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Hickory Ridge Homestead
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Horn in the West
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Kraut Creek Festival
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Appalachian State Football
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Morton's first project was widening the existing road, extending it to the top of the mountain and adding the Mile High Swinging Bridge.
"In 1989, Grandfather Mountain began working with the North Carolina chapter of the Nature Conservancy to preserve 2,770 acres of the mountain's wilderness backcountry. In 1992, Grandfather was selected by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization to become the first privately owned unit in the United Nation's international network of Biosphere Reserves." -
After entering the park you can choose to stop at one of the many scenic overlooks, go to the Nature Museum or head to the Mile High Swinging Bridge at the top.
The Nature Museum includes indoor exhibits, a restaurant, gift shop, an outdoor picnic area and easy walking trails that lead to the park's bear preserve, otter pond, bald and golden eagle sanctuary and deer park.
At the top, the Mile High Swinging Bridge area offers breathtaking views of the mountains. The bridge was refurbished 1999 and is designed to hold 3 million pounds. At the far end of the bridge visitors get an even better view of the surrounding area.
Hugh Morton died in 2006. He had placed all but 600 of the mountain's 4600 acres under perpetual conservation easements. His heirs vow to maintain the mountain preserve just as Hugh Morton would have done.
The Nature Museum building contains several exhibits about the wildlife of the mountain. Visitors can see displays and learn about the mountain's gems, wildflowers, birds, animals and its geologic history.
The museum building also has a restaurant and gift shop. You are greeted at the door by a sculpture of the mountain's most famous resident, Mildred the bear, who died in 1993.
There are several large events at Grandfather Mountain each year. The Grandfather Mountain Highland Games draw over 30,000 people (July 10-13, 2008). Their vision is "We will constantly strive to be the premier Scottish Highland games and gathering of Clans, Guests, Families, Sponsors, Patrons and Visitors. We will work diligently to be the model games of integrity and excellence for all." (see link to their website below)
During this weekend the event sponsors two races. The Grandfather Mountain Marathon starts in Boone and ends at MacRae Meadow on Grandfather. It is considered one of the most challenging marathons in the country. The Bear is a 5-mile foot race which starts at the base of the mountain. More than 500 runners run up to the Swinging Bridge near the peak of Grandfather.
In June the Annual Singing on the Mountain take place in MacRae meadow. It is day-long gathering. Music begins at 8:30 a.m. with a break at mid-day for the sermon. The schedule includes many top Southern Gospel groups. The year's event is on June 22. (See link to their website below.)
Grandfather Mountain opens at 8 a.m. in the Spring, Summer and Fall and 9 a.m. in the Winter. The cost is $14 for adults, $12 for seniors (over 60), $6 for children 4 - 12 and children under $4 are admitted free of charge.
Interesting links about Grandfather Mountain: