West Jefferson NC “Small Town America”

 


Town of West Jefferson

West Jefferson is located in northwestern North Carolina among the Blue Ridge Mountains. The area the Town is located in is known for the New River, its spectacular views, the close proximity to the Bue Ridge Parkway, cultural arts, traditional Appalachian mountain music, and its beautiful fraser fur Christmas Trees. The County of Ashe, where West Jefferson is located, borders both Tennessee and Virginia. Driving time to Boone, home of Appalachian State University, is approximately thirty to forty-five minutes. In relation to other major cities, driving time is one and a half hours either to Winston-Salem, North Carolina, Galax, Virginia, Tri-Cities region of Tennessee and Charlotte, North Carolina. An active arts community thrives in West Jefferson, NC. The town itself has been transformed into an arts and restaurant district with unique shops and antique malls.

 

 


History of West Jefferson NC
West Jefferson was incorporated as a city in 1909, and it is the second-oldest incorporated town in Ashe County. West Jefferson has the distinction of having the only cheese factory in the eastern United States. For many decades West Jefferson was served by the Norfolk and Western Railroad, better known as the “Virginia Creeper”. The railroad was the primary reason for the creation of West Jefferson, as the town became a major stop on the railway. With the decline of the railroad and the loss of textile factory jobs to foreign markets, West Jefferson’s economy is increasingly devoted to the tourism industry. The town’s location in the Appalachian Mountains has led to a large number of tourists visiting the area each year, and many out-of-state tourists have begun to build cabins and housing developments around the town.


 


Christmas in July Festival
Christmas in July is a one-day-only, free-admission event featuring the very best in traditional mountain music and handmade crafts from throughout the Northwest Mountains of North Carolina.. Nowhere else will you find such an excellent array of food, fun and festivities for the entire family than at Christmas in July! We are one of the best, old-fashioned summer festivals in the south, drawing more than 20,000 visitors in one day, with more than 20 mouth-watering food vendors, juried crafts, fantastic children’s activities, foot-stompin’ bluegrass music and more!


 


Downtown West Jefferson
Downtown West Jefferson in North Carolina is definitely small town america with many unique tourist and local based businesses such as restaurants, art galleries, cheese plant, clothing stores, real estate offices, the ashe county chamber and visitor’s center, christmas stores, retail gift shops, coffee shops and cafes, and much more. The town also has a walking mural tour, or see some of them while driving through downtown West Jefferson main street. During the Summer the town and ther Ashe County Arts Council puts on a variety of concerts on backstreet as well as selling local produce in the farmer’s market aslo on backstreet. One of the biggest festivals in the area is the Christmas in July festival celebrating the main export of the county and state, frasir fur christmas trees.


 


Mount Jefferson State Park

Mount Jefferson rises abruptly to more than 1,600 feet above the surrounding landscape, serving as a landmark for area motorists. Acquaint yourself with this mighty peak by viewing it first from the Mount Jefferson Overlook on the Blue Ridge Parkway. Rising as a long, forested prominence, its dark color is conspicuous among neighboring peaks on the Ashe plateau. Though the mountain is magnificent from a distance, Mount Jefferson is best appreciated up close. On a clear day, you can see for miles from its peak. A great part of Ashe County spreads out below; fields, farms, forests and mountains mingle in kaleidoscopic patterns. On the horizon, the Blue Ridge Mountains form a striking backdrop. Yet what looms in the distance is no more spectacular than what is right before your eyes, for the forests of Mount Jefferson are a botanical paradise. The interesting and unusual plant life of the park rendered it worthy of designation as a national natural landmark.


 


The New River

The New River, located in the Appalachian mountains of Ashe County , is the oldest river in the nation and the second oldest in the world beside the Nile River in Egypt . Despite its name, the river is considered by some geologists to be possibly one of the oldest rivers in the world, between 10 million and 360 million years old. Two persistent statements concerning the New River are it is the only river that flows completely across the Appalachians from east to west. The headwaters of the New River are in North Carolina , high in the Appalachian Mountains . The New River flows north and only turns west after it becomes the Kanawha River . The New River, a tributary of the Kanawha River , is approximately 320 mi (515 km) long, flowing through the states of North Carolina , Virginia , and West Virginia . Much of the river’s course through West Virginia is designated as the New River Gorge National River . The New River is one of the American Heritage Rivers of the United States .


 


Choose n Cut Christmas Tree Farms

This area is known as the Christmas Tree Capital! Bring your family and start a new Christmas tradition and create special memories that last a lifetime; spend the day roaming the Christmas tree fields in search of the perfect tree. Ashe County is the perfect place to choose-n-cut your special Christmas tree in the High Country. The Fraser Fir is the dominant tree grown in Ashe County. Fraser Firs are prized as Christmas trees because of their aroma, shape, dark green color, excellent needle retention and strong branches capable of carrying heavy ornaments. allows you and your family to spend the day roaming the Christmas tree fields in search of the perfect tree. After you choose your Fraser Fir Christmas Tree, we will cut and haul it back to the farm entrance to bale, cut and load it onto your vehicle.


 


Todd General Store

Visit the Todd General Store and recapture a time when life was simple and genuine. Located on the scenic Railroad Grade Road, Todd General Store is a destination for all outdoor enthuasists. Meet the mountain folks and listen to talks of the railroad days when Todd was the largest town in both Watauga and Ashe Counties in the North Carolina mountains. It’s a perfect place for food; lunch at our famous deli and dinner Tuesday nite Storytelling and Friday Nite Music, drinks, collectibles as well as a rest and chat with Gini and Bob Mann. The Todd General Store features a deli, crafts, home-made jellies, ice cream, antiques, collectibles, music and tapes, rustic furnishings and local author books. Seasonal outside dining on the front or back porches are great locations for the homemade dinners on Tuesday and Friday nights.


 


Ashe Arts Council

The Ashe County arts council was formed in 1977. It has existed since that time as a community based to use the arts as a vehicle for affecting many good things with in Ashe County. Its overall mission is to enrich the cultural heritage of the region through the arts. The arts Council is involved in all types of art in many forms; visual arts, performing arts, cultural arts, literary arts and just about everything in between. The Ashe Arts Council operates the gallery of the Ashe Arts Center located in West Jefferson and in that gallery space the exhibits change every six weeks and portray eight to ten different art exhibits each year. It is a mix of two-dimensional and three-dimensional art both fine art and craft. We specfically focus on local and regional artists in providing them the opportunity to show case their work.


 


Ashe Civic Center

The Ashe Arts Council operates the Ashe Arts Center in downtown West Jefferson which is a town onwed building WPA project built in 1938. The Ashe Arts Council is also contracted to operate the Ashe Civic Center which is a county owned building. The Ashe civic Center is a 300 seat theater space and is the home of the Ashe County Little Theatre where the majority of the performing arts are held in this space. Ranging from an symphony orchestra concert to a comedian to a one person drama presentation to blue grass folk music, local beauty pageants, local radio show, and lots of other community based events happen at the Ashe Civic Center.


 

Ashe County Farmer’s Market
Ashe County Farmers Market is aplace in West Jefferson on Back Street where you can find home grown, hand made in Ashe County produce, farm fresh eggs, candies, pastries, vegetables, flowers, fresh herbs, arts, crafts, baked goods, jams, jellies, vinegars, photography, relishs, pies and cakes, culinary vinegars and locally raised lamb, poultry, goat, beef, pork and more. The Ashe County Farmer’s Market falls on Saturdays from 8:00am-1:00pm (April 12- December 13). The Ashe County Farmer’s Market is one of a very few Markets in the Country where everything has to be grown or crafted by the vendors and all in Ashe County. During your visit talk to the farmers that grow the local food.


 


Florence Thomas School of Arts

The school is on 10.3 acres just off Trading Post Road, in Glendale Springs. The site has a motel, a restaurant, and other buildings; all are being renovated for classroom, administration, and dormitory use. The campus itself, spread open to the south and the sun, is in a beautiful setting—a large pond, meadows, many trees, gentle hills, a wonderful view into the distance. Many artisans travel and stay in the comforts of the school setting to take the many art classes offered at the art school. The Paul and Florence Thomas Memorial Art School, Inc., a private foundation, was created by Florence Thomas upon her death in 2007. It is a long name for a school and “Florence” is the nickname chosen by many.


 


Frescoes Trail in Ashe County
While you are in West Jefferson North Carolina, whether you are religious or not you have to make it a point to stop at St. Mary’s Episcopal Church on Beaver Creek School Road. This tiny white church boasts three of the famous frescoes paintings by artist Ben Long. The main mural painting is of Jesus on the cross with God above him. To view these beautiful wall paintings is worth the trip and a picture. About 20 minutes towards Glendale Springs from West Jefferson is another small white church, The Holy Trinity Church of the Frecoes. Another magnificent painting of the last supper of Jesus and his disciples. Both are open to the public at any time and accept donations to preserve these beautiful masterpieces.


 


Ashe County Cheese Factory & Store
Ashe County Cheese is Carolina’s oldest cheese plant, producing quality cheese since 1930. We are located in the picturesque Blue Ridge Mountains. Watch the fascinating process of cheese making from our viewing area and visit our cheese and gift shop. We sell over 20 varieties of original Ashe County Cheese as well as our own county butter, homemade fudge and everyone’s favorite, fresh cheese curd. We also offer other fine cheeses, locally made wines and a variety of gifts, souvenirs and old fashioned snacks and candies. and though it still makes old style cheddar daisy wheels, it now produces a wide variety of cheeses and butter. It has developed a strong following for its original Sienna cheese, its many flavored cheeses, and its newest variety Juusto cheese (a mild Scandinavian cheese).

   

 


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