Along NC-105, marking the last half-hour of the drive back to our condo on Beech Mountain, the family and I discovered a remarkable rebirth of yet another piece of North Carolina mountain history. Formerly a ramshackle junk shop on the side of the road, a familiar sight on our trip up the Mountain, the freshly-stained boards and twinkling lights in the windows caught our attention. "Look!" my husband said, "Someone has fixed that place up!" Spotting a small neon sign in a side window, my daughter yelled out "They have Ice Cream!!!" Naturally, we stopped in the next day to take a look.
Just a few hundred yards up the road from Grandfather Trout Fishing, 1881 General Store proved a convenient place to refresh ourselves with a treat and some leisurely shopping. Entering from the newly-built side porch, we discovered a charming little counter for coffee and ice cream, surrounded by attractive displays of old-fashioned candy and local-made preserves. Passing into the adjoining high-ceilinged main room of the store, we were delighted to find a warm and inviting space, generously stocked with handmade items arranged on its beautifully-restored counters and shelves. Items available for sale ranged from heirloom-quality furniture, clocks and textiles, all the way down to tasteful, yet affordable, trinkets and old fashioned toys (much to the delight of my daughter, who had money from the grandparents burning a hole in her pocket).
After browsing to our hearts content, we returned to the ice cream counter and ordered ice cream (Notably generous scoops are served here.) and some excellent coffee. (There were also slushies and milkshakes available, a temptation that I am sure I will not be able to resist the next time we visit.) We spent an enjoyable time chatting with one of the new owners, who regaled us with stories of the building and the adventures his family experienced in purchasing and restoring it.
I predict we will be frequent visitors to this lovely store the next time we're up.
1881 General Store at Grandfather Mountain
10882 Highway 105 South
Banner Elk, NC 28604