Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2017 - 54
WNC Cheese Trail
Distance: 229 miles.
The WNC Cheese Trail highlights
15 cheesemakers, from Robbinsville
to Jefferson. These cheesemakers
are connected via scenic mountain
roads and byways, making for an
ideal afternoon or weekend drive.
The trail enables you to connect directly with the cheesemakers and,
in many cases, tour the facilities and
buy straight from the producers.
Key feature: The annual Carolina
Mountain Cheese Fest is typically
in April and features family-friendly
games, vendors, demonstrations,
and education workshops where
you can learn about the art of cheesemaking.
Not to miss along the way: While
visiting Linville Falls Winery in
Newland, explore nearby Linville
Falls, just off the Blue Ridge Parkway. These beautiful, three-tiered
falls are accessible via an easy 1.6mile, round-trip walking trail.
A great town: Many of the cheesemakers on the trail are clustered
around the town of Black Mountain, which offers spectacular views
and a historic downtown with a
variety of shops. A great place to
eat is The Trailhead, where you can
find everything from casual fare to
elegant seafood dishes, along with
The Crooked Road
Distance: 300 miles
The Crooked Road is Virginia's
Heritage Music Trail, a driving route
through the Appalachian Mountains
from the Blue Ridge to the Coalfields
region, following U.S. 58. The scenic
Roanoke Valley CVB
A great town: The nonprofit that
operates the WNC Quilt Trail is in
the charming town of Burnsville,
located about 35 miles northeast of
Asheville. Here you'll find a number
of charming shops and restaurants,
including Bubba's Good Eats, which
has everything from steaks and seafood to slow-smoked BBQ.
Mabry Mill is a must-see along Virginia's Crooked Road Trail.
trail winds through southwest Virginia, including 19 counties, four cities, and 54 towns.
Key feature: Among the heritage
music venues that Crooked Road
connects, don't miss the Blue Ridge
Music Center in Galax. This multifaceted venue includes an outdoor
amphitheater, an indoor interpretive
center/theater, as well as interactive
exhibitions highlighting the historical significance of the region's music.
Not to miss along the way: Mabry
Mill in Meadows of Dan is a lovingly
gristmill/sawmill/woodworking shop and blacksmith shop
that hosts basket weaving, spinning
and weaving demonstrations.
A great town: Known as the
"Birthplace of Country Music,"
Bristol is a great destination to
learn about the history of the region and its role in the creation of
a celebrated music genre.
The drive follows the trail hacked
out by Daniel Boone in 1775 through
southwest Virginia to the narrow
mountain pass at Cumberland Gap
where Virginia, Tennessee and Kentucky converge. Most of the drive is
through small, unspoiled towns.
Key feature: The drive concludes at
the 2,440-high Pinnacle Overlook in
Cumberland Gap National Historical Park, where you can gaze down
at the gap.
Not to miss along the way: Located in Scott County, the Homeplace
Mountain Farm and Museum depicts
an 1840s farmstead in the mountains of southwest Virginia. Here
you'll find a collection of authentic
structures and artifacts that have
been moved and assembled from
their original locations throughout
A great town:
Well, Bristol again. The downtown has excellent dining/nightlife
choices, ranging from Whiskey Rebellion (5-star restaurant) to Machiavelli's (Italian), and Stateline Bar &
Grill, which serves casual fare like
barbecue, fried catfish, and burgers.
The National Coal Heritage
Distance: 187 miles
This trail winds through coal
mining history, including reconstructed mines, railway lines and
stations, deep valleys and rushing
rivers, historic towns and even an
underground mine tour. All of these
stops are connected by roads that
crisscross 13 counties through southern West Virginia.