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Carter County is nestled in the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains at the convergence of the Doe and Watauga Rivers. Elizabethton, the county seat, and Carter County are only one hour away from Asheville, NC, two hours away from Knoxville, one-and-a-half hours away from Gatlinburg/Pigeon Forge, one hour away from Boone, NC and 40 minutes away from Bristol, VA.
Elizabethton is the historical site of the first independent American government (known as the Watauga Association, created in 1772) located west of both the Eastern Continental Divide and the original thirteen British American colonies. The city is also the historical site of the Transylvania Purchase (1775), a major historic muster site during the American Revolutionary War for both the Battle of Musgrove Mill (1780) and the Battle of Kings Mountain (1780). It was within the secessionist North Carolina "State of Franklin" territory (1784-1788).
As a gateway to the Southern Highlands, Carter County is known for its beautiful natural sites. From the Watauga River, a trophy trout stream, to the peaceful waters of Watauga Lake, along the winding Appalachian Trail to the mile high Rhododendron Gardens on Roan Mountain, there's something for everyone.
With the 2000 mile Appalachian Trail as the centerpiece, hikers, campers, walkers and nature enthusiasts have a wide selection of destinations. Waterfalls, lakes, mountain views and trails through peaceful forests allow you to choose any level of activity (or inactivity) that suits your fancy.