"The Prettiest Winter Town"
Come Play In The Snow!
Located along the Blue Ridge Parkway, Blowing Rock, North Carolina is a picturesque village of approximately 1,500 residents nestled high in the heart of the North Carolina Mountains.Credit: Morgue File
Voted one of America's Prettiest Winter Towns by Travel and Leisure Magazine, the historic attraction is an ideal destination for a romantic getaway, a family vacation or corporate retreat. Available outdoor activities include hiking, camping, swimming, biking, zip lining, horseback riding, skiing, snowboarding and trophy trout fishing.
Although only 3 miles square, the town presents a diverse collection of more than 50 quaint shops, over 2 dozen restaurants and a wide variety of accommodations. Visitors find comfortable lodging at their choice of cozy cabins, bed and breakfast inns, motels, hotels or luxury resorts.
Situated at an elevation of approximately 3500 feet, the village derives its name from a nearby rock formation that juts out over the Johns River Gorge, 3000 feet below. Because of the rock’s unusual size and shape, wind currents often blow vertically, causing light objects to be carried upward.
Legend and folklore surround the mystery of North Carolina’s oldest tourist attraction. The friendly folks at The Blowing Rock explain the mythology. “It is said that a Chickasaw chieftain, fearful of a white man’s admiration for his lovely daughter, journeyed far from the plains to bring her to mystical rock formation and the care of a squaw mother. One day the maiden, daydreaming on the craggy cliff, spied a Cherokee brave wandering in the wilderness far below and playfully shot an arrow in his direction. The flirtation worked because soon he appeared before her wigwam, courted her with songs of his land and they became lovers, wandering the pathless woodlands and along the crystal streams.
One day a strange reddening of the sky brought the brave and the maiden to craggy point. To him it was a sign of trouble commanding his return to his tribe in the plains. With the maiden’s entreaties not to leave her, the brave, torn by conflict of duty and heart, leaped from The Rock into the wilderness far below. The grief-stricken maiden prayed daily to the Great Spirit until one evening with a reddening sky, a gust of wind blew her lover back onto The Rock and into her arms. From that day a perpetual wind has blown up onto The Rock from the valley below. For people of other days, at least, this was explanation enough for The Blowing Rock’s mysterious winds causing even the snow to fall upside down.”
The observation deck at center offers visitors spectacular vistas. Looking to the west, one can see the magnificent Grandfather Mountain, the tallest peak in the Blue Ridge chain and Mount Mitchell, the highest mountain peak west of the Rockies. Open year-around; The Blowing Rock is handicap accessible. The breathtaking views of vibrant fall foliage rival those of anywhere in the country. For complete visitor information, contact The Blowing Rock, a member of Southern Highlands Attractions, Highway 321 S • P.O. Box 145 Blowing Rock, NC 28605 Phone (828) 295-7111.
Prior to 1752, when Moravian Bishop August Gottlieb Spangenberg, visited the famous natural anomolie, the rugged cliffs were part of a pristine wilderness long fought over by the Catawba and Cherokee Native American Tribes.
Around the middle of the 18th century, hardy Scots-Irish immigrants began to settle in the region. History records that the first white people to settle in the area were the Green Family in the mid -18th century. They established their residence on the site that later would become the historic Green Park Hotel.
During the American Civil War fierce battles between groups of pro-Union and pro-Confederate were raged throughout the North Carolina Mountains. In an effort to protect their families, men leaving to fight in the war often sent their loved ones to Blowing Rock, a respected refuge from the hostilities.
When the war ended, the men returned to join their kinfolk. Several families, with their former homes destroyed by the war, elected to remain in the region.
As word spread to other parts of the region about the natural wonders and healthily environment of the village, visitors soon arrived. A continual influx of vacationers motivated the construction of boarding houses and hotels while several private homes were converted to country inns.
At the turn of the century, automobiles and improved roads improved access to “Crown of the Blue Ridge.” Today, the town hosts tens-of-thousands of seasonal visitors.
Festivals And Celebrations
Blue Ridge Wine and Food Festival
Held in April, the annual Blue Ridge Wine and Food Festival showcases over 30 regional wineries. Events include wine tastings, the Fire on the Rock Chef Challenge, amateur and professional winemaker competitions, cooking classes, wine pairing seminars and more. For more information call 877-295-7965.Credit: Morgue File
Blowing Rock Charity Horse Show
Attracting equine enthusiasts from across the United States and around the world, the Blowing Rock Charity Horse Show boasts the notable distinction of being recognized as the oldest continuous outdoor horse show in the United States. 2013 will mark the 90th Anniversary of the prestigious event. Originally a 5-day show, the show has grown to cover a period of three weeks. Held in late July and early August at the L.M. Tate Show Grounds in Broyhill Park, the show attracts thousands of visitors for companionship and competition. The annual event helps provide funding for the county Rescue Squad, the Fire Department, the Watauga County Humane Society and the Blue Ridge Parkway Foundation. For dates and complete details contact the Blowing Rock Equestrian Preserve, PO Box 650, Blowing Rock, North Carolina, 28605 or call 828-295-4700 or 828-295-9869.
Winterfest – “Don’t Hibernate! Celebrate!”
Held the third weekend in January, the annual Winterfest celebrates winter fun. Activities include a pancake breakfast, chili cook-off, a polar plunge, wine tastings and auction, Appalachian ski mountain events, ice carving demonstrations, a winter fashion show and more. There are fun activities for all ages. For more information contact the Chamber of Commerce, 132 Park Avenue, Blowing Rock, North Carolina or call 877-295-7801 or 828-295-7851.
Additional “not-to-miss” annual events include the Trout Derby, 4th of July Festival and Parade, Halloween Festival and Monster March, Monday night concert series, the Christmas Parade and town lighting ceremony and more. For a schedule of all the family fun events contact the Tourism Development Authority: P.O. Box 2445, Blowing Rock, North Carolina, 28605.
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