The best kept secret to a cool summer

June 21, 2017

Warm sunshine. Cool breezes. Fresh, mountain air. Ah, summer in the mountains!

We love all of our seasons, but there’s just something magical about summer in Banner Elk.

Whether you're a thrill seeker, theater lover or simply looking to relax and de-stress, you're sure to find something to fit your fancy right here this summer.

Go on an adventure

Did you know? Of the 469 miles of the Blue Ridge Parkway within North Carolina, Avery County is home to about 23 of those miles. Make sure to stop at one of several "overlooks" along the way and take in those beautiful views!

Discover a new culture 

  • Become a patron and enjoy a full season of FORUM performances.
  • Pack a picnic and meet your friends for Summer Concerts at the Park. Every Thursday evening from June until September features live music by regional bands. Music begins at 6:30 p.m., but don't forget your lawn chairs and blankets to enjoy the music under the stars.
  • Spend a weekend exploring hand-made arts and crafts at Art on the Greene. Three times each summer, the green at the Historic Banner Elk School comes to life with Art on the Greene, featuring quality, hand-made arts and crafts from select regional and national artisans. 

Did you know? Proceeds from the shows are used for restoration of the Historic Banner Elk School which was built in 1939 during the Great Depression.

Have fun and unwind

Did you know? Over the course of the year, the May Wildlife Rehabilitation Center cares for more than 1,500 injured wildlife of varying species from the Eastern Gray Squirrel to the Lees-McRae mascot, the Bobcat!

Wine and dine

Did you know? Avery and Watauga counties are home to over 32 wineries ranging in size from small backyard hobbyist farms, to multi-acre grape fields.

Join the celebration

Did you know? This year will mark the 62nd annual Grandfather Mountain Highland Games. The event is considered one of the first, and biggest, Highland Game celebrations in the U.S. and features traditional Scottish sport competitions and performances.

A little short on time?
No problem! Here are our top five picks for your day in the beautiful high country!

  • Explore the natural habitats and trails of Grandfather Mountain. Don't forget to say hello to fellow Lees-McRae alum and Grandfather Executive Director, Jesse Pope!
  • Catch a Summer Theatre performance on Lees-McRae’s campus. This year’s lineup includes Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, Million Dollar Quartet, and Legally Blonde The Musical.
  • Browse through local shops in downtown Banner Elk. Make sure to pick up some Lees-McRae gear at The Exchange Bookstore on campus.
  • Dine with locals at town favorite, the Banner Elk Café and Lodge.
  • Reminisce with old pals and renew your commitment to your alma mater by stopping in for a visit to the Lees-McRae alumni house.

Want to learn more about the area, but not sure where to look? You can find even more on area lodging, dining, events, attractions and a host of great visitor information on >>

Media Contact:

Nina Mastandrea  |  Content Manager
Tel: 828.898.8729  |  Email: