyed the visit as well and we plan on making a return trip this year. This time, I will know to allow for an afternoon rather than an hour and a picnic basket as well. Enjoy or as they would say “salute”.