Blowing Rock

Raven Rocks Overlook, Blue Ridge Parkway
Just got back from a nice weekend in Blowing Rock, a town in northwestern North Carolina that's famous for a nearby rock formation called The Blowing Rock. A tourist attraction since way back in the day, the Blowing Rock overlooks a scenic gorge on the Eastern Continental Divide, and it's totally worth the $7 adult admission fee (it's on private property) to see.

The Blowing Rock on the left, and the lovely view
Old school sign
We stayed at the Green Park Inn, an historic in built in the 1880s. The Green Park's walls are covered with photos of famous people who stayed there back in the day (Eleanor Roosevelt and Annie Oakley, to name a few), antiques, creaky floors, and the requisite old hotel ghost. I loved it. By the way, the bartender in the Divide knows how to make an awesome Bay Breeze, and perfect after-dinner coffee cordials. And I'd go back again just to have another slice of the most delicious apple pie ever and vanilla ice cream that's made right there in the kitchen.

Green Park Inn and rhododendrons in bloom
On Sunday, we wandered the Town of Blowing Rock's cute Main Street, found an awesome coffee shop and hung out there for a while, then headed over to the Blue Ridge Parkway for a short drive to Moses H. Cone Memorial Park. Moses H. Cone was a wealthy textile businessman and philanthropist of the Gilded Age, and the park was once his beloved summer home. In addition to the 13K square-foot house, called Flat Top Manor, the grounds include some twenty-five miles of hiking and biking trails. We took advantage of those, even in the misty rain and cool temps that rolled in on Sunday.

Flat Top Manor on a rainy day
We topped off the trip with a visit to Tweetsie Railroad, the "Wild West theme park" between Blowing Rock and college-town Boone, home of Appalachian State University. Tweetsie, named for the sound made by the steam locomotives (there are two of them) that wind around the park's perimeter, has been open since 1957. Both S and I went there when we were kids. (Somewhere out there are photos of my three-year-old self riding the helicopter ride and posing with the Can-Can girls.)

One of the steam trains at Tweetsie Railroad
Just like when we were kids, we rode the Ferris wheel, the Tilt-a-Whirl (twice!), and the Tweetsie Twister (known as Merry Mixer back in the day). We rode the odd-looking little gas-engine cars, too . . . the exact same cars, I'm sure, that were used in the park in 1970.

It was a fun weekend, and I really needed a getaway!


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