The Blue Ridge Parkway borders Ashe County for 20 miles from Milepost 275 to Milepost 255. Jefferson, the county seat of Ashe County, is located at the foot of Mount Jefferson as seen from the overlook between Mileposts 266 and 267 on the Blue Ridge Parkway. The settlement was established in 1799 and was first called Jeffersonton, the first town in the new nation to bear the name of Thomas Jefferson. The name was changed to Jefferson in 1849. The former Ashe County courthouse on Main Street in Jefferson has been restored to its 1904 appearance and houses The Museum of Ashe County History, which tells the story of Ashe County and its people.
Nestled between the South Fork of the New River and the Blue Ridge Parkway, Glendale Springs is home to The Holy Trinity Episcopal Church, one of the two Churches of the Frescoes in Ashe County. Here visitors can view one of artist Ben Long‘s impressive frescoes entitled “Last Supper”.
West Jefferson’s downtown area features more than a dozen art galleries plus craft shops and restaurants. Numerous murals on the Appalachian Mural Trail adorn the historic buildings throughout downtown depicting the musical heritage, colorful landscape and diverse culture of the region. St. Mary’s Episcopal Church houses an additional three Ben Long frescoes. Each year, the Christmas in July Festival is a unique experience that regularly draws more than 20,000 visitors.