Alleghany County: Get Away To The Lost Province
North Carolina’s lush Blue Ridge Mountains today are the lure, not the barrier that earned Alleghany County its nickname: "The Lost Province". Until the 1930s, it was tough to get to this tiny county. Then, paved state roads and the Blue Ridge Parkway opened up this 233-square-mile natural oasis to others besides the 10,000 residents.
The Eastern Continental Divide forms its eastern and southern borders, and the New River lazes along its western and northern borders. These naturally beautiful boundaries have kept commercial development to a minimum, and locals now call their county "The Unspoiled Province".
If you’re the kind of visitor who likes to stay in cabins, not four-star hotels, who likes to see farms not strip malls, who likes down-home fare not champagne and caviar, Alleghany County is for you.
An Indian word meaning “fine stream” gives the county its name – a name that is appropriate for these rolling hills, 4,000-foot peaks and fertile valleys drained by the New River. Legend has it that this second oldest river in the world was named by Peter Jefferson who, in leading a party of surveyors, was surprised to find this “new” river.
New to colonists, but not to America’s native peoples. Tools and artifacts have been found in the New River Valley dating back to the Paleo-Indian culture. Indian tribes including the Cherokee and Shawnee have occupied the area for centuries.
Whether you come here for a day, or for an extended period, you must experience the tranquility of the New, designated a national and state Wild and Scenic River.
You’ll find plenty of local outfitters – RiverCamp USA and New River Outfitters – ready to place you in a canoe, kayak, raft or a tube for a day of river relaxation. Drop a line if you enjoy catching smallmouth and redeye bass, as well as muskellunge. Several tributaries are designated trout waters.
If you want to camp, there are three state parks along the length of the New, each a day’s canoe ride apart. RiverCamp USA also operates a private campground on the river.
Rental cabins, like those at Deerwood Park in Piney Creek, are perfect for experiencing the charms of Alleghany County. This cabin development backs up to one of the river’s state parks, whose only access is by water. It has its own nature trails, ponds, stables and horses. Allen Farmhouse Bed & Breakfast, also in Piney Creek, is another lodging option.
For family-style dining, a short drive to Crumpler in Ashe County brings you to Shatley Springs Inn. In 1997, Our State magazine readers awarded it the "Best Breakfast" in North Carolina.
Stone Mountain State Park also is located in Alleghany County, in case you haven’t yet exhausted your urge to get outdoors.
With no crowds, restful cabins, good eats, and lots of outdoor activities, you can see how easy it would be to spoil yourself in The Unspoiled Province.
added: December 10, 2008
updated: December 28, 2008