Nestled in the awe inspiring majestic Blue Ridge Mountains stands North Carolina High Country’s original winery. In 2006, the age-old tradition of winemaking made its debut in the region with the establishment of Banner Elk Winery & Villa, the first commercial winery built in Avery and Watauga counties. Banner Elk wines pay tribute to the rugged mountain landscape and capture the delicate nuance and subtle flavors of the fruit.
The Villa is an elegant Bed & Breakfast that offers an idyllic setting, luxurious accommodations, and unrivaled service for discerning travelers. When you walk through the doors of the Villa you are greeted with Tuscan inspired themes and a gorgeous fireplace. There are eight beautifully appointed suites to choose from, two with private fireplaces. Each features a king or queen-sized bed with luxurious linens and abundant pillows, private jacuzzi tubs, and thick plush robes. Breathtaking mountain views from every window beckon you to come explore the High Country.
We stayed in the Zindandel Suite which has its own entrance from an outdoor terrace and overlooks the trout pond, winery, and Blue Ridge Mountains.
The French doors welcome the “outside in” and open onto the semi-private lower terrace. We loved the double chaise lounge where you can enjoy a glass of wine on in your own secret garden. Decorated in soothing colors with red and green accents, the furniture has an eclectic tropical feeling.
You’ll awaken to a complimentary chef-prepared breakfast that you can have on the veranda or large round dining table. After breakfast, stroll through the luscious gardens or journey up the mountain to the upper vineyard for an awe inspiring view of the expansive Blue Ridge Mountains!
As a guest you receive a complimentary wine tasting, so you won’t want to miss heading over to the Banner Elk Winery right on property. Banner Elk Winery processes their own as well as other locally grown grapes into prize winning wines. They continue to lead the region’s commercial wine industry by providing guidance and encouragement to other local farms who are following their lead in planting vineyards with new French-American and American varieties of grapes.
Awards received include two Gold Medals at the 2013 International Eastern Wine Competition for the 2011 Banner Elk Red and 2011 Marechal Foch. The Banner Elk White received a Gold Medal in the “Other Whites” division at the 2012 NextGen Wine Competition in California, and the only Gold in this division.
Whether you are interested in a wine tasting, learning more about the art and science of winemaking, or just relaxing with a glass of wine, don’t miss a visit to the Banner Elk Winery & Villa.
While you’re in Banner Elk, you must dine at Artisanal! The setting is gorgeous in what feels like an old horse barn. Sit outside if the weather allows near the creek and waterfalls. The interior has high ceilings, a horse made of wood, and a cozy bar area with plush couches.
Before you even start your meal, you’re served the most amazing
warm yeast rolls served in a skillet with salted butter. To die for! You can order the tasting menu or off the regular dining menu. To start we had the Ricotta Gnocchi with Spring Vegetables and the Blue Crab Beignets with pickled veggies. For entrees, we had the Sitka Sound Halibut with smoked cauliflower, trumpet mushrooms and Brussels sprouts and the Butter Steak with local blue potato and mushroom gastrique. They will also do wine pairings and their wine list is outstanding.
Don’t miss these two gems in Banner Elk. Visit www.bannerelkwinery.com and www.artisanalnc.com.
Dr. Diane Hayden is the owner and publisher of Natural Nutmeg Magazine, Essential Living Maine Magazine and Nutmeg Creative Media. She is a speaker, writer and workshop facilitator. She holds a B.S. in Marketing from the University of Connecticut, a Ph.D. in Exercise Physiology from the University of Maryland and is an Empowerment Life Coach. For 20 years, her work has focused on inspiring individuals to learn about the power of thought and emotion and how it shapes their lives. Her passion centers on helping even just one person navigate the dating scene and find the perfect partner with whom they can share their life.
You can learn more about her online at: https://naturalnutmeg.com.