Welcome to Sparta, North Carolina
Guest Post By Kermitt Ham
In Northwestern North Carolina, in the heart of the Blue Ridge Mountains, is the under-appreciated gem of Sparta, the county seat of Alleghany County.
Alleghany is one of the smallest counties in the state and Sparta NC boasts a population of less than 2,000 inhabitants. Despite the small size of the county and the town, however, the picturesque region is overflowing with southern charm and plenty of adventures and activities suitable for weekend getaways and family vacations.
Measuring less than 250 miles, Alleghany County has been known as “The Lost Province” A nickname the county earned due to the difficulty of reaching the region prior to the opening of the Blue Ridge Parkway in the 1930s. This National Parkway is noted for its scenic roadway, which winds through the Blue Ridge mountain chain in North Carolina and Virginia. Visitors to Sparta NC often enjoy bicycling and nature watching along the parkway.
Although travelers can easily reach the region today, Sparta NC has managed to mix with modern times while still keeping the natural outdoor beauty and small town friendliness that the region has become known for. Bordering Virginia to the north and bordered by the New River on the western and northern borders, the county offers a range of outdoor activities that appeal to all ages and physical abilities. The Alleghany County Stone Mountain State Park is probably the most well-known attraction in the region and offers rock climbing, hiking, fishing, camping, picnicking and canoeing to enjoy, all while soaking up the unspoiled mountain scenery.
The New River State Park is located in nearby Ashe County and includes the New River, one of the oldest rivers in the world. Designated as an American Heritage River, Indian tribes utilized the river for centuries and ancient arrowheads, pottery shards and other artifacts have been found in the New River valley. Part of the park extending into Allegheny County can be reached by canoe.
Sparta NC is a mountain community and much of the activities experienced in the county correspond to its unique culture. Traditional mountain music, for instance, can be experienced at the annual Alleghany Fiddlers Convention in June. The Mountain Heritage Festival in September also features traditional music and dance. For a more in-depth look at the history and culture of the county, a visit to the Alleghany Historical Museum can be insightful. Those interested in regional arts, pottery and crafts can check out art galleries and the work of local artists.
Interested in visiting Alleghany County during the holiday season? When the leaves start to change colors in late October, Sparta NC becomes a dazzlingly beautiful little town. By November, the Christmas season is in full effect. Then families can visit Sparta Christmas Tree farms and start the tradition of choosing and cutting down their own Christmas tree, followed up by drinking hot apple cider and going on hayrides to warm up in the chilly winter air.
Part of the charm of Sparta NC is its unique accommodation options. Instead, of just the cookie cutter hotel chains that can be found in any vacation destination, Alleghany County has inns, and private mountain cabins that provide a rustic charm. The privacy and simplicity of such accommodations provides a welcoming haven to honeymooners and families vacationing in the region.
Welcome to Alleghany County, NC and Sparta NC
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