Last modified on 2020-05-05
Ashe County, North Carolina encompasses 427.05 square miles of rolling hills, low land, and mountains. Elevations range between 2,700 feet above sea level in the lower areas in and around the New River, while the highest summit is Peak Mountain at 5,100. Homesites range from 2,800 feet in elevation up to elevations of 4,960 in Big Tree on Bald and Elk Mountain and up to 4,600+ in Stonebridge on Elk Mountain.
There are ninety-nine counties in the state of North Carolina. Ashe County is the most Northwestern county bordering Tennessee to the west and Virginia to the north. It has become known at the “Coolest Corner” in North Carolina.
Some of the most beautiful scenery in the world is in the North Carolina Mountains. You will find unsurpassed long-range mountain views. There are native trout streams, hiking trails, the New River for canoeing and tubing, music festivals, the arts, just to name a few. Ashe County’s natural areas include acres of state and federal parks. The Blue Ridge Parkway, Mt. Jefferson State Park and the New River State Park are only three. In addition to the many events the county has to offer, it is the springboard for activities in Southwestern Virginia, Boone, Blowing Rock, and the ski areas of the North Carolina Mountains. It is also home to the first frescos painted by the renowned Ben Long presented on the walls of St. Mary’s Episcopal Church in Beaver Creek and Holy Trinity in Glendale Springs.
Jefferson is the county seat and the older of the three towns in the county. The county seat is in Jefferson and is the largest of the nineteen townships. This is where the government facilities are and the first incorporated town. West Jefferson is the largest town, with Lansing, NC being the smallest of the three.
Not so many years ago, the town of West Jefferson catered to mostly local traffic. As the larger discount stores moved into the area, the downtown soon realized a decline in retail sales. The downtown shopkeepers realized they had to change the way they did business and to attract more visitors, the town must become more attractive. The goal was to attract more tourists and retirees who wanted to visit or retire to the North Carolina Mountains.
An undertaking to revitalize the downtown has successfully neared completion and West Jefferson has now become a friendly pedestrian town. The revitalization included an art district, street murals, green spaces, and a pocket park. Ashe County Arts sponsor a downtown bi-monthly “Gallery Crawl” and the pocket park serves as a music venue during the summer months. There are art galleries, specialty shops, a delightful choice of restaurants, a farmer’s market on the backstreet, antique shops, Florence Thomas School of Art, and North Carolina’s oldest cheese plant in North Carolina.
When one asks, "Where is Ashe County?" you can say it is the “Coolest County” in the North Carolina Mountains. It is a beautiful place to visit with immeasurable activities and opportunities. It is also a place to visit and a place to call home.