In the wise words of Bill “Father of Bluegrass” Monroe, “Bluegrass has brought more people together and made more friends than any music in the world. You meet people at festivals and renew acquaintances year after year.” As true mountain fans know, Blue Ridge mountain music has a way of weaving its signature blend of roots-y hometown heritage with folks-y warmth and an authenticity that’s as uniquely fresh as the clear waters that run through the mountain towns in North Carolina.
The annual Blue Ridge mountain music festivals Monroe referred to are a staple of mountain living for serious music fans in beautiful NC mountain communities like The Coves Mountain River Club. In our gated mountain community along the placid Johns River, you’ll find mountain elevations of up to 1,700 feet, exciting outdoor amenities, and friendly neighbors to enjoy it all with. These are the folks you can to share your days with, from morning sun salutations on adjacent poolside yoga mats to nature hiking with the dogs, fishing along the riverbank, and therapeutic vegetable harvesting in the Coves’ community gardens, before relaxing with a glass of wine on the wrap-around porch up at the neighborhood mountaintop lodge. This cozy veranda is the perfect place to play your favorite bluegrass CD or strum a guitar with a group of friends as you watch the sun set slowly behind the majestic Grandfather Mountain and Table Rock Mountain. This is a place where music and wine is savored, friendships are formed, and memories are made.
It’s also a perfect place for planning new excursions with friends old and new. And when your friends are as in to bluegrass as you are, there’s no better way to get your fill of that traditional down-home music than by taking a music tour of the mountain towns in North Carolina surrounding the Blue Ridge Parkway, where nature’s hillsides are steep and bluegrass roots run deep.
Lucky for bluegrass fans, there’s a great project called the Blue Ridge Music Trails of North Carolina. This celebration of music uncovers the best-of-the-best in local fiddling, banjo playing, tune-swapping, storytelling, singing and dancing, and compiles it all for you in a music guidebook that leads visitors to the most authentic traditional music venues the NC foothills have to offer. Established by the North Carolina Arts Council and the Blue Ridge National Heritage Area Partnership, this musical guide unites local music scenes, arts councils, event organizers, musicians, and dancers from 29 counties across Western North Carolina, and provides music lovers with a mountain music experience that is unmatched.
The guide is available both in print and online (with interactive map!) and provides dates, locations, and descriptions of musical happenings taking place throughout the 29 participating counties. Looking for a front porch jam session? Or are you in the mood for a more formal concert in a proper auditorium? How about a church-organized music festival or a good old-fashioned street dance? It’s all in the guide!
There are regular gigs along the trail, such as Tuesday Bluegrass Sessions at Isis Restaurant & Music Hall in Asheville and Wednesday Morning Bluegrass and a Biscuit at Hardee’s Red Burrito in Lenoir. So plan your visit according to your tastes in both food and music.
In addition to the recurring events that pepper the music trail, there’s also a full list of festivals and a directory of special events that celebrate the rich music traditions of this region.
Here’s a sample of some upcoming events taking place along the Blue Ridge Music Trails in the Asheville/Lenoir area in 2016:
- Ashe County Bluegrass and Old Time Fiddlers Convention at Ashe County Park - Jefferson, NC – July 22 (7:00 – 11:00 p.m.)
- Mountain Dance and Folk Festival at Diana Wortham Theatre - Asheville, NC August 4 (7:00 – 10:00 p.m.)
- Historic Happy Valley Old-Time Fiddler’s Convention at Jones Farm - Lenoir, NC September 2 (7:00 – 11:00 p.m.)
- Heritage Weekend Festival at Folk Art Center - Asheville, NC September 17 (10:00 a.m.– 4:00 p.m.)
Visitors to the area will be thrilled by this music-inspired drive along the scenic Blue Ridge Parkway that steers you into the rich world of old-time and modern bluegrass, gospel, and string band music, as well as authentic Appalachian clogging, flatfooting, and other legendary forms of traditional dance. Locals will be surprised by the sheer number of concert venues and music happenings – everything from popular music halls to informal jam sessions – that are thriving in this region. Many lifelong North Carolinians admit to discovering venues they never even knew existed until they checked out the Blue Ridge Music Trails guidebook. And, of course, once they learn about them, they gather their friends and hit the trail for an unforgettable music adventure.
Since music is best shared with friends, Blue Ridge Music Trails also offers guided group tours with itineraries tailored to individual group tastes and preferences. Tour planners, group leaders, and motor coach operators are available to help music lovers select, plan, and navigate the many music venues, street fairs, and outdoor festivals along the 29-county route. They also help arrange meal planning, vineyard tours, private traditional music programs, and more!
In the charming mountain towns in North Carolina, there’s always music in the air. And Blue Ridge Mountain Trails of North Carolina is a unique and glorious way to experience this authentic roots music in the mountains that gave birth to blue ridge mountain music. It’s an experience to be remembered for years to come.
It’s the kind of experience you’ll want to relive again and again on that porch chair at Pisgah Mountain Lodge with your neighbors at The Coves, one of the best NC mountain communities for friend-making, music-playing, and memory-sharing.
“Country music belongs to America,” Bill Monroe said. And the sheer joy and relaxation of mountain living belongs to those who appreciate all that good country music, good neighbors, and a rustic outdoor luxury lifestyle delivers. All of this – and year-round access to Blue Ridge Music Trails – makes The Coves Mountain River Club a mountain music lover’s paradise.
So gather a group of music-loving friends and plan your own trip to Western North Carolina where you can combine your Blue Ridge Music Trails adventure with a visit to The Coves and the mountain towns in North Carolina that provide endless activities (art, music, shopping, and festivals galore) to our residents.
If you’re exploring the area for the first time, ask for our 84 page complimentary Western North Carolina Visitor’s Guide to learn more about the area (and us).