Mountain Retreats, Bed & Breakfasts, and Historic Farmhouses
Take a right at the crossroads in Banner Elk, and prepare yourself
for a mountain retreat into another time.Up through winding mountain roads
spotted with old farmhouses, high country inns and bed and breakfasts,
then back down the mountain where you’ll find the historic village of
Valle Crucis NC, nestled in the valley on the banks of the
Named “Vale of the Cross“ by Episcopal missionaries in the early 1840s, the village is home to several sites listed on the National Register of Historic Places, and has recently been the subject of articles in such major newspapers as The New York Times and The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
The Mast General Store
Top on the list of attractions is undoubtedly the historic Mast General Store, dating back to 1883. Still operating as a general store in the most literal sense, Mast’s acts as sort of a central hub of the community, where locals gather for news and gossip, and artisans gather to display their skills on the back porch.
Follow the trail running down to the river from the Mast General Store and you’ll find yourself at the Valle Crucis Community Park; a perfect place for a picnic on the banks of the Watauga, complete with hiking trails, sports fields, and a fishing pond.
The Mast Farm Inn
Just down the road is the Mast Farm (homesteaded by some cousins),
listed in the National Register of Historic Places in 1972 as “one of
the most complete and best preserved groups of nineteenth century farm buildings
in western North Carolina." The Restaurant at the Mast Farm Inn deserves
special mention. Led by Chef Colin Patience, the Mast
Inn Restaurant offers a varied menu of fine dining with an extensive
wine list in an indoor and outdoor country setting. Aunt
Josie's Espresso and Wine Bar is a cozy lounge area with a crackling
fire in the winter, and opening onto an expansive terrace in the summer.
The Mast Farm Inn opened for business around the turn of the century, and is today one of the premier bed and breakfast destinations in the Blue Ridge Mountains.
The Valle Crucis Conference Center
Located in the upper valley are the grounds of the historic Mission School. 450 acres from mountain to valley with hiking trails, waterfalls and spectacular views, this is also the site of the Valle Crucis Conference Center and the Holy Cross Episcopal Church.
All of the buildings are on the National Historic Register, and the Conference Center is a popular mountain retreat for a diverse range of groups communing with nature, seeking religious experiences, or just wanting to get away from the stress of the city.
Horseback Riding in Valle Crucis
A great resort for the family who loves horses is the Chadi Farm, right within walking distance from “downtown”. An APHA registered breeding farm, Chadi offers carriage rides, hayrides, covered Wagon Trains and an onsite blacksmith shed. Horseback riding in the Blue Ridge Mountains doesn’t get any better, with plenty of groomed mountain trails and terrain suitable from beginner to advanced. They also have an overnight trail ride where you’ll make camp just like in the olden days! The Chadi Farm has onsite cabin rentals and runs a summer riding camp for children ages 8-16. Soon to come at the Chadi Farm is the Homestead Bed & Breakfast Inn.
In addition to the many Bed and Breakfasts and High Country Inns, you can also find Rental Cabins right on the main road between the Mast store and its annex. The Valle Crucis Campground, located 3/10 mile from the Mast General Store, offers full hook-ups for RVs, shaded tent sites along the banks of Dutch Creek, and a bath house, picnic tables, and camp fires.
Valle Crucis NC is truly a town set apart from its peers. Absent are the glitzy storefronts and fancy restaurants, and you won’t find a nightclub anywhere in this valley!
What you will find is a mountain retreat with a sense of peace and harmony with nature, and an overwhelming calm in a valley where the town seems to melt into the countryside.