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West Jefferson in August and September

<p>&nbsp;</p> <p>There is one thing for sure, exploring the North Carolina Mountains is an exciting adventure any time of the year.&nbsp; Still, late August and September is the perfect time to discover the great outdoors in the NC High Country and the ideal time to visit West Jefferson, NC.&nbsp;</p> <p>When the dog days of summer give way to late August and September, this is the time of year when the Blue Ridge Mountains give us a preview of the coming cool fall temperatures.&nbsp; This weather is perfect for many outdoor activities such as hiking, concerts, and our annual Antiques Fair.</p> <p>For hiking in and around West Jefferson,<a href="https://www.ncparks.gov/mount-jefferson-state-natural-area/trails"><em>&nbsp;<strong>Mount Jefferson State Natural Area</strong></em></a>&nbsp;boasts five hiking trails, including a child-friendly course.&nbsp;</p> <p>With three overlooks and a picnic shelter at the top, there are many ideal places to enjoy a scenic picnic while taking in the magnificent long-range views of the surrounding Blue Ridge Mountains and aerial perspectives of the towns of Jefferson and West Jefferson.&nbsp; Mount Jefferson State Natural Area is also an excellent place for birdwatching and an up-close look at mountain plants and vegetation, as you&#39;ll find various native fauna and flora here.&nbsp;&nbsp;</p> <h2><strong>Events Downtown West Jefferson</strong></h2> <p>Downtown West Jefferson&#39;s gallery crawls, and concerts are still happening on select weekends and will continue through October.&nbsp; The gallery crawls are always a big hit for visitors and residents of Ashe County.&nbsp; The next Backstreet Park Concert Series will be held on August 27, 2021, featuring&nbsp;<em><strong>Lucky Strikes Trio</strong></em>, and will start at 5:30 pm and continue to 7:00 pm.&nbsp; For more information on these events, and Ashe Civic Center events, visit Ashechamber.com&nbsp;</p> <h2><strong>Ashe County Farmers Market</strong></h2> <p>The Ashe County Farmers Market is located at 108 Backstreet in Downtown West Jefferson, is open every Saturday (rain or shine) from mid-May through October.&nbsp; The market offers locally grown fresh seasonal produce and local beef, chicken, pork, and lamb.&nbsp; From fresh free-range chicken eggs to assorted breads, cakes, pies, and more, the Ashe County Farmers&#39; Market is all about local and farm-to-table goodness.&nbsp; You&#39;ll find many unique and handcrafted items such as baskets, pottery, quilts, and more by Ashe County artisans.&nbsp; The market hours are from 8:00 am to 1:00 pm on Saturdays through October.</p> <h2><strong>New River Cleanup Fundraiser Event &ndash; August 28, 2021</strong></h2> <p><strong>Cost:&nbsp;</strong>$15 for adults | $10 for kids 12 and under<strong>&nbsp;</strong></p> <p>The New River Conservancy will sponsor&nbsp;<em><strong>Splash for the Cash</strong>&nbsp;</em>on August 28, 2021.&nbsp; The cleanup will begin at Zaloo&#39;s Canoes at 10:00 am and end at New River State Park Wagoner Access at 2:00 pm. Participants are encouraged to bring their boat if they have one, but Zaloo&#39;s has offered to provide boats for free if you don&#39;t have a boat!&nbsp; After the cleanup, everyone will shuttle back to Zaloo&#39;s for complimentary lunch, drinks, and door prizes.&nbsp; For more information - <a href="https://www.newriverconservancy.org/splash">newriverconservancy.org</a></p> <h2><strong>Gallery Crawl September 10, 2021&nbsp;</strong></h2> <p>Sponsored by the Ashe County Arts Council, the next Gallery Crawl in West Jefferson will be on Friday, September 10, 2021, from 5:00 pm to 7:30 pm.&nbsp; As a crawler, you will have the opportunity to see the latest artwork from Ashe County&#39;s best artists and, in some cases, an opportunity to meet the creative person behind the art.&nbsp; The Gallery Crawl is always a popular event in Ashe County for residents and visitors alike.&nbsp;</p> <p>While visiting the different galleries and shops, you can also tour our town to see our murals and other outdoor artwork in West Jefferson.&nbsp; When you&#39;re ready for a bite to eat or if you want to try a local brew, you&#39;ll have several restaurants and local breweries to choose from that offer delicious appetizers, outstanding entrees, and craft beers.&nbsp;&nbsp;</p> <h2><strong>West Jefferson&#39;s Antiques Fair&nbsp;&ndash; September 17 &amp; 18, 2021</strong></h2> <p>The West Jefferson Antiques Fair will be a two-day event starting Friday, September 17, 2021, through Saturday 18, 2021.&nbsp; There&#39;s always an air of excitement each year at the annual Antiques Fair because you never know what treasures you might find.&nbsp; Vendors will have assorted antiques, primitives, collectibles, and even some repurposed items.&nbsp; While you&#39;re there, check out our local shops, art galleries, and restaurants that make historic downtown West Jefferson a fantastic place to shop, eat, antique, and find works of art any time of the year.&nbsp;&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p>

The restoration of the Old Hotel, West Jefferson, NC

<p>Standing proudly at West Jefferson&rsquo;s town square at Main Street and Jefferson Avenue, West Jefferson&rsquo;s Old Hotel originally housed travelers who took the Virginia Creeper Railroad through the Blue Ridge Mountains.</p> <p>The Virginia Creeper Railroad (part of the Norfolk and Western Railroad) constructed rails connecting Abington, Virginia to Whitetop, Virginia. &nbsp;At Whitetop, the railroad continued into North Carolina passing through several small settlements on its way to Elkland, NC now known as Todd, North Carolina.</p> <p><strong>The Old Hotel in West Jefferson was open for Travelers in 1917.&nbsp; </strong></p> <p>As a result of the construction of the hotel, accommodations became available for businessmen and tourists making West Jefferson the major depot in northwestern North Carolina. &nbsp;At that time, the railroad became a contributing factor for the industrial expansion to the town of West Jefferson.&nbsp;</p> <p>Miners searching for coal, and iron ore in the southern Appalachian Mountains rested at the Old Hotel in the 1920s. Lumber workers who had spent days laboring on the region&rsquo;s rugged mountainsides extracting valuable timber to load onto the Virginia Creeper were grateful for a place to rest at the Old Hotel in downtown West Jefferson.</p> <p>In recent decades, the Old Hotel has instead housed multiple businesses in the vibrant town of West Jefferson.</p> <p><strong>The Preservation of West Jefferson Hotel </strong></p> <p><a href="https://bridgetree.com/">Mark Beck, President of Bridgetree Investments</a> recently bought the property.&nbsp; He has more than 30 years of experience in restoring old buildings across the southeastern United States and is enthusiastic about the preservation of West Jefferson&rsquo;s iconic Old Hotel.&nbsp; The plans include bringing back several hotel rooms, a restaurant, and space for more retail businesses.</p> <p>The Old Hotel, formerly owned by the Woodie family of West Jefferson, was built in 1917.&nbsp; The recent sale is the first time the building has changed owners in its 119-year history.</p> <p>New River Custom Builders, a local construction company based out of Grassy Creek will be leading the renovations.</p> <p>We look forward to seeing the completed renovation and preservation of West Jefferson&rsquo;s most cherished landmark.&nbsp; &nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;&nbsp;</p>

Gemstones and Gold Found in NC Mountains

<p>If you are a rockhound, pan for gold, or enjoy digging for treasures, Gem Valley NC is a gem mining, fluming, and gold panning facility found in Jefferson, North Carolina.&nbsp;</p> <p>Gem Valley NC, Ashe County&#39;s only public gem mining facility, is near the site of the former Ore Knob Copper Mine, which was in operation from the mid-1800s to the mid-1900s.</p> <p>Gem Valley opened in 2006 for gem mining, pluming, and gold panning, and those looking for treasures hidden below the surface.&nbsp;</p> <p>The secret to finding gemstones is knowing where to look and where to shovel.</p> <p>Gem Valley NC does this for you and will load as many buckets of soil as you wish.&nbsp; It is their promise each bucket from the mine will have gemstones.&nbsp; Gemologists are available at Gem Valley who will help you identify your stones for free.</p> <h2>Both Precious and Semi-Precious Stones Are found in North Carolina Mountains</h2> <p>There has been a growing appreciation and renewed interest for colored gemstones, such as the deep blue sapphire and the exotic, green-toned emerald, along with many other varieties of rocks.</p> <p>&nbsp;The value of a natural deep blue sapphire or an emerald either perfect or with few imperfections is more valuable than a diamond.</p> <p>Some of the more desirable semiprecious gemstones found in North Carolina include aquamarine, golden beryl, amethyst, almandite garnet, citrine, emerald, and smoky quartz.</p> <p>The North Carolina General Assembly named the emerald as the official North Carolina precious stone in 1973.</p> <h2>There is Gold in the Creeks at Gem Valley</h2> <p>North Carolina has the honor of having the first documented discovery of gold in the United States.&nbsp; With the discovery of gold in 1799, North Carolina led the gold rush until 1848.</p> <p>Not only are there gemstones found at Gem Valley NC, but the creeks that flow through the property yield an exciting amount of gold.</p> <p>Again, knowing where to pan is helpful.&nbsp; One of the best places to uncover gold is in shallow areas of creeks around boulders and in between cracks and crevices of bedrock.</p> <h3>The Gem Shop and Museum at Gem Valley</h3> <p>The Gem Shop and Museum has a plethora of information about local geology.&nbsp; The shop also offers gifts, stones, jewelry, and other information about rocks, minerals, and gemstones.</p> <p>Want to see your new stone treasures sparkle and shine?&nbsp; Gem Valley offers custom gem cutting orders by experienced individuals who will cut and design your new finds into a unique creation for you.</p> <h3>An All-Day Event</h3> <p>Many visitors stay the day.&nbsp; In the park, there are tables and grills available for picnicking and restroom facilities in the Gem Shop.</p> <p>Gem Valley is only one of the many interesting things to do for those who visit Ashe County.</p> <p>&nbsp;It is only twelve miles from downtown West Jefferson.&nbsp;</p> <p>Visit <a href="http://www.gemvalleync.com">Gem Valley&rsquo;s website</a> for hours, admission, and other information.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p>

Whitetop Virginia Ramp Festival

<h2>Mark Your Calendar for May 16th</h2> <p>Ashe County and the surrounding mountains have rich soil that grows some of the most delicious ramps in the region.&nbsp;</p> <p>Neighboring Ashe County, Virginia&rsquo;s Whitetop Mountain Ramp Festival, sponsored by Mount Rogers Fire Department, celebrates the end of ramp harvesting season with unique ramp delicacies.&nbsp; Each year the festival features a BBQ chicken dinner, Appalachian Arts &amp; Crafts, and Old-Time Mountain Bluegrass music and dancing, and much more.&nbsp;</p> <p>The small community of Whitetop, located in Grayson County, VA, is a short and scenic drive from the West Jefferson area.&nbsp; The Whitetop Mountain Ramp Festival is a great outing for the full family with activities for all ages and tastes (even if you do not care for the unique ramp taste).</p> <p>The 2021 edition of the Whitetop Mountain Ramp Festival is on May 16th and lasts all day.&nbsp; Come out to enjoy delicious Appalachian cuisine and beautiful views of Mount Rogers and the surrounding area.&nbsp; The festival is located at 511 Firehouse Road, Whitetop, VA 24292.</p> <h2>Ramps in the Appalachian Mountains</h2> <p>Ramps (Allium tricoccum) grow in the Appalachian Mountain and eastern North America.&nbsp; They are easily recognized by their broad leaves that are typically around 1-3 inches wide and 4-12 inches long.&nbsp; Depending on elevation, ramps are best harvested from late March through the middle of May.&nbsp; Ramps are commonly found on cooler, north-facing slopes under dense deciduous forests.&nbsp; The plant is valued by foragers and foodies for its uniquely strong onion-garlic flavor.&nbsp; Ramps can have either red or white stems, but the plants with red stems tend to have an especially pungent flavor.</p> <h2>Just for fun try our delicious recipe for &ldquo;Ramp Gravy&rdquo;.&nbsp;</h2> <p>It is a combination of white sauce and southern gravy to eat on crust buttermilk biscuits,&nbsp;over mashed potatoes or chicken-fried steak.&nbsp;</p> <h3>Ingredients</h3> <ul> <li>2 tablespoons butter</li> <li>6 ramps finely chopped.</li> <li>2 tablespoons flour</li> <li>2 cups light cream (heavy cream, half and half, or milk.</li> <li>1 1/2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper.</li> <li>1 &frac12; teaspoon Kosher salt</li> </ul> <p>Directions:</p> <ul> <li>Melt butter on low heat, add ramps, and cook stirring frequently.&nbsp; The ramps should soften in 3-4 minutes. &nbsp;Add flour and cook, stirring constantly with a whisk until the mixture is slightly browned.</li> <li>Turn heat to medium and while stirring, slowly pour in cream or milk.&nbsp; Add salt and black pepper.&nbsp; Reduce heat and simmer, whisking often, until thickened.&nbsp;</li> </ul> <p>&nbsp;</p> <h2 style="font-style:italic">The festival will be an all-day event May 16, 2021 &ndash; 511 Fire House Road, Whitetop, Virginia</h2> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;Sources: <a href="http://www.wildedible.com">www.wildedible.com</a></p> <p>&nbsp;</p>

Ashe County Hiking Trails

<h2>Ashe County Hiking Trails</h2> <p>With the warmer weather here to stay for the season, it is time to plan a few trips to enjoy the beautiful scenery that Ashe County has to offer.&nbsp; North Carolina&rsquo;s &ldquo;Lost Province&rdquo; is in the heart of the Blue Ridge Mountains - offering a perfect respite from hotter weather experienced in the summer months at lower elevations in the southeast.</p> <p>While there are near endless options to explore the great outdoors in western North Carolina, some of the best hikes in the state are in and around Ashe County.&nbsp; Clear mountain rivers, panoramic views of the majestic Blue Ridge Mountains, rushing waterfalls &ndash; you name it.&nbsp; Locals in Ashe County are blessed with multiple nearby well-maintained trail systems, and terrain suited for all abilities.&nbsp; Some of these hikes are virtually in our listings&rsquo; backyard, so check our website to find your perfect mountain getaway.</p> <h2>Mount Jefferson State Natural Area</h2> <p>Mount Jefferson is a prominent peak that rises above the towns of Jefferson and West Jefferson. &nbsp;Visitors can drive close to its peak and access several hiking trails with impressive views of Ashe County and beyond.</p> <p>Mount Jefferson offers 541 acres of natural woodlands with long-range views of the surrounding Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina, Virginia, and Tennessee.&nbsp; &nbsp;&nbsp;</p> <p>The natural area features hikes for all abilities ranging from 0.3-4 miles in length.&nbsp; The most popular trails are Rhododendron Trail, Mountain Ridge Trail, Lost Province Trail, and Spur Trail.&nbsp; Mount Jefferson State Natural Area is especially popular due to its proximity to many of Ashe county&rsquo;s best restaurants and attractions within the urban centers of Jefferson and West Jefferson.</p> <p>Rhododendron Trail is magnificent in early June when the native purple Rhododendron is in bloom.&nbsp; The trail is 1.1 miles and has stunning views of the valley below with views of the surrounding Blue Ridge Mountains.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <h2>Doughton Park</h2> <p>Located on the Blue Ridge Parkway in Laurel Springs, Ashe County, and Allegheny County.</p> <p>Doughton Park has more than 30-miles of hiking trails, camping, picnicking, a restaurant in season, and many more attractions.&nbsp; More information on<a href="https://www.nps.gov/blri/planyourvisit/doughton-park-trails.htm" target="_self"> Doughton Park hiking trails</a>.</p> <h2>Elk Knob State Park</h2> <p>Elk Knob State is part of the amphibolite range &ndash; a prominent part of the Appalachian Mountain Range. &nbsp;The amphibolite-gneiss rock (for which the range is named) yields a more neutral soil &ndash; enabling an abundant diversity of plant life. &nbsp;In the summer months, these mountain peaks are lush with wildflowers and other vegetation.&nbsp; Other notable peaks of the amphibolite range include Snake Mountain, Rich Mountain, Potato &ldquo;Tater&rdquo; Hill, and Three Top Mountain.&nbsp;</p> <h2>Hiking in Elk Knob State Park</h2> <p>There are several popular hikes in Elk Knob State Park that are especially beautiful with the greenery&nbsp;of the spring and summer.&nbsp; The summit trail (4-mile round trip) is one of the most popular trails.&nbsp; It offers an expansive view of three states (Virginia and Tennessee, aside from North Carolina). Hikers see a variety of wildlife as well as a plethora of wildflowers along the trail. &nbsp;In addition to the summit trail, there are also options at the saddle of Elk Knob that gain less elevation while still offering a tranquil outdoor experience. &nbsp;Maple Run Trail and Beech Tree Trail are great options for those looking to get outside but not climb to mountain peaks.&nbsp; Both loops are around&nbsp;a mile and offer visitors a peaceful escape into a pristine Appalachian Mountain forest.&nbsp;</p> <h2>Cascades Trail</h2> <p>The Cascades Trail, found just north of Deep Gap along the Blue Ridge Parkway, is a hidden gem treasured by Ashe County locals.&nbsp; The most common start for this hike is at the Cascades overlook on the Blue Ridge Parkway at milepost 272.&nbsp; From the overlook, it is a tame hike to &ldquo;the cascades&rdquo; &ndash; formed as Falls Creek tumbles down a cliff and begins descending over a thousand feet into the Yadkin Valley.&nbsp; The turn-around point of the hike features one of the most impressive views: a 200-foot waterfall framed by mountain laurel and rhododendron which blooms in the early summer.&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p>

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