Alex King, Staff Writer
When classes get stressful and all of the work for the week is done, a short-day trip vacation is always a great way to recharge. Going on a weekend getaway with a group of friends is a great way to recharge before the next week of life begins.
One great place to go is Boone, a small college town in the beautiful mountains of North Carolina. Boone is less than three hours away from Wingate, making it a great place to take a day trip.
One of the best things to do in Boone is to take a hike and admire all of the beautiful scenery. There are endless amounts of trails in Boone of all levels of difficulty.
One hike that is especially beautiful is Rough Ridge Trail. Rough Ridge is located off of the Blue Ridge Parkway near Milepost 303. It will not take long to see why this is a popular hiking destination.
A little over a quarter of a mile into the hike, there is a boardwalk with seating with an amazing mountain view. Past the boardwalk is a trail that leads to a big rock that hangs over the side of the mountain.
This rock is popular for pictures that make it look as if someone is sitting on the edge of the world. Past the rock are more trails that lead into the woods and all along the way are places with scenic views of the gorgeous Appalachian Mountains. This hike is a little bit more difficult due to the rocky trails, but the view, especially in the fall, makes it all worth it.
Another great hike near Boone is the Flat Top Mountain Fire Tower trail. Also located off of the Blue Ridge Parkway, this longer hike starts at the Moses H. Cone Memorial Park at Milepost 294.
The trail begins behind the building with the bathrooms, though these bathrooms are not open year round. It starts off easy as the trail is made up of gravel and well kept.
It winds through fields and pastures. There is a small cemetery for a little less than halfway up the trail. Once you reach the cemetery, there is a big open field with a great view.
Sugar Mountain, Blowing Rock and lots of little houses can be seen across the valley. Past the field, the trail continues into the woods for about a mile and a half.
At the top there is a tower that goes up about three stories. From the top of the tower there is a 360° view of miles of mountains. The view is absolutely breathtaking. This trail, besides the almost six mile total length, is easier due to having a gradual incline and gravel path.
After a long hike, it is time for some tasty food to refuel. One of the most popular places to go is the Come Back Shack.
Come Back Shack is a great, local fast food joint that has delicious burgers and fries as well as some healthier options. There is a table near the entrance with menu cards and pencils to fill out with orders.
The menu consists of burgers, grilled chicken, veggie burgers and turkey burgers. All of the usual toppings are available as well as some more interesting toppings and house made sauces.
Sitting outside to enjoy a meal is an option year round as Come Back Shack has heaters around the deck. Come Back Shack is a great place to go after a long hike.
Closer to Appalachian State University is Downtown Boone. There are small shops, locally owned restaurants and businesses everywhere. All of the shops have a local, small town vibe.
Whether the store sells name brand clothes or locally roasted coffee, Boone will make you feel welcome. Boone has something for everyone and it is well worth the visit.
Edited By: Brea Childs