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    9 Reasons Why Wilkesboro, North Carolina, Belongs On Your Bucket List

    Or just Wilkes County. If you know, you know. Trust me, it's where I grew up!

    Ryan Pattie / BuzzFeed

    This travel series spotlights underrated towns that make for unexpectedly wonderful trips. Discover the best places to eat, see, and stay in cities you may not have realized deserve a spot on your bucket list.

    Perhaps my hometown of Wilkesboro, North Carolina, hasn't been on your radar 'til now. I get it, really!

    But if you're a fan of moonshine, live music, and stunning outdoor views? Then I shall gently nudge you to visit this spot in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains where things move a bit slower (in the best way possible) and the people are friendlier than most anywhere else.

    1. MerleFest, an annual music festival that'll have you tapping your toes to a variety of music from country and bluegrass to blues and so much more.

    2. Stardust Cellars is a craft brewery with a taproom you'll wanna hang around in to sample Appalachian regional flavors in the form of wines, mead, craft beers, and more. (I can personally vouch that the mead is delicious.)

    Stardust Cellars

    My friend John gave me a tasty bottle of their mead for Christmas! Stardust specializes in natural wine-making methods and finds ways to feature local ingredients. They also have an eye on sustainability and try to foster community through events like live music, bingo fundraisers, weekly trivia nights, and more! Check out event listings here.

    3. Anchor Coffee serves up delicious coffee and beer on tap. You'll want to sit for a spell in this inviting shop and, if you time it just right, you can catch some music performances.

    4. Concerts in the Commons and Movies on Main both offer up some free entertainment for the fam in a super convenient location. I think I just found your summer plans.

    Courtesy of the Town of Wilkesboro

    The Carolina West Wireless Community Commons is an outdoor public venue in downtown Wilkesboro with a stage that hosts several events throughout the year. There's plenty of parking nearby, a connection to the Greenway where you can walk or bike, and places you can walk to for a drink or a bite to eat. Check out the 2020 concert schedule here and the 2020 movie schedule here.

    5. Stone Mountain State Park consists of 14,100 acres that has basically all the outdoorsy things you could dream of: hiking, camping, fishing, rock climbing, and taking in the waterfalls. After all, Wilkes is in the foothills and the mountain views/activities are a huge benefit of visiting!

    Djgazso / Wikimedia Commons / Via commons.wikimedia.org

    And if all those things weren't enough, there are also options for picnicking, birding, and horseback riding. Go ahead, grab a permit and make plans to scale the 600-foot granite face of the mountain. (Instagram it or it didn't happen!) And about those falls, they're gorgeous! But be careful around 'em because it's easy to slip and slide down the rocks they run across.

    6. And while you're enjoying the outdoors, a drive on the nearby Blue Ridge Parkway is a must to take in some breathtaking views — especially during fall when the leaves start to change. Stop at some stunning overlooks for wonderful photo ops or plan lots of outdoorsy things along the way.

    7. Call Family Distillers is a craft distillery that makes (legal!) moonshine, which is an essential stop during your stay in the "Moonshine Capital of the World." Seriously, did you even visit Wilkes if you didn't sip some 'shine? The answer is no.

    8. The 1915 is a community event space that hosts concerts, weddings, education and artist demonstrations at the The Blue Ridge Artisan Center, and more. You can drop by to grab a bite at the delicious farm-to-table Artisan Cafe any ole time (except Sundays) and shop gorgeous handmade items from local artisans.

    Courtesy of Revival Creatives

    The 1915 Historic Federal Courthouse and Post Office (yep, that's where they get the name!) is where you can catch bluegrass, folk, Americana, country, and other music. So if you can't make it to Wilkes during MerleFest (#1 on the list!) maybe you can still catch some live music (check out the calendar here).

    It also houses The Blue Ridge Artisan Center, which hosts demonstrations like the one above and features works you can pick up from local artists in case you're looking for a gift. And yes, I didn't forget the food! You can check out the Artisan Cafe menu here.

    9. Dom Bakery offers up yummy sweet treats, pizza, sandwiches, and more when you need to pause your exploring for a bite to eat.

    And while you're in the Western part of the state, go ahead and check out other gems like Boone, Blowing Rock, and Asheville! And of course, tell them I sent you ;).

    TriStar Pictures

    Don't forget to check out Bring Me! for all of BuzzFeed's best travel tips and hacks, vacation inspiration, and more.

    Jay Fleckenstein / BuzzFeed