The Mountain Laurel
The Journal of Mountain Life

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Heart of the Blue Ridge

Valley of the Cross - Backroads Tour

By Bob Heafner © 1985

Issue: February, 1985

BACKROADS tours always make a complete loop back to the point where we started. The underlined numbers at the beginning of each paragraph indicate the total number of miles we've traveled from our point of beginning. The numbers in parenthesis ( ) indicate the distance from the last point of interest that we passed.

By all means bring along your camera and plenty film.

This tour will begin at the intersection of US Highway 321 and NC Route 105 in Boone, North Carolina. This intersection is approximately 7 miles north of the intersection of the Blue Ridge Parkway and US 321 (US 321 and 221 run together at this point.) at Parkway Mile Post 291.9. The entire tour will cover 18.4 miles and will require approximately one hour to complete. However, you may wish to allot more time to enjoy this scenic area.

backroad 1The Mast General Store Annex, mile 08.1 in Valle Crucis, North Carolina.00.0 (0.0) From US 321, we will turn onto NC Route 105 and head toward Linville and Foscoe, North Carolina.

05.4 (5.4) Here we will turn right off of NC 105 onto NC Route 1112, toward Valle Crucis, North Carolina. The small mountain community of Valle Crucis was established as an Episcopal Mission in 1842. The name Valle Crucis means "Valley of the Cross" and was given to this valley because of two mountain streams which form a St. Andrews Cross as they feed into Dutch Creek.

08.1 (2.7) The Mast General Store Annex is on our right. This building was once the old Valle Crucis Company General Store and was built around 1909. Today it serves as an annex for the overflowing Mast General Store which is just up the road. It is chock full of old time country goodies, but beware if you are on a diet. The selection of old fashioned candies might be as irresistible to you as they were to me.

08.2 (0.1) The Valle Crucis United Methodist Church is on our left here. This beautiful little church adds the perfect picturesque charm to this mountain valley.

08.3 (0.1) The Mast General Store is on our right here. It was built in 1883 and is listed in the National Register of Historic Places as an example of an old fashioned general store. W.W. Mast once claimed to sell everything from "cradles to caskets" and while you won't find those items today, the old store offers a trip down memory lane with its old chestnut walls and pot-bellied stove. Original advertising posters from the last century adorn the walls and antiques too numerous to count are on display. Today the store still offers everything from overalls to buckwheat flour and hardware items for sale.

11.9 (3.6) After leaving Mast General Store, we will continue to follow NC 1112 until it curves right and becomes NC 194. We will continue on this route until a stop sign, at which point we will turn right onto US 321 (421) in the small community of Villas, North Carolina.

14.8 (2.9) We will continue to follow US 321 (421) which turns right at this point. We are now back in Boone.

17.5 (2.7) At this point, the 5th stop light since our last turn, we will turn right and continue to follow US 321 south. Just after making this turn, the Daniel Boone Inn will be on our right and beyond it is Appalachian State University on our right.

18.4 (0.9) We are now back to our point of beginning at the intersection of US 321 and NC Route 105 in Boone, North Carolina.

We hope that you enjoy this BACKROAD tour as much as we did.