All posts in Other

Trip Planning in Wilkes

wilkesmap

Why not make a daytrip a weekend stay in Wilkes!

Daytrips can be nice but driving can really eat up your time, especially if you are traveling further than an hour or so from home. If you have an hour and a half drive from home that would mean spending at least three hours on the road if you were planning on going back home at the end of the day.  Booking a hotel may cost more but if you are staying at the right place the value can far outweigh the price. Waking up to free hot coffee and breakfast and not even needing to make the bed or clean anything is wonderful! All of a sudden, a rushed day trip becomes a relaxed weekend vacation. You can see more, do more and may even be able to enjoy your time on the road more.

 

Why stay in Wilkes?

Wilkes has long been called the Key City, as it is the gateway to the Blue Ridge Mountains, but it is much more than that. Wilkes is a county that welcomes you in and invites you to stay awhile.

Centrally located near Winston-Salem, Boone, Hickory, Statesville, West Jefferson and Lenior, Wilkes is an ideal place to visit and the perfect place to stay and see all there is to see in Western North Carolina. Highway 421 runs straight through town making accessing food, fuel and supplies most convenient. Wilkes is also a convenient location for lodging. Hampton Inn, located just off the highway, sits on a hill making it easy to find and plenty quiet for a good night”s rest. Lodging prices are often lower than neighboring cities and the streets aren”t crowed with manic city traffic.

 

What to do, where to go and what there is to see.

Where to start! There is so much to do during your stay. Wilkes offers numerous attractions, festivals, and shops as well as plenty of places for recreation, entertainment and weddings. Hiking at Stone Mountain, cycling the trails at W. Kerr Scott Dam and Reservoir, shopping downtown and touring the many art galleries are only a few activities, among many, in the county.

If you are planning on visiting cities nearby, you”ll find that Wilkes offers competitive lodging prices and can help you escape heavy traffic and crowds at the near local events. Wilkes is close enough to Appalachian State University to stay for game days and is near enough to go skiing in the Appalachian Mountains without the worry of severe weather.

 

Herring Ridge

1

Camp Harrison at Herring RidgeHerring Ridge is located in the foothills of North Carolina a short drive from North Wilkesboro.  The camp has more than 2,000 acres of woods, streams, and trails centered around private, 140-acre Lake Broyhill.

Many things bring people from far and wide to Herring Ridge.  One of the largest draws is Camp Harrison, a summer camp for youngsters which offers numerous camping experiences for them to chose from.  Traditional Resident Camp offers over 21 land activities including: archery, paintball, ropes course, sports and crafts. Adventure tracks allow each camper can create their own personalized experience. Campers can spend the morning in their track and spend the afternoon with the entire camp enjoying water activities like kayaking, canoeing, water zip line, waterskiing, the “Blob” and the “Wet Willie”.

Click here to read our Camp Harrison Insider.

Founded on the YMCA”s Christian values, Camp Harrison”s goal is to give campers an amazing summer experience which they will forever treasure.

Events at Herring RidgeHerring Ridge

There is a lot more going on at Herring Ridge besides the summer Camp Harrison program.  Below is a list of some of the opportunities for fun at Herring Ridge.

  • Traditional Camp (kids 6-16)
  • Dude Ranch (kids 8-16)
  • Sportsman Camp (kids 10-16)
  • Farm to Feast Camp (kids 8-18)Herring Ridge
  • Beyond the Ridge (BTR) Leadership Program (kids 13-17)
  • Family Camp (different opportunities throughout the year)
  • Men On Mountain- Father Son weekend
  • Mother/Daughter Weekend
  • Women”s Wellness Weekend
  • Fishing
  • Weddings and More!!!

 Pricing for special events is as follows:

  • Weddings – Outdoor Chapel Rental $1,500.00
  • Family Reunions – $500 for up to 100 people
  • Birthday Parties – Start at $500 for 10 participants.
  • School Groups – Call for dates & pricing.
  • Church Groups – Call for dates & pricing.
  • Teambuilding – 2-3 hours $25 per person/4-6 hours $50 per personHerring Ridge (lunch can be added for a fee of $12 per person)
  • 1 Night/No meals/3 hours of programming – $88 per person (40 guests)
  • 1 Night & 1 Meal/ 3 hours of Programming – $98 per person (40 guests)

YMCA Members pay the Y rate on any programs offered. This applies to summer camp as well!  Call (336) 921-7067 to plan your Herring Ridge event.

How to get to Herring Ridge.

  • From US 421 North or South you will take exit 286A (towards Taylorsville and Lenoir) then turn right onto 16/18.
  • Turn right at 4th traffic light (located in front of the middle school) onto NC 18 South (towards Lenoir).
  • The sign for Herring Ridge will be in about 10 miles on your left.


Don”t miss your chance to enjoy the moments and make some memories at Herring Ridge!

The Move to Appalachian State University!

No more Appalachian State move-in day madness!

Families come from far and wide to take part in this triumphant moment! Having graduated from Appalachian State University, I know how wonderful it can be to load the car with way too much stuff and take the scenic drive to Appalachian State. l also know how challenging it can be!

Move-in day at App is, in some ways, similar to attending a football game. Crowds descend on Boone and the parking lots are filled with tags from across the country. People book hotels and make dinner reservations and go shopping for things to fill apartments and dorm rooms. As wonderful as the hustle and bustle can be it can also be a little frustrating. Many families, like mine, are choosing to stay in Wilkes and make the short drive up the mountain.

Appalachian State[divider] [/divider]

 

Wilkes is just a short 30 minute drive from Appalachian State. Just take US Hwy 421 up the mountain and enjoy the views as you go. Once you reach Boone signs will direct you to the campus where parking will be available. If you want to park close to your dorm you will need to arrive early and expect that you may need to move your car once you are done to allow others to unload. There is a parking deck on campus for those who may want time to explore the campus.  Be sure you are ready to pay as you leave the parking deck. Signs and parking lot attendants will also be there to help you find a space near your dorm.

View Larger Map

Appalachian State

[divider] [/divider]

 

The Hampton Inn and Holiday Inn are two great options. Both are close to shopping, dining and are easy to access from Hwy 421. The hotels each have meeting space (which would be great for a graduation party), a swimming pool, business center, serve a delicious hot breakfast and offer much more!

Another good reason for staying in Wilkes is the weather.
Students who are moving in for the second semester during Winter months will need to factor in the possibility of ice and snow. The weather in Wilkes is rarely as severe as it is in Boone. If they get a foot of snow in Boone you can relax in Wilkes knowing that you aren’t snowed in and can wait until the roads are clear and safe.

Appalachian State[divider] [/divider]

 

Wilkes has a number of fine eateries and offers a wide variety of cuisine. No matter what your new Mountaineer prefers, Chinese, Italian, Thai, down home cooking, etc., you are sure to find a place to relax and enjoy a good meal. Another bonus is that you are more likely to avoid the crowds and long waits that folks dining in Boone may endure.

Excited yet?   You should be!

Horn in the West (Daniel Boone Outdoor Drama)

Horn in the West Boone, NC

All about the drama…

Horn in the West is the nation”s oldest Revolutionary War drama!  Frontiersman, Daniel Boone and the struggle for freedom during the War for Independence will come to life right before your eyes.  The drama focuses on the settlers who came to the Blue Ridge Mountains, their experiences with the Cherokee Indians, and how the future of our nation was founded.

When & Where

Horn in the West is an outdoor drama held in Boone, NC.  It runs from June 27- August 16 this year and there are nightly performances, except on Mondays.  The pre-show is at 7:30 and the main show starts at 8 each night.Inflatable 20′ Rampage Slide

If you are driving from Wilkesboro, you will need to hop on US-421 North towards Boone.  Once you have arrived in Boone, take a left at the Us-421 and US-105 intersection.  Then take the first right onto Horn Ave.  After the first stop sign, Horn in the West will be on your left!

Cost

General Admission… $20 for Adults, $10 for Children (12 and under)

Gold Level Seating… $25 for Adults, $13 for Children (12 and under) *First few rows of upper and lower sections

VIP Package… $34 for Adults, $24 for Children (12 and under) *This package includes: Complimentary Rain Insurance, Souvenir Program, VIP Lanyard, Guided Museum Tour, Daniel Boone Native Gardens Admission, Special Gift, Seat Cushion, Popcorn and a Drink

Suggestions

1. Go see the Play!!  How often do you get to see a play in an outdoor theatre nestled among the beautiful Blue Ridge MountainsInflatable 20′ Rampage Slide?

2. Take the kids!  This is a family friendly event, and the kids will love it.  Not only will they enjoy the entertainment, but they will be learning about the first settlers in this country!

3. Get Involved.  Horn in the West would not be possible without the great actors, crew members, and generous supporters!

Blue Ridge Parkway South

Anytime is a good time to visit the Blue Ridge Parkway 

Summer, Fall, Winter or Spring!

There are cooling waterfalls for hot summer days, leaves of all colors in the fall, mountains sparkling with snow and ice in the winter and wildflowers lining the road in the spring.  Once a year really isn”t enough to take in the beauty of the North Carolina mountains and with so much to do along the Blue Ridge Parkway you will find it hard to stay away.Blue Ridge Parkway

You may wonder… Why stay in Wilkes to visit the Blue Ridge Parkway?

There are many reasons.

  • Hotels in Wilkes are more affordable than those up the mountain and offer top notch amenities and wonderful service. If you are traveling during a peak season, or during a big game day at Appalachian State University in Boone, you may also find that there is less chaos at  the foot of the mountain.
  • The drive up the mountain is beautiful!  As you travel you can see how things transform. In the fall leaves can be seen at different stages of color transformation at the different elevations.   There are wide mountain views to the left and folks are often selling produce, honey and other goods along the route.
  • In the winter months weather can be a good reason for staying in Wilkes.  Although we are only a short drive away there can be a drastic contrast between the weather in Boone and the weather in Wilkes.  Unexpected snow and ice storms and strand travelers, make driving dangerous and close the parkway.  Staying in Wilkes will allow you time to sleep comfortably, knowing that a foot of snow in Boone may only result in a few inches in Wilkes.

How to get there

To the Blue Ridge Parkway from Wilkes

- 20 miles, 20 min title=”Blue Ridge Parkway 412″ alt=”Blue Ridge Parkway” src=”http://visitwilkesboronc.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/05/us-421_sb_at_blue_ridge_pkwy_02-300×223.jpg” width=”210″ height=”156″ />

  • Take Hwy 421 South from Wilkes towards Boone
  • Turn left onto the Pkwy ramp immediately after passing under large stone bridge.
  • Follow ramp to the Pkwy and turn right to follow the Pkwy South.

 

To Blowing Rock along parkway from Hwy 421

 - 20 miles, 30 minPlaces to see along the Blue Ridge Parkway

  • Exit Pkwy turning left onto Flat Top Road.
  • Keep left to follow ramp to Hwy 321/221.  Turn right on Hwy 321.
  • Exit Hwy 321 by turning left after Tanger Outlets heading into downtown.

 

To Tweetsie Railroad along parkway from Hwy 421 

- 18 miles, 30 minPlaces to see along the Blue Ridge Parkway

  • Exit Pkwy turning right going North towards Boone on 221/312.
  • Follow ramp to Hwy 321/221.  Turn right on Hwy 321 North.
  • You will clearly see Tweetsie Railroad on your left.

 

 

Shoppes on the Parkway/ Tanger Outlets along parkway from Hwy 421 Places to see along the Blue Ridge Parkway

-15 miles, 25 min

  • Exit Pkwy turning left onto Flat Top Road.
  • Keep left to follow ramp to Hwy 321/221.  Turn right on Hwy 321.
  • Turn left at light to Tanger Outlets.

To Grandfather Mountain along parkway from Hwy 421

- 25 miles, 45 minPlaces to see along the Blue Ridge Parkway

  • After crossing the Pkwy Viaduct be prepared to exit Parkway.
  • Turn left at milepost 305 to take Linville Exit towards Blowing Rock Road / US 221.
  • Take first left and turn right onto US 221 . Then follow signs to the park.

To Linville Caverns along parkway from Hwy 421

- 46 miles, 80 minPlaces to see along the Blue Ridge Parkway

  • Drive about 40 miles along Pkwy.
  • Exit by turning right onto ramp towards US 221 / Linville Falls.
  • Turn left onto US 221 and follow signs to caverns on the right.

 

 

To Linville Falls along parkway from Hwy 421

- 42 miles, 70 minPlaces to see along the Blue Ridge Parkway

  • Exit the Pkwy at mile Post 316.4 turning left.
  • Continue two miles to The Visitor Center.
  • Hike half a mile to the falls.

 

Linville Caverns

Linville Cavern Non-Flash Pics 2009 032 - Copy

About Linville Caverns

Linville Caverns are the only caverns in North Carolina. A visit to these caverns allows visitors the opportunity to venture inside of a natural limestone mountain and see it”s wonders!  The caverns were first discovered in the early 1800s by a group of men on a fishing expedition who noticed a trout swimming out of the mountain.  They had never seen anything quite like it and were very intrigued by this “hidden world”.  Henry E. Colton, the man who headed up the expedition, described the caverns as, “fantastic festoons of stalactites hanging down within our touch” and “pendants that were of a delicate lightness, and a most beautiful hue”.

 

How to get to Linville Caverns

From Wilkesboro, you will need to get on US-421 and head towards Boone.  Once you get to Boone, you will take NC 105 South to Linville.  Turn right onto NC-105 at intersection Linville, then travel to the first traffic light and turn left onto US-221 South.  The cave entrance will be approximately 15miles on right!


View Larger Map

Tours of Linville Caverns

Today there are 35 minute walking tours through the caverns.  It stays about 52 degrees year-round and the stalactites drip water on most days.  During periods of heavy rain, the caverns will be very wet and drippy.  Because of the cooler temperatures and the dampness, I recommend wearing a jacket or sweatshirt to stay warm!  Also, be sure to wear tennis shoes, or shoes with a sturdy rubber sole.  The stalactites and stalagmites of mineral deposits are a site to see and you want to be warm and safe while doing so!

Hours & AdmissionLinville Caverns

**Hours change each month, check the website for full schedule!

  • Adults…$7.50
  • Seniors…$6.50 (62 )
  • Children…$5.50 (5-12)

Suggestions 

1. Do a tour!  Grab your jacket and a group of friends and do a walk through tour!  This will be a unique learning experience that you will always remember:)

2. Bring a group of children.  Kids will be learning about mineral composites in school, so this is a wonderful way to bring what they are learning in class to life!

3. Bring your Camera.  Cameras of any kind are welcome in the caverns.  What a neat way to take part of the experience home with you!

4. Make a Return Visit!  Chances are the caverns will continue to change and transform as the years go, so there will always be something new to see:)

Appalachian Graduation

Appalachian GraduationAn Appalachian Graduation is a special event!

Parents, grandparents, siblings, aunts, uncles, cousins and friends come from far and wide to take part in this triumphant moment! Having graduated from Appalachian State University, I know how wonderful it can be having everyone together for the big day and also how challenging an Appalachian Graduation can be.

Going to a graduation at App is, in some ways, similar to attending a football game. Crowds descend on Boone and the parking lots are filled with tags from across the country. People book hotels and make dinner reservations and go shopping for last minute graduation gifts. As wonderful as the hustle and bustle can be it can also be a little frustrating. Many families, like mine, are choosing to stay in Wilkes and make the short drive up the mountain.

Appalachian Graduation

 

Wilkes is just a short 30 minute drive from Appalachian State. Just take US Hwy 421 up the mountain and enjoy the views as you go. Once you reach Boone signs will direct you to the campus where graduation parking will be available. If you want to park close to the ceremony you will need to arrive early. There is a parking deck on campus but be sure you are ready to pay as you leave. Signs and parking lot attendants will also be there to help you find a space.

 

Appalachian Graduation

 

The Hampton Inn and Holiday Inn are two great options. Both are close to shopping, dining and are easy to access from Hwy 421. The hotels each have meeting space (which would be great for a graduation party), a swimming pool, business center, serve a delicious hot breakfast and offer much more!

Another good reason for staying in Wilkes is the weather. Graduates who are going to walk the stage in Winter need to factor in the possibility of ice and snow. The weather in Wilkes is rarely as severe as it is in Boone. If they get a foot of snow and cancel the walk you can relax in Wilkes knowing that you aren”t snowed in and can still have your own graduation celebration with friends and family here!

 

Appalachian Graduation

 

Wilkes has a number of fine eateries and offers a wide variety of cuisine. No matter what your grad prefers, Chinese, Italian, Thai, down home cooking, etc., you are sure to find a place to celebrate their day. Another bonus is that you are more likely to avoid the crowds and long waits that folks dining in Boone may endure.

Appalachian Graduation