Seemingly frozen in time the Original Mast General Store has been serving the surrounding rural community since 1883. Tucked away high in the Blue Ridge Mountains the Mast General Store is the anchor of Valle Crucis and is one the National Register of Historic Places as one of the finest examples of an old country general store.
The Mast Farm Inn, tucked deep into North Carolina’s Blue Ridge Mountains, is a boutique hotel deeply committed to celebrating its Appalachian roots. Located in Valle Cruces, the Mast Farm Inn is one of the best preserved homesteads in the south, earning a spot on the National Registry of Historic Places and Historic Hotels of America. Driving up to the green and white Victorian past log cabins and pastoral family farms, it was clear to me that time has done little to change this area and the Mast Farm provides a warm homey welcome to travelers today much as it did in the 1800’s.
After an unusually cold and snowy winter it was the end of February before we finally had some sun. A day trip would be the antidote to my cabin fever and the Outer Banks, being only a 90 minute drive away, would be a perfect destination. I love wildlife experiences and have traveled as far as Alaska and Costa Rica but only recently have I started to find out more about the fauna in my own backyard. With this in mind I went in search of the Outer Bank’s most famous residents, the wild horses. Known as “Banker Ponies”, these small shaggy horses have been a fixture on the islands for nearly 500 years. They’re thought to be descended from Spanish mustangs that survived shipwrecks off the coast of North Carolina known as the “Graveyard of the Atlantic”. Other theories posit that the horses were survivors of failed English settlements in North Carolina.