As you travel along N.C. 105 south of Boone, there is a bridge where the Watauga River makes a sharp turn and starts its westward run towards Tennessee. There, set between high mountains, is a cross-shaped valley that has borne the name Valle Crucis since the 19th century. There is no more historic area in the region. Follow the Watauga River far enough and you will pass the site of the only Native American village known in this immediate area. Before that, there is the place where the first European settler of Watauga County, Samuel Hicks, built a fort during the American Revolution.
That fort and most of the log structures of that day are gone, but there are many historic buildings that still remain. Valle Crucis was - and remains - the only rural historic district in North Carolina. Travel along N.C. 194 and you will pass homes, some still private and others now housing galleries and other shops, dating back to the early part of this century and earlier. A true treasure is the Mast Farm Inn. The main house was built in 1840, and has hosted visitors practically from the first. An even older log home, dating back to 1812, has also been lovingly restored.
Not far up the road is another treasure, the Mast General Store. Dating back to 1883, the store remains an important part of the community, offering the "real" necessities of daily life, plus much more.
And look for a dirt track running down to the river from the Mast General Store; it leads to Valle Crucis Community Park; a beautiful recreational area with riverfront, a fishing pond, picnic areas, sports fields, and a walking or running trail around the entire complex.
No trip to the High Country is complete without spending time in the "valley of the cross." Be sure to enjoy the scenery, heritage, and especially the friendly people.
Official website of Valle Crucis : http://www.vallecrucis.com
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