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Wilkes County, NC Offers a Wealth of Recreation and Affordability

Learn why Wilkes County may be the perfect place for you.

By Val Hunt Beerbower on November 21, 2019

Wilkesboro, NC Parks and Recreation
Wilkesboro / Bryan Rierson

From the banks of the Yadkin River to the foothills of the Blue Ridge and Brushy mountains, Wilkes County‘s rich offerings of art, cultural amenities and outdoor recreation make living and working in this community even more attractive with its low cost of living.

With a median home cost of around $185,000 and the cost of living 12% lower compared to other communities across the nation, that leaves more in the pockets of Wilkes County residents. This extra capital can be used to take in the region’s array of arts and cultural amenities, shops and restaurants, and recreation-based businesses.

Discover Wilkes County, NC Communities

New, affordable housing developments continue to pop up around the area in order to accommodate residential growth. Mountain View and Covington Way single-family apartment buildings represent about 112 units of dedicated affordable housing units. Both projects represent about $849,800 in federal tax credits and an investment of more than $13.5 million for affordable housing. This means families earning 60% of the county’s reported median income qualify to live at the complexes.

Those with bigger budgets will get more for their money here, too. Half a million dollars might not stretch far in many parts of the East Coast, but scoot farther inland in Wilkes County, and that $500,000 can net a 2,100-square-foot, three-bedroom, two-bathroom home on an 11-acre lot in the equestrian resort community of Leatherwood Mountains.

Spectrum Hospitality Management LLC

Artistic Hub

With fewer funds gobbled up by cost-of-living expenses, Wilkes County residents can budget more for actual living. Natural resources and entertainment options abound. The region boasts an active folk arts community spurred by places like The 1915, a former post office and municipal property renovated to include the Blue Ridge Artisan Center, whose main gallery houses a 3,000-square-foot artisan market and the Artisan CafeÌ. Part cultural hub, part economic engine, The 1915 offers gallery space for local artists, hosts classes to stoke creative fires, boasts a gift shop that supports working artists, and features beautiful spaces for hosting meetings and special events.

Executive Director Anita Cranston says the region’s arts and crafts cement the community’s cultural identity. A transplant to Wilkesboro herself, Cranston says the breadth and depth of the local arts community was something that surprised her when she first arrived in town.

“You can’t walk out your front door and not trip over an artist,†she laughs. “We have high-quality work here. It’s inspiring. People are amazed to see this type of work in our little town.”

Wilkesboro, NC Parks and Recreation
Wilkesboro / Bryan Rierson

Thrill-Seekers Paradise

Nature is another source of inspiration in the Yadkin Valley. The outdoor recreation scene offers a rich collection of pursuits, including fishing, hunting, boating, camping, trails for hiking and biking, environmental education, swimming, and picnicking at hot spots like the W. Kerr Scott Dam & Reservoir. For the more intrepid pioneer, perhaps an outing in a kayak, canoe or pontoon boat presents a worthy challenge. For a truly immersive experience, hop in a galvanized washtub and bob down the Yadkin! These all await thrill-seekers at outfitters like Foothills Outdoor Adventures in Wilkesboro.

From its headwaters near the Blue Ridge Parkway’s Thunder Hill Overlook, the Yadkin River flows over 200 miles southeast into South Carolina, making it one of the longest rivers in North Carolina. Recreation is big business in these parts, and collaborative marketing partnerships like Yadkin Valley are taking that idea to the bank. This three-county partnership bundles recreation with shops, restaurants, art galleries and hotel stays to create a vibrant ecosystem that celebrates every quality-of-life aspect in the region while also supporting the local economy.

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