Burnsville is #3 in WNC Magazine’s “13 Best Small Towns in WNC”

Sometimes, smaller is better. That’s certainly the case with those comparatively little towns that offer an unexpectedly large amount of amenities, entertainment, and recreation for locals and visitors alike. Just what is it that makes a small town great? We found out by exploring 13 in Western North Carolina that share some characteristics—a population under 5,000, a pedestrian-friendly downtown, ample food and nightlife options—but possess unique attributes as well.

Written by Jonathan Ammons, Jon Elliston, Tim W. Jackson, Randy Johnson & Melissa Reardon

3. Burnsville {pop. 1,693}
Nearby Penland School of Crafts has certainly played a role in establishing the Burnsville area as a haven for high-caliber artisans. Many of their works can be found at The Design Gallery or at the Toe River Arts Council in downtown. Though if you want to explore more in depth, embark on TRAC’s biannual Studio Tour, held every June and December. And the Mt. Mitchell Craft Fair, which takes over Burnsville’s quaint town square and celebrates its 60th anniversary in June, offers even more opportunity to shop for local art and crafts.

Culturally speaking, the Parkway Playhouse presents top-notch theater productions, and the Appalachian Quilt Trails offer routes to roam the countryside and learn about historic and notable sights marked by hand-painted quilt squares. Writers can partake in the offerings as well at the Carolina Mountains Literary Festival, held in September. And outdoor enthusiasts will love the town’s close proximity to Mt. Mitchell, accessible via the Mt. Mitchell Scenic Byway, which meanders through the lovely Toe River Valley.

There is also plenty on offer in downtown, with dozens of businesses scattered near the charming town square park. Shopping options include home accouterments at A Touch of Cass and 5,000 square feet of art and antiques at Menagerie Mercantile, while the list of restaurants ranges from pancake breakfasts and pulled-pork lunches at Pig & Grits to pub fare and pints at the local watering hole, Snap Dragon. Learn more at www.exploreburnsville.com.

—Melissa Reardon

Cycling ‘Final Four’ returned to WNC

2016 USA Cycling Collegiate Road National Championships
2016 USA Cycling Collegiate Road National Championships

Teams from across the country descended on Western North Carolina for the 2016 USA Cycling Collegiate Road National Championships. After years of dominance by Western locales, last year’s event was held here under a two-year contract with USA Cycling. This year’s edition Friday to Sunday, May 13-15,  saw top college athletes face off in Division I and Division II competition in Madison County and nearby Burnsville. Continue reading Cycling ‘Final Four’ returned to WNC

N.C. State Parks Centennial Celebration

North Carolina’s State Parks set an attendance record in 2015, welcoming 17.3 million visitors to the state’s 41 parks and recreational areas, an increase of 1.7 million from 2014.

DSC02492 Mount Mitchell State Park is the highest point east of the Mississippi.

The attendance figure is expected to grow again in 2016, when the state’s park system celebrates a centennial of providing history, outdoor recreation and education to visitors.

In March 1915, after a group of citizens urged the government to protect the Summit of Mount Mitchell (the highest peak in the eastern U.S. at 6,684 feet above Yancey County) the N.C. General Assembly authorized Mount Mitchell as the first North Carolina State Park. With the property acquired by the state in 1916, the first state parks system in the nation began.

This year, North Carolina celebrates 100 years of state parks growth, from 525 acres on Mount Mitchell to more than 228,000 acres across the state today. Visitors travel through the gates of these parks to learn more about an area’s bio-diversity, history and culture, escape into wilderness, grab a picnic under a tree, paddle the waterways, hike various levels of trails, follow the footprints of critters and breathe in the smells of the surrounding flora.

Mt. Mitchell will be hosting a signature event August 27th

You can learn more about North Carolina’s State Parks Centennial Celebration by visiting this article from the April 2016 issue of Carolina Country

Annual Burnsville Metric – Apr. 30

Yancey & Mitchell Counties, Burnsville Bike Ride

Burnsville Metric April 30 Burnsville Town CenterThe 22nd annual Burnsville Metric takes place on the scenic roads of Yancey and Mitchell counties. This event is near Asheville, NC and Johnson City, TN off I-26.  and is 60.7 miles long with three well-supplied rest stops. Registration and packet pick-up: Burnsville Town Center, 7:15 a.m.-8:45 a.m. Ride begins 9 a.m. Nu Wray Inn will provide a post-race barbecue meal.

January

It is beautiful here, the sun is shining on the fallen snow, and it is melting. It was 10 degrees this morning, but warm as toast inside.

It it supposed to warm up today and the snow gone by early this week.

Keep well and warm

Find Great Riches in Nature, Art in N.C. Mountains

Take in the Views and the Arts on a Visit to Burnsville

In Burnsville – the only town and the county seat of Yancey County – you won’t find high-rise buildings, gridlock traffic and honking horns. What you’ll get in and around this small, mountain town are great riches in nature and art. Yancey is the most mountainous county in North Carolina, holding five of the highest peaks in eastern America, including Mt. Mitchell, which at 6,684 feet is the highest point east of the Mississippi. Amid these peaks are forests, nationally protected land and a host of small communities – and a population that is thick with artists. Scattered around the county, you will see the work of woodworkers, glass blowers, potters, metal-smiths, weavers, quilters, basket makers, painters and more. You will delight in places such as the downtown Burnsville Toe River Arts Council Gallery (www.toeriverarts.org) . Stop in at One of a Kind Art Gallery in nearby Micaville (wwwooakartgallery .com).

Rob Levin Blowing Glass
Rob Levin blowing glass

Call ahead to visit artists in their  studios/galleries. Many of them including potter Claudia Dunaway and mixed-media artist John Richards at Yummy Mud Puddle (www.yummymudpud dle.corn), as well as glass blower Rob Levin (www.robertlevin.com) – welcome visitors to enjoy a behind-the-scenes look and see their work. Plan ahead to take part in the Toe River Studio Tour held twice annually in June and December (www.toeriverarts.org/ studio-tour). Save a lazy afternoon to drive through the Mt. Mitchell Scenic Byway Quilt Trail (at www.quilttrailswnc. org, scroll down to “Trail Maps”).

Continue reading Take in the Views and the Arts on a Visit to Burnsville

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