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Banner Elk’s first civilization came in the form of the Cherokee Indians, who possessed a strong foothold along much of the eastern coast. Artifacts and remnants suggest that they took advantage of Banner Elk’s rich land for hunting and agriculture. In 1825, white settlers began to inhabit the area, emigrating from other regions of the United States, as well as immigrating from Europe. The town was officially incorporated in 1911 by the North Carolina General Assembly, and the economy became primarily comprised of agriculture. Known as the “Christmas tree capital of the world," Banner Elk was home to mainly small businesses. This slowly began to change when vacationers discovered the wealth of mountain adventures to be had in the town, and Banner Elk soon became a premier destination.
Banner Elk contributes to High Country's boundless attractions with natural wonders like Grandfather Mountain and the Blue Ridge Parkway. International and local visitors come by the millions each year to experience North Carolina through Banner Elk's eyes. There are also activities in the surrounding Blue Ridge areas.
Dining in Banner Elk comfortably ranges from fine, upscale dining to cozy, Southern cooking. Dishes are prepared utilizing fresh fish from the streams and fresh produce from area farms. Some of High Country's best venues are found right in Banner Elk.
Enjoy freshly brewed coffees and specialty roasts in the fresh, open air of Banner Elk. Happiness comes in a cup of mountain vistas and the welcoming ambiance of High Country. In Banner Elk, you will find hearty country cooking amid lighter fare in cozy, casual eateries.
Look to Banner Elk for an escape from the traditional bar scene, for its nightlife venues span everything from New Orleans' style eateries to tapas bars. The younger crowd may want to head over to the nearby college town of Boone, where they can rub elbows with Appalachian State students taking a break from their studies. Most late night hot spots are laid back watering holes, where you can sip a drink, grab some food, and enjoy some music or conversation.
Shopping in Banner Elk is as unique as the town itself. Cute boutiques, home furnishing consignments, and pet bakeries are some of the stops you can add to your shopping trip. If you prefer shopping centers to smaller, freestanding shops, you can find some deals at the outlet mall, or you can take a short drive to peruse the offerings of the Boone Mall.
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