IMAGINE…A different destination…West Jefferson, N.C.
Imagine a place that sets above all others. Maybe it’s the 3,200 foot elevation. Maybe it’s the small town charm. Maybe it’s the friendly faces greeting you with a smile. Maybe it’s the breathtaking views. Or just maybe its ALL of the above.
West Jefferson is a historical small town nestled within the majestic Blue Ridge Mountains of northwest North Carolina. Established in 1915, West Jefferson has always held on to its small town appeal. Many businesses located in the Town have always remained local and have help build what West Jefferson is today. Listed on the National Register of Historical Places, West Jefferson gives visitors a sense of history as well as a mix of modern culture.
West Jefferson has a bustling downtown district and may be best known for its Arts District. Numerous art galleries and studios featuring local and regional artists’ work can be found here. Throughout the summer and again at the holiday season, the famed Gallery Crawls are an opportunity for folks to stroll the streets of downtown and visit the many galleries participating in the Crawl with an open house type event. Also, the Ashe County Arts Council located in downtown showcases local artists’ work with rotating exhibits and special events throughout the year. Further, West Jefferson is the site of 15 murals that create a walking tour throughout downtown. The murals were designed and painted by local artists reflecting the area’s history and unique mountain character. Click here for mural info. The Ashe County Civic Center is home to the Ashe County Little Theater and is also the home for many cultural events and productions.
One of the biggest attractions in West Jefferson, perhaps even the State is Ashe County Cheese. Established in 1939, this cheese company is the oldest cheese plant in the Carolina’s and offers visitors a chance to watch cheese being made. Across the street, the Ashe County Cheese Store house over 20 varieties of cheese made on site as well as local wines, ice cream, snacks, and souvenirs for all ages.
Another huge visitor attraction in West Jefferson is the Fresco paintings by world famous artist Benjamin F. Long IV. These life size Fresco paintings at St. Mary’s Episcopal Church are exquisite and will surely take your breath away. Part of the Blue Ridge Fresco Trail, four of these frescoes are right here in Ashe County with 3 Frescoes featured at St. Mary’s Episcopal Church which include Mary Great with Child, John the Baptist and Mystery of Faith. The Last Supper painting is located at Holy Trinity Episcopal Church in Glendale Springs, just 15 minutes east of West Jefferson. The Fresco churches are open year- round and all ages, groups and buses are welcome.
Towering over West Jefferson, at elevations well over 4,000’, providing a backdrop of splendid beauty for the Town is scenic Mount Jefferson. Beginning as state park in 1956, Mount Jefferson is appealing for all ages because it features several walking/hiking trails, overlooks, picnic areas, interactive workshops with the Park rangers throughout the year and plenty of photo opportunities with its panoramic views of the entire region. Mount Jefferson, now a State Natural Area, contains many unique and diverse trees, shrubs and wildflowers as well as many interesting and unique plants giving the mountain a national natural landmark designation from the National Park Service.
The Bowie-Seagraves Municipal Park is located just behind the downtown area and offers a peaceful serene atmosphere with its green grass, small stream and old oak trees. The Park offers a perfect place to read a book, picnic, play on the playground and take a walk on the new ½ mile lighted walking trail loop. Additionally, sitting just above the downtown area and adjoining the Park is the Ashe County Public Library. This newly remodeled library is the hub for many community activities for all ages as well as everything and more you would want in a library.
Come and spend a whole weekend in West Jefferson with many choices of lodging located right here in Town including motels, bed and breakfasts, vacation rentals and even a campground. In addition to all of the art galleries, the downtown streets of West Jefferson are brimming with diverse locally owned businesses. Shoppers will be able to find something unique for everyone on their list, grab a bite to eat at one of our many distinctive restaurants and visit one of our coffee shops. Located within walking distance of downtown is the Ashe County Farmers Market. Located on the Backstreet, the market is open twice weekly from May-October and again during the Holiday season. Only locally handmade and homegrown products are sold at the Farmers Market.
Also located on the Backstreet, is the Backstreet Park which plays host to the Summer Concert Series held on the third & fourth Friday's of every month from May through August. The concert series features local and regional artists playing a mix of traditional bluegrass, country and gospel music. Bring a lawn chair and enjoy the evening.
Other events held in West Jefferson include the Annual Christmas in July Festival held on the first weekend of July each year. Drawing thousands to downtown, this one day fun filled packed festival highlights the Christmas tree industry as well as numerous arts, crafts, collectibles and food vendors. Music from local and regional musicians and entertainment from local dance groups all make this festival a staple for West Jefferson and the region. http://Christmasinjuly.info
The West Jefferson Olde Time Antiques Fair is held in downtown on the third weekend in September. Over 50 vendors of antiques, collectibles & primitives set up during this weekend in downtown. The fair also features music from local and regional musicians and several food vendors. http://www.wjantiquesfair.com
West Jefferson's Hometown Christmas includes a holiday celebration unlike any other beginning the day after Thanksgiving right up until Christmas Eve! Come to historic downtown West Jefferson and enjoy our Festival of Trees at the Ashe Arts Center, participate in our handmade and home-grown Holiday Market at the Farmer's Market and stroll the streets and galleries of our historic downtown, all decked out for the Christmas season. To kick the holiday season off right, join us for the lighting of our Community Christmas Tree on the Friday after Thanksgiving when Santa & friends arrives in a an old-fashioned fire engine and hands out treats to all the children! Don't forget to choose and cut your own Christmas tree during an old-fashioned family outing at one of the many Choose and Cut Tree Farms right here in West Jefferson!
For more information and for a calendar of events, click here! We look forward to your visit to West Jefferson! Everyone. Fits. Here.