Blowing Rock is a quintessential mountain village with beautiful churches, a downtown with great shops and restaurants, and a quaint Main Street. Varied accommodations, restaurants, galleries and shopping round out its appeal. But its history reaches back to the days before immigrant settlement.
Before 1752, when the Scotch-Irish began to settle the area, the windy cliffs surrounding Blowing Rock were home to the Cherokee and Catawba tribes. The Native legend of the Blowing Rock still survives today, giving supernatural mystery to the local winds and bearing witness to the influence of those first inhabitants.
The Greenes were the first immigrant family to settle in Blowing Rock. They established the site that became the Green Park Hotel property. During the Civil War, many husbands sent their wives and children to the safest place they knew–the mountains–while they fought in the war. After the war many men joined the families sheltered in Blowing Rock and made their permanent homes in the village.
A Growing Village
On March 11, 1889, Blowing Rock was chartered and incorporated with a population of 300. As the village grew, word of Blowing Rock’s beauty and amenities spread, visitors became more common, and the economy became tourist-oriented. Hotels, inns and boarding houses prospered. Several of the grand hotels and homes still remain as anchors in the town’s landscape.
Blowing Rock Today
The Martin House, once a boarding house, is now home to a variety of shops on Main Street. Chetola Resort, no longer a private estate, is one of the most popular lodging establishments in the area. The Green Park Inn has been recently restored and now welcomes folks once more at the southern edge of town. The hotel is now part of the Green Park Historical District in Blowing Rock, encompassing other historic homes and properties. The Moses Cone Manor still stands overlooking the town.
A major preservation effort has been in place for the past decade to protect the proud historic heritage of the village and maintain the community character that so enhances this little town.
Hear the Story
Below, Listen to the legend of the Blowing Rock as recorded on one of the Blue Ridge National Heritage Area’s Living Traditions Moments radio vignettes.
Parks & Museums
Adjacent to Blowing Rock is the Moses H. Cone Memorial Park, offering 26 miles of carriage trails for hiking and horseback riding. Trout Lake and Bass Lake provide fishing opportunities.
The Blowing Rock Art and History Museum houses exhibits, educational space and more on the corner of Main and Chestnut streets.
- The Blowing Rock is a natural formation overlooking the Pisgah Forest. A short scenic walk includes views of Grandfather Mountain, Table Rock, and Hawksbill.
- The Hayes Performing Arts Center is back for a new season of live music and captivating productions. The state-of-the-art facility is located in Blowing Rock on Valley Blvd.
- A Wild-West family theme park, Tweetsie Railroad features a three-mile steam-powered train ride through the North Carolina mountains. The #12 “Tweetsie” is the last surviving narrow-gauge steam locomotive of the East Tennessee and Western North Carolina Railroad (ET&WNC) nicknamed “Tweetsie”, which ran train service from Johnson City TN to Boone NC from 1919 to 1940. The engine is listed on the National Register.
- The Parkway Craft Center features the finest quality Appalachian Mountain hand-made crafts by members of the Southern Highland Craft Guild, as well as demonstrations. Located inside the Moses Cone Manor at milepost 294 on the Blue Ridge Parkway.
Festivals & Events
Blowing Rock is home to many events throughout the year, including summer concert series and stage productions. Annual family festivals like the Fourth of July Festival and Christmas in the Park offer great fun for everyone. Some of the community’s longest-running and most well-known annual events include:
- Art in the Park, a series of outdoor juried art shows, showcases the arts & crafts of 90 regional artisans. One show each month on a selected Saturday, May-Oct.
- The Blowing Rock Charity Horse Show is the oldest continuous outdoor horse show in America. Three division shows each summer in June, July & August.
- Blowing Rock Winterfest presents a variety of indoor and outdoor events to celebrate winter—plus the Polar Plunge! Always held near the end of January.
- An evening under the stars with pop and orchestral music, Symphony by the Lake at Chetola is a centerpiece of the summer season.
Farmers Tailgate Markets
The Blowing Rock Farmers Market is held each Thursday afternoon on Wallingford Street from mid-May to mid-October, with special Holiday Markets near Thanksgiving and Christmas. Hours are 4-6pm in May, June, September and October, and 4-7pm in July and August.
Blowing Rock is located along the Eastern Continental Divide at the southern border of Watauga County. At the intersection of Hwy 321 and Hwy 221 on the Blue Ridge Parkway.
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