The Yadkin Valley is such a special place. I live here so I guess I’m a little biased, but I really couldn’t think of a better place to live. In the foothills of North Carolina you’ll find all kinds of hiking and opportunities to get outdoors, kind people, and not to mention the Yadkin Valley wineries. The perfect weekend getaway is in the heart of the Yadkin Valley, NC.
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Yadkin Valley NC Three Day Itinerary
Friday – Mt. Airy & Pilot Mountain
Start your day with breakfast at the Squeeze Box in downtown Pilot Mountain. They named it that because you literally have to squeeze in the place because it’s so small. We typically pick our sandwiches up to-go instead of sitting at the bar.
Pilot Mountain State Park
About 10 minutes down Highway 52 South you’ll find the exit for Pilot Mountain State Park. Check out the new visitor’s center at the bottom of the mountain that gives you a fantastic view of the knob. Pilot Mountain is a lone mountain that rises above the piedmont triad and on clear days you can see Winston-Salem and even Greensboro rising in the distance.
Pilot is known for the climbing and hiking opportunities but you can also camp and there are great horseback riding trails. I love coming here to hike – especially in the early mornings when it isn’t so crowded yet.
If you’re looking for a quick trail then park at the top of the mountain and take the 0.8-mile Jomeokee Trail which circles Pilot knob and brings you back to the parking lot.
You can tack on the 1-mile Ledge Springs trail which is one of my favorites. There are many stairs made from rocks on Ledge Springs and it is rated as strenuous so don’t let the short length fool you.
If you start on Jomeokee and take Ledge Springs, that will take you to the Grindstone trail where you can connect back to the parking lot.
If you’re looking for a challenge, then park at the bottom of the mountain at either the old ranger’s office or the new visitor’s center and take the Grindstone trail to the top parking lot. This one is 3.5 miles one-way. Be sure to check out the trail map before you visit.
Make sure you pack plenty of water and have the proper hiking gear. Check out these great gift ideas for hikers if you love to hike!
Pro Tip: The state park introduced a new shuttle program this year (2020) that is a pilot program that will last three years. On weekends at 10 am they close the road to the top of the mountain and require visitors to park at the new visitor’s center and either hike to the top or ride the paid shuttle. If you want to park at the top of the mountain you need to get there early. Early bird gets the worm and all.
Lunch at Old North State Winery
Next stop for the day is a well-deserved lunch in downtown Mt. Airy. Old North State is a winery and restaurant with indoor and outdoor dining space. One of my favorite parts about this restaurant is that it’s truly fine dining in a casual atmosphere. You won’t find a bad meal on the menu.
Pair that with a glass of their Restless Soul wine and I am hooked. Restless Soul is actually named for their resident ghost in the basement of the winery so do be on the lookout for any paranormal activity if you believe in that.
Their menu does change regularly but if they have their spring roll appetizers do yourself a favor and get them. The crab cakes will not disappoint either.
As for the wine, I’m a fan of the Restless Soul (dry red), but they have many sweet wines to choose from if that’s your thing. It’s one of the best wineries in North Carolina!
Downtown Mt. Airy
There are a couple of ways to spend the first few hours of the afternoon depending on your interests. Mt. Airy is also known as “Mayberry” from the famous Andy Griffith Show. This was Andy’s hometown so the basis of the fictional town in his show.
Of course, we have a museum dedicated to all things Andy Griffith rightfully named the Andy Griffith Museum. If you’re interested in the show or television history in general then be sure to stop by the museum.
If you have no interest in Andy Griffith then explore the shops downtown. There are many boutique, family-owned stores where you can find cool things to take home or give as gifts.
Fancy Gap Outfitters has some amazing gifts for outdoorsy women and men. Farmhouse Spits & Spoons carries all types of kitchen wares and home decor items. Welcome Home Décor & Gifts also carries farmhouse style home decor.
The quaint downtown and rolling hills surrounding the area really remind me of my trip to Huntingdon, PA.
Thirsty Souls & Round Peak
All that shopping can work up an appetite so pick up a pizza from Thirsty Souls Community Brewing. I’m telling you, they have some of THE BEST pizza you can buy. They also sell growlers if you want to pick up some for later, but for this itinerary we are headed to Round Peak Vineyards next.
Hopefully when you visit it will be a clear day and you can sit on Round Peak’s huge back patio. Buy a bottle, hang out with your pizza (plus whoever else you brought), and enjoy the sunset while looking at the majestic Blue Ridge Mountains in the distance.
Saturday in the Yadkin Valley – Elkin
Start your morning at the new Yellow Door Cafe in downtown Elkin. This small cafe serves delicious quiche, chicken & waffles, and freshly baked desserts.
They have indoor and outdoor seating and the staff always makes you feel right at home. Everyone loves the cozy atmosphere of this place.
So have a leisurely breakfast and fill up on some carbs – wine tasting is next!
Visit the Elkin Wineries
Most important thing about today – have a designated driver! If a person in your party doesn’t want to drive then take the Elkin Vine Line or go with Frog Holler Wine Tours. Basically you have no excuse.
If you chose to ride with one of the tour services then they will likely choose where you go to eat lunch. If you’re running your own show then go to the Smokehouse at Skull Camp. You will not regret it! They have mouthwatering barbecue and you’ll want to order every appetizer on the menu.
Once you’re done with wine tasting and lunch you will probably want to rest for a few hours. All that wine can go to your head. You can either go back to wherever you’re staying, hang out at Dirty Joe’s Coffee downtown, or if it’s pretty outside sit at the outdoor picnic area beside Ace Music & Pawn Store downtown.
When you’re ready to go back out and about, head to The November Room and look through their collection of local goods for sale. They sell the best handmade soaps and lotions. They also carry clothes, home decor, pottery, photography, wine, and so much more!
Elkin is such a cool town near so many outdoor adventure opportunities plus wineries & breweries so if you like it then you may want to check out these things to do in Bellefonte, PA.
For supper you have to try Angry Troll. As I’m typing this I realize it’s another pizza place, but it is just too good not to go here. They have really good pizza, wings, and philly cheesesteaks.
Sunday – Traphill
Stone Mountain State Park
Having a good breakfast today will be important because there will be much more hiking involved. Over in Wilkes County, Stone Mountain State Park has a wonderful loop trail but it’s about 4.5 miles long and strenuous. So be prepared!
There are two parking lots you can use – an upper and lower lot. Parking at the lower lot means you’ll be closest to the waterfall and will climb tons of stairs toward the beginning of your journey. Parking at the upper lot means you hit the switchbacks first, get to the summit, and then have to go down and then back up the mountain.
Obviously my preference is parking at the Lower Trailhead Parking Lot. Check out the trail map here and you’ll see the lot towards the top/middle section of the page. Another great option from the lower lot is taking the Wolf Rock Trail to Black Jack Ridge Trail which dumps you back onto the loop.
No matter what you choose, the views from the top of the mountain are stunning and the trails are well marked the whole time. You’ll be hiking through forest for the most part but there is a meadow where you’ll find the old Hutchinson homestead under the iconic granite dome of Stone Mountain. At least iconic in these parts.
Roaring River Vineyards
After you’ve had your fill of hiking for the day drive over to Roaring River Vineyards. You may be wondering where you’re supposed to take a shower after such a workout, but you’re not. I’ve gone in here many times after a long hike.
Once you’re eating their food though, you will not care what you look like. The food is delicious, you can sit on their balcony overlooking the river and enjoy a glass of wine or beer on tap. Literally what more could you ask for?
Where to Stay in the Yadkin Valley NC
Fairfield Inn – This hotel is in the perfect spot to explore the wineries of Elkin. The rooms are spacious and clean plus complimentary breakfast is included. You’ll be near multiple restaurants and a quick drive to downtown Elkin. Check the reviews here.
Hampton Inn & Suites – I love Hampton Inns – I’ve been a Hilton Honors Member for the last three years (if you’re reading this please sponsor me). The staff is always incredibly friendly, there’s complimentary breakfast and always coffee in the lobby, and the beds are SO comfy.
You’ll be in Dobson if you stay here which also has about four different wineries to explore near-by. The drive to Elkin, Mt. Airy, or Winston-Salem is also not bad and you can drive the backroads through Surry County farmland. Check the reviews here.
Bed & Breakfasts
Heart & Soul – Within walking distance of downtown Mt. Airy, this could not be in a better location. The house was built around 1901 and is open year-round for reservations. Each suite has a private bathroom and a hot breakfast is served every morning. You can book here.
The Mighty Oak – If farming intrigues you then be sure to stay at this unique B&B. Located in Pinnacle you’ll find gorgeous views of Pilot Mountain, the Blue Ridge Parkway, and the family-run pasture-based, Intended Way Farm. Here you’ll enjoy a farm-to-table feast for breakfast. You can book here.
Pilot Knob Inn – This Inn offers a variety of accommodations from suites to 100-year-old cabins and they even offer accommodations for your horse if you want to bring them along. Just so you know, there are great riding trails at Pilot Mountain and Stone Mountain nearby. There is a 6-acre lake on property that you can enjoy and of course, breakfast is served daily in the large Breakfast Room. You can book here.
Yadkin Valley Wineries with Lodging
Round Peak – There are two cabins available for rent at Round Peak just outside of Mt. Airy. Your stay here includes a tasting for up to 8 people (the cabins sleep 8) and both are dog friendly. Both cabins have screened-in porches where you can sit and overlook the vineyard while laughing the night away. Book your stay here.
Carolina Heritage – At Carolina Heritage you can book the Olde Farmhouse for your weekend getaway. This winery is just outside of Elkin and very close to a Yadkin River access. The house was originally built in 1928 and completely renovated in 2018. You can sit on the porch and watch the last light of day fade over the Blue Ridge Mountains, glass of wine in hand, and it’s absolutely magical. Book your stay here.
Roaring River – Multiple river-front suites and cabins are available to rent at this winery and restaurant in Traphill. This one is a bit further west than the other wineries, but you’ll be right next to Stone Moutain State Park where there are lots of hiking and fishing opportunities. If you try the restaurant on site you’ll want to eat every meal there because it is SO delicious. Book your stay here.
Want to see more Yadkin Valley wineries with lodging? Check out this post.
Unique Vacation Rental Properties
The Modern Cabin – This modern cabin is perfect for a couple’s getaway. You’ll be staying at a working horse stable and you’ll have a great view of the horses from your back deck. It’s located right outside of Mt. Airy so you’ll be near all the wineries, restaurants, and activities! Book your stay here.
Cabin on Working Alpaca Ranch – This one is a bit further out there, but how could I not include it!? This cabin provides all the modern amenities plus a fully equipped kitchen plus you get to enjoy life on the farm for a bit. The wraparound porch and gazebo are welcoming spots to relax after a full day of exploring the area. Book your stay here.
Elkin Valley Home – If you’re looking for something closer to downtown Elkin then this is the perfect spot. The 4 bedroom home is perfect for a girl’s weekend getaway and provides all the amenities you might want including a hot tub and large deck. Book your stay here.
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Plan Your Next Trip to Yadkin Valley NC!
At this point, it’ll be time to head back home – so sad! I do hope you’ll love it so much that you plan a return trip. If you ever have any questions about planning a trip to the Yadkin Valley feel free to reach out. I’ve lived here since I was born and absolutely love it.