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High Country weekend

BREAKFAST: In Blowing Rock, stroll the hidden walkway from Main Street to the Village Cafe ( www.thevillagecafe.com). The century-old former studio of late 19th/early 20th century artist Elliott Daingerfield has an all-day menu of sophisticated ways to start your day.

9 A.M.: Downtown Blowing Rock beckons ( www.blowingrock.com). Sip another coffee in the iconic small-town park. Shops galore line Main Street. Stroll up and back, but save time for the Blowing Rock Art & History Museum ( www.blowingrockmuseum.org). .

11 A.M.: Cruise north on the Blue Ridge Parkway. At Deep Gap, take U.S. 421 toward Boone, then U.S. 221 north. Make lefts on Cranberry Springs Road and N.C. 194 for a pastoral meander beside the scenic New River to tiny Todd.

LUNCH: Grab lunch at the 1917 Todd General Store ( www.toddgeneralstore.com); browse the antique decor, maybe have a book signed by a local author. 2 P.M.: Wander N.C. 194 to Boone and stretch your legs. A left on U.S. 421 leads to two outdoorsy options. The Boone Greenway wanders the South Fork of the New. Hike or bike – the ruins of an early hydroelectric dam make a nice turn-back. Or try Boone’s new mountain bike park, Rocky Knob, built by the country’s top bike trail designers. Walkers are welcome, and there’s a great kid’s playground.

DINNER: The High Country’s lean to locally sourced ingredients comes through at Proper ( www.propermeal.com). Sit outside this late-1800s former jail in downtown Boone and enjoy tasty Southern dishes with two sides.

BREAKFAST: Breakfast in Boone’s first hospital and oldest eatery will be good for what ails you. The Dan’l Boone Inn’s ( www.danlbooneinn.com) savory staples include locally cured country ham biscuits, scrambled eggs and red-eye gravy. Bring cash.

9 A.M.: Take the BRP south from Blowing Rock to Price Lake’s canoe rental (milepost 297.2). Explore the misty lake while sniffing smoke from nearby campfires.

11 A.M.: Soar south on the parkway’s most scenic section; pull off when overlooks entice. A 15-minute walk at Rough Ridge reaches peak-to-Piedmont vistas. Cross Linn Cove Viaduct; at the visitor center, stroll under the serpentine span.

LUNCH: Exit to the now-nonprofit Grandfather Mountain attraction ( www.grandfather.com) and halfway up, stop at the its nature museum for homemade veggie beef soup or a Grandburger to fuel your exploring.

2 P.M.: Don’t miss museum exhibits about this spectacular International Biosphere Reserve. Walk across the landmark Mile-High Swinging Bridge (wheelchair-accessible) or hike to it on the Bridge Trail. Adventurers can climb ladders up cliffs on MacRae Peak!

5 P.M.: Heading back to Boone, stop in Banner Elk at Grandfather Vineyard & Winery to sip a Watauga River White beside the river and below vine-draped crags ( www.grandfathervineyard.com).

DINNER: In Boone, settle in at Joy Bistro ( www.joybistroboone.com) for an upscale, sumptuous assortment of dishes based on local meats, produce, even pasta, and seasonal signature cocktails.

WRAP UP: Summer evenings, take in “Horn in the West” ( www.horninthewest.com), Boone’s classic outdoor drama about Daniel Boone and how residents of this frontier helped win the American Revolution at the Battle of Kings Mountain. At dusk, explore historic log cabins at adjacent Hickory Ridge Living History Museum.

Randy Johnson

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