I have a sentimental attachment to Blowing Rock, NC. For our first wedding anniversary Jeremy and I decided to visit the small town nestled in the mountains; we loved it so much that we went back for our 2nd, 3rd, 4th, and 5th anniversaries as well. We weren’t sure what to expect before we went. Would there be anything to do? Would it be too small? The answer is, in my humble opinion, Blowing Rock is perfect.
The downtown area smells absolutely divine as the smell of freshly made waffle cones waft out of Kilwins onto Main Street. Rock masonry covered antique stores, local restaurants, bakeries, and wine shops line Main Street on both sides. There is also a large park there where you can sit on a bench and people watch, let your kids burn off energy at the playground, or play some tennis on the public courts. Blowing Rock is a bit of a sleepy town with the shops closing down around 5pm, but the restaurants are open later.
When you get tired of shopping and indulging on delicacies, head out to the Blue Ridge Parkway. It’s a drive that was created to be purely scenic. You won’t find any billboards or souvenir shops—just untouched forests and mountain vistas. You can park on the side of the road and go for a hike, just step out to stretch your legs, or have a picnic. Some of the hikes are relatively easy but still offer some of the most amazing views of the Blue Ridge Mountains.
We have been to Blowing Rock during every season; we’ve seen the unbelievably vibrant fall colors, the mountains powdered in snow, the first signs of fresh life filling in the trees, and the heat of summer. For me, fall and summer win for the best times to visit. The fall colors that emerge along the parkway and in the mountains cannot be done justice with words or pictures. The mountains are on fire with colors and as the leaves begin to drop the mountains become depressingly gray and yet, somehow they remain stunningly beautiful.
The summer offers adventure. It’s a pleasant time to go white water rafting, or my preference—tubing. Take some drinks and make a day out of it. Drive up to Todd, NC and rent a tube from RiverGirl Fishing Co. Be sure to pat Petunia, the shop’s pet pig, on the head while you’re there. Lay back and relax as you float down the New River with the gorgeous mountains surrounding you on all sides.
A vacation in Blowing Rock can be as relaxing or adventurous as you want it to be. It’s wide open and cozy at the same time—a paradox that I have grown to adore.