This small town of about 1,700 people is nestled in a valley surrounded by the highest peaks in eastern America, including Mt. Mitchell. It's small downtown is dominated by the Town Square with towering trees. Burnsville is located 35 miles northeast of Asheville, along the Mt. Mitchell Scenic Byway.
Our favorite dining spot downtown is the Garden Deli with a fantastic array of high quality sandwiches, plus dinner entrées on weekend nights (closed Sundays). Their beautiful outdoor dining is right on the Town Square, surrounded by lush plantings and flowers.
Many love to drive around to find the area's 200 Quilt Blocks installed on the sides of barns and buildings throughout the countryside and villages. Nine driving trails take you to view the vividly painted squares. In downtown Burnsville, see the Quilt Block Sundial, the largest vertical sundial in North Carolina and the only quilt block sundial in the world, on the side of the Yancey Common Times Journal building near the Town Square. The eight-foot by eight-foot wooden structure features three sets of numbers for telling time: for daylight savings time, for standard time and one for local apparent time. A plaque beside the block explains how to use the sundial.
The TRAC (Toe River Arts Council) Gallery downtown at 102 West Main Street exhibit local artists with changing exhibits and a great gallery shop. With work from over 100 artists in a variety of media: clay, glass, jewelry, painting, photography, fiber, wood, sculpture, mixed media, and more. The quality and diversity of art in the area is outstanding. TRAC sponsors the Toe River Studio Tour twice a year on the second weekend in June, the first weekend in December - with 100 studios and galleries on the self-guided tour.
The famous art school Penland School of Crafts is just 13 miles east. The Parkway Playhouse in Burnsville is a small professional theatre with shows from April through December.
Yancey County (where Burnsville is located) is full of old and new Agri-Tourism experiences. Visit local farmers markets and farms to purchase fresh produce of the season & delicious homemade treats. And in late November and December, cut your own mountain grown Christmas tree.
The scenic Blue Ridge Parkway is 19 miles away, via NC Highway 80 south. Go five miles north to Crabtree Falls and 11 miles south to the entrance of Mt. Mitchell State Park. While the address for Mt. Mitchell is Burnsville, it's a 35-mile drive since you need to go all the way around the mountain for the entrance from the Blue Ridge Parkway. The great village of Spruce Pine is just 14 miles east on US 19.
Burnsville is about 35 miles northeast of Asheville. It's an easy drive (45 minutes) up I-26 West toward Tennessee. Take exit 9 onto Highway 19 East and go about 16 miles. See more of our 25 Coolest NC Mountain Small Towns.