With fall approaching and the urge to “git outta town” hitting us all, you might consider Western North Carolina for many reasons — colorful leaves, winding highways, the Blue Ridge Mountains, and clean country air. But one place in particular has it all: little ol’ Valle Crucis. We’re calling it little because if you want to visit its main store, the Mast General Store, you’ll have to put the town of Banner Elk in your GPS, ’cause Valle Crucis isn’t even recognized.
We’ve shared some pictures once before in a post called “Along Back Country Roads,” but we thought you like to see a few more from a stop we made Spring 2021. In fact, you just might want to consider bringing a bit of country living into your own life by spending a weekend at the Mast Farm Inn. It’s a complex of updated small cabins surrounding a two-story country house — all with private rooms and baths.
For a bit of history, it was Joseph Mast who, in 1792, walked from Pennsylvania to settle the land in Valle Crucis. His son David later built a two-room farmhouse that now faces the main building of the Mast Farm Inn. And it’s here that you can take in the views of pastoral land, organic farms, and log houses. It’s a lifestyle many of us envy, but can enjoy if we’re lucky enough to snag one of these comfy upscale rural retreats.
Although our photos were taken in the spring, you can imagine how lovely this area would be decked out in fall colors. We’ve stayed there once before, and we can tell you firsthand the glories of smelling fresh air, relaxing on the porches, and reveling in the peace and quiet.
Down the road a bit, you might want to check out the Mast General Store — since you’re in the area and all. It was Henry Taylor who bought land in Valle Crucis around 1851, establishing a store called Taylor and Moore Company, across the road from the original Mast General. His own home served as a boarding house for salesmen known as “drummers” who would visit the area and sell their goods.
Today, the Mast General Store is a testament to preservation — not just land and buildings, but a way of life. You can find most anything there, but we enjoy the penny candy we gather from big barrels, drinks from old Coca Cola ice chests as well as dry goods, gardening supplies, and boots. You can even get a coffee for 5 cents on the honor system, but no one really checks . . . that we could tell!
If you can’t buy it here, you don’t need it!Popular saying from Mast General Store
Later on, a couple from Florida, John and Faye Cooper, purchased the store in 1979 and moved their whole family to the mountains. While undergoing renovations, the Mast General Store was closed, and so was the Valle Crucis post office, located within the store. But without a postal identity, Valle Crucis was in danger of becoming a non-entity. In October 4, 1980, Valle Crucis regained its contracted station right inside the Mast General Store. It’s still operable and, of course, vital to the community — and worth seeing on its own.
So, if what you need is time away, consider a trip to Valle Crucis where you can sit a spell or shop in the store that time forgot. Just don’t put Valle Crucis into your GPS.
If you want to get there, search for this address: 2918 Broadstone Road, Banner Elk, North Carolina.
Travel in the country,
Rusha & Bert