Category: Events

Hey Cyclists, the Beech Mountain Metric is a Doozy!

We’ve reached that time of year when spring fever takes hold. Old Man Winter releases his grip, the trees start to pop with bright green leaves, and we squirrels and humans become more active.

One of the big events up here on the mountain — the fifth annual Beech Mountain Metric — returns Saturday, May 19. Clocking in at 61 miles with 8,000 feet of climbing, the Metric is a doozy of a ride and requires some serious cycling skills.

The Beech Mountain Metric starts in Banner Elk, our neighboring town down the mountain. The route circles north of Beech Mountain, joining up with the Elk River and Watauga River. Clearings along the way offer views of our beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains. Some of my animal buddies make appearances, like fellow squirrels, black bears and deer.

The route circles back to Banner Elk before making the final climb up the switchbacks to Beech Mountain. The finish line lies in downtown Beech Mountain, and you can bet there will be a crowd of our friendly residents, volunteers and visitors there to celebrate with you.

An interesting side note: the famed ascent up Beech Mountain was often the closing stage for the Tour DuPont, which featured riders like Lance Armstrong, and Lance came back to Beech Mountain to train on that ascent in preparation for his first victory in the Tour de France.

For less-experienced riders – or those looking for a lighter challenge – a secondary route travels 43 miles with a mere 5,600 feet of climbing.

After all that effort, I say you should make a Beech Mountain weekend of it by staying in one of our condos, cabins lodges or inns. If your friends want to come and ride together, our accommodations work great for groups.

Several properties offer discounts, such as 10 percent off, 20 percent off, or stay three nights for the price of two. Local restaurants know cyclists will be ready to refuel after the big ride, so they’re offering discounts, too. For discount lodging, click here.

Online registration is open, and the ride is limited to 300 participants. So if you’re up for the challenge on May 19, go ahead and register now.

I look forward to seeing you pedaling up Beech Mountain soon!

Yours truly,
Boomer the Squirrel

New Restaurant Features Tasty Helpings of Comfort Food

Here in Eastern America’s highest town, our guests like a cozy spot to relax and refuel after a day of outdoor adventure.

We have some of the tastiest restaurants, friendliest pubs and comfiest accommodations anywhere in the High Country, and this bloggin’ squirrel is here to tell ya that Beech Mountain’s newest addition, Beech Mountain Grille, fits right into that cozy, comforting niche.

Beech Mountain Grille is located in the heart of town, just an acorn’s throw across the street from Fred’s General Mercantile in the former location of Vasarely’s. Owners Lance and Misty Hurd purchased the property this past fall and made quick work freshening the space and planning their menu in time for a November opening.

Everybody says Misty’s homemade meatloaf, flecked with red and yellow bell pepper, beats the socks off most meatloaves they’ve tried before. She drew inspiration from her grandmother Josephine for the yummy chicken and dumplings, while the homemade chili is Lance’s handiwork.

On the sides menu, don’t miss the creamy mac-and-cheese and green beans prepared with caramelized onions and bacon. Save room for a mudslide sundae, piece of Oreo pie or pecan pie. I just go nuts for her pecan pie!

The furnishings have been updated, while the restaurant’s signature wood paneling and rock fireplace remain. The circular, living-room-style bar off the side of the dining room naturally collects groups of friends, couples on date nights and locals hanging out after work.

One of the most impressive sights — other than that big bowl of chicken and dumplings and piece of pie a la mode — is the view from Beech Mountain Grille’s front windows. The restaurant looks directly onto the ski slopes at Beech Mountain Resort. Diners watch skiers and snowboarders glide down the mountain, as they reminisce about their day and make plans for tomorrow.

So, I’m here to tell you, give Beech Mountain Grille a try next time you’re in town. And, make sure to tell them Boomer sent ya!

 

Yours truly,
Boomer the Squirrel

Funnest Sledding Hill in North Carolina is Back with New Upgrades

Yippee! The Beech Mountain sledding hill — one of my favorite town traditions — is open and ready for the kiddos.

The free youth sledding hill is a one-of-a-kind experience that our friendly town is proud to offer to locals and guests. This past offseason, the town made improvements to the hill, so it’s even more fun (and safe) this winter.

Grading work provided a longer place to stop at the bottom. New pads, like the ones used over at the ski resort, eliminate any bump ups along the sides or at the base of the hill.

The hill now has two lanes, one for tiny tikes and one for older kids. I’m still working on getting a lane just for squirrels!

This year the hill will have more consistent snow coverage thanks to a better water supply from the town’s snazzy new water treatment plant. We’ll keep our fingers crossed that good ole Mother Nature keeps piling on the white stuff, too.

Kids need plastic sleds for the sledding hill. They can bring their own or buy or rent one from a local store.

Parents are allowed to accompany younger kids on the hill. Once the kids have the hang of it, observers can watch from the seats in the Visitor Center lobby.

If you get chilly, step across the street to the pizzeria for a cup of hot cocoa. Or warm up in the Visitor Center, use the restroom and post those sledding hill photos to Facebook and Instagram using the complimentary Wi-Fi. Make sure you tag Beech Mountain. We love seeing all the kids’ smiling faces.

As weather allows, the sledding hill will be open until late February or early March. Check conditions anytime by calling 800-468-5506. Weekday hours are 1 p.m.-5 p.m., and weekend hours are 9 a.m.-5 p.m.

Bundle up the kids and grab the sleds, a snowy afternoon of fun and laughter awaits up here on Beech Mountain!

Yours truly,
Boomer the Squirrel

Beech Mountain Resort’s 50th Ski Season Opened Nov. 24

Hey Beech fans, start spreading the news. Beech Mountain Resort opened for the 2017-18 season on Black Friday, Nov. 24.

We’re even more excited than normal about this winter’s ski season because it’s the 50th anniversary of skiing at Beech Mountain. The resort has sweet deals in honor of its golden anniversary, and our lodging friends do, too.

Special promotions throughout the season include 1967 lift ticket prices. Tuesdays are $9 for ladies’ night, Wednesdays are $9 for men’s night, and Thursdays are couples’ night: $16 for the first ticket and $8 for the second ticket.

Lodging properties have created the 50th anniversary $50 lodging special. Stay at one of our cozy inns, cabins or chalets for $50 per person Sundays through Thursdays (other lodging packages are available by clicking here).

And, of course, we party animals on Beech Mountain are going to celebrate in style. For New Year’s Eve, there will be three parties on Beech Mountain. The ski resort throws two parties, and the Buckeye Recreation Center hosts one!

At Beech Mountain Resort, the whole family is invited to the Lodge for bingo, party tunes and late-night ice-skating and fireworks. Meanwhile, at the resort’s Beech Tree Bar & Grille, an adults-only soiree includes drink specials, dancing and live music. Everyone can enjoy the fireworks show when the clock strikes midnight.

My cousin Darryl from Raleigh and my other cousin Darryl from Charlotte are leaving their nests to come celebrate New Year’s Eve the Beech Mountain way. Come join us in a chorus of “Auld Lang Syne.”

The fun continues January 25-28 when the ski resort hosts a multi-day 50th anniversary celebration. The big day is Saturday, Jan. 27, with an oompah band during the day and fireworks at night. Break out the lederhosen!

If Mother Nature cooperates, we’re going to make the most of this 50th season for four solid months — from opening day on Nov. 24 till closing on Mar. 24.

Think snowy thoughts and meet me on the mountain!

Yours truly,
Boomer the Squirrel

Fly a Kite a Mile High on Beech Mountain this Labor Day Weekend

When is the last time you flew a kite? I don’t mean on a video game or an app on your smart phone. I mean standing in a field and watching the string stretch higher and higher as the colorful vessel soars into the sky.

Sounds magical, doesn’t it? Each Labor Day weekend, Beech Mountain hosts the Mile High Kite Festival. And it is pretty magical!

This year’s festival is Saturday, Sept. 2, and Sunday, Sept. 3, from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Admission is free and the first 150 kids each day receive a free kite. Parking is $5.

The “mile high” part of the festival is no joke. With our town’s lofty elevation of 5,506 feet, you can easily fly a kite more than a mile above sea level.

I love sitting in my tree and watching all the kites waving in the breeze. It’s a beautiful sight and peaceful, too. Before we head into the busy fall season — you hustling around getting kids to school, me working my fuzzy little tail off collecting acorns — it’s nice to spend a weekend enjoying simple pleasures.

On Sunday afternoon, two kite clubs – the Richmond Air Force club and Charlotte’s Wings Across Carolina Kiting and Okra Society (WACKOS) – put on kite-flying demonstrations. Boy, can they do some fancy tricks!

Also on Sunday, prizes will be given for the best-decorated kites, most original kites and kites flown the highest.

The festival has all sorts of other activities for when you need a kite-flying break. There will be rides and face painting for the kids, and food and crafts vendors.

On Saturday night, don’t miss the all-ages street dance in the Visitors Center parking lot from 6 p.m.-9 p.m. It’s always fun to see the parents embarrass their kids with their best dance moves.

For more details about the Mile High Kite Festival, click here.

Yours truly,
Boomer the Squirrel

 


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