FASCINATING ENTERTAINMENT COMPLEX
Mystery Hill, located between Boone and Blowing Rock at 129 Mystery Hill Ln. has been a High Country institution for more than 65 years. Mystery Hill, a family oriented entertainment complex, is devoted to enriching the lives of young and old alike. The four attractions allow time for fun and games and also offer a historical view of Native American artifacts and life throughout the Appalachian Mountains from the 19th Century.
The Appalachian Heritage Museum: Started as a labor of love for the history of the Appalachian Mountains, the Appalachian Heritage Museum found its home at Mystery Hill in 1989. Originally located on the campus of Appalachian State University, it was formally known as the Dougherty House and was one of the first buildings erected on the State University grounds in 1903. Once arriving at Mystery Hill, the house was restored to its original status and renamed the Appalachian Heritage Museum. Housed within these walls are memories of life in the 19th Century. Authentic antiques are seen throughout from sewing machines and household furnishings, to books, ledgers and personal belongings, the museum reflects the lifestyle of our Appalachian ancestors.
The Native American Artifacts Museum: What began as a labor of love for R.E. Mullins and his wife Irene turned into a remarkable collection of more than 50,000 American artifacts. Started on the riverbanks of Georgia, their collection combines artifacts from 23 states. Arrowheads, pottery, pipes and knives are only a few of the remarkable pieces within the collection. The artifacts museum will interest young and old alike.
The Hall of Mystery
See if you can figure out how water keeps running through the Spooky Spigot or how your shadow lingers on a wall long after you are gone. Try an figure out the illusion of the Trapezoid and Mirror that makes you look like you are flying. And after all of this, have fun in the bubble room where you can make a lifesize bubble with your favorite person inside. There’s always something fun to do at the Hall of Mystery.
Don’t forget to stop by the gift shop while you are at Mystery Hill. Purchase key chains, moccasins, jarred goods and more and leave with a little piece of Mystery Hill to take with you.
In 1957, Buford Stamey and Rondia J. Underwood were looking for land to build a restaurant on and came across Mystery Hill. In 1958, they were invited back for a private tour by the owner William Hudson. Through the tour, Hudson explained about the different phenomenon that existed throughout the mountainside. It seemed that the gravitational pull on the side of the mountain seemed to cause unusual things to happen. Hudson operated a cider mill on an old wooden platform. No matter how the workers stood, the person on the north end always looked taller. Hence, the mystery platform was discovered. You can explore the same optical illusion today. The second phenomenon was Hudson’s apple trees. The trees in the orchard grew to the north, directly into prevailing winds. The path through the orchard was crooked for no reason, and when he rebuilt the path he found himself being pulled to the old path time again. Even the apples fell on the old crooked path. The Hudson’s visited a site in California with similar peculiarities, and when they returned to Boone the first Mystery House was built.
Aside from the house, Hudson added a museum that includes antiques, a blacksmith and cobbler shop and household items. This was the birth of the Appalachian Heritage Museum. Underwood purchased the entire operation in 1958. Admission was 50 cents for adults and 25 cents for children. In 1960 the souvenir shop was enlarged and in 1963 a sandwich shop was added. A devastating fire occurred in 1963 and destroyed everything except the Mystery House and Grandpa’s Cabin. Within three weeks Mystery Hill’s doors were reopened. Throughout the 1960s and 1970s the business thrived. In 1974 a new souvenir and sandwich shop was constructed. In 1980 with new additions and improvements, Mystery Hill began operating year-round as a good family entertainment center. In 1989, another devastating fire destroyed almost everything. Amazingly, the Mystery House was again not touched by fire. Determined to keep the place operating, the Underwoods reopened the next day with the other buildings smoldering around the,. Today, more than 65 years later, Mystery Hill is still open and growing. The current facility includes the original Mystery Platform, the Mystery House, Hall of Mystery, the Native American Artifacts Museum and the Appalachian Heritage Museum, also known as the Dougherty House.
Rates and Hours
Ages 5 to 12: $7
Ages 13 to 59: $9
Ages 60 to 300: $8
Children 4 and under admitted free.
Group Rates: Group rates start for groups of 12 persons or more. Please call for most current rates. Tour buses are welcome with free parking and picnic area.
Mystery Hill is open year round except for Christmas Day, rain, snow or shine. Hours are Monday through Sunday 9 a.m.-8 p.m. June through August and Monday through Sunday 9 a.m.-5 p.m. September through May.