Avery County North Carolina

Avery County North Carolina Is Found In The Beautiful Appalachian Mountains

Avery County North Carolina is located in the western part of the state in a beautiful rural area high up in the Appalachian Mountain Range.

A Beautiful Appalachian Sunrise 

It claims to have the highest incorporated township east of the Mississippi. This is the town of Beech Mountain North Carolina which stands 5,506 feet above sea level

The county also boasts that it is the Christmas Tree capital of the world because of the number of trees that it grows there!

A Christmas Tree Farm In Avery County

The county was formed in 1911 and is the 100th and newest county in North Carolina. It was named in memory of Colonel Waightsill Avery, a soldier who had fought in the American Revolutionary War and who then became the first Attorney General of North Carolina in 1777.

The capital of Avery is the town of Newland which itself is 3,621 feet above sea level. The town gets its name from the once Lieutenant Governor of North Carolina, the Honorable W.C. Newland of Lenoir.

As well as the town of Newland, which has a wonderful traditional courthouse with high collonades, other towns include Banner Elk, Beech Mountain, Linville and Grandfather. The last named town is close to the well known Grandfather Mountain. Avery County North Carolina is also home to the Wilderness Area of Linville Gorge.

The Newland Courthouse In Avery County

Because the county is located at such a high altitude the winters can be long and cold with some considerable falls of snow. This can often close the main route into Avery County North Carolina which is the renowned Blue Ridge Parkway. However, there is an upside as the snow makes it an extremely popular area for skiing and there are three fine ski resorts in the county.

The county holds two unusual annual events. The first is the "Woolly Worm Festival" which has been held in Banner Elk every October since 1973. Up to 25,000 visitors arrive to enjoy the music, food and fun and to watch the "Woolly Worm Races."

The woolly worm is actually a red and black stripped caterpillar, its life cycle apparently has the ability to predict the time and severity of winter in the region.

An honorary champion is elected by racing the caterpillars up three foot long lengths of string! You can bring your own racing caterpillar or  buy one at the festival to race for the title. I guess you have to be there to understand it! However, it does sound like a fun time!

Bagpipes At The Clan Gathering In Avery County

The second great event held every year in the county is the Highland Games. Held in the beautiful pastures below Grandfather Mountain every year since 1956 it claims to be the largest clan gathering in the world. Around 30,000 tartan wearing visitors appear to enjoy the music, dancing, food and the odd "wee dram." 

There are the usual games of strength and skill and the sound of bagpipes is much in evidence as pipe-bands and drum majors show off their talents.

Avery County North Carolina has much to offer the visitor and it is surely a wonderful place to live but the greatest attraction it has to offer is the stunning quality of its beautiful mountain surroundings