Personal impressions of local restaurants.

Here is a separate section for restaurants because eating is something everyone does, as opposed to skiing, golfing, fishing and other unnecessary activities.
Also, t
hese are purely our personal impressions of restaurants and pubs we have actually visited so far. We don’t mind paying any price for food and service, but we do mind paying when we don’t get it. In other words, we look for value for money.

This was the first restaurant we tried, because it is the nearest. It is in Valle Crucis only 10 minutes from the cabin. A picturesque old farm house dating from the 1880’s, it is now a gourmet bed and breakfast.
There were five adults and two young children (5 & 6) in our party and everyone agreed their meal was good - but not exceptional. Except one who went to the wash-room and discovered his dinner had been cleared by the waitress who assumed he had finished - there were apologies, but no recommence. Our meal cost $340 with tax, but the shock came when we saw the 18% mandatory gratuity added. A $56 tip was more than we thought the service was worth, and it should not be assumed by the proprietors, even if it is on the menue. We prefer to be the ones who assess their service, not them. So be aware of this nasty addition here - and no doubt other places.

STONE WALLS  -  American steak house.
We were recommended here for the best beef in the area, so we ordered one New York Strip and one prime rib, both which were “big,” and very good. It is a modern building in Banner Elk, an historic town going back to the 1770’s, about 10 miles from the cabin, but in arriving you might think you had driven twenty. The road is a rally drivers dream, with hairpin turns, sweeping curves – and sheer drops. Just don’t have too many glasses of wine for the night drive back. Stone Walls lacks mountain charisma and is moderately expensive, but the meat was excellently done and the salad bar extensive.

Mast General Store, Valle Crucis, North CarolinaMAST GENERAL STORE:
This is not a restaurant, but it’s so interesting we felt we had to write it up and put it somewhere.
Only three miles down the valley from the cabin, this place needs to be seen to be believed. Even those who have rummaged through a Spanish “ferritarea” will still be impressed with this “local store.” From the outside it looks like a somewhat run down, old time American gas station, with genuine antique pumps still outside.
If you are with others you should agree to meet back at the entrance at such and such a time. I’m serious; the place is a veritable rabbit warren of small rooms and corridors and it is easy to get lost in the maze  – and that’s only the ground floor. Upstairs you find another treasure trove of rooms to explore. There is a massive heater in the center of the store, with seats, so folks can sit a while and warm their boots or even play chequers.
This place is chock-full of all sorts of “stuff,” and so interesting they could charge admission as a theme park!
It is definitely a good idea not to give children, (of any age), money, because absolutely everyone finds something they “need” or think they will need some time in the future.
This is also the village post office, which still look like it did fifty years ago.