Almanac: Banner Elk, N.C.

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Population

886 (town), 15,000 (Avery County)

Median Home Price

$77,900

Average Household Income

$27,125

Season Pass

Ski Beech $475; Sugar Mountain Resort $550

Lift Ticket

Ski Beech $41; Sugar Mountain Resort $43

Best Annual Events

Woolly Worm Festival: Bluegrass music and a crafts fair accompany races of the fall caterpillars; longtime Banner Elk mayor Charles VonCannon judges the combination of stripes-brown means warm, and black augurs cold-to predict the coming winter. The Highland Games and Gathering of Scottish clans held the second weekend in July at MacRae Meadows on Grandfather Mountain.

Locals' Favorite Restaurants

The Corner Palate, Villa Sorrento, Louisiana Purchase, Black Diamond Bistro & Grill, Stonewalls (in town), Crippen's and The Woodlands (Blowing Rock)

Locals' Favorite Hangouts

Louisiana Purchase, Villa Sorrento, The Corner Palate, Small Town Blues Cafe (in town), Rascals (Beech Mountain)

Best Breakfast Places

Villa Sorrento (in town), The Grandview Restaurant, Boone Bagelry (in Boone)

Best Shopping

Edge of the World Outfitters for sporting goods.

Getting There

Banner Elk is about 2 hours from Charlotte, a major airport served by many carriers but dominated by USAirways. The closest air access is through Hickory, N.C., a modern, small airport served by USAirways Express. Rental cars are available at airport.

Chamber Of Commerce

(704) 898-5605