Scenic Drives


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Mars Hill

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Mars Hill

A Town Born From Education

Before 1856, when no more than 10 families lived on what was then known as Pleasant Hill, education was important to the parents who founded an academy to educate their children.

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Cradle of Forestry

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Wheels Through TIme Museum

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Wheels Through Time Museum

Since the early years of the 20th century, the mountains and foothills of Western North Carolina have become a popular tourist destination primarily because of the easier access provided by motorized vehicles.  Indeed, increasing tourism to this formerly remote region was the rationale for building the Blue Ridge Parkway, “America’s Favorite Drive.”

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Fontana Dam

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Fontana Dam and Visitor Center

Located in the far western corner of North Carolina, Fontana Dam is the tallest dam east of the Rockies at 480 feet. It was built by the Tennessee Valley Authority in response to an urgent need for electric power during World War II; construction began in 1942 and was finished in just 36 months.

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Linn CoveViaduct

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The Orchard at Altapass

Early History

Perched on the crest of the Blue Ridge atop the Eastern Continental Divide, the Orchard at Altapass occupies a unique spot in both America’s landscape and history. The Orchard has been a vital travel route since the earliest settlers began exploring these mountains. Buffalo and elk traversed here, followed by the Cherokee Indians and eventually European settlers.

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