We took a morning this fine July to visit the Valle Crucis Community Park, in Valle Crucis, NC (an approximately 45 minutes' shady drive from Beech Mountain). Located right by the Mast General Store Annex (a.k.a. the Candy Barrel), it's the perfect place for a picnic (or a few hours running off a sugar rush) with the family. Not only are there several shelters and charcoal grills to choose from, right near a generous assortment of playground equipment, including playhouses and swings; but the park offers about a mile's worth of scenic walking trails and stretches along a pretty river where you can fish. We also noticed an outdoor stage, where free music concerts are a weekly event all through the summer.