Your weekend mountain getaway bucket list: West Jefferson

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West Jefferson/Grayson Highlands
Photo via Visit West Jefferson

Nestled in Ashe County just a little over two hours north of Charlotte, West Jefferson is an enchanting mountain town that makes for an ideal, cozy weekend getaway. With small-town charm to spare, eclectic restaurants, intriguing shops, outdoor adventure and a deep-rooted pride for art, there is something for every traveler to explore.

Stay

Located in the Blue Ridge Mountains near West Jefferson, Buffalo Tavern is a bed and breakfast that offers its guests a private and relaxing country setting. The West Jefferson Arts District is a quick drive from this spot. Guests can expect a full country breakfast each morning. Explore everything West Jefferson has to offer, or you might find yourself wanting to pass time relaxing on its spacious front porch.

Glendale Springs Inn & Restaurant is a historic country inn in Ashe County. Built more than 120 years ago on two acres, the inn is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. This tranquility of this historic property is instantly felt, so whether you are staying a night, a weekend, or you just want to take advantage of their fine dining and full bar, it is worth a visit.

Eat

At Bohemia, in the heart of downtown West Jefferson, the coffee is always on point, and to go along with it are always a decent amount of tempting baked goods. The coffee shop itself is roomy and filled with couches, tables and soft chairs. Customers can buy or just admire the local art on display.

For breakfast, check out Rosebud Dining & Bakery. Located downtown, this family-owned restaurant offers  homemade foods and baked goods. You can pre-order its cakes and pies. Sunday brunch is a personal favorite.  

Ashe County Cheese
Photo by Christy Core Harris
Ashe County Cheese

Whether you are a cheese fan or not, Ashe County Cheese is an interesting, quick stop in downtown West Jefferson. Ashe County Cheese has a rich history expanding over 75 years. Pop into the factory and see cheese being made and then stop by the cheese store across the street. They have countless gourmet cheese options, accouterments candies, snacks and gifts.

Drink

As Ashe County’s first and only commercially licensed craft beer brewery, Boondocks Brewing is a must. Small batches are brewed weekly, and around 25 craft beers are typically on tap. If you brought your dog along for the trip, visit the  pet-friendly beer garden and covered outside dining patio.

Molley Chomper is a hidden gem, located in Ashe County. Its goal of showcasing fruit and farmers of the Southern Appalachian region is apparent in the hard cider. Branding featuring Molley Chomper, the goat who eats apples, could not be cuter.

Do

Kathleen George with the Ashe County Chamber of Commerce shared many local attractions any Ashe County visitor shouldn’t miss. Some of these include the Ashe County Farmers Market, the mural trail and seasonal happenings like Christmas in July, WJ Summer Concerts and Pick and Cut Christmas trees. Check out more of the chamber’s recommendations and their upcoming events on their website.

Downtown from Ashe
Photo via Visit West Jefferson
Downtown from Ashe

“Enjoy the beautiful mountain scenery and cool breeze during our Summer Backstreet Park concerts and Gallery Crawls, or simply stroll the pedestrian-friendly downtown with a variety of shops, restaurants, antiques, coffee and wine shops and craft beer brewery. No visit is complete without a stop to the Church of the Frescoes and Ashe County Cheese, North Carolina’s oldest cheese factory. There is truly something for everyone.” said Rebecca Eldreth with Visit West Jefferson.

Visit the Church of the Frescoes to view the works of art or for the religious significance.

Be sure to keep your eyes peeled for the more than a dozen  murals in downtown West Jefferson.

Get some gear for your next hike, bike, trip down The New River, or other adventure at Mountain Outfitters.

For a curated assortment of clothes, accessories and home goods, check out Sisters on Main.

The Honey Hole promotes the art of beekeeping and provides customers with beekeeping supplies and every honey-related product I can think of. Stop by and sample the honey food creations, smell honey products and learn about beekeeping.

Grayson Highlands State Park ponies
Photo by Christy Core Harris
Grayson Highlands State Park

There are several hiking options around West Jefferson, but the standout to me is Grayson Highlands State Park. Herds of wild ponies and rolling landscape help land Grayson Highlands on any hiker’s bucket list. There are paths and loops that connect with the Appalachian Trail.

Consider camping overnight: there are so many outlooks, waterfalls, areas to explore and ponies to meet, it is nearly impossible to make yourself leave.

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