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NC Mountain Activities

Updated on February 2, 2014

Beautiful Scenery and Family Fun

Sunday afternoon getaways sometimes consist of a leisurely drive along the Blue Ridge Parkway. The scenery alone is enough to justify the trip, beautiful flowers, trees, and wildlife cover the rolling hills. With each changing of the season brings the chance to see something new and interesting. The landscape is only one of the great features the mountain has to offer.

Linville Caverns offers something interesting for all ages and provides insight on the beauty of the mountain, inside and out. Inside this natural limestone caverns contains a variety of stalactites, stalagmites, and an underground stream that was founded in the early 1800s by a fisherman by the name of Henry Colton. Today it still home to live trout. The caverns have been open to the public since 1937.

Gem Mountain in the Spruce Pine area offers gem mining, a popular activity especially with kids, for a promising day of family fun. Have a great time Find beautiful gems that can be taken home. An experienced cutter on staff is available to make any findings into pieces of jewerly for the personal enjoyment of guests.

Linville Caverns
Linville Caverns
The Outdoor Drama "Unto These Hills"
The Outdoor Drama "Unto These Hills"

Fun & Privacy

Western North Carolina is believed by the Cherokee Indians to be the place of origin of their ancestors. The Mountainside Theatre shows some of the history of Cherokee through the outdoor drama "Unto These Hills", the second longest running outdoor drama existing in the United States. For those who would like to try their luck at a little gambling can try one of the many casinos available in Cherokee and check out the nightlife.

For those not into the cultural aspects of the Blue Ridge Mountains, they can always stick with the scenery. For a more relaxing time try a stay at one of the many private cabin rentals available. There are numerous ones to choose from with a variety of scenery and location choices. Lake view and pet-friendly cabins are also available to the public.

Pan for Gold

Along Little Meadow Creek in Cabarrus County, North Carolina in 1799, a young boy, around the age of 12, found a big yellow rock. The boy's name was Conrad Reed and this seventeen pound yellow rock was used as a doorstop at the home of the boy and his parents for three years. Imagine his parents surprise when a jeweler told them that the rock being used to prop open the door was actually a gold nugget!

The start for the Reed Mine began the following year when John Reed, the boy's father, began mining the creek on his farm. Many more treasures were unearthed by prospectors, including another even larger nugget weighing in at twenty-eight pounds. This led to other landowners searching their own properties and creeks for gold.

Reed Gold Mine in North Carolina is the site of the first documented gold find in the United States. Today thirty four counties in North Carolina are home to over three hundred gold mines.

Gold is not the only treasure found in North Carolina. Small gem stones such as garnets, rubies, sapphires, and emeralds have also been prospected in many different counties. Franklin County is famous for rubies, and for a small fee go panning to see what treasures await.

Panning is not the only way to find gold and treasures in North Carolina.Those who have a metal detector, or have access to one, and want to try some prospecting in North Carolina, be sure to check out old historic church sites and schools. Centuries ago gatherings of parishioners had dinner on the grounds at places of worship. During these meetings the parishioners lost coins and jewelry while eating and socializing. Many lucky people have found these lost treasures.

A regular dishpan or a cheap gold pan is all the equipment needed to do a little panning for gold. Submerge the pan in a stream, lifting a few inches of sand and gravel from the bottom. While lifting the pan out of the water, move it in a continuous swirling motion tilted slightly to one side to better sift materials out of the pan. Keep adding water to the pan until all of the contents are sifted and sorted, then move on to another area and repeat the process. Before embarking on a prospecting adventure, be sure to get a printed gold map. Simply go online to find gold maps for the area you plan on visiting.


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