One final number: 2. Next to natives themselves, Floridians are the second most frequent visitors to North Carolina's ski resorts. Maybe that's the statistic that means the most. If you go • Boone is the largest city in the region and a good place to get supplies, but other towns offer a better glimpse of the high country. For mainstream accommodations, check out the Best Western in Banner Elk (bestwesternbannerelk.com). More upscale choices include the beautiful Chetola Resort in Blowing Rock (chetola.com) and the luxury condos perched high overlooking Sugar Mountain (seesugar.com). • Weekends can get crowded, especially at Sugar and Appalachian. Try to visit during the week when locals are in school. If a weekend getaway is your only choice, hit the slopes early; crowds arrive after lunch. • Looking for a memorable dining experience? Bistro Roca is a local's secret in Blowing Rock. And don't miss Jackalope's View at Archers Inn in Banner Elk. Nestled right into the side of Beech Mountain, it offers an amazing panorama of Grandfather Mountain, along with the Blue Ridge and Smoky Mountains. • For an adult night out, try the Banner Elk Winery. Here, you can sip local favorites while seated around a cozy fireplace.
On the Web
Bistro Roca/Antler's Bar: bistroroca.com
Jackalope's View: www.archersinn.com/jackalopes.htm
Banner Elk Winery: www.bannerelkwinery.com