The Town of Boone
The Town of Boone
Just a few hours from Charlotte and Asheville, nestled in the northwest corner of North Carolina, rests a community like no other. A cozy mountain college town brimming with activity and life, Boone is a prime destination for visitors of all ages, rich in a vibrant culture and history of music, art, and expression. Whether you are looking to further your education at Appalachian State University or relax with family and soak in the beautiful mountain views, Boone is the perfect getaway any time of year.
What to Expect
Boone is a quaint, cozy mountain town in western North Carolina, just minutes from Tennessee and Virginia and about a three hour drive to Raleigh. Founded in 1872 and named for famous explorer Daniel Boone, the town’s elevation is listed at 3,333 feet. Thanks to an increased elevation and effects on local weather due to the topography, Boone and the rest of Watauga County enjoy cooler summer temperatures and cold, snowy winters when compared to the low-lying piedmont.
Aside from Appalachian State University, the town’s largest employers include Appalachian Regional Healthcare System and government employment, as Boone is the county seat of Watauga County. The local economy is wholly dependent on tourism and students from Appalachian and a Caldwell Technical Community College satellite campus also located in Boone. In 2012, U.S. News listed Boone among the 10 best places to retire in America.
On top of being home to one of the best public universities in the southeast, Boone is also a hotspot for winter sports and a variety of other attractions. Sugar Mountain and Appalachian Ski Mountain, both just a short drive from the center of town, bring loads of winter sports enthusiasts and other tourists to the region every year. Tweetsie Railroad, a historical theme park, has been delighting children and entire families for generations. Dozens of gem mines surround the town, making it easy to find fun and affordable entertainment for everyone.
Downtown Boone and King Street offer a variety of one-of-a-kind shops and restaurants, as well as the Jones House, a historical community center that hosts musical events and jam-sessions open to the public. Catch a football game at “The Rock” and watch the three-time national champion Appalachian State Mountaineers continue their legacy of winning. Enjoy a summer filled with art exhibits and expositions, musical and theatrical performances, and the exclusive Appalachian Summer Festival.
A refreshing and pleasant year-round climate makes it easy to explore Boone and Watauga County on the nearby Blue Ridge Parkway. Countless hiking and walking trails, waterfalls, historical sites, and other attractions dot the Parkway and help to educate visitors on the history and development of western North Carolina. Dozens of nearby rivers, lakes, and streams boast plenty of wildlife for avid fishermen to take advantage of while soaking in the pristine beauty of the Appalachians. Horn in the West, a historical drama, plays at the park bearing its name and has been showing for more than half a century.
Appalachian State University
Consistently rated as a top performer in a number of academic and athletic categories, Appalachian State University has a diverse selection of programs that cater to anyone motivated to better themselves and their community. With an emphasis on arts, sustainability, and value, this popular liberal arts college promotes innovation and inclusion. Appalachian State University aims to be the choice institution for motivated and driven students who are looking to thrive in a challenging academic environment. A vibrant campus culture, combined with passionate and engaged professors and faculty, creates a community that shapes inspired, global-thinking citizens.
Appalachian State University and the town of Boone have grown almost exponentially over the past fifty years. The school now boasts more than 18,000 students, outnumbering local residents to create a true “college town” experience. One of the biggest facets to the university and the town is the effort towards sustainable and responsible growth. You can see that in countless places on campus at Appalachian and all across town. Solar panels, electric vehicle charging stations, and even a massive wind turbine help to lead the effort towards leaving a better earth for future generations.
Boone and the university have a clear commitment to sustainability and preserving the environment. A number of campus buildings have been designed or renovated to achieve LEED certifications. The Appalcart bus system provides free public transportation, cutting down the carbon footprint by significantly reducing traffic. If you are searching for a community with a commitment to living green, Appalachian State University and the town of Boone are a perfect fit.
Caldwell Technical Community College
Based in Caldwell County, North Carolina, CTCC operates a satellite campus located in Boone to cater to prospective students looking to save money by completing courses at the community college before transferring to a four year institution. Aside from transfer students, CTCC also offers programs, certifications, and degrees in accounting, business administration, culinary arts, early childhood education, hospitality management, medical assisting, medical office administration, nursing, office administration, and more.
Designed to save time and money while still providing a quality learning experience, community colleges like CTCC are very popular for continuing education, changing careers, or simply staying ahead of the curve in your particular field. For more information about CTCC and the Boone campus, visit their website.
The Blue Ridge Parkway
Winding through the lush hills of the Appalachians, you will find one of the most famous roads in the world. With nearly 500 miles of scenery to explore, the Blue Ridge Parkway welcomes more than one million visitors annually. This incredible roadway and its parks offer protection for thousands of diverse plants and animals and provide opportunities for enjoying all that makes this region so special and significant. Spring and fall are the most coveted seasons for Parkway travelers, thanks to the vivid autumn colors and bright spring blooms that cover the vast rolling landscape.
It is easy to catch a glimpse of the breathtaking North Carolina High Country. You can find dozens of scenic overlooks and hiking spots along the Blue Ridge Parkway, just minutes from Boone and other Watauga County communities. Highlighted by the famous Grandfather Mountain, Rough Ridge, Blowing Rock, and Beacon Heights trails and overlooks, the variety of scenery and wildlife is unprecedented. From relaxing views and easily conquered greenways to expert trailheads, there truly is something for everyone along the Blue Ridge Parkway.
Appalachian Summer Festival
This annual festival of arts and culture is widely celebrated throughout the local community. Presented by the university’s Office of Arts & Cultural Programs, the eclectic and diverse mix of music, dance, theatre, visual arts, and film programming is held every July in venues across the university campus.
An Appalachian Summer Festival began in 1984 “as a chamber music series, and retains strong roots in classical music, combined with a variety of other programming geared to almost every artistic taste and preference.”
Entering its 33rd season in 2017, this celebration has grown to become nationally renowned and one of the country’s most highly respected cultural festivals, heralded for the breadth and quality of its programming. With an audience of 27,000, the festival has been named one of the “Top Twenty Events in the Southeast” by the Southeast Tourism Society.
To learn more about An Appalachian Summer Festival and to stay up to date on their mission and vision, prospective programs, or ticket sales, check out their website.
On the first Friday of every month (except January), the Downtown Boone Development Association (DBDA) hosts a community art crawl and cultural gathering at the Jones House and other downtown establishments. It is the mission of the DBDA to “promote the historic preservation, protection, and use of Boone’s traditional downtown areas and commerce”. Created to spread cultural significance and awareness, and to keep downtown Boone looking as beautiful as possible, the First Friday Art Crawl has been successful in increasing business for the town and its local organizations.
The Downtown Boone Development Association hosts 16 promotional events and activities every year, including First Friday Art Crawls, the Easter EGGstravaganza, Downtown BOO!!, as well as the annual Christmas and Fourth of July Parades. Visit here for more information about these events as well as the DBDA.
If you are looking for a beautiful mountain getaway that you can call home, look no further than the close-knit community of Boone and Watauga County. Embrace the nostalgia of simpler times in this haven for intellectuals, thrill seekers, and families alike.