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Driving to the Gamekeeper restaurant, Boone

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Blueys Beach...
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Driving to the Gamekeeper restaurant, Boone

We will be staying at the Holiday Inn Express, Boone for 2 nights in May. I read that the road to the Gamekeeper restaurant is winding and wonder whether we should attempt the drive, 18 minutes according to Mapquest, for dinner. I've booked Casa Rustica for one dinner and I'm considering Joy Bistro which is closer than the Gamekeeper.

Chapel Hill, North...
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11. Re: Driving to the Gamekeeper restaurant, Boone

So, I'm not sure what all y'all will be seeing the day before (that's when you're driving from Asheville to Boone?) or exactly where your interests lie, but I will list some things to do/places to go around Boone. Some of them you may have already hit on your way into town, but if you didn't you might want to consider them for your day in Boone. Some of them may be a little bit back down the parkway, but not too far from Boone. These aren't in any particular order, but just what springs to mind first.

• Grandfather Mountain ( http://www.grandfather.com/ ), home of the mile-high swinging bridge. The Blue Ridge Parkway hugs the side of Grandfather in the dramatic Linn Cove Viaduct, but you can also drive up the mountain. The mountain used to be privately owned and the family resisted pressure to develop it for many years and finally sold the backcountry portion of the mountain to the state (www.ncparks.gov/Visit/parks/grmo/main.php). The "attraction" side of the mountain is where the Mile High Swinging Bridge, museum and Nature Center (many native animals in outdoor habitats) is and it's still privately owned/operated. It's very well done and you can get amazing views from the bridge. You can hike from the attraction side or from the backcountry side up to the peaks of Grandfather. It's a great hike, but fairly strenuous and would take most of your day.

• Beacon Heights overlook (www.romanticasheville.com/beacon_heights.htm) is a great short hike with fantastic views on a rock out-cropping (actually two).

Linville Falls (www.boonencmagazine.com/linvillefalls.html) another great relatively short hike (www.romanticasheville.com/linville_falls.htm) if you go to the overlooks and not down to the base which is a strenuous, longer hike. The overlooks are well worth it and plenty close enough for most folks.

• Mast General Store in Valle Crucis (mastgeneralstore.com/Communities/…). There are several Mast General Stores including one in downtown Boone and while they're all nice places to shop, the old original store in Valle Crucis is the one you really wanna go to. Don't stop at the annex first, just go straight to the old store. From Boone take hwy 105 north and then turn right on Broadstone Rd at Ye Olde Ham Shoppe. This is a scenic road that winds through the valley of Valle Crucis. While you're in Valle Crucis you might like to drive down to see St John's Church which is a picturesque little white clapboard chapel tucked back in a holler down a winding mountain rd. This site has directions and several other interesting sites/stops: touringbackroads.com/journal/tour-of-the-mon… .

• Moses Cone Manor off the parkway near Blowing Rock ( nationalparkstraveler.com/2010/03/moses-h-co… , virtualblueridge.com/parkway_tour/… , www.boonencmagazine.com/mosesconemansion.html ) (map of hiking trails nps.gov/blri/…20CONE.pdf ) . This is a beautiful old mansion with a craft center/shop on the first floor. The views from the front porch overlooking Bass Lake are wonderful or you can take a hike (easy to moderate) on one of the many carriage trails. Well worth a stop.

• Julian Price Park off the parkway near Blowing Rock at milepost 297 ( blueridgeheritage.com/attractions-destinatio… ). There are many hiking trails, a small lake, canoe rentals, etc. There are some nice hikes here.

• Howard's Knob in Boone ( …blogs.com/blue_ridge_blog/2007/10/boone-nor… , http://www.visitnc.com/listings/view/43707 ) a little park perched on the edge of a knob (small mountain) overlooking the town of Boone. From here you get a panoramic view of the town.

• Hickory Ridge Museum/Cabins ( www.HickoryRidgeMuseum.com/VisitUs.html ) at the site of the Boone Farmer's Market and the summer outdoor drama Horn In The West. I don't think that they will have the re-enactors out on the Monday that you are there, but you can still walk around the grounds and see the cabins.

• North Harper Creek Falls ( http://www.ncwaterfalls.com/nharper1.htm ). My oldest wanted me to include this because they took a school camping trip there. I've never actually been, but it is beautiful. Little Lost Cove Cliffs that the blog author mentions is also a lovely hike.

• Gem Mining - my youngest wanted me to mention this. There are innumerable gem mining shops in the area, but this is one we've been to ( http://www.raftcavehike.com/gem-mining ). They do use native rock. You buy a bucket of rocks and the operator turns on the sluice and you search for valuable gems. We found tons of garnets, lapis lazuli, topaz, tourmaline, etc. Of course, these are all rough rocks and would need to be cut to make a gemstone.

• There are lots of rafting and caving opportunities also. Don't know if the rafters will be operating yet in May, but you could go caving. Linville Caverns ( http://www.linvillecaverns.com/ ) is one you could stop at on the way up from Asheville, but there are other places that will take you caving.

• The kids also thought I should mention Tweetsie ( http://tweetsie.com/ ) amusement park. It's cute and fun if you like that kinda thing with a wild west train ride instead of a roller coaster.

• Shopping in Blowing Rock and Boone (lots of quaint shops and art galleries), outlets, etc.

• Ziplines. There are two main ones, Screaming Ziplines ( http://www.screamingziplines.com/ ) and Hawksnest ( http://hawksnestzipline.com/ ) . I haven't been to either, but could be fun.

• Horseback Riding — there are several outfits in the area

I think that's all for now. If I think of some more I'll let you know. There should be plenty to keep you busy for a day!

Blueys Beach...
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12. Re: Driving to the Gamekeeper restaurant, Boone

Thank you so much! I think I should have planned for a week! This is great! It's so nice that your kids offered suggestions they must love having a house in the mountains.

Chapel Hill, North...
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13. Re: Driving to the Gamekeeper restaurant, Boone

I really just hit some of the highlights, Marj. I probably left out some really obvious things. You can pick up many free publications and visitor's guides throughout the area. Here's a link to one from last summer to get even more ideas, too.

highcountrypress.com/visitor-guide/summer-20…

Have a great trip!

14. Re: Driving to the Gamekeeper restaurant, Boone

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