A Day in Blowing Rock | High Country Visitor Guide

A Day in Blowing Rock

A Day in Blowing Rock

Blowing Rock, North Carolina

Images and 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.

Outdoor Activities in Blowing Rock

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

Click here to read more about The Blowing Rock.

Blowing Rock is also home to Moses Cone Memorial Park, with 27 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 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.

Even more adventurous attractions are open spring through fall. Sky Valley Zip Tours features canopy ziplines through the local forest. High Gravity Adventures offers exhilarating climbing and zipline experiences, as well as a giant swing! Tweetsie Railroad presents old-fashioned amusements and a nostalgic atmosphere. Tweetsie is a long-lived family tradition in Blowing Rock, welcoming the likes of Fred Kirby to the park in its early years. Take a ride on the historic, steam-powered train through the mountains and enjoy live entertainment.

Click here for a Sky Valley Zip Tours coupon.

Family-Friendly Attractions in Blowing Rock

Mystery Hill, open year-round, offers a mix of science, optical illusion and natural phenomena as entertainment. Both the Appalachian Heritage Museum and Native American Artifacts Museum are also on-site, so you can have fun while learning about the rich history of the area. Doc’s Rocks is adjacent, with indoor and outdoor flumes and an education-based approach that entertains and teaches kids and adults alike.

Click here for a Mystery Hill coupon.

Click here for a Doc's Rocks coupon.

Also open year round, the Blowing Rock Art & History Museum invites all to experience art and discover history at their downtown location. Engaging programming, exhibitions and collections showcase the heritage of the Southern Appalachians.  

Shopping and Dining in Blowing Rock

Spending time downtown among the shops and eateries is a perfect pastime. Blowing Rock’s storybook streets have even been emulated in some popular fiction. Renowned author Jan Karon lived in the small town while she wrote the At Home in Mitford series, and most believe that the town “Mitford” was inspired by Blowing Rock. 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.

downtown Blowing Rock

Annual Festivals and Events in Blowing Rock

If you like arts and creative pursuits, then Art in the Park is an event for you. Now nearing its 60th year, this outdoor art show hosts over ninety regional artists in each of its six annual shows. The Blowing Rock Art & Antique Show at Blowing Rock Art & History Museum showcases even more beautiful works in a weekend show at the start of August.

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. Tweetsie Railroad gets in on the holiday fun with Ghost Train Halloween weekends, and Christmas at Tweetsie. The town makes its own holidays, too: the town-wide Winterfest celebrates winter in January each year. Savor Blowing Rock welcomes spring with a series of events that highlight the flavors and experiences found in and around the village.

Many events go back multiple decades. The Blowing Rock Charity Horse Show is the oldest show of its kind in the country. Since 1923, the show has been presented annually, and now runs for three weeks each summer. Celebrations and events are part of the culture in Blowing Rock, so check the calendar for more!

About Blowing Rock

Chartered and incorporated in 1889, Blowing Rock has been a tourist destination for more than 120 years. The town sprung up as a summer resort location- a respite from lowland heat- and this long-standing vacation culture has bred a comfortable, laid-back atmosphere. In 2018, Blowing Rock was named “Best Small Town in NC” by the readers of Southern Living. Blowing Rock invites you to experience its unique combination of small-town charm and outdoor adventure!


Blowing Rock Charity Horse Show

Come Experience the “Oldest Continuous Horse Show in America”

Since 1923, the Blowing Rock Charity Horse Show has thrilled and delighted audiences. This “highlight of Blowing Rock’s summer season” is a tradition that’s not to be missed. The three-week event includes two divisions—the Saddlebred and the Hunger & Jumper.

See the glitz and glam of flashy show horses during the Saddlebred classes. Fans root and shout for their favorites from the stands.

At the Hunter& Jumper classes, the finest equestrians and their mounts are put through their paces. Elaborate courses allow the contenders to show off their fine jumping and riding abilities.

Come for a day, or come for all three weeks, it’s a show like no other.