Banner Elk Blog

Why Banner Elk?

Our guide to Banner Elk - Engel & Völkers


Banner Elk is one of the most beautiful towns in the High Country and not only does it make the perfect weekend or summer getaway if you are trying to avoid the heat, but as many of our residents have found, Banner Elk is a fantastic place to live year round.  We see many seasonal visitors in Banner Elk as they are either escaping the heat in Florida, coming up to the area to see the colour show as the leaves change in autumn or enjoying our brisk winters with a ski holiday. You never know what you are going to get in Banner Elk as it is unpredictable and that is one of the many reasons that we love it!  At Engel & Völkers real estate, we believe that Banner Elk has it all and that is why we are such a popular town which is forever seeing new visitors fall in love with our small mountain community. People want to live in Banner Elk and we are going to talk you through why.


The Restaurants


One restaurant in particular has put Banner Elk on the map as it has won a national award due to its quality of food, staff, location and all-round atmosphere.  Artisanal Restaurant is located on Dobbins Road and is a favorite location of ours at Engel & Völkers Banner Elk to entertain prospective clients. Banner Elk also boasts other quality restaurants and breweries such as Stonewalls, Sorrentos, Louisiana Purchase, The Banner Elk Café and Bella’s Italian Restaurant, to name just a few.


The Lifestyle


Banner Elk is surrounded by some of the most fantastic properties on the east coast.  At Engel & Völkers Banner Elk, our listings offer stunning views of the High Country, exclusivity in gated communities with amazing amenities like the Elk River Club which you can learn more about here.  At Engel & Völkers Banner Elk, we take great pride in being the preferred realtor for the Elk River Club. We would also consider ourselves as not only partners but also great friends with the Elk River Club.  In 2020 they will facilitate the annual High Country Charitable Foundation dinner dance and fundraiser.  There are plenty of other gated communities in the Banner Elk area to get away from it all, such as The Farm and Diamond Creek, which all bring different benefits of living in the High Country.



The Views


Banner Elk is most well known for being the epicentre of the High Country Viewpoints. As you leave Banner Elk from one of the three roads in and out, you are within minutes driving time to some of the most spectacular views that the High Country and the United States in general have to offer.  The first road will bring you through downtown Banner Elk, past the locally owned businesses, Lees-McRae College, the mill pond (possibly with a few geese on the road) and then leave you pointing towards North Carolina’s number one scenic attraction: Grandfather Mountain. Grandfather Mountain offers breathtaking views of Banner Elk and the surrounding mountains of the Blue Ridge, as well as a swinging bridge which just happens to be 1 mile above sea level, and even a chance to get up close to some of the native wildlife through their animal sanctuary – perfect for grownups and kids alike!  The second road will take you up to the summit of Beech Mountain; you will be climbing from the second that you leave Banner Elk but the views are definitely worth the climb. If you fancy a drink while looking over the High Country in all of its splendour, you cannot pass the opportunity to visit the 5506’ SkyBar which boasts its location at the top of the highest ski area in the eastern United States.  The third and final road leading out of Banner Elk will wind and twist you down to Valle Crucis, which offers stunning views of the surrounding mountain peaks from the valley to the top quality fly fishing in the Watauga River.  The incredible Mast General Store will take you back in time through its exciting history and still functioning original in store post office. If you keep rolling through Valle Crucis, it is very easy to reach the Blue Ridge Parkway which just happens to offer one of the most scenic parts of road in the world -  the Linn Cove Viaduct. The Linn Cove Viaduct hugs the face of Grandfather Mountain and it is an internationally recognized stretch of road through its features in Hollywood movies and travel guides. It is a stop that simply cannot be missed.


The Education


It is difficult to determine the exact population of Banner Elk as we have so many seasonal residents and so many college students in the town that are always coming and going. In 2011, the full time population of our cozy mountain town was just over 1,000 people.  As previously mentioned, we have a lot of college students in the town and that is thanks to our friends at Lees-McRae College.  Lees-McRae College is a small liberal arts college that consists of about 600 in campus students.  We can attest the fact that they are always a great group of students that take advantage of living in our beautiful area and greatly benefit our community by getting involved in volunteer work within the community with charities such as Feeding Avery Families or providing the community with a show in Evans Auditorium put on by the talented Lees-McRae Theatre Arts School.  Banner Elk also offers a top class Elementary School which is only a two minute drive from downtown Banner Elk and is a certified A+ school of North Carolina. 



The Snow


At Engel & Völkers Banner Elk, we think that one of the greatest amenities in our little part of the High Country is skiing and snowboarding.  At our office, we are blessed to be located a 10-15-minute drive between the two most southerly ski resorts in the country. Beech Mountain and Sugar Mountain are both top class ski mountains that offer skiing usually through mid-late November until March.  Both mountains are perfect for all levels from beginners to expert skiers and snowboarders as both mountains offer a ski school with baby slopes, black levelled runs, blue and green level runs and a ski park with jumps and rails for those more daring. We love our ski business neighbors in the High Country as they show that we really make the most of whatever is thrown at us; some say that snow is a bad thing, we say that it’s only a bad thing if you don’t have two ski resorts at your front door.  


The Sports


On top of skiing and snowboarding, Banner Elk offers an array of different opportunities to get involved in different sports.  Due to our topography here in the mountains, it certainly makes sports more challenging but also a lot more interesting. One of the most popular sports here in the High Country has to be golf.  There are countless golf courses like no others as they rise and drop in elevation with natural twists and turns around, up and even over the mountains. At Engel & Völkers Banner Elk, we have many properties for sale that overlook our favorite golf course in the exquisite Elk River gated community.  As Banner Elk is located deep in the mountains, it brings about the opportunity to train and compete in some of the toughest sports such as running and cycling. Mountain biking is huge here in the High Country with downhill mountain bike trails at both Beech Mountain and Sugar Mountain, as well as cross country mountain bike trails at Lees-McRae College.  Our friends at Lees-McRae Athletics also have a highly competitive cycling team based right here in Banner Elk that compete in multiple national championship events each year.  Trail running is also very popular in our area as there are endless trail heads in and around Banner Elk, which can also be used for some very scenic hiking.  The most popular hike is either the Profile Trail, which eventually leads to Grandfather Mountain or the beautiful Linville Gorge Wilderness which offers miles upon miles of untouched wilderness and beauty.


Banner Elk is an amazing place to live whether it be with your spouse, to raise a family, to work, to retire or anything else in between.  As a lot of our part time residents know, it is a great place to live seasonally but we also can’t emphasize enough how much better life is here in the High Country.  If you can't take our word for it, just check out this article from Planet Ware!  We look forward to meeting you when you come to visit us at Engel & Völkers Banner Elk, and we will be more than happy to show you around to help make up your mind that Banner Elk is the place for you.