By LISA KLEIN
Nestled excessive within the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina are three small cities with huge views and laidback dwelling.
From the peaceable Grandfather Mountain, the best peak within the space, to native festivals and group companies, Blowing Rock, Boone and Banner Elk supply the proper mixture of quiet and tradition.
“Proper now, the posh purchaser is searching for peace, calm and giving again,” stated Scott MacIntosh, dealer in cost and chief at Allen Tate Realtors in Blowing Rock. “Every little thing they’re speaking about is what we’ve got right here.
“There’s nothing higher than to stroll out my door and in 5 minutes I may be on a mountaineering path – and be the one one on that path – and get to the highest with a view of Grandfather Mountain and say ‘wow, I reside in a really particular place,’” he stated.
The trio of cities sits in “excessive nation” within the northeastern a part of North Carolina close to the Tennessee and Virginia borders within the Blue Ridge Mountains, a part of the Appalachians.
Individuals have lengthy flocked to the excessive nation to flee the summer time warmth of the footland cities of Charlotte – a two-hour drive – and Raleigh, and people from elsewhere in the US are catching on. Many new homebuyers come from Florida and Texas to absorb the perks of upper elevations.
Being up within the mountains means a great deal of mountaineering and horseback using trails, reminiscent of these in Grandfather Mountain State Park, in the summertime and, in fact, downhill and cross-country snowboarding within the winter. It additionally means “100-mile views” and the peace of thoughts of dwelling in protected, pleasant cities.
“Individuals are arising right here for the views, the tradition and the climate,” Mr. MacIntosh stated.
“I feel all people comes right here to exhale – they wish to have that way of life,” he stated. “And it nonetheless accommodates that kind of environment although we’re rising. It’s straightforward dwelling.”
Blowing Rock and Banner Elk are giant second dwelling markets, whereas the bigger Boone has extra major residences, every providing their very own distinct vibe.
Three’s a allure
Blowing Rock, with a inhabitants slightly below 1,400, works exhausting to maintain its village allure with constructing restrictions and an emphasis on native companies, which has served it properly as a trip spot for the reason that late 1800s.
“Blowing Rock at all times knew it was a quaint little city the place individuals had been coming to sit down outdoors on their porches and folks watch,” Mr. MacIntosh stated.
Banner Elk is even smaller, with simply over 1,000 residents, “but it surely has essentially the most clout on the subject of subdivisions – we’re speaking gated communities,” Mr. MacIntosh stated.
Extra unique neighborhoods with huge houses of as much as 20,000 sq. toes get pleasure from an array of lovely golf programs and quick access to the 2 main ski resorts – Beech Mountain and Sugar Mountain – on both aspect of city.
Comparatively, Boone is way bigger with its inhabitants of 18,000 and about 20,000 faculty college students at Appalachian State College, giving it a bit of a school city really feel and a soccer crew, the Appalachian Mountaineers, that may maintain its personal.
Extra industrial than its counterparts, Boone has the big medical amenities, main grocery shops, procuring and nationwide chains together with an older downtown space that’s now being thoughtfully preserved.
“With the faculty, you sort of must go together with the instances a little bit bit as a result of that’s what your demographics are searching for,” Mr. MacIntosh stated.
Enjoyable and video games
The college additionally brings a various inhabitants and a cultural factor to the realm with varied occasions taking place for the scholars and residents all year long.
The Appalachian Summer season Pageant brings high bands to the mountains every year, and a brand new music competition known as Boonerang, placed on by former Appalachian State college students who had moved away however returned to the realm, made its debut this yr.
In July, Symphony on the Garden incorporates a efficiency by an orchestra from Charlotte or Raleigh.
Even worldwide guests flock to the realm for the Highland Video games, a Scottish competition that takes place yearly on Grandfather Mountain.
Nevertheless, retaining issues native is most vital to space residents whereas nonetheless making progress.
Artwork galleries, eating places, breweries and even wineries are all rising in quantity whereas sustaining a hometown aptitude.
“That’s the progress I prefer to see, not when some company is available in and does it of their type,” Mr. MacIntosh stated.
“They’re simply native people doing it – domestically owned companies with their very own taste,” he stated. “There’s one factor this place shouldn’t be, and that’s cookie cutter. We wish to have our personal high-country really feel.”