The Catawba Falls trail is closed until spring of 2023. Click here to find alternative waterfall and hiking trails.

Feb. 10, 2023, 11:59 a.m.

4 Essential Coffee Shops in the NC Blue Ridge

Coffee at Buck Creek Trout Farm McDowell County

Fuel up before your day of exploring the Blue Ridge Mountains at one of the many coffee shops around the region. Here are our favorite places to grab a cup of Joe before hitting the trails.

Ingenious Coffee Roasters

Ingenious Coffee Roasters

Located in downtown Marion, Ingenious Coffee Roasters is more of a coffee experience than a coffee shop. Order a cup from your friendly barista at the specialty coffee bar and then grab a table to watch the Coffee Production Team live in action. They blend, grind and flavor all of the coffee they produce right in front of you, taking pride in their scientific approach to their “cleverly crafted coffee.”

Shop owner, Eli Ornberg, has spent years studying the art of roasting and recording the data from each roast, searching for perfection. For us, that perfection comes in the form of the Tesla Blend with its full body, low acidity, and hints of spice and fruits. In 2020, Ingenious Coffee Roasters began selling their beans wholesale in the shop, so when you find the one you can’t live without, you can take it home with you.

Little Switzerland Books and Beans McDowell County

Little Switzerland Books and Beans

Little Switzerland Books and Beans is another favorite of ours, combining treasured tomes and unique gifts with a full-service espresso bar. Explore 3 floors of old, new, and used books as you sip on your favorite coffee drink. With over 30,000 volumes in stock, you’re sure to find an interesting read amongst the maze of rooms with their nooks and crannies.

Located just off the iconic Blue Ridge Parkway (Milepost 334) in Little Switzerland, this is the perfect place to stretch your legs and refuel before resuming your drive. The atmosphere promises a respite from technology with no computerized sales or inventory, so expect a handwritten receipt for your Cappuccino! They close seasonally between December and March, so plan accordingly.


Catawba Vale Business HUB

The Catawba Vale Business HUB is a community meeting place on Main Street in Old Fort. It’s an ideal place to collaborate with colleagues, host a meeting, or work on your laptop while enjoying an outstanding cup of coffee from their coffee shop. The space is warm and interesting with artwork from local artists adorning the walls and a carefully curated selection of books focused on authors of color. Just outside the charming brick building, take in the mural entitled “Old Fort Together,” honoring civil rights pioneer Albert Joyner and depicting scenes from Old Fort’s fight for racial justice.

But the coffee alone is worth the visit. They serve North-Carolina-roasted Counter Culture Coffee, which is known for being sustainably sourced and quality focused. Be on the lookout for cleverly named roasts, like Fast Forward and Slow Motion – Decaf.

Old Fort Ride House.jpg

Old Fort Ride House

Chances are good that you may be doing some hiking and biking while in town, especially during The Year of the Trail 2023! The Old Fort Ride House is the perfect place to meet up with friends before you head out. They even have a visitor center with their own rangers to help you plan your journey!

We love that in addition to biking apparel and supplies, they have a bar with every imaginable coffee drink. We love to pair a Mocha Coffee with a Chocolate Croissant for that all-day energy you’ll need before hitting the trails. After your adventure, refuel back at the Old Fort Ride House with a cold iced tea or beer on draught and a slice of Veggie Quiche. If you’re thinking about heading back out onto the trails, we highly recommend a Double Espresso after your meal!