Outlander America will begin a series on the locations in the Outlander book series. In Voyager, Jamie and Claire Fraser (and others) leave Scotland to begin a new life in what was known at the time as British America in 1767. Our first edition will address the fictional Fraser’s Ridge.
“Fraser’s Ridge” near Boone, NC
It is well known that Diana Gabaldon, author of the series, is an accomplished researcher. So let’s take a look at the location of Fraser’s Ridge and why she probably chose its fictional location.
According to Diana, Fraser’s Ridge is located on a plot of land covering roughly 10,000 square acres. It is nestled in an area north of the Yadkin River between the towns of Boone and Blowing Rock, North Carolina, near Grandfather Mountain, in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Western North Carolina. Throughout the story, the Frasers frequented nearby areas as well, including Cross Creek and Campbellton. Those nonfictional towns later merged into the modern city of Fayetteville, NC.
So why choose this area as the setting of the majority of her story? Surprisingly, North Carolina boasts the largest population of citizens with Scottish ancestry than any other state or country in the world, including Scotland. More than 1.5 million Scots have immigrated to America, with the overwhelming majority settling in North Carolina, from the coastal region of Wilmington northward via Cape Fear, and from there to the piedmont and highland regions. Records indicate that the immigration began in 1729 after King George II took over Carolina and split it into North Carolina and South Carolina. The Scots were attracted to the mild climate, fertile soil, and hopes for a better life. The migration continued until the start of the American Revolution, resuming again after the war.
Migration path of Scots into North Carolina
Outlander Locations in North Carolina
Modern Map of Area Known as “Fraser’s Ridge”
The piedmont and highland regions of Western North Carolina continue to be heavily influenced by Scottish culture. In fact, many of the Scots in that region continued to speak Gaelic well into the 19th century.
Tips for Visiting “Fraser’s Ridge”
If you long to visit the area to catch a glimpse of Jamie and Claire’s life on Fraser’s Ridge, a trip to Boone, North Carolina can satisfy your desires. In fact, there is a place that caters to Outlander dreamers. The Mast Farm Inn, located in Banner Elk near Boone, promises to give visitors the experience of Fraser’s Ridge. Visitor reviews have been excellent.
Summer in Boone, NC
If you visit the area in the winter months, navigating the snow and ice may necessitate tire chains or a four-wheel drive vehicle to reach the ski resorts of Sugar Mountain and Beech Mountain. If you plan a summer trip, you may want to consider going in July to participate in the annual Highland Games at Grandfather Mountain. The Highland Games are usually held in the first or second week in July, from Thursday to Sunday. Plan to arrive on Thursday night in order to participate in the kick off of the Games with the official “Calling of the Clans.”
Summer on Grandfather Mountain
Annual Highland Games at Grandfather Mountain – “Calling of the Clans”
A trip to Fraser’s Ridge in Boone and Grandfather Mountain is sure to please the entire family. A wealth of activities are offered year ’round with dining and lodging accommodations to fit all budgets. Asheville and Cherokee (the reservation of the Eastern Band Cherokee Nation) are less than a two-hour drive away. However, it would be a shame to miss the Highland Games, especially if you are a Scot or a Scot at heart. Diana Gabaldon, Herself, has attended the games on several occasions over the years, and, if you are a book fan you know that so have the Frasers!
Gabaldon, Diana. The Outlandish Companion. Delacorte Press, New York. 1999.