“It’s a smile, it’s a kiss, it’s a sip of wine … it’s summertime.” Country crooner Kenny Chesney sings about the ingredients of a perfect “summertime, sweet summertime,” all of which can be found year-round in the beautiful mountain towns in North Carolina. Romance and relaxation are yours to enjoy when you escape to the High Country region of North Carolina’s Blue Ridge Mountains.
So pack a picnic, grab that special someone, and start your scenic drive along the spectacular stretch of Blue Ridge Parkway where both Grandfather Mountain and the Watauga River offer stunning views from every angle. You’re in High Country now, driving through towns like Blowing Rock, Boone, and Banner Elk. Be sure to have your camera ready – there’s a photo opp ahead!
As you travel from Boone toward Banner Elk on Highway 105, you’re about to come face-to-face with “the old man.” From this entry point, you’ll get the most popular view of the mighty Grandfather Mountain, a remarkable collection of peaks and crests that naturally form the face of an old man with a strong forehead and a chiseled chin. This faithful grandfather watches over the many NC mountain communities that are tucked in the foothills of the Blue Ridge and offer relaxing mountain living. Take note of them. You will want to come back later for a closer look.
For now, let’s park the car and step out into nature. Nestled along the beautiful Watauga River at the base of Grandfather Mountain, you’ll find a terraced mountainside vineyard with a tasting room, covered patio, and picnic area. Welcome to Grandfather Vineyard & Winery. You’ll want to spend the day here. And, lucky for you, you’ve already packed your picnic basket with local fruits and cheeses from some of your favorite mountain towns in North Carolina that you passed through along your drive. All you need now is an award-winning wine to complement your romantic al fresco meal.
Step into the Grandfather Vineyard & Winery tasting room, where you’ll sample a variety of delicious wines, including Sunset Rose Muscadine, Watauga River White, Legacy Zinfandel, Pinot Noir, Cab Franc Rosé, all made with love and pride by the Tatum Family, who own this world class winery in Banner Elk.
Take home a souvenir wine glass to remember your experience, which, depending on the time of year you visit, may include a romantic springtime couples package, a scenic walk in the summer sun, live music during fall festival season, or a glass of wine by an outdoor fire pit when winter brings a chill to the air. Fans of fun factoids will definitely want to visit on Trivia Night at the winery. Or bring out the artist in you by taking part in Canvas & Cocktails, which combines wine sipping with painting. And with such gorgeous scenery as your inspiration, you’re sure to create a masterpiece.
The Grandfather Vineyard & Winery sells local cheeses, crackers, snack foods, mimosas, and even adult snow cones! The gift shop has an assortment of wine-themed gift baskets, hand-crafted candles in recycled wine bottles, and many more unique mementos.
Banner Elk enjoys all four seasons. Winters at this elevation can get quite cold and snowy (check out some local ski resorts while you’re here), and summers are often mild and pleasant. With so many seasonal activities, Grandfather Vineyard & Winery attracts guests all year long. “It’s a smile, it’s a kiss, it’s a sip of wine …” not just in summertime, but any time. It’s one of the most romantic getaways in High Country NC. And it’s not just for picnicking and couples’ weekends. It’s also a great location for an intimate – not to mention breathtakingly beautiful – mountain wedding.
As you head back along the Blue Ridge Parkway after a day at Grandfather Vineyard & Winery, don’t forget to take a closer look at one of those charming NC mountain communities you passed through on the way up. The Coves Mountain River Club is one you won’t want to miss. It’s less than an hour’s drive away, and, like the vineyard you just visited, it’s also nestled in the foothills and includes both mountain and river views – a rare treat.
Just imagine living in your own mountain home and being able to recreate the experience The Grandfather Mountain Vineyard experience in your own backyard. Considering your backyard sits right along the Johns River, where your great room window opens up to a view of the mountains, and your community offers perfect picnicking, fishing, and canoeing options. You won’t have to imagine it – you’ll be living it. The Coves Mountain River Club is beyond beautiful, and get this… it even has its own community garden and vineyard.
Isabel’s Garden is a dream-come-true for anyone looking to get their hands dirty, connect with the earth, and grow their own fresh vegetables or fragrant flowers. Evelyn’s Vineyard is an extraordinary amenity even by The Coves standards. This community vineyard is yours for the pruning, harvesting, stomping, and sipping your way through the whole grape-growing and wine-making process. Home-grown produce, locally sourced meals, and your own personal wine, perfect for sipping on your cozy mountain home porch. It doesn’t get more romantic than this.
When you’re ready to make your own mountain dream come true, give us a call to arrange a trip to The Coves and the surrounding mountain towns in North Carolina. We’re happy to share our secrets with you.
If you’re exploring the area for the first time, ask for our 84 page Complimentary Magazine.