Located in the small town of Valle Crucis in the North Carolina mountains, the Mast General Store is a little hidden piece of history. I’ve been visiting since I was a little girl. Originally opened in 1883, the store keepers kept everything on hand the community needed, including caskets. As the years have passed, the Mast General Store has not only strived to serve the local community of Valle Crucis, but the many visitors who pass over it’s threshold daily, serving up Southern charm and coffee at 5 cents a cup (paid on the honor system.)
Many don’t realize the integral piece the Mast General Store plays in the Valle Crucis community, and to the rural history of the United States. General stores used to dot the landscape of the US and were the hub where you picked up your mail, caught up on what was going on in town, and sold goods you could easily purchase, often on credit or via the barter system, without a multi-day trip to larger cities. I grew up in a town with a general store that was out of business by the time I was born, but you could still look through the windows and see the caskets waiting on their future owners until just a few years ago.
I was there during a recent trip to Boone, NC, and as it was a chilly, sunny day, popped in to pick up snacks for my road trip and to warm myself by the potbellied stove located in the center of the store. It was nice to sit in the rocking chairs, play a quick game of checkers, and sip on an RC Cola.
During my visit, I pulled out my camera and took the time to shoot a few images of the store, but not too many so as not to get in the way of the number of locals who were there picking up their mail (yes, the Mast General Store still has a working post office.) One of the young ladies who lives in the community, no more than 10 years old, watched me as I shot photos and then showed me her family’s mailbox. She comes in every Friday with her Mom and little sister to get the mail and a maple sugar sucker. It reminded me of a the simpler times of when I was a little girl and I’m pretty sure that’s the appeal the Mast General Store holds for so many.
While visiting the Mast General Store, you can pick up snacks for the road, preserved and pickled canned goods (I always buy the Okra), shoes, outerwear, cast iron cookware, home decor, skin care, the list goes on and on. It’s still truly a working store that serves the community at large and the thousands of visitors who wander in to experience a time gone by.
For the history of the Mast General Store, visit their website: https://www.mastgeneralstore.com/history/valle-crucis
Visiting the Mast General Store? Check out the community calendar of events and activities: https://www.mastgeneralstore.com/calendar?community=ValleCrucis