couple walking outside in blowing rock

Destination: Blowing Rock

Walkable Village Surrounded by Miles of Trails

Images by Todd Bush. Editorial supplied by Blowing Rock TDA

The streets of Blowing Rock are storybook sweet, with quaint boutiques, independent restaurants, art galleries and antique stores tucked into a small mountain village. Parks, lush gardens and sweeping views give the town an almost magical feel. And with a location against the Blue Ridge Parkway and the Pisgah National Forest, Blowing Rock enjoys a wild back yard, central to outdoor adventures and attractions.

Exploring the outdoors is one of the primary reasons people visit Blowing Rock. Natural spaces surrounding the town beckon visitors to explore. Start at North Carolina’s oldest travel attraction and the town’s namesake, The Blowing Rock, a unique formation with extraordinary views and near-constant winds. 

Blowing Rock is also home to Moses Cone Memorial Park, home of the newly-restored, historic Flat Top Manor and 25 miles of National Park Service carriage trails. The paths wander through forests, along lakes and streams, and up to peaks. They are one of the best ways to enjoy local scenery. Access to the Mountains to Sea trail also can be found in Blowing Rock, and countless rugged paths await along nearby portions of the Blue Ridge Parkway. 

For winter visits, Appalachian Ski Mountain is a must-see. As the High Country’s first ski area, the resort is a seasoned pro at keeping skiers and snowboarders entertained. With nine slopes, three terrain parks, rentals, a ski school, shops and more, Appalachian Ski Mountain is one of the most popular ski mountains in the region. 

Other adventurous attractions are open spring through fall. Sky Valley Zip Tours features canopy ziplines through local forest, and High Gravity Adventures offers exhilarating climbing and zipline experiences! Tweetsie Railroad presents old-fashioned amusements and a nostalgic atmosphere with historic, steam-powered locomotives. Ghost Train and Tweetsie Christmas transform the theme park with holiday magic each year.

Several family attractions are open year-round. Mystery Hill offers a unique mix of science, history, optical illusion, natural phenomena, and exciting activities. Find the Appalachian Heritage Museum and Native American Artifacts Museum on-site, along with Tomahawk Hill and a Bull-riding Challenge. Doc’s Rocks Gem Mining & Appalachian Fossil Museum features expansive indoor flumes and an education-based approach that entertains and teaches kids and adults alike. And, the Blowing Rock Art & History Museum (BRAHM) invites all to experience art and discover history at their downtown location. Exhibitions rotate often, so there’s always something new and admission is free. Engaging programming supplements the exhibits, bringing exciting depth to their presentation of the heritage of the southern Appalachians.

Spending time downtown among the shops and eateries is a perfect pastime. Don’t miss the opportunity to meet several artisans that create work right on Main Street, in studios inside their shops. From jewelry and hand-carved candles to rope baskets and paintings, watch the process of how it’s made. One-of-a-kind boutiques fill the spaces between. Blowing Rock shops are known for their friendly service and special finds.

Blowing Rock loves to celebrate the holidays as well, with downtown celebrations that include the 4th of July festival, a family Halloween festival, and Christmas in the Park & Lighting of the Town. The town makes its own holidays too: the town-wide Blowing Rock WinterFest celebrates winter in January each year. Many events go back multiple decades. Art in the Park, a summer series of juried art shows, is now 60 years old. The Blowing Rock Charity Horse Show is the oldest show of its kind in the country and will soon celebrate a century of shows. Since 1923, the show has been presented annually and now runs for three weeks each summer.

Blowing Rock has been a tourist destination for more than 130 years, springing up as a summer resort location. This long-standing vacation culture has bred a comfortable, laid-back atmosphere. Southern Living Magazine has called Blowing Rock “the Perfect Mountain Town Escape.” Blowing Rock invites you to experience its unique combination of small-town charm and outdoor adventure!