Category Archives: HC Fun

Family Time on the New River

Our most recent camping trip was at the New River State Park the weekend of the New River Canoe Race. We have owned a canoe for the past two years and have enjoyed introducing the kids to moving water. We joined two other families at a group campsite at the New River State Park take-out and all got on the river the following day

.New River State Park Group Campsite

Between our three families, there were 10 children all under the age of 13. The group site worked out great because it provided A LOT of room for the kids to play and run around. (Group camping reservation has a minimum of 14 people and a maximum of 45 people) Which is awesome. They slept HARD that night but Ellie still needed to catch up on her sleep during the canoe ride down the river the next day.

This was our first river trip in which our son, Caleb, would be paddling solo in his own kayak. He had attended roll clinics in a pool before but we knew the first time in moving water would be telling whether he would take a liking to the sport or not. The New River stretch from Zaloo’s to the New River State Park takeout is about a 5 mile stretch with nothing over class 1 rapids. It’s shallow clean water that is great for families. There are also other great stretches of the New River that are great for exploring too and outfitters that can provide all the gear and shuttle assistance you need.
Like anything else with young children, the key to success is a lot of snacks. There is a lot of relaxing and listening /watching wildlife and jumping in and out of the canoe for swim breaks. Caleb did great in his kayak but still needed to take breathers in the canoe and have snacks as well. In that case, we just used a line to attach the kayak to float behind the canoe.
On this stretch of river, we have found a great little lunch island just a bit up from the take-out.



The kids get obsessed with this island because they (sadly) find lots of broken glass pieces from bottles that have been sanded down by the water.  They spend very little time eating and most time collecting their favorite glass pieces and convincing butterflies not to fly away from them.  We used the glass pieces from this last trip to contribute to a Fathers Day craft project.


It was another great weekend spending time as a family! The next event we are looking forward is Riverfest being hosted in Valle Crucis from 11am-3pm this coming Saturday June 21st. Check out all the fun activities planned for this event on the website!

Outfitters for New River float trips: Zaloo’s Canoes in Jefferson, NC; River Girl Fishing in Todd, NC. Checkout camping and river information on the New River State Park website!

The Mystery Behind Tweetsie and Moses Cone Manor

Our family loves Tweetsie and Moses Cone Manor.  Our first year at Tweetsie Railroad, we were in the Gift Shop and noticed they were selling the movies: Mandie and the Secret Tunnel,and Mandie and the Cherokee Treasure.  We decided to check them out on Amazon. Neat fact for kids of all ages, Mandie and the Secret Tunnel was filmed in part at Tweetsie Railroad and Moses Cone Manor.  What kid does not love looking for “secret tunnels?”  During June, July and August, you and your explorers can take a “behind the scenes” tour of the Manor!!! After you all watch the movies, let me know if a hike at Moses Cone or Trout Lake looks a little different.  It is excited to think you are walking in the same footsteps as Mandie did many years ago. Both movies are also Dove Approved.

Mystery Hill Giveaway

Mystifying visitors to the High Country since 1948 Mystery Hill features a fascinating collection of hands on activities related to Optical Illusions, Natural Phenomena, and Puzzles. See your friends grow and shrink before your eyes on the Mystery Platform, experience the “gravitational” pull of The Mystery House, Lose your shadow on the Shadow Wall, learn to fly on the Flying Mirror, stand inside a giant soap bubble at Bubblerama. Tickets also include free admission to the Native American Artifacts Museum and The Appalachian Heritage Museum housed in the 1903 home of the founder of Appalachian State University.

Open 7 days a week year round, rain or shine. Four miles from Blowing Rock on Hwy 321.

Now until May 31, 2014, a family of 4 can purchase a Family Season Pass for $25.  Click here for full details:  Mystery Hill Facebook Offer will be giving two lucky families a Season Pass.  Enter to win by signing up to receive our e-news.   We will draw our winners June 6, 2014.

Our family is excited to enjoy all the new science events Mystery Hill will be introducing in the 2014-2015 season.  Let them know HighCountryMom sent you.

Strawberry Pickin’ Time

strawberries It is Strawberry Pickin’ Time in the High Country.  There are numerous yummy places to start pickin.  We have taken our kids since they were 6 months old.  There is not anything any better than picking your own strawberries and taste testing along the way.

A friend shared one yummy place to try out this May, Howard’s Strawberries, 250 Crater Road, Harmony, NC!  Looks like they open their Strawberry Season next week!  Be sure to give them a call and I will post some pictures of our family trip soon!  Their number is 704.539.4099!

I am hopeful in the end, my strawberries will look like this(-:  strawberries2

Let us know if you have a “local” favorite.

Valle Country Fair


Our favorite fall activity in the High County is the Valle Country Fair, which takes place on October 19th this year.  The fair is a fundraiser for different High Country organizations that serve people in need and is sponsored by the Holy Cross Episcopal Church & the Valle Crucis Conference Center.  We started going four years ago, after my husband had been on a long trip for work, and I decided it would be fun to have a “stay-cation”.  We will miss him as he travels this year during the fair but I look forward to sharing our sweet girl’s first fair with her.

Some of our “fair favorites” include:

  • Kettle Corn – The line usually looks long at this booth but it’s worth the short wait for this yumminess.  I honestly cannot remember the exact price but I want to say it is $5-$8 for a rather large bag.


  • Homemade Apple Cider – If I remember correctly, it is $2 per cup of cider.  It’s warm and fresh as they make it on site – perfect for fall weather!









  • Homemade Apple Butter – This is just so much fun to watch (and purchase, if you like).  I make my own apple butter in the crock pot, with apples from Tevepaugh Orchards, which you can learn more about here.  And it smells great too!


  • Local Entertainment – There are usually a few of our friends featured in a couple bluegrass bands and clogging groups, which is a lot of fun to watch.
  • Roasted Corn – Our friends, Robert & Sam Townsend, roast the BEST corn, which sells for about $3 an ear.  This is a “must stop and taste.”IMG_0829
  • Crafts – There are so many craft booths to peruse – from pottery, handmade jewelry, artwork, and other fun gifts.  There is such a wide variety and something for everyone.


I have a few tips from past experience:

  • Arrive early.  The fair starts at 9am and it’s best to go early to avoid the worst of the traffic.  Don’t forget that the Woolly Worm Festival is going on the same day in Banner Elk (which will have to be another post for another year, because I’ve never been – shame, I know, but I choose my battles with traffic).  Since Valle Crucis is on the way to Banner Elk (one of the routes), bring your patience, especially if you’re going out later in the day.
  • Leave Fido at home.  No pets allowed.
  • There are toilets in the form of port-a-potties.
  • Bring cash
  • Parking is $5 but it’s a flat, easy walk to the fair from the adjacent parking area.
  • Keep a check on the weather.  It could be rainy and cool or warm and dry!  It’s always best to be prepared in the High Country!
  • Take your time and enjoy!



$5 Or Less Rainy Day Summer Fun with Kids

What is a mom to do about all those days that it rains (maybe everyday these days but I would rather deal with a little storm each afternoon than extreme heat)?  There are several things you CAN do when it’s raining so get your galoshes out and let’s get moving!

  • Watauga County Public Library – Always a local favorite for story time!  Story time each day at 11am and Baby Lap Time each Tuesday and Thursday at 10:30am.
  • Boone Bowling Center – Kids fifteen and under bowl free until August 7th!  Note:  does not include shoe rental.
  • Michaels Craft Store of Boone is participating the Passport to Imagination crafting program for kids.  It meets on Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 10am-12pm and $2 reserves a thirty minute time slot for your child.
  • Ashe County Cheese Factory – I thought this place was pretty fascinating as a kid.  Worth a little trip over to Jefferson to watch some cheese production and have a bite of the good ole squeaky cheese!
  • Children’s Playhouse of Boone offers a ton of children’s activities for $5 per person per visit.  If you have a membership, there is no additional charge.  Infants twelve months and younger are FREE.  The hours are Tuesday-Friday 10:00-5:00 pm Saturday 10-5:00 pm in June and July (10-3:00 pm August-May).

Have fun splashing to these fun activities!

Vacation Bible Schools

Summer is coming and High Country Churches will be opening their doors to community children for Vacation Bible School.

If you have a VBS that is not listed, please let Melissa know.  There is no charge to list your VBS.


  1. Perkinsville Baptist Church, June 16th – 20th, 6:00 pm to 8:30 pm, God’s Backyard Bible Camp
  2. Boone United Methodist Church, June 17th – 20th
  3. Mount Vernon Baptist Church, June 24th – 27th, 9:00 am to 12:15 pm
  4. Alliance Bible Fellowship, July 15th – 18th
  5. First Presbyterian Church, July 15th – 19th, 9:00 am to 12:00 pm, Athens

Zoo Time Savings

Our family is signing up right now for this deal.

North Carolina Zoo – Living Social

Encourage Your Love of Animals with Zoo Admission

Take a voyage through the Animal Kingdom, and discover wildlife hailing from the African and North American continents at the North Carolina Zoo in Asheboro in June, July, or August 2013:

• $28 ($56 value) for family 4-pack: 2 adult + 2 children’s combo tickets
• $6 ($12 value) for one child’s combo admission ticket
• $8 ($16 value) for adult combo admission ticket