I was skeptical about the note on the map that the gravel road was "suitable for passenger cars." Then, while looking for a place to hang, we discovered that there were lots of cars using Edgemont Road, and they were all traveling much faster than we expected. That's what enticed us to go home down that road. Basically, it's the shortcut from Lenoir to Grandfather Mountain, via Collettsville, Globe and Gragg.
Like Hawk-eye said, if it weren't so close to the Big Ditch... At the very least, 421 to Lenoir and up the gravel road is a far nicer way to get to Linville and Grandfather Mountain than going through either Boone or Morganton.
Also, the cabin rentals at Betseys Ole Country Store are available year 'round. That could be a nice place to spend a winter weekend with wifey!