Princess Gail and I just spent a couple of days in and around Blowing Rock, NC. It is a less than 2 hour drive northeast of us from Winston, up into the Blue Ridge Mountains. In fact, Blowing Rock is at one of the exits off The Blue Ridge Parkway.
We found Blowing Rock to be a really pretty, quaint little town. The walkable main street is full of very nice shops (not the cheap touristy stuff) and excellent restaurants. We enjoyed nice meals at The Village Café, Twigg’s, and the Storie Street Grille. My favorite was the Village Café, with an upscale menu, a beautiful, secluded outside patio, and reasonable prices.
We stayed at the Chetola Resort only because we got a Groupon for over a hundred bucks off. Otherwise it would not be worth the price to stay, at least not for me. If I’m in the mountains I want a mountain view, and though the grounds are lovely, there is no mountain view. We saw many little motel-type places right in town that were really done nicely! If we ever go back we’ll stay at one of those.
The town of Blowing Rock has a lot of local activities all summer long. Just stop at the Visitor Center as you come into town and get a list. We weren’t there for the good shopping or eating, though. We love the great outdoors. Right in town, we can suggest the Glen Burney Trail. The rough trail follows a little stream for 1.6 downhill miles, with three waterfalls along the way. It is an excellent spot for birding. Just remember you then have to walk the 1.6 uphill miles! This little Carolina Wren came out from the underbrush to pose for us:
Right outside of town is the town’s namesake, The Blowing Rock. The rock itself is nothing at all to speak of and wouldn’t be worth the price of admission if not for the views. The views are pretty cool. It was a bit overcast, but here is an example. Princess Gail with Grandfather Mountain in the distance.
We spent a morning at Grandfather Mountain. It is one of the highest peaks in the Blue Ridge, and famous for numerous wildlife habitats at the different altitudes as well as some dramatic (and dangerous) weather. We were hoping to spot a Peregrine Falcon but were unlucky. Here are a few pictures at the Mile High Swinging Bridge where winds have been measured at over 100 mph.
Can you tell how she feels about heights and howling winds? 😉
The short span of The Blue Ridge Parkway between Grandfather Mountain and the town of Blowing Rock is full of activity. That includes The Moses Cone Memorial Park, the Julian Price Memorial Park, and the Tanawha Trail. There are numerous scenic overlooks as well. You can spend days just in that tiny bit of the Parkway.
We had fun! Life is good! 😀