The classic mountain village of Blowing Rock, North Carolina features beautiful churches, a downtown full of excellent shops and restaurants, and a quaint Main Street. The town's appeal also comes from its wide array of accommodations, restaurants, galleries, and shops that it provides. However, the history of Blowing Rock dates back to prior to immigrant settlement times.
Before 1752, as the area was starting to be settled by the Scotch-Irish, the Cherokee and Catawba tribes resided in the cliffs that surround Blowing Rock. To this day, the legend of Native Blowing Rock continues to survive, which provides the local winds with supernatural mystery and bears witness to the enormous influence provided by the first inhabitants of the area.
The Greens were the very first family of immigrants that settled in Blowing Rock. The site of what became Green Park Hotel later was established by the family. Over the Civil War, there were numerous men who sent their wives and children to their mountains since it was the safest place they were aware of, while they were off fighting the war. After the war, many soldiers went to Blowing Rock to join their families and made their permanent home in the village.
A Growing Village
On March 11, 1889, Blowing Rock became incorporated and chartered with a population of 300 people. As the village kept growing words of the beauty and amenities of Blowing Rock kept spreading. More visitors came to the area, and the economy started becoming more focused on tourism. Hotels, inns, and boarding houses thrived. Many of the stately hotels and homes are still anchors of the town's landscape.
Blowing Rock Now
The Martin House, the former boarding house located on Main Street is now home to a variety of shops. Chetola Resort, which is no longer a private estate, and one of the most popular lodging establishments in the local area. Green Park Inn was recently restored and people were once again welcomed to the southern edge of the town. The hotel is part of the Green Park Historic District in Blowing Rock that includes other historic homes and properties. To this day, Moses Cone Manor looks over the town.
Over the past decade, a big preservation effort has been ongoing to protect the proud historic heritage of the village and maintain the community's character.
Museums & Parks
Moses H. Cone Memorial Park is situated near Blowing Rock and provides 26 miles for hiking and horseback riding. Trout Lake and Bass Lake offer outstanding fishing opportunities.
Blowing Rock Art and History Museum is situated on the corner of Main and Chestnut Streets. It houses exhibits, educational space, and other amenities.
Blowing Rock's natural formation overlooks Pisgah Forest. Going on a short scenic walk provides you with views of Grandfather Museum, Table Rock, and Hawksbill.
The Hayes Performing Arts Center is returning for a new season of very interesting live music and productions. This beautiful state-of-the-art facility is located on Valley Boulevard in Blowing Rock.
The Wild-West style family theme park called Tweetsie Railroad offers a three-mile steam-power train ride in North Carolina's mountains. The final narrow-gauge steam locomotive called the #12 Tweetise is a survivor of the ET&WNC Railroad. From 1919 to 1940, Tweetsie train service operated from Boone North Carolina to Johnson City Tennessee. The engine is on the National Register list.
The Parkway Craft Center features hand-made high-quality AppalachianMounain crafts created by members of the Southern Highland Craft Guild. There are demonstrations held as well. It is at milepost 294 in Moses Cone Manor on Blue Ridge Parkway.
Events & Festivals
Throughout the year, Blowing Rock hosts many events, including a summer concert series and stage productions. Everyone is provided with great fun by such annual family festivals as the Fourth of July Festival and Christmas in the Park. The following are some of the longest-running and well-known community annual events:
Art in the Park involves a number of juried outdoor art shows showcases the arts & crafts of over 90 regional artists. From May to October on a selected Saturday there is a show that occurs each month.
The Blowing Rock Charity Horse Show is the oldest continuously operating outdoor horse show in America. Three division shows occur every summer in June, July, and August.
Blowing Rock Winterfest provides a wide range of indoor and outdoor events to celebrate winter – which includes the Polar Plung that occurs at the end of January.
Symphony by the Lake is the centerpiece of the whole summer season. It occurs at Chetola where a night can be enjoyed under the stars as you are listening to pop and orchestral music.
Farmers Tailgate Markets
From the middle of May through the middle of October on Thursday afternoons the Blowing Rock Farmers Market takes place on Wallingford Street. Special Holiday Markets are also held during Thanksgiving and Christmas time. In May, June, September, and October the market is open from 4 pm to 6 pm. July and August offer extended hours from 4 pm to 7 pm.
The village of Blowing Bock is located on the southern border of Watauga County across from the Eastern Continental Divide. It is situated on the Blue Ridge Parkway at the intersection of Highway 321 and Highway 221.