On The Road: Sightseeing in West Jefferson

By Liz Horton - bio l email

This week I climbed 3200 feet up the mountain to beautiful West Jefferson, NC. This town is overflowing with things to do, perfect for travelers on a budget.

My first stop was the arts district downtown. The shopping offers a wide variety and affordable too. I stopped at the state's oldest cheese plant, the Ashe county cheese store. There, I was able to take a free tour of the plant. The Ashe County cheese store makes cheese at least ten days a month. The public is invited to tour for free to learn how their products are made. And of course, don't leave without buying your favorite cheesy delight from the local store.

Next, I headed over to St. Mary's church to view the exquisite art of Ben Long. There I was able to see two of the four famous frescoes in the area, free of charge. I met Bengt and Bodil Nebrelius from Sweden, who says they'll be telling more of their European friends about the art."They must visit the church and look at it, because it's very special... quite different." The frescoes aren't the only beautiful sight to see. West Jefferson offers a gorgeous sight seeing opportunity, and many visitors choose to spend their time outdoors. Golf is one of Ashe County's biggest draws.Visit one of the two golf courses for a quick round. For those interested in staying cool, rent a canoe and glide down the New River.

West Jefferson is also home to three state parks, great for hiking. I ventured up Mt. Jefferson State Park and parked at the second scenic overlook. There you can see views that span miles outside of West Jefferson. I'll warn you, it gets windy, so hold on to your hat! This quaint town also offers museums, parks, fishing and five dollar movies. There's truly something for everyone. Go take a walk, and experience a genuine retreat from everyday life.


START:  Charlotte, NC US

1. Start out going SOUTHWEST on S TRYON ST toward W 4TH ST.  (go 0.5 miles)

2. Turn RIGHT onto W HILL ST.  (go 0.1 miles)

3. Merge onto I-277 S/US-74 W.  (go 0.6 miles)

4. Merge onto I-77 N via EXIT 1C toward STATESVILLE.  (go 64.3 miles)

5. Merge onto US-421 N via EXIT 73B toward WILKESBORO/BOONE.  (go 42.9 miles)

6. Turn RIGHT onto US-221.  (go 12.4 miles)

7. Turn LEFT onto US-221 BR/NC-194.  (go 1.7 miles)

8. Turn LEFT onto W 2ND ST.  (go 0.0 miles)

9. Welcome to WEST JEFFERSON, NC.  (go 0.0 miles)

END: West Jefferson, NC US

TOTAL ESTIMATED TIME: 2 hours 9 minutes | DISTANCE: 122.55 miles