By TMoM team member Felicity Lewis

The end of July in North Carolina is invariably hot, but holy moly were we hit hard with a heat wave this year. In the midst of the sweltering heat, we retreated west towards the higher elevation and cooler temperatures of the North Carolina High Country. People typically think of coastal paradises for summer getaways, but can you really beat escaping to cooler temperatures and beautiful topography? Based on that, we headed to Boone. 

If you have not been to Boone, it is a small town with a big campus. It is the home of Appalachian State University which has molded this town into what we now think of as a hip, outdoorsy wonderland! Boone is roughly two hours from the Triad, depending on your location, so it is easy for a day trip or a weekend. 

For breakfast, we had to hop in line at the Dan’l Boone Inn. Yes, there is an out-the-door line for this historic family style restaurant that serves up a real country breakfast. It has been running for 50+ years and has been awarded many spots in magazines over the years. This is an easy place to bring kids (teenage parents – think all you can eat!) because it is family style plus the food is great. My toddler highly recommends the cinnamon biscuits… he may have even taken extra for the road! The staff is dressed up in old country style clothing and even the dishes go with the theme.

Once my toddler is sugared up with cinnamon biscuits we found a nearby park and trail that overlooked a craft fair and farmers market. He was able to burn some energy while we enjoyed the beautiful view. From Strawberry Hill Arboretum, you are also able to see App State’s campus which is the center of the town.

 

Once stores began to open, we headed for King Street which houses many of Boone’s stores.  There are a lot of vintage shops as well as cute boutiques. We made a stop into Mast General Store, which is one of our favorites. This trip we stuck with the Mast General on King Street, but the original is a few miles away in Valle Crusis and is worth driving a few extra minutes (and if you have kids the park behind it is AMAZING.  We often grab lunch at the Ham Shoppe on the way and eat at that park). We happened to stumble into the county library while downtown on this trip because our toddler loves reading. They were extremely friendly and had a great set up for kids and gave us a nice little break from walking around town. Before lunch we decided it would be fun to walk around App’s campus. It is very, very hilly (I guess we should expect that from the mountains!) but a nice campus to see. You can also get a great view of campus from Howard’s Knob

For lunch, we enjoyed a meal at the Red Onion Cafe. It was not only a great meal but easily walkable from App’s campus. They have great lunch portions too! Another great restaurant that was recommended for a unique lunch is Proper. Check it out here

One of my favorite things about Boone is the accessibility to many hiking trails. We often find we can get a good hike in during nap time because our kids will sleep in hiking carriers. I mean who wouldn’t like to nap while listening to waterfalls and birds chirping?? The cooler weather and shade along most of the hiking trails makes it really enjoyable and peaceful. When picking trails, keep in mind the distance and level. Many of the hikes have portions that are rocky, so if it has been raining they are slippery! Check out the parking and have another hike near by just in case, we learned that the hard way this trip as one location ran out of parking. Luckily there was another trail just around the corner! 

Best Hiking Trails:
Otter Falls Creek Trail (easy)
Beacon Heights Trail (easy)
Howards Knob (easy)
Rough Ridge (moderate)
Hebron Falls and Rock Colony (moderate)
Profile Trail (strenuous)

To end our day in Boone we stopped into Lost Province Brewing Co. They have woodfired pizzas and some awesome beers on tap! Our favorite beer they brewed there was the Tyrannosaurus Mex which tasted like a margarita in beer form. Definitely worth the time to stop in and enjoy a pizza and beer.

Other phenomenal kid-friendly attractions:
Tweetsie Railroad
Moses Cone Memorial Park and the Cone Manor
Trout Fishing at stocked ponds
Gem mining (various locations)

Additional places to eat:
BlackCat Burrito
Boone Bagelry
Comeback Shack
Coyote Kitchen
Macados
Melanie’s
Sunrise Grill
The Cardinal
Woodlands BBQ (located in Blowing Rock)

And if you leave the kids at home, a few of the state’s top eateries are near by:
Artisanal
Gamekeeper

Click HERE to see more Day Trip ideas, and HERE for our Summer Bucket List. For notifications on local events and happenings, subscribe to our free weekly newsletters here.