Situated among the Blue Ridge Mountains in the western half of North Carolina, the beautiful town of Boone is the largest incorporated community in Watauga County and the surrounding High County region of the state. Boone covers an area of 6.07 square miles and has an estimated population of almost 19,000 people. It's the home of the Appalachian State University and has been ranked as one of the best small towns in which to reside in North Carolina. CDC information for travelers. Hours/availability may have changed.
2.Elevation of Boone, NC
3.Climate and Things to Do in Boone, NC
Boone, NC Elevation
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- Elevation of Boone, NC, Photo: SeanPavonePhoto/stock.adobe.com
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Attraction Spotlight: Turtle Island Preserve
Located in Boone, North Carolina, Turtle Island Preserve is a nonprofit educational nature center offering camp and workshop programming geared toward helping visitors reconnect with natural environments and traditional farming and hunting practices. Turtle Island Preserve is the vision of North Carolina native Dr. Eustace Conway III, the grandson of Camp Sequoyah founder Chief Johnson. Conway’s love for the outdoors was fostered at a young age, influenced by the work of his maternal grandfather and by childhood experiences on extended hiking trips with his father.
Opened in 1987, Turtle Island Preserve follows along the foundations of the Sequoyah program’s ideals about outdoor camping, hiking, and traditional living practices, encouraging visitors to enter into a more harmonious relationship with their natural surroundings and teaching skills foreign to modern urban life. The campsite is named Turtle Island in honor of various indigenous creation legends about Earth’s lands being formed by a giant turtle rising from the oceans to support ecosystems on the terrain of its shell.
Permanent Attractions and Workshops
Today, Turtle Island Preserve is operated as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, serving as an environmental education center and natural wildlife preserve. The 1,000-acre campsite is located near Boone, North Carolina and offers a variety of public workshops and retreat experiences geared toward providing visitors with a comprehensive and respectful understanding of nature and the traditional practices of rural Americans and indigenous cultures. Set in a remote valley area surrounded by dense forests, workshop participants are given an opportunity to “walk back in time” and learn a variety of traditional farming, camping, and outdoorsman skills in an old-fashioned farmstead environment.
All buildings and structures within the campsite were constructed by hand by Turtle Island Preserve employees and crafted to evoke the architecture of early American settler farmhouse living. Visitor accommodations are housed within primitive log houses and tents, and all restroom facilities on site are comprised of traditional outhouse facilities. Other features on site include a hand-built covered bridge, natural fire campsites for cooking, and a large open preserve area for hunting and gathering. The facility is structured around ideas of natural ecological sustainability, and all workshops teach conservation practices that can be incorporated into daily life after returning home.
Standard scheduled workshops at the facility include Blacksmithing Weekends, which offer two-day experiences with professional blacksmiths and crafting teachers and highlight 18th- and 19th-century foundational techniques. Adult workshop participants are offered an opportunity to make a hoof pick, fire poker, or candle holder to take home after the workshop.Hide Tanning workshops are also offered periodically, providing participants with chances to use wet-scrape brain tanning methods to create buckskins out of white-tailed deer hides in a three-day workshop setting. At Honeybees and Crafting Meads workshops, open to participants ages 21 and older, craft brewing techniques for creating brews with natural honey over open flames are explored.
A variety of special workshops offer opportunities for the entire family, including a Woods Woman 101 workshop series, which provides safe opportunities for female participants to use traditional tools and practice cooking and medicinal skills over open campfire flames, and a Father/Son Camp that may be tailored to fit family dynamics of individual groups.Boys and Girls Camps are offered throughout the summer months, providing opportunities for youth aged 7-18 to learn traditional blacksmithing, basket weaving, goat milking, and cooking skills and embark on group hikes and fishing excursions.
Educational School Camps offer school field trip opportunities for elementary and secondary school students, and distance learning outreach programs bring natural concepts directly into the classroom with owl pellet dissection labs and composting workshops.University Discovery Camps are also offered for college students, featuring workshops focusing on concepts of permaculture, off-grid living, alternative energy sources, and historical studies related to traditional Appalachian lore. College service learning opportunities also allow groups of 12 or more chances to work on gardening, wildlife maintenance, and animal care projects. Scout retreats are also offered for groups of up to 100.
All camp visitation is conducted through standard scheduled workshops or by special appointment for small groups and organizations. Lodging, meals, and required tools and materials are provided as part of camp fees. In addition to standard scheduled workshops, visitor groups of 12 or more may arrange custom camp experiences tailored to individual needs by contacting the facility directly via phone or email several weeks in advance of expected workshop date. Special arrangements must be made in advance for visitors wishing to bring pets to workshops. In accordance with North Carolina law, all workshop participants must sign medical and liability waivers prior to attendance. Visitors may also purchase several educational works by Conway on site at the campsite, including instructional videos, informational booklets, and a documentary about the facility by Mobius Films, titled “Reconvergence.”
2683 Little Laurel Rd, Boone, NC 28607, Phone: 828-265-2267
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Attraction Spotlight: Foggy Mountain Gem Mine
Located in Boone, North Carolina, the Foggy Mountain Gem Mine is a family-operated gem mining attraction, offering opportunities to mine gemstone buckets and identify gem finds. Foggy Mountain Gem Mine was the vision of High Point, North Carolina native Dana Morace, who relocated to the Watauga County area in 1976.
After her move, Morace became interested in the practice of gem cutting and opened the Foggy Mountain Gem Mine as a means of sharing her trade as part of an immersive family-friendly experience. The family-owned business is run today by her son, Nik Vames, who oversees all of the facility’s gem cutting operations and tourist opportunities.
Today, Foggy Mountain Gem Mine is operated as a family attraction center, offering visitors the opportunity to mine their own gemstones from a prepackaged bucket of stones and have their finds converted into custom-cut jewelry pieces. Four bucket sizes are offered, including two-gallon “Rockhound” buckets, five-gallon “Big Daddy” buckets, 11-gallon “Motherlode” pails, and 33-gallon gem wheelbarrows. All buckets are guaranteed to contain at least one genuine gemstone, including rubies, emeralds, sapphires, amethysts, and rose quartz stones. While no real gold is placed in visitor buckets, pyrite stones may also be found during the sifting process. All gemstones are imported internationally to ensure high quality in visitor bucket finds.
After purchasing gemstone buckets, visitors may use the facililty’s water flume equipment to sift through rock and dirt to uncover their own gemstone finds. Indoor and outdoor sifting facilities are provided for year-round experiences regardless of weather conditions. Following sifting and stone discovery, any gemstones found within visitor buckets may be returned to Foggy Mountain staff members for assistance with gem carving. Visitors may choose from a variety of gem cut designs and place orders for custom-created jewelry manufactured on site. Cutting prices vary depending on type of stone found, ranging from $15 to $65 for individual stones and $10 to $55 apiece for multiple cuts of the same type of gemstone. Information is also provided on site and on the facility’s website about gemstone history and correlation with traditional zodiac birthstones.
A collection of rare gems is showcased at the facility, accumulated by owner Nik Vames during his international travels. New pieces are added to the collection on a continual basis and select pieces are offered for sale by request. All staff members are educated about all gems held within the collection and available on site at all times to answer visitor questions.
In addition to onsite gem cutting, the Foggy Mountain Gem Mine also operates an online jewelry and gemstone store, offering two-, four-, and six-prong and filigree-set pendants and rings. Metal options include 14-karat yellow and white gold and sterling silver, and gemstone choices span all traditional zodiac-associated birthstones. Stones used for jewelry range between 8x6 millimeters and 12x10 millimeters. Mining supplies and souvenirs are also sold, and free shipping is provided with all orders within the continental United States.
Foggy Mountain Gem Mine is open seven days a week, with the exception of major national holidays.
Boone, North Carolina Area
Located within North Carolina’s Blue Ridge Mountains range, the city of Boone is the county seat of Watauga County and is the central commerce and tourism area of the state’s High Country area. Named for iconic American outdoorsman Daniel Boone, who frequented the area and whose family members were members of the area’s first church congregation, the area has been ranked as one of the top 10 cities in the United States to retire to by U.S. News. The city is home to the campus of Appalachian State University, a member institution of the University of North Carolina, and is located at the apex of the Blue Ridge Parkway, operated by the National Park Service. A number of buildings located within city limits have been listed on the National Register of Historic Places, including the Blair Farm, Jones House, and Daniel Boone Hotel.
Though the area only boasts a population of 17,000 as of 2010, it is known as a popular tourist destination in the Blue Ridge Mountains area, offering a variety of family and cultural attractions. The Horn in the West outdoor theater recounts the story of Daniel Boone’s life and exploration, located next to the city’s Daniel Boone Native Gardens park. Family fun park Tweetsie Railroad offers western-themed rides on a train route previously operated by the city’s historic East Tennessee and Western North Carolina Railroad, and several adventure parks offer ziplining and high ropes course packages. Natural attractions include Grandfather Mountain, the only privately-owned International Biosphere Reserve in the world, featuring a nature museum and a variety of animal environmental habitat exhibits, and several state parks offering hiking, paddling, and fishing excursions.
4416 NC HWY 105 S, Boone, NC 28607, Phone: 828-963-4367
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