The Appalachians were "America's first frontier." Like the Native Americans who first called the High Country home, later pioneers who explored and settled the area were isolated and self-sufficient. The Boone Area includes a collection of sites to appreciate this early American phase of exploration.
Hickory Ridge Living History Museum's stunning assortment of authentic log structures - from cabin homes to a springhouse, tavern, and blacksmith shop - convey a lifestyle of long ago. On the grounds of Horn in the West outdoor drama, the museum employs living history reenactors on Saturday mornings, May through October. And, in late-June to mid-August, self-guided tours of the cabins are available 5:30 - 7:30 p.m. before Horn in the West. Docent-guided tours are also available during these times, for a small fee.
The Blue Ridge Parkway's Brinegar Cabin at Doughton Park (Parkway milepost 238) also employs living history reenactors in summer. And the park's Caudill Cabin (1890's)
Daniel's love of "high, far-seeing places" brought him to the High Country. The real Daniel Boone hunted in the area (ca. 1767-1773), maintained a hunting camp and even a cabin that he used on forays from the Yadkin River Valley below the Blue Ridge. The Watauga County town of Meat Camp is the namesake of that hunting camp. The road through Meat Camp now takes motorists to the entrance to Elk Knob State Park, where trails lead hikers to long-range vistas likely enjoyed by Daniel himself.
Visit the Appalachian State University campus in Boone to see a statue of Daniel and his hunting dogs, located beside the Duck Pond on Rivers Street. Also on Rivers Street, a large monument to him is said to contain a chimney stone from his hunting cabin. Nearby, just outside the county courthouse on King Street, Daniel Boone is honored with a streetside bronze plaque, placed there many years ago by the Daniel Boone Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution.
Other local markers commemorating Daniel Boone include the Boone Trail Highway Marker at Cove Creek and a D.A.R. marker in Zionville. Both markers are located west of Boone along Old U.S. 421 between Sugar Grove and the Tennessee state line.
Daniel Boone's story too, is the topic of the Boone area's popular summer outdoor drama Horn in the West. This more than 60-year-old historical spectacle is a must-see experience of summertime in the High Country - and a great way to add to your exploration of history. "Horn in the West" is high-quality summer theater and generally runs late-June to mid-August.
Read more - for more information on Daniel Boone's life and journeys as it applies to North Carolina, visit NC Daniel Boone Heritage Trail.
Visitors started coming the mountains to escape the heat in the late 1800s. You can check in to this heritage at classic accommodations such as the Green Park Inn (1882) in Blowing Rock. Visitors reached the hotel from Lenoir and Hickory by stage coach.
Linville became one of the nation's first planned resort communities in the 1880s, and the Eseeola Lodge opened in Linville in 1892. The resort was easily reached from Johnson City, Tennessee to the west via the East Tennessee and Western North Carolina Railroad. Its shrill whistle earned it the beloved nickname "Tweetsie." To connect Eseeola to Blowing Rock and access from the east, the "Old Yonahlossee Road" was built as a stage coach road connecting Linville from Blowing Rock. You can still drive this early "best road in the mountains" as US 221 today. It makes a great loop with the famous Linn Cove Viaduct part of the Blue Ridge Parkway.
Both of these historic hotels are still welcoming guests and have been in continuous operation since the 1800s.
Located in the middle of downtown Boone, the Jones House was built in 1908 as a family home by Dr. John Walter Jones. Jones was one of the first physicians in the area and this family home was the location of his first office. Dr. Jones' wife, Mattie, was the daughter of Manly Blackburn, a prominent Boone merchant. After Dr. Jones' death, Mattie continued to live in the home until 1977 when she was 94. Upon her death, her daughter, Mazie, inherited the home and, in 1983, sold it to the Town of Boone to be used only as a cultural and community center. The house is now home to the Mazie Jones Gallery, a rotating art gallery named in memory of Mazie. Upstairs, two permanent galleries house exhibits on the history of Boone and the Jones House.