Setting for Appalachian Adventures
Escapes come in all sizes, prices, time requirements, destinations, athletic requirements, and energy needed. By far the easiest escape is in the mind by reading and co-creating an experience with the author. More active, in-person escapes abound in the North Carolina mountains.
My first impression of old town Boone was uplifting because people were on the sidewalks and in the shops in the evening and at night. Sure, the town has Appalachian State University and the usual student hang outs. Many of those who walk in the town are under 25. Since ASU was the division champions in 2006 and 2007, fall football season brings in alumni from all over the world.
It also has tourists of all ages. “Escape to the mountains” is a refrain spoken by many low landers. The seasons and weather are magnified up here. Boone sits at an elevation of 3,266 feet and covers just under six square miles. Nearby are three ski slopes (Sugar Mountain, Beech and Appalachian Ski Mountain) and one huge tubing run (Hawk’s Nest). Hiking trails, camp grounds and scenic overlooks dot the Blue Ridge Parkway. Watch out for those riding bicycles. Pisgah National Forest is close. White water rafting and canoe trips run the New River, which flows North. Rock climbing and caving tours are available. Horse back riding is a favorite. Of course, the Blue Falls Ranch in my Appalachian Adventure Mysteries is pure fiction. In town are the Daniel Boone gardens and the Byway Getaway, a walkway along the banks of the South Fork of the New River. Footsloggers even has a climbing wall in old town Boone. Mast General Store sells old-fashioned candy by the pound to go along with the outdoor wear and equipment.
The town population is 13,843 but the university adds another 12,245 full-time students. In addition are part-time retirees and others with second homes who frequent the art galleries and attend the visiting author and concert series performances. Horn in the West is an outdoor drama performed each summer.
Boone is a small town but offers a wide range of experiences. Next time you’re in the South, stop by and enjoy the fresh air and long range views.