Our county was named after Colonel Waightstill Avery of Morganton, NC. Colonel Avery served in the Revolutionary War from 1779 until 1781. He became the first Attorney General of North Carolina after the Declaration of Independence was signed. The town of Newland, at 3,589 feet in elevation, is the highest county seat in eastern America. It's original name was "Old Fields of Toe" because it is located in a broad flat valley and is at the headwaters of the Toe River.
A natural wonderland, with a rugged terrain and a unique climate, our home straddles the eastern continental divide at 4,000 about feet above sea level. The Blue Ridge Parkway snakes through our backyard combining nature and
the human achievement of the Linn Cove Viaduct.
Avery County is located in the northwest North Carolina High County. It contains 247 square miles or approximately 152,300 acres of land. It is bounded on the north by the state of Tennessee and Watauga County; on the east by Watauga, Caldwell and Burke counties; and one the west by Mitchell county and the state of Tennessee.
Temperatures in Avery County average ten degrees cooler than in cities like Asheville and Charlotte. The average high temperatures are in the seventies in the summer and in the thirties in the winter. The highest temperature ever recorded at the US Weather Service reporting station on Grandfather Mountain was 83 degrees in August, 1983, and the lowest was minus 32 degrees in January, 1985.
The average winter snowfall is 58 inches. This combined with artificial snow made at the ski resorts keeps the slopes covered from mid-November through March. Average rainfall is 57 inches. This combined with the snowfall keeps the land plush and mountain streams full.
Avery County is governed by a five member board of county commissioners which hold office for four years. A county manager is responsible for day to day county operations. Newland, the county seat, is governed by its town council. The five members of the council are elected for two year terms. The town's chief executive is an elected mayor. The mayor supervises the work of the different departments of the town's government. A town clerk, assisted by the mayor, is responsible for daily operations. Other townships in the county govern the same way.
Tourism is the leading industry in Avery County, generating $51 million in sales each year. The South's highest ski slopes, nine major golf resorts, and scenic Grandfather Mountain attract visitors year 'round to support a wonderful variety of outdoor activities, quality restaurants and lodging facilities.