Are you planning a trip to the Blue Ridge Parkway? Looking for something cool to do and a lovely place to explore? Look no further! Today we share out thoughts on one of our absolute favorite spots along the BRP.
We moved down to North Carolina about 2 years ago from New England. We visited the Blue Ridge mountains for a week in between our travels a few years back but the town of Blowing Rock for some reason wasn’t on our list. So once we got all settled in our new house down here and had some time to think of a day trip with two little very inpatient car riders, we took a look at the map and spotted this little gem about an hour and forty-five minutes north of Charlotte.
We quickly realized that we’ve missed on a great adventure by not checking out the town of Blowing Rock earlier! We set on a hike around the Price Lake (you can read about the hike here) which was easy enough for a 4 and a 6 year old with lots of things to look at and many secret pats to explore, rocks to climb and bridges to cross to keep them going. We’ve been back to this hike at least 5 times since the initial one and we all absolutely love it!
After the hike we went back in the car and following a short drive we stopped at Moses Cone Manor (10min away). We were lucky enough to find parking but during the summer that might be challenging. The house is spectacular. Plenty of stairs to play on. Be aware there are lots of breakables inside the gift shop. The views are splendid during all seasons! We’ve been there through all of them. I would have to admit though that my favorite time to visit is fall.
From the house you overlook Bass Lake which is another great hike with little ones. You can take the short paved path leading away from the Manor and explore the surroundings or if you have enough time choose one of the longer trails available here. There are no motorized vehicles allowed on the path so it’s pretty safe for little explorers.
Once back in town we highly recommend checking the town park and playground. Our kids play there for hours every single time in between ice cream or chocolate treats and visiting the library for a quick reading session. The ladies at the library are awfully nice and you might find yourself chatting with them for some time and learning all interesting facts about the town of Blowing Rock and the Blue Ridge Parkway.
In terms of where to grab a bait to eat if solo or as a family here are few of our favorites:
*If your little ones live on pizza like ours do we highly recommend Mellow Mushroom which is centrally located right downtown. Make sure you call ahead and make a reservation as it gets busy here especially on Weekends.
*If you are with not little ones (or with) we can’t say enough good things about Blowing Rock Brewery. They always have a good choice of drinks for every taste and the food is spectacular. Their pimento cheese dish is out of this world and so are their limited release brews which are made of all organic local ingredients and brewed in small batches you can’t buy in stores. They also have rooms for rent above the restaurant which are super cozy and comfortable and make it easy to go out on the town from the great location the Brewery is situated at.
*If you are looking for a lunch or dinner with a view we highly recommend the Ridgeline (previously Canyons Restaurant) which offers a global twist of mountain modern cuisine located in one of the most iconic buildings in Blowing Rock providing stunning vistas while dinning.
*Last but not least we absolutely love grabbing a drink at the Speckled Trout Restaurant and Bottle shop. We LOVE the atmosphere at this spot , the neatness and attention to each detail of the décor and the great selection of wine and beer.
No matter which of the many restaurants in town you choose, you really can’t go wrong. Each and every one of them is unique and would be sure to suite whatever needs you might have accommodating a large family or friends gathering, a romantic getaway, work related trip or a intimate dinner there is something for everyone and you would never leave disappointed here.
In terms of accommodations Blowing Rock has it all. From the cutest to largest or a tiny house vacation rentals to a regular or spa hotels, log cabins and Inns. As we previously mentioned we love the rooms at Blowing Rock Brewery, Azalea Garden Inn makes for the perfect getaway and the many airbnbs in and outside of town have been nothing but great for us.
If you made it that far down the article prepare for the best part! The terrific restaurants and cute and cozy Inns are excellent but the nearby hikes are out of this world. You don’t even have to leave town and you can walk to a waterfall or enjoy stunning views. Bellow we are sharing just few of our favorites!
*Can’t leave the town of Blowing Rock without taking a stroll at the actual Blowing Rock stone formation. The breathtaking views of the rolling mountains are breathtaking and the gift shop has the cutest little trinkets to pick from and great souvenir selection to bring home to friends and family. The flower gardens are non less enchanted and the history is something you have to hear.
At 3,566 feet in elevation the walkways around the formations leave you with the impression that you are literally walking on top of the worlds.. The attractions is extremely well taken care of and trails are clean and well maintained.
*Starting with the hikes in and near the town of Blowing Rock we have to mention the little park that you can walk to straight from main street. There isn’t much of hiking here, rather a small pretty waterfall but makes for the perfect picnic spot if you are with a company that doesn’t like hiking much. Annie Cannon Gardens offers a small, wooden stage, wildflower plants, and a tiny, stagnant pond.
*The Gardens are also the trailhead to the Glen Burney Waterfalls trail. This 2.5 mile there and back hike is considered strenuous but visitors are rewarded by serious of small waterfalls as well as few larger ones. The trail is pretty narrow and steep at times so make sure you have proper shoes and bring a lot of water with you as it would take you couple of hours to complete.
*Just outside Blowing Rock you’ll find Bass Lake. The lake is gorgeous especially during fall season and offers great views of Moses Cone Manor and several hiking and horse riding trails you can choose from.
*Continuing up the road pass Bass lake to your right you’ll find Moses Cone Manor. Again variety of trails are available here depending on how much or how little you are interested in doing during your visit. The house and the views from the front porch of it are worth the visit alone.
*If you decide to skip the Manor and return here later turning left you’ll find yourself on the Blue Ridge Parkway. Endless possibilities for hiking are available along the way here or if you are not looking for hiking overlooks are located to your left or right along the iconic drive with views that are sure to wow you! Make sure to check out our absolute favorite trails we mention below in order if you are looking for a full day of hiking and sightseeing.
We hope you fall in love with the charm of the town of Blowing Rock and find yourself returning here every chance you get just like us and if it turns out we’ve missed something please let us know on our Instagram page so we can add it to here!
I hope you enjoy the town of Blowing rock and surroundings just as much as we do and keep following our adventures and don’t forget to check back soon for more great finds!