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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>

Spring in North Carolina Mountains

<h1>Spring comes slowly to the North Carolina Mountains.</h1> <p>It seemed ages ago since we first saw the daffodils creeping up ever so slowly, or experienced the wonderful fragrance of&nbsp;the first buds on lilac bushes which will tell us that the dreary days of winter will soon be gone.&nbsp;</p> <p>As the mountains awaken with the sounds of songbirds perching on the gray twigs, the trees begin to bud and tinge with green; when the dogwoods and the tiny colorful wildflowers are covering the landscape, and the mountain streams are rapidly flowing from the winter&rsquo;s higher elevations melting snow, it will be spring.&nbsp;</p> <p>What a magnificent time to be in the mountains.</p> <h2><strong>Visit us in the spring and experience the unfolding of the season.</strong></h2> <p>If the great outdoors is your thing, come to the mountains of North Carolina for rafting or picnicking along the New River, horseback-riding in the fresh country air, or hike and camp close-up within the beauty of nature.&nbsp;</p> <p>Spend the day taking one of the delineated road tours to see and experience the unforgettable rich diversity Ashe County and the High Country has to offer.&nbsp; Every turn and curve in the road reveals unexpected, beautiful scenic views and byways.&nbsp;</p> <p>There is freshness in the air, the unmistakable smell of spring.&nbsp; All of this reminds us that the spring season is a time of rebirth, rejuvenation, and renewal.</p> <h2>Ashe County offers a wide and diverse range of activities, whether your interests lean toward the cultural, the culinary, or the great outdoors.&nbsp;</h2> <p><strong>Our Towns, West Jefferson, and Lansing in Spring</strong></p> <p>In the towns of West Jefferson and Lansing, you will find plenty to do. After a cold and colorless winter, the warming golden rays of the sun will bring these&nbsp;small towns gently back to life.</p> <p>In West Jefferson, there is a wide variety of art galleries, unique shops, community theatre performances, music festivals, and many more activities. &nbsp;The town has restaurants galore, whether your palate prefers fine dining,&nbsp;down-home country cooking, or anything in-between.&nbsp;</p> <h2><strong>Even in the uncertainty of this past year West Jefferson and Lansing continue to grow.&nbsp; </strong></h2> <p>One of the latest additions to our town, Boondocks Brewing Brew Haus has added a Sky Deck where you can take your food and award-winning craft beer from inside the Brew Haus to the rooftop to enjoy a starlit sky while overlooking the town of West Jefferson.&nbsp; The restaurant, a block from the Brew Haus, Boondocks Brewing Tap Room and Restaurant (one of the many restaurants in West Jefferson) features a variety of excellent food offering both inside dining and a covered deck for outdoor&nbsp;dining.</p> <p>For those of you who have not visited West Jefferson in a while, as you stroll around the backstreet park in West Jefferson, you will find our own<a href="https://www.ashecountyrealestate.com/blog/Pocahontas-Statue-West-Jefferson-NC"> Pocahontas returned home.</a></p> <p><strong>Two new shops have opened recently in West Jefferson.</strong></p> <p><em>Three Little Bears and Company</em> featuring a variety of old fashion candies, gifts, and works of crafts by local artisans.</p> <p><em>Homeslice</em>,<strong> </strong>a restaurant, and bar featuring New York-style Pizzas along with a large variety of food and drink.&nbsp; It is also a place to hang out for sure.</p> <p>Owned and operated by Ashe County&rsquo;s own Jimbo Sexton and friend Mike Kesterson.&nbsp; (If you really want to know their story and feel the relaxed atmosphere of the restaurant and bar - <a href="https://homeslicewj.com/about-us/">read here</a>.)</p> <p><strong>Lansing Continues with the Revitalization of the Town</strong></p> <p>Not long ago, Lansing began a revitalization of their town by adding the Lansing Creeper Trail Park on one of Ashe Counties&#39;&nbsp;major trout streams, Horse Creek.&nbsp; Here you have access to the stream and can fish without waders.&nbsp; There are areas for picnicking or hanging out in the park.&nbsp; The park features restrooms, a section for your dogs, and charcoal grills throughout the park.</p> <p>Lansing is known for one of the best pizza restaurants in the area, Pie on the Mountain, and is just across the street from the park.</p> <p>There are many events held each year, which include the Ola Belle Reed Festival and the Greater LA Festival.&nbsp;</p> <h2>Spring has officially arrived!</h2> <p>Ashe County and our towns are ready to offer the best in things to do and see.</p> <h2>Ashe High Country Realty</h2> <p>Ashe High Country Realty&nbsp;offers real estate services to those seeking a home, land to build, or investment real estate.&nbsp; Established in 1989, we have the knowledge&nbsp;and understanding of the local&nbsp;market.&nbsp; Our years of experience&nbsp;can assist you in making your decision.&nbsp;&nbsp;</p> <p>To learn more about our real estate for sale or more about the area, browse our website.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p>

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