The small size of the city and the presence of the University can make finding an apartment in Boone a bit of a challenge at times. The best bet is to time your search with the University school year. This means starting to look around May, and not looking if possible in August or September.
If you're a student or former student at the University, don't be afraid to use a professor as a reference on your rental application. Usually, former landlords are best, but for many students moving off-campus for the first time, this might be impossible. In college towns like Boone, a professor is a perfectly acceptable reference for new renters.
You can absolutely get around Boone just fine without owning a car. First, you have the option of the AppalCART bus system, which is free to use for everyone in the city. Second, you can walk almost anywhere if you have the time. If you're in more of a hurry, a great system of bike lanes and sidewalks makes cycling a quicker way to reach your destinations.
Watching Appalachian State play football is a must, as the team's success is legendary in Boone. During the winter, there are several ski resorts including Ski Beech and Ski Sugar that are within a short drive. There are several great Mexican restaurants in town including Black Cat Burrito and Los Arcoiris. Boondocks Brewing Tap Room and Restaurant is the largest local microbrewery.