Mayland Earth to Sky Park & Bare Dark Sky Observatory
Mayland Earth to Sky Park and Bare Dark Sky Observatory—formerly the Blue Ridge Observatory and Star Park—is situated six miles west of Spruce Pine, North Carolina, in the Blue Ridge Mountains. With an elevation of 2,736 feet (834 m) and offering a 360-degree view, the six-acre (2.4-hectare) site is managed by Mayland Community College. Earth to Sky Park was designated in 2014 as an International Dark Sky Park by the International Dark-Sky Association (IDA), who has featured the site as the no. 2 location for best stargazing in North Carolina. Mayland opened a new public observatory at the site in 2017, featuring a 34-inch (86 cm) research telescope, as well as a 14-inch (35 cm) telescope for public viewing. Viewings at the observatory are scheduled for two-hour blocks depending on the moon cycle and sunset times, and prospective visitors are encouraged to reserve via Evenbrite: http://www.eventbrite.com/o/bare-dark-sky-observatory-14378188687/. However, stargazers are always welcome at the Earth to Sky Park, even if the Observatory is closed, but camping on the site is not allowed.