If you are planning to visit Appalachian State University, or if you are coming to Boone, North Carolina for a vacation, you will be in one of the most beautiful places on earth. Boone is a small town built right on the Blue Ridge Mountains, 3,222 feet above sea level. It has a population of about 13,000, excluding the student population at Appalachian State University which is located in the town. Boone is named after Daniel Boone, the famous frontiersman who lived in the area from 1760 to 1769. Appalachian State University honors Boone with a large statue of him on the campus.
Although Boone is a small town, there are many activities and attractions that make it a popular vacation spot. The Appalachian Summer Festival takes place each July with rides, games, and other festivities. September is the time for the Kraut Creek Festival. There is really no Kraut Creek, but it is a nickname for the creek that runs through the town of Boone. The Kraut Creek Festival is a special time when artists and crafts persons display their works, country blues and jazz are played, the Mountain Peace Keepers Peace Celebration is held, and there is a wine tasting. In October, Boone celebrates the Apple Festival as the trees produce their last fruit before the onset of the cold winter months.
The Blue Ridge Mountains provide recreational activities year round. Skiing is very popular in the cold winter months, and warmer seasons provide hiking, camping, biking, and other outdoor sports. The mountain views are outstanding, especially from Howard’s Knob which is a mountain located in Boone. Its elevation of 4,406 is about 1,000 feet above Boone and Appalachian State University, so the gorgeous mountain views can be seen by looking up or down. Howard’s Knob has roads for outstanding scenic drives around the mountain. There is also whitewater paddling available in Wilson Creek. There are many other things to see and do in Boone as well.
The Blue Ridge Parkway is a 469 mile long highway that runs along the Blue Ridge Mountains that are part of the Appalachian Mountain Range. This historic highway is a National Scenic Byway and is the most visited in the U.S. National Park System. It runs through Boone and close to Appalachian State University, and continues up to the Great Smokey Mountains National Park and to the Cherokee Indian Reservation in North Carolina and through parts of Virginia.
A summer drama production that has been performed in Boone for almost 60 years is “Horn in the West.” This outdoor performance takes place each summer and draws visitors to Boone from all around the world. The drama focuses on the life of the pioneers who settled in Boone and in the western North Carolina and Tennessee mountain ranges. Another summer attraction in Boone is the Tweetsie Railroad. Named after the “tweet-tweet” sound of the engine’s whistle, TweetsieRoailroad is a theme park with rides, including a three mile steam locomotive train trip. Located between the towns of Boone and Blowing Rock, Tweetsie Railroad is open from May through August. In October, the park is also open for the special Ghost Train Halloween Festival each weekend.
Daniel Boone Native Gardens is a spot in Boone that is a garden with a variety of plants and other interesting attractions. It is open from May through October. The wrought iron gates at the park’s entrance were donated by a relative of Daniel Boone – Daniel Boone VI. The garden has a wishing well, prayer shrine, reflection pool, bridge, and a log cabin that is replica of one similar to what Daniel Boone may have lived in. The cabin is entitled Squire Boone Cabin.