Fraser’s Coolest Corner Encounter
Meet Up in West Jefferson
We’ll start our morning by meeting up in West Jefferson.
Stop #1 - Saint Mary’s Episcopal Church
We’ll take a leisurely drive to Saint Mary’s Episcopal Church, the first of two Churches of the Frescos, where we can admire internationally renowned fresco artist Ben Long’s magnificent enduring works. The church was built in 1905. In 1972, the Rev. Faulton Hodge became priest in charge and later agreed to let Ben Long, a young artist newly returned to North Carolina from studying in Italy, paint wet plaster frescoes on the interior walls of St. Mary’s. It is certainly a beauty to behold.
Stop #2 - Museum of Ashe County
We’ll head to the Museum of Ashe County History in West Jefferson. The museum is housed in the historic 1904 Ashe County Courthouse building and showcases several intriguing Ashe County and Southern Appalachian exhibits. We may even see a Regulator connection at this historic museum! After touring the museum, you will have time to wander around the unique gift shop for a bit.
Stop #3 - Lunch at Ashe Park
Next we’ll head to beautiful Ashe Park where we will enjoy a tasty lunch from Backstreet Subs and cookies from Sweet & Savory Bakery & Deli, prepared just for us. A Lunch & Learn will be hosted by the Museum of Ashe County while we savor our mid-day meal together.
Stop #4 - Mountain Farm Life Museum
While at the park, we’ll have an informative tour of the Mountain Farm Life Museum, which houses all kinds of farm equipment and history. We’ll step back in time as we marvel over old farming tools and equipment that shows how farm work was done in the past. We’ll also see some home items such as butter churns and spinning wheels, just to name a few. The Frasers and other mountain settlers worked hard on the land without today’s modern conveniences.
Stop #5 - Mount Jefferson State Natural Park
Next on the itinerary is Mount Jefferson State Natural Park where we will absorb the beautiful views of the Blue Ridge Mountains from various overlooks. Rising abruptly to more than 1,600 feet above the surrounding landscape, Mount Jefferson is often first viewed at a distance from the Blue Ridge Parkway and is a national natural landmark with a rich history. Five hiking trails allow exploration of rare geology and plant communities in Mount Jefferson State Natural Area, including a child-friendly TRACK trail and a strenuous scramble along the mountain’s ridgeline. Overlooks offer vistas into neighboring states. Picnic grounds with shelter combine scenic views with cool summer temperatures and breezes.
Stop #6 - Old Barn Winery
From Mount Jefferson, we’ll travel to Old Barn Winery where we’ll encounter rolling hills of Christmas Trees (Fraser Firs, of course!) and learn more about them. The Old Barn Winery is a family dream: creating a vineyard and winery in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina. Our farming roots run four generations deep in these beautiful mountains and we always envisioned our Christmas trees and vines growing together in perfect harmony. Every bottle is filled with the same love, passion and commitment our family has poured into our farms since 1960.Here we’ll relax and sip wine together and leave with personalized wine glasses we can all take home.
Stop #7 - Holy Trinity Church
From Mount Jefferson, we’ll travel to Holy Trinity Episcopal Church in Glendale Springs, the second of the small antique churches of the Frescoes that was built in 1901. Holy Trinity closed in 1946 and stood empty and neglected for 30 years, until Fr. Hodge began a drive to restore it in the late 1970s. In 1980, Ben Long and 20 assistants began painting frescoes on the walls of the church as it was being restored. Later, a chapel named Christ the King was built in Holy Trinity’s basement. It is named for a large mosaic done in 1920 by John Joseph Earley, sometimes called John Early, which was donated to the church. A wall fresco was done in 1984 by Jeffrey Mims, a student of Ben Long.
Stop #8 - Dinner at Glendale Springs Inn & Restaurant
The Glendale Springs Inn is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and has a long history in Ashe County, NC. Nestled in the Blue Ridge Mountains just off the scenic Blue Ridge Parkway, the Inn is both off the beaten path and in a peaceful country setting and yet only a short drive to larger towns in Ashe, Watauga and Wilkes Counties. It has served travelers and the local community in a variety of roles over the past 120 years. Today, the restaurant dining rooms, bar and kitchen occupy the majority of the first floor. A wrap-around porch provides outdoor space from which to enjoy the view of the grounds and the fresh mountain air. Glendale Springs Inn & Restaurant is not far from the Holy Trinity Church. Here we will enjoy not only the ambiance, but also an excellent meal and impeccable service. By this time, we’ll all have appetites as hearty as Jamie’s and this meal will not disappoint! We’ll have several delicious items from which to choose and all will be well-crafted and prepared with your taste buds in mind. After dinner, we’ll end our evening on the lawn of the Inn with something special prepared just for you! Fun times ahead!
All Day Tour
- Welcome Gift
- Church of the Frescoes at St. Mary's
- Guided Tour of History Museum of Ashe County
- Lunch & Learn and Fabulous Meal in the Fresh Carolina Backcountry Air
- Guided Tour of Mountain Farm Life Museum
- Mount Jefferson's Amazing Views
- Old Barn Winery with Take Home Souvenir Glass & Fraser Fir History
- Church of the Frescoes at Holy Trinity
- Savory Gourmet Dinner at Historic Glendale Springs Inn & Restaurant
- Fun On The Lawn (TBA)
- *Tour Itinerary Subject To Change Without Notice*
- **We must have at least 10 people to sign up for the tour in order to proceed. If 10 people do not sign up, your money will be refunded to you (less a $25.00 booking fee) or you may transfer to another tour.**
- LAST DAY TO BOOK EACH TOUR IS 10 DAYS IN ADVANCE OF EACH TOUR DATE
A History Lover's Tour! We'll begin with a guided tour of the home of Major General William Lenoir, built in 1792. From there, we'll learn about the Overmountain Men at beautiful Leatherwood Mountains where we'll also participate in a Native American Wilderness Walk. Stardust Cellars will be our next stop where we will engage in a hands-on mead making workshop, taking our finished product home to continue to enjoy later. We'll have a feast of an Italian dinner at the quaint Roselli's on 10th. We'll end the day with an exciting ghost tour as we meander through the streets of Wilkesboro.
Jamie's Port City Adventure
Wilmington, North Carolina. The place where it all began for Jamie & Claire in North Carolina in 1767. Carefully & specifically designed for the history loving Outlander fan, during this tour, we will travel through time and walk in the footsteps of our beloved Fraser family in the old Port City of Wilmington. This tour is complete with private historic house, walking & ghost tours, a private Cape Fear River cruise, snacks, lunch and dinner.
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