What To Do While You Are Visiting
There are a wide variety of activities and events to attend in the Tri-State area. From Blowing Rock, North Carolina to Bristol, Virginia and every place in between you will find your fill of fun or relaxation. Call ahead and Vikki will be happy to help you build an itinerary. Here are just a few:
- The Virginia Creeper Trail for biking, hiking and horseback riding;
- The Appalachian Trail with its waterfalls and beautiful balds crossing Roan Mountain;
- Bluegrass and country music venues;
- Bristol Motor Speedway with Nascar and the Dragway;
- Grandfather Mountain's mile high swinging bridge; scenic drives over, through and around the mountains and rolling farm land or the famous Blue Ridge Parkway;
- Motorcycle Day Trips - 421TheSnake.com
- Live performances at Barter Theater
- Swimming, fishing and boating on Watauga Lake
- Deer, bear, grouse and turkey hunting during the respective seasons
- And all the other festivals, parades, and historical reenactments which take place throughout the year here in Johnson County, TN
- Check Watauga Lake Magazine and WataugaLakeExperience.com for events and information around the lake.
- Check the local weather
For a more complete list of things to do in the area, follow the links below:
Charlotte / Douglas International Airport (CLT)
Modern airport serving the Charlotte area – quite a nice airport
About a 2.5-3 hour drive through the mountains to Butler. Beautiful drive
Tri Cities Regional Airport (TRI)
Tri-Cities Regional Airport offers non-stop service to seven hubs.
Mountain City FBO
Doe Valley Aviation
Mountain City, TN
A 4500’ runway, jet fuel, hangers to hold your plane and a friendly management of Bob and Cindy Johnson, this is a great way to arrive in Johnson County. They can also arrange a rent-a-car for your stay
Antiques & Collectibles, New & Gently Used Clothing, Furniture & Home Decor
Reenactments of Revolutionary War times.
Cherokee Indian encampments.
Camp and march with the Overmountain Men in September
as they plan the assult on Kings Mountain.
Quilt and art exhibits
The Wataugans - an outdoor drama the last three weekends in July.
Tells the story of the settling of the First Frontier and the battles
with the Indians
Choose and Cut a Christmas Tree
Start a family tradition. Choose and Cut the perfect Christmas Tree from one of the nearby Christmas Tree Farms. Start the visit with dinner in front of the wood burning fireplace. Get a good night's rest before tackling a hearty breakfast to sustain you for the day's activities. Saw at the ready, it's time to begin the search for this year's Perfect Tree! Once you've found it, bring it back to the Inn where we will keep it fresh in water. Then enjoy a fondue supper sharing tales of finding the Perfect Tree. After supper, gather round to make natural decorations for this tree from paper, cranberries and popcorn, pine cones and whatever other "goodies" you have found to use.
Breakfast the next morning, the tree tied to your car and it's home to set it up with lights and tinsels and the wonderful decorations you've made.
The Paramount is worth a visit just to see the refurbished "golden age" theater. But they have programs from Montevani to Doc Watson and Vicki Lawrence as Momma. Please check their website for the latest entertainments and to purchase tickets as most of the programs sell out.
Heritage Hall is the Johnson County Performance Center where local, national and international talent performs. Check the website for a list of upcoming programs and events scheduled at the Hall from now until May 2006!
Join us for an afternoon or evening of entertainment for the whole family.
2 weeks of arts, crafts, music, theater and lots more fun! Return again and again for the first two weeks in August. Then nothing till next year!
Story Tellers from Around the World gather every year in Jonesborough, TN, "the oldest town in Tennessee" the first weekend in October and delight their audiences with stories old and new.
Or perhaps you would like to register and tell your stories on the Town Square? That's possible too!
Or maybe you'd just like to stroll from tent to tent hearing hundreds of stories - one here, one there until the evening of ghost stories! And, for those "of a certain age", there is the midnight caberet.
This is one of the best festivals I have ever attended! But book early, as rooms go fast - over 30,000 people attend each year!
Barter Theatre, the State Theater of Virginia, performs classics, musicals and unique shows on the Main Stage or the Stage II in Abingdon, VA. Barter is just a short beautiful drive from the Iron Mountain Inn through the mountains.
Gregory Peck, Ernest Borgnine, Kevin Spacey and Patricia O'Neal all were members of the Barter Company at the start of their careers. Who knows, one of the performers you see may become a super star and you can say "I saw him/her beginning their career".
Check their website www.bartertheatre.com for upcoming plays!
Music, Dance, Art exhibits, Wine tastings, something for everyone in the mountains in July. Check out the program and order your tickets. Many events sell out in advance.
Book your room(s) at the Inn to combine outdoor activities such as hiking, biking, golfing, etc. with evenings of North Carolina Symphony, PDQ Bach, Chicago Dance Company and lectures on contemporary art.
Call or check their website for the programs in July
The Museum tells the story of "the town that wouldn't drown" through exhibits of items saved by the residents, and by tales of former residents. Let them tell you of life in a small town in the mountains of NE Tennessee.
The East Tennessee State University and General Shale Brick Natural History Museum and Visitor Center at the Gray Fossil Site opened in the Tri-Cities region of East Tennessee, Aug. 31, 2007. The locals call it the Gray Fossil Site. Since opening, more than 20,000 tourists, educators, students, and paleontologists have marveled at the colorful interactive exhibits, beautiful murals, and dioramas featuring examples of discoveries from the ancient dig that are over 4.5 million years old.
The artifacts were discovered in the year 2000 when state road crews discovered a five-acre site containing the fossilized remains of an entire ecosystem of plants and animals from the late Miocene period. With less than one percent of the site excavated to date, thousands of specimens have been recovered, including such large mammal species as the saber-toothed cat, short-faced bear, ground sloth, rhino, camel, shovel-tusked elephant, horse, red panda, Eurasian badger and the world’s largest collection of fossil tapirs. Other discoveries include numerous smaller mammals, as well as birds, reptiles, alligators, fish and amphibians.
Come experience the daily life of a frontier family in December 1791. On the first three weekends in December, the Cobb Family is awaiting the arrival of the Governor of the colony. Costumed interpreters invite you to enjoy the holiday preparations and excitement as they prepare the food and homes for this important visitor. Tours are by lantern light - and there is a surprise or two!
The Overmountain Victory Trail Assn preserves the route and the story of the volunteer army whose victory at the Battle of King's Mountain was a turning point in the Revolutionary War.
Each September for two weeks, reenactors march along the route of the Overmountain Men, camping at Sycamore Shoals State Park in Elizabethton where visitors are welcome to join them. It is a great experience for families to see what life was like on the frontier in the fall.
There are also other reenactments throughout the year at Sycamore Shoals. Check out the website for more information.
For the last three weekends in July, Sycamore Shoals is the site of the official Tennessee Outdoor Drama, "The Wataugans". Telling the story of those brave pioneers who settled these mountains; creating homes, raising families and clearing the land all the while watching out for marauding indians and then the British.
Come and experience the excitement and drama of life in the wilderness.
Throughout the year there are various exhibits at Sycamore Shoals and there is a short movie about the OverMountain Men who gathered here to plan the attack on Kings Mountain, a decisive battle of the Revolutionary War.
Right next door! Dogwood Springs Ranch. One-hour guided mountain trail rides or for the youngsters, pony rides in the paddock. Open everyday.
Or gather a group of friends and family for a jolly hayride! There are also scheduled hay rides throughout the year. Call for a schedule.
Directions: Come to the Inn, settle in, put on your riding clothes (hard shoes and long pants preferred), and right next door you will find the perfect horse for you.
Fish Springs Marina is a full service boat rental and slip rental business.
Rent a pontoon boat (anyone can drive one) and enjoy a picnic in the middle of the lake floating gently along, or pull up in one of the coves or islands and explore. Call Tom at 423-768-2336 to reserve your day on the water.
Jump off the side of the boat and enjoy a refreshing swim in Watauga, the third cleanest lake in the US. .
Fly fish for trout, smallmouth bass, muskellunge and others in the pristine waters of Watauga River or Lake. Also enjoy fishing the South Holston, the New or Nolichucky Rivers and back country streams known only to your certified guide.
So come, let us help you discover the "most challenging, interesting and abundant fishing found anywhere".
Enjoy 18 holes of golf on one of the country's most beautiful golf courses. Red Tail Mountain. Sam Adams, pro, offers a challenging course where the ball flies forever. Tournaments throughout the season (March-November depending on the weather).
And if you want other course suggestions, just give us a call. There are many fine courses in the area that welcome guests from "away".
Canoe the New River with New River Outfitters, Jefferson, NC. Short or long trips allow you to enjoy America's first historic river by kayak, tubing or canoe. Call for reservations and pick-up locations. 800-982-9190
Great Smoky Mountains National Park, TN, NC
“World renowned for the diversity of its plant and animal life, the beauty of its ancient mountains, and the quality of its remnants of Southern Appalachian mountain culture, this is America’s most visited national park.”
Mount Jefferson State Park, NC
“Mount Jefferson rises abruptly to more than 1,600 feet above the surrounding landscape, serving as a landmark for area motorists. The mountain’s dark color makes it stand out from neighboring peaks.”
New River State Park, NC
Rugged hillsides, pastoral meadows and rustic farmlands surround what is thought to be one of the oldest rivers in North America.
Warriors Path State Park, TN
Warriors Path follows the paths of the earliest settlers of the region. It is still a pathway for modern-day outdoor enthusiasts.
Davy Crockett Birthplace State Park, TN
Limestone , TN
The site consists of 105 partially wooded acres of land along the Nolichucky River. The park’s museum contains exciting Davy Crockett exhibits.
Appalachian Ski Mountain
Blowing Rock, NC
Skiing since 1962, the High Country’s 1st ski area is still the mountain of choice for skiers of all ages and abilities.
Beech Mountain, NC
Since 1967 Ski Beech redefines southern skiing as the highest ski resort in Eastern North America, at 5506 ft. above sea level.
Seven Devils, NC
Banner Elk, NC
Virginia Creeper Trail
Damascus, VA (18 miles)
The Virginia Creeper Trail is open to hiking, mountain biking and horseback riding.
Rent a bike at www.thebike-station.com and let them take you to the top of the mountains and then you coast down
Sections for day hikes are within 12 miles of the Chalet
Iron Mountain Trail; Pond Mountain Trail; Laurel Creek Falls Trail
Famous trail extending from Maine to Georgia. Locally the Appalachian Trail follows segments of mountain ranges in the Cherokee National Forest. www.appalachiantrail.org
Blue Ridge Parkway
Nearest on-ramp is located at Mile Post 280 just outside of Boone, NC
With entrances and exits at all major federal and state highways part of a Parkway experience is getting into the towns and communities of the region. Asheville and Boone, NC and Roanoke, VA are the largest cities along the way.
The Blowing Rock
HWY 321 S, Blowing Rock, NC (29 miles)
The Blowing Rock, North Carolina's oldest travel attraction since 1933, is an immense cliff 4,000 feet above sea level overhanging Johns River Gorge 3,000 feet below. Open all year weather permitting.
US 221 & Blue Ridge Parkway ; Linville, NC
Grandfather Mountain is the highest peak in the Blue Ridge mountain range and a globally recognized nature preserve
Visit the Mile High Swinging Bridge with access to a spectacular mountaintop view
Great rock climbing hiking trails for older children and agile adults
US 421 & Bristol Caverns HWY, Bristol Caverns, TN
Bristol caverns cave system allows you to explore the banks of underground rivers, carved deep into the earth millions of years ago.
HWY 221, Linville Falls, NC
Linville Mountain and Jonas Ridge cradle the river making accessible the many trails into the gorge and views of the picturesque falls.
Appalachian Ghost Walks
Explore the mysteries of the Tennessee and Virginia mountains. These lantern lit tours bring the Cherokee, Revolutionary, Frontier and Civil War history to life. www.AppalachianGhostWalks.com
From November through the first of the year, the Bristol Motor Speedway is a blaze of millions of lights in hundreds of static and moving displays! Why, there is even a light showing how a car races down the drag strip! Ice skating and hot chocolate after you drive around the track and the grounds being amazed at the light displays. Don't miss this once a year event for the entire family.
Blowing Rock, NC
The Wild West theme park features live shows, amusement rides, and much more. The heart of the park is the three-mile train ride behind Tweetsie Railroad’s historic steam locomotives. Special features during the year: Thomas the Train Engine; Ghost Train around Halloween and others
NASCAR Bristol Motor Speedway, TN
Bristol, TN (42 miles)
160,000 seat track holds many face paced racing events throughout the year.
Turchin Canter for the Visual Arts
Boone, NC (20 miles)
Appalachian State University’s own center for all forms of the visual arts.
Check out the summer arts festival at www.appsummer.org
Laurel Fork Falls
This moderately difficult trail begins at the Laurel Falls trailhead in Hampton, TN on Hwy 321/67.