The snowy view from on high in the High Country

viaduct covered in snow

The High Country of North Carolina is well known for its snow. There’s been plenty of it this season, with weather systems periodically blanketing the area in powder. That was especially true in February.

February was the snowiest month of the winter so far at Grandfather Mountain, which recorded more than 13 inches during the mid-month storms.

Staff at the Entrance Gate in Linville measured 10 inches of snow Feb. 13, coupled with another two inches on Feb. 15 and yet another inch the following day. Snow totals were similar at the Nature Museum halfway up the Mountain, where 13.6 inches of snow were recorded throughout the month.

The white stuff sets a tranquil scene, one generally enjoyed only at eye level. That recently changed.

During one snow event in February, a local business called Nelson Aerials let loose a camera-laden drone to show off winter weather from a perspective few have ever encountered. That includes scenes from the campus of Appalachian State and the Blue Ridge Parkway Viaduct.

The beauty of a big High Country snow

A foot of snow fell on the High Country last night, with the possibility a bit more may accumulate today. Here are a few scenes around the area, as found on social media.

Live the Dream #35 – Choose and cut your own Christmas tree

O Christmas Tree, O Christmas tree,
How lovely are your branches!
In beauty green will always grow
Through summer sun and winter snow.
O Christmas Tree, O Christmas tree,
We enjoyed ourselves in your extraction

While most of the world acknowledged Black Friday last week, in the High Country the color was all green. Hundreds of people descended upon the many Choose and Cut Christmas tree farms here, not only to personally find that perfect family tree but to take part in an old fashioned holiday experience.

Choose and Cut TreeAfter tagging a tree, enjoy a sleigh ride hayride through the woods and allow farm workers to chop down, transport, bale and tie your favorite Christmas tree to the roof of your car. Savor the sweet smells of Christmas and fragrant evergreen foliage by wandering through an onsite Christmas tree gift shop to pick out your favorite ornament or wreath.

And don’t forget to cap off this magical holiday experience with a piping hot cup of apple cider and a freshly baked sugar cookie before driving away with your new tree.

For residents, it’s also a grand time to visit old friends and mingle with neighbors coincidentally walking the same green path as you. Small town living has its unique advantages, and roaming your favorite Christmas tree farm with the family is one much treasured in the High Country area. The occasional bonus – snow!

Light show makes fire on the mountain

A spectacular sky one recent evening played a fantastic trick on the eyes. The Blowing Rock Facebook page captured this photo, describing it as “Amazing what the sun and clouds can do. This is NOT Grandfather Mountain on fire, it just looks that way. A great sunset this evening.” One of many enjoyed by those lucky enough to call the High Country of North Carolina home.

Grandfather Mountain Fire on the Mountain

Now’s the time to buy. Sales are increasing while time on the market is decreasing, according to February real estate report.

Things to do on a weekend – Enjoy a stunning sunset

A mild-for-March weekend means a preview for Spring. That translates to getting out and enjoying the outdoors without worry of coat or gloves. But when night comes the chill returns, though you may be warmed by a stunning sunset of colors. Here’s how Boone ended a recent day.

Imagine this being your daily sky show. You can have it! There are more than 200 opportunities to Live the Dream in the Boone area of North Carolina.

Boone sky at sunset

The reward of a stunning mountain view

Three Top MountainAmong the many great hiking trails in the High Country is one which goes to the summit of Three Top Mountain in Ashe County. The highest of the three peaks has an elevation of 4,865 feet, though a few other ridges in the mountain range go above 5,000. Part of an ever expanding state park, Three Top Mountain is popular with hikers and hunters. One recent hiker had her camera ready for the dramatic conclusion of her walk, for when she finally clears the top. Her efforts are rewarded with a view of just how gorgeous the High Country can be, even on a windy winter day. “Oh wow!”

Three Top Mountain is located west of West Jefferson, where there are more than 130 opportunities to Live the Dream in the High Country of North Carolina.

Sledding it: Always a great run at Beech Mountain

One of the best sledding locations in the High Country is located in Beech Mountain. The town’s sledding hill not only has a great incline and slick base, but there’s music and hot chocolate nearby. There are also safety officials present, and plenty of places for mom and dad to sit and take pictures of young ones gaining speed.

Beech Mountain sledding hillThe Beech sledding hill is located next to the Chamber of Commerce. It is open daily at no charge for kids 12 and under, although parents may ride with smaller children. Plastic sleds are required. Folks are encouraged to bring their own sleds, or they may be purchased at stores on the mountain.

“It’s a free and enjoyable place for children to have fun,” says Peggy Coscia of the Beech chamber. “They come from North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia and Tennessee. We get a lot of folks from Florida who are excited because it’s the first time the children have seen snow.”

The High Country is known for its winter activities, not just sledding but skiing as well. Those are two great reasons to consider Living the Dream in Beech Mountain, where there are almost 200 active listings today.

Brace yourself for some demanding attention

Blowing Rock ducksThe High Country is home to many different types of animals, many closer to domestication than wildness. One popular site to make feathered friends is in downtown Blowing Rock. Ducks flock to Broyhill Park, and are more than happy to rush up and say hello if bread is offered for a treat. Small town living includes small down filling, as one young man recently found out.

You can live just down the road from this quacks. There are almost 200 opportunities to Live the Dream in Blowing Rock, North Carolina.

Sledding It: Making a run on the Parkway

Sledding on ParkwayIt’s been a winter light on snow, but you don’t need much to go, go, go! Thankfully, downward slopes are in abundance in the High Country. A great hill – or, in some cases, a small ridge – is never too far away. Sometimes it’s in your backyard. Or maybe one’s down the road. Or maybe you can find that sweet spot off the Blue Ridge Parkway, as some lucky sledders recently did. There’s nothing like gaining speed across snow with a national treasure surrounding you. You can do it when you Live the Dream in the High Country of North Carolina.

Live the Dream #40 – Land of the beautiful outdoor wedding

A perfect day demands a perfect backdrop, an atmosphere appropriate to what for many is the grandest day of their life. The High Country of North Carolina offers such outdoor beauty, stunning enough to accentuate the largest – or smallest – outdoor wedding imaginable. Love is always in the air, and sometimes it comes with a ring.

To mark Valentine’s Day, here are three recent days of love in the High Country. Story number 1.

Boone outdoor weddingToday we take a journey to the beautiful NC high county, the picturesque town of Boone, NC. Bride and Groom: Kate and Jonathan held their ceremony at Mount Vernon Baptist Church and their rustic-themed reception at the Harvest House, with beautiful images by Emily Chidester Photography. Katie and Jonathan opted to do a {First Look} before they said their vows to each other, and what at GORGEOUS moment as they did it on a beautiful hilltop in Boone with nothing but the beautiful blue highlands sky and sun and nature surrounding them!

Even when there’s a nip in the air, the locale is worthwhile, as in story number 2, as described by the photographers.

In the midst of the crazy, we got a chance to go photograph a beautiful wedding in one of the most serene places ever. I credit this wedding with why I still have my… sanity (edit: questionable).

Carrie and Aaron were married at The Inn at Crestwood in Boone, NC. We had so much fun shooting them in the magical places that hid in the mountains. These two had great help from family and friends, and it turned out to be quite the production. We really like these two.. not sure if it was the love or the wind chill but they didn’t mind hugging on each other (which was a-ok with us).

Here’s one more wonderful wedding, which took place in the rustic barn during fall’s explosion of color. These are just three great examples of a gorgeous setting for just one day. Those lucky to call to the High Country home get to live the scenes every day.

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