The Appalachians were "America's first frontier." Pioneers who explored and settled the area were often isolated and self-sufficient. The Boone Area includes a collection of sites to appreciate this early American period of exploration.
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 street-side 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 is the topic of the Boone area's popular summer outdoor drama Horn in the West, which generally runs from July to August. This over-70-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.
Download the two-page flyer with a map and site descriptions of places Daniel Boone visited in Watauga County. For more information on Daniel Boone's life and journeys throughout North Carolina, visit NC Daniel Boone Heritage Trail.
Hickory Ridge 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 interpreters on Saturday mornings, May through October. From late June to mid-August, tours of the cabins are available before the Horn in the West Outdoor Drama.
The Blue Ridge Parkway's Brinegar Cabin at Doughton Park (Parkway milepost 238) is open to visitors with cultural demonstrations on the weekends in summer and fall. And the park's Caudill Cabin (dating to the 1890s) can be accessed by the 3.3-mile Basin Creek Trail, or spotted from above at Wildcat Rocks Overlook at milepost 241. From Tompkins Knob Parking Area in E.B. Jeffress Park (milepost 272.5), take the dirt path into the woods to Jesse Brown's cabin, a late-nineteenth-century residence.
Visitors started coming to the mountains to escape the southern 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 stagecoach.
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 stagecoach road connecting Linville from Blowing Rock. You can still drive this scenic byway as US 221, or the Little Parkway, today. It makes a great loop with the famous Linn Cove Viaduct section of the Blue Ridge Parkway. Both of these historic hotels are still welcoming guests and have been in continuous operation since the 1800s.
The Lovill House Inn is another historic property now welcoming guests for overnight stays. The Bed & Breakfast was built as a farmhouse in 1875 by Captain E.F. Lovill, and the home later became the site where the bill that established the Appalachian Training School was written (now Appalachian State University). Today, the bed & breakfast is a sustainable off-grid hideaway with 6 luxury rooms just a few minutes from downtown Boone.
In Valle Crucis, NC's first rural historic district, The Mast Farm Inn's first house, the Loom House, dates back to 1810 and is the oldest inhabitable log cabin in the state. Make reservations to dine at the inn's Valle Tavern restaurant for breakfast, tea, drinks, and dinner, or book your stay in any of the inn's four cottages and farmhouse rooms.
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.
Her daughter, Mazie, inherited the home and, in 1983, sold it to the Town of Boone to be used 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. The Jones House Cultural Center now hosts concerts throughout the year, old-time jams open to any passing musician, workshops, and other events throughout the year.
Read our blog: A Historic Walking Tour of Downtown Boone, then stop in at the Jones House to start a self-guided history tour.