Small town general stores provide personal touch to holiday shopping

Coming to the mountains for the holidays? Picking up that perfect tree for the living room next to the fireplace?

Well, before you speed back home, be sure to stop off at one the several general stores located throughout the High Country. Nothing beats that down-home, personalized touch of quality you can’t find in those national chain stores. So, whether you’re looking to fill your stockings or your belly, our general stores will more than likely have exactly what you are looking for.


Phipps General Store is located in Lansing at 2425 Silas Creek Road and offers a weekly jam session with local and regional musicians playing traditional mountain music every Friday at 7 p.m.

For more information, call (336) 384-2382 or visit their Facebook page.


Built in 1914, The Todd General Store has been a staple of the High Country. Explore the rich history of Appalachia from the early 1900 displayed throughout the store. Hungry travelers can grab a bite to eat at their deli or pick up some homemade jellies. Shoppers can check out local crafts, antiques, collectibles and much more.

Located at 3866 Railroad Grade Road, the store overlooks the South Fork of the New River. It is closed from Jan. 1 to March 15.

For more information, call (336) 877-1067 or visit

Dubbed the “Friendliest Little Store in Todd, North Carolina,” the Todd Mercantile offers a quaint atmosphere and delectable aromas. People have been known to drive from miles around just for a sample of their melt-in-your-mouth homemade cinnamon rolls.

While you’re waiting for your food to digest, make sure to look over their supply of locally handcrafted goods, pottery and T-shirts. Take a look at their events calendar as well, as they often host special dinners, dances and musical performances.

The Todd Mercantile is located just across the street from The Todd General Store at 3899 Railroad Grade Road and is open Monday through Saturday 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sundays from 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.

For more information, call (3367) 877-5401, visit their Facebook page or visit


The Cove Creek Store has assisted customers with their grocery and hardware needs since the late 1950s and has been a cornerstone of the community ever since. Located at 1182 U.S. 321 in Sugar Grove, Cove Creek Store offers lots of gluten-free products and healthy foods and snacks.

They are open Monday through Saturday from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m.

For more information, call (828) 297-2111 or visit their Facebook page.


Fred’s General Mercantile has the distinction of being the highest general store in America, toppling all others at a staggering 5,049 feet above sea level.

A popular destination for skiers, the store offers the latest ski fashions, accessories for sale or rent, sleds, locally grown seasonal fruits and vegetables, gourmet foods and more.

Open daily from 7:30 a.m. to 10 p.m., Fred’s General Mercantile is located at 501 Beech Mountain Parkway. For more information, call (828) 387-4838 or visit


Since the early 1920s, the Grandfather Country Store has been “the country store” for the eastern slope of Grandfather Mountain.

Offering a mixture of today and yesteryear, Grandfather Country Store offers patrons a chance to surf the Web with their in-house Wi-Fi, all while comfortably basking in the warmth of their woodstove.

Take a moment to enjoy a cup of their gourmet coffee or a bite of their fine pastries. If food is an afterthought, check out their aisles of local crafts, collectibles and antiques.

Located at 6371 U.S. 221 South in Blowing Rock, the store is open Thursday through Tuesday 11:30 a.m. to 6 p.m.

For more information, call (828) 295-6100 or visit


Bringing a cool and eclectic historical vibe to the High Country, the Mast General Store is a do-not-miss on any visitor’s bucket list.

Opening its doors in 1883, the original Mast General Store in Valle Crucis, along with the Annex, is still located at 3565 Hwy. 194 South and still offers up a 5 cent cup of coffee, creaky wooden floorboards, cast iron cookware, clothing, footwear, hardware and much, much more.

The Annex, located right next door, is one of the remaining fixtures for penny candy left in the High Country. Everything from old-time favorites to the most recent sugary concoctions, it’s sure to be every kid’s dream.

Both the Valle Crucis store and Annex are open Monday through Saturday 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and on Sunday from noon to 6 p.m.

The Boone Mast General Store is located at 630 West King St. and offers many of the same sights as sounds as the Valle Crucis original does. The Boone store is open Monday through Saturday 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Sunday 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.

For more information, call (828) 963-6511, (828) 262-0000, or (866) 367-6878. You can also check them out online at or find them on Facebook.

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Even though Western North Carolina exists in the Southern section of the United States, it is called the “High Country” for a reason. The Boone, Blowing Rock and Banner Elk region is nestled among the highest mountains east of the Mississippi River.

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The place of the general store is an iconic stalwart of small-town communities. Prior to the advent of the “big-box” stores so prevalent today, the general store was a cornerstone to the local consumer. Carrying a wide range of merchandise, the small structures served as a community hangout …

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There are thousands of things to do while visiting the High Country. In trying to do all of them, we sometimes forget to spend a little time in rest and relaxation mode.

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