Blowing Rock My Hometown 2024

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Retail • Entertainment • Restaurants • Events • Recreation • Important Numbers

Real Estate • The Chamber of Commerce • Civic Groups and much more!

hometown scenic beauty and gracious, comfortable mountain living Mountain Times


WELCOME from Blowing Rock Mayor Charlie Sellers

Iwould like to welcome our visitors and summer residents to our fine town of Blowing Rock. It’s a great place to be in the spring, summer, autumn and winter. 2024 should be a great year in Blowing Rock, the “Crown of the Blue Ridge.”

During 2023 and 2024 we have doubled the size of Memorial Park restrooms and are completing a major infrastructure project replacing water and sewer lines on main street. Our town employees continue to beautify our town and strive to make Blowing Rock one of the best towns to live and visit in the Southeast.

As in years past, we are continuing Art in The Park one Saturday each month through October. The Blowing Rock horse show is scheduled for June and July, Saint Mary’s tour of homes and Symphony by the Lake at Chetola scheduled at the end

of July. Our restaurants, unique retail establishments, and lodging are in full swing waiting to serve your needs, and including new establishments opened since 2023.

While visiting Blowing Rock, be sure to visit our art and cultural area on South Main Street: the Dangerfield fresco in St Mary of the Hills, and the Ben Long frescoes at Rumple Presbyterian Church scheduled for fall, Blowing Rock Art and History Museum, and Edgewood cottage.

In addition, be sure to visit our Blowing Rock history walk on Laurel Lane and please support our local attractions: the Blowing Rock Attraction, Tweetsie Railroad, Mystery Hill and Grandfather Mountain.



Welcome to the Village of Blowing Rock!

Residents, visitors, seasonal residents, or those dreaming of relocating to our community, you are most certainly aware of the quaint charm of Blowing Rock.

Often, weekend visitors turn into week-long visitors, then possibly purchase a small cottage or cabin for multiple visits each year, and finally, some move up to a full-size home, often at retirement. Our historic downtown is a picturesque background for the community. It represents the heart and soul of the Town.

For many years, the Blowing Rock Chamber of Commerce has partnered with The Blowing Rocket / Mountain Times to produce “Blowing Rock

My Hometown.”

The goal of this publication is to showcase all that Blowing Rock has to offer year-round, from shopping, dining, outdoor recreation, the arts, and social events to services, places of worship, and civic organizations.

The Chamber has been supporting the Blowing Rock business community since 1927. We take pride in our member businesses and their commitment to their products and world-class service.

We hope you will join us for one of the Chamberproduced events: Art in the Park, held one Saturday every May –October, followed by the Alair Summer Concert in the Park on Sunday afternoon, Symphony by the Lake in late July, or WinterFest in late January.

This year, you may find Main Street under construction. We apologize for the rough surface, traffic delays, and dust. The water and sewer lines are being replaced to better serve you, our

guests. If you haven’t walked the new History Walk along Laurel Lane and around Mayview Lake, please take time to visit the twenty-one stations with interesting historical stories and narratives about our Town’s past that have propelled us to the Blowing Rock of today.

Blowing Rock is a great place to live, work, own a business or play. Stop by our quaint Visitor Center at 132 Park Avenue and let our friendly staff help you make your Blowing Rock dream a reality, whether you are visiting or planning to relocate in the future. It’s never too soon to start making your dream a reality!

Blowing Rock Chamber of Commerce

BLOWING ROCK important numbers

(All numbers reside within the 828 area code, except where noted.)

• Any Emergency .............................................................................................. 911

• Blowing Rock Police Department (non-emergency) ............. 295-5210

• Blowing Rock Fire and Rescue

A NEW HOME: Blowing Rock Real Estate

The quality of life in Blowing Rock is legendary. From award winning restaurants and events, to a bonanza of outdoor activities, to the friendly and easy going pace, you can see why Real Estate in this beautiful town is such a draw.

Blowing Rock offers some of the finest homes in the South, and is a sought-after location for second homes. There is a wide variety of home styles and neighborhoods. What Blowing Rock doesn’t have is large subdivisions with cookie cutter homes. With Charlotte a two-hour drive and Raleigh/Durham three hours away, Blowing Rock is a convenient escape for buyers from North Carolina, as well as a seasonal destination from Florida, Georgia and South Carolina. Many buyers purchase a second (or third) home in Blowing Rock with plans to make it their retirement home, and some choose to purchase a home they can rent to vacationers. As one would expect, real estate prices in Blowing Rock exceed the national average, and owning a home here is a goal for many. However, owning a home here is not limited to the very wealthy. Real Estate options in Blowing Rock range from efficiency condos to incredible mountain homes with sweeping views in the seven figures. Over the past year, home and condo prices in Blowing Rock ranged from $200,000 - $3,350,000. The current median price for homes in the Blowing Rock zip code is $764,500, and $545,000 for Watauga County overall.

Just driving around the meandering streets in Blowing Rock is entertainment in itself! The range of home styles is a testament to the

rich heritage of this area. Some of the older homes and cottages have been completely renovated to combine tradition with state of the art style.

Just know that the in-town areas around Main Street or surrounding the golf course are a fraction of what Blowing Rock has to offer. There are many neighborhoods and pockets of homes both in the town limits and throughout the Blowing Rock zip code (28605). To provide a guide, several neighborhoods are noted later in this article.


The Blowing Rock market continues to be strong, with an increase in

sales of 20.1 percent over the past year versus the previous 12 months. At the same time, the market is stabilizing, with a consistent time on market, and median price increases under 5 percent. Inventory levels are finally increasing, and the number of multiple offer situations, while still happening, have decreased. We are still seeing buyers waiting for the right home to hit the market.

Inventory And Interest Rates:

New homes hitting the market were up by 10.2 percent in the past 12 months ending in May over the previous 12 months. Both buyers are sellers are beginning to realize that interest rates in the 7% range are the

new normal, so they are moving out of the sidelines.

Sellers are a combination of owners wanting to capitalize on the equity of their homes, and recent buyers who purchased for vacation rental investment during the COVID pandemic, and are not getting the returns they had hoped.

Sales And Pricing:

For the past year through May, there were 203 homes and condos sold in Blowing Rock, an increase of 20.1 percent. The median sales price for the past 12 months is 764,500, a 4.0% increase over last year. The average sales price per square foot

A house on Boulder Lane.

is above $400, and varies widely.

Prices are expected to grow slightly for the remainder of the year. Multiple offers and sales prices significantly over asking price have slowed significantly, but still happen with popular properties. Homes are selling at 98.2 percent of asking price.

TIME ON MARKET: Median time on market has remained steady at 52 days. Note that this includes the time while under contract (usually 30-45 days). While we are seeing very quick sales for popular types of properties, some with multiple offers, there is a little more time for buyers to view homes.


For buyers both curious and serious about purchasing a home in this market, a local High Country Realtor® can help you navigate the process. Here are some suggestions:

• Be prepared to move quickly for popular listings, with your financing ready, and willingness to come to view a home on short notice.

• Work with a lender to get pre-

approved for a loan before you make your visit. A pre-approval letter or proof of funds if you are paying cash is expected with any offer.

• Even if you are further out in your

purchase process, contact a Realtor® now to set you up on a property search directly from the MLS so that you get

a better sense of the market. You never know when the right house will come on the market.

• Ask your Realtor® to schedule a virtual showing so that you can decide whether to make a trip to see the home.


Luxury Homes

Blowing Rock is well known for its gorgeous mountain homes, both newer and historic. Several of these homes have been featured in magazines and on tours and have entertained visitors including US Presidents, dignitaries, and celebrities. These homes can be found in town in the historic Mayview and Laurel Park neighborhoods and along Main Street, as well as in nearby gated neighborhoods such as Timber Creek and Firethorn.

For buyers looking to build a custom home, this area boasts some excellent builders and offers many options for land purchases.


Most condo and townhome developments are in the town limits of Blowing Rock. These include Royal Oaks, Glen Burney, Village on the Green, as well as more luxury condos such as Chestnut at Blowing Rock. Chetola Resort is the largest condominium development, and it boasts a hotel, fine dining restaurant and spa. There are condos with views in the Mayview area of Blowing Rock as well as in the Blue Ridge Mountain Club (noted below). The most recent addition to the condo market is The Bluffs at Blowing Rock, located about 4 miles down Hwy 221.


A strong segment of the Blowing Rock Real Estate market is second homes that can also be used as vacation rentals to help pay for the cost of owning and maintaining the

home. There are several excellent vacation rental management companies in the area that can manage the entire vacation rental process.

Vacation rentals of less than 28 days are not allowed in the town limits of Blowing Rock and in some developments. If you are looking for a home that can also be used as a vacation rental, be sure to ask whether vacation rentals are allowed in that location.

Areas Of Town:

In Town Blowing Rock: The town of Blowing Rock is known for its grand homes along Main Street and in historic Mayview and Laurel Park as well as cottages and homes around Ransom Street and Chestnut Drive. Most condo developments are in the town limits.

In Town Across 321: Cross Highway 321 (Blowing Rock Blvd) to Echo Park, Green Hill Road, Wonderland Woods and areas surrounding the Blowing Rock Country Club and Golf Course. There is a wide variety of

house on Goforth Road.

NEW BLOWING ROCK BUSINESSES offer something for everything

Business is booming, or in Blowing Rock’s case, blooming, as 2024 saw numerous restaurants, retail outlets, and lodging destinations sprout up in the vibrant mountain town.

Blowing Rock has long been known and nationally recognized as a sought-after vacation destination for tourists, students and families alike looking to get away and enjoy its serene natural landscapes.

Now, the quaint mountain community is becoming widely known as a hub for entrepreneurs who increasingly view Blowing Rock’s walkable streets, timeless architecture, and friendly business climate as a place to realize their dreams and celebrate new beginnings. This list is not comprehensive, and those wishing to learn more about new businesses in Blowing Rock, visit


Social on Main is a new culinary destination in Blowing Rock with an owner that has been serving local and visitors alike for decades. Tim Knight operated another restaurant in the same space for 19 years and is now serving up a delectable menu of breakfast and brunch favorites.

Social on Main’s menu features scrumptious omelets, breakfast burgers, bloody marys, English breakfast, chicken and waffles, and biscuits and gravies, among other popular American breakfast staples meant to be enjoyed by locals and visitors alike.

“I’ve always had local businesses, and I’ve always felt very fortunate about that,” Knight said. “We want it to be a very local place for people to feel like they can come hang out.”

Social on Main is located at 870 Main St. and is open from 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. Thursday to Tuesday and

closed on Wednesdays. For more information, follow Social on Main on Facebook.


Mexican Rock opened off of

Valley Blvd in July 2023. While the restaurant opened under new ownership, as well as under a new concept and design, the restaurant’s name pays homage to the longstanding business that came before it at its location: Foggy Rock Eatery and Pub.

Now, Mexican Rock is serving up the High Country with its own take on traditional dishes and cultural cuisine, including empanadas, corn tacos, quesadillas, tostadas, fajitas, and chef specials.

The restaurant is also a popular choice for hosting parties and celebrating events, such as birthdays, weddings, baptisms and business gatherings. With a full bar and festive and fun beverages, such as extra long strawberry margaritas and extra large daisies, among others, Mexican Rock is an excellent choice for your next get-together.

Mexican Rock is located at 8180

Mexican Rock opened in Blowing Rock last year.
Social on Main is located at 870 Main St.

Valley Blvd and is open from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday through Saturday and from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Sundays. For more information, follow Mexican Rock on social media.


Alongside an abundance of supplements and athletic gear, Supp Shop offers fitness and nutrition coaching, body composition testing and assisted stretching.

Owners Richie Wagner and Nelle Lawrence both possess backgrounds in health science and formerly owned and operated the Freedom Athletics gym in Chicago before moving to Blowing Rock.

“Between the two of us, we have 20 years of experience as trainers doing the nutrition side as well as the actual training side of it. From food classes to personal training, we’ve kind of done it all,” said Wagner. “We’ve seen that the nutrition side is really what’s

missing the most and what can be most beneficial.”

FA Supp Shop is located at 7593 A Valley Blvd and is open Monday through Friday, 10 a.m.- 6 p.m., Saturday, 10 a.m. — 3 p.m.,

and closed on Sunday. For more information, visit


The Embers Hotel is the town’s newest addition to its famed downtown rustic mountain aesthetic.

The hotel opened on April 1, inviting travelers and local residents to its relaxing and recharging getaway experience.

The Embers Hotel aims to become the go-to spot not just for travelers but also for the local community and business professionals. The Embers Hotel invites all to become inspired and experience the beauty of the Blue Ridge Mountains and make lasting memories.

The boutique 36-room hotel is designed to embody nature’s glory, offering a large outdoor terrace and gathering spots. For more information,


Tout Sweet, located at 1132 Main Street in Blowing Rock, opened the last week of 2023.

The business was created out of Cafe Violette’s desire to offer baked

See BUSINESS on page 10

Sweet Mimi’s is one of Blowing Rock’s newest clothing stores.

goods, sandwiches and coffee to the Blowing Rock community during the day.

Husband and wife duo Kyle and Sunshine Martin and Catherine Thomas, their business partner, own and operate the shop.

The business is open during the day, with hours varying according to the season.


For those looking to up their style game, Blowing Rock offers several boutique clothing stores right in the heart of downtown.

Sweet Mimi’s is Blowing Rocks’ newest clothing store, offering affordable, high-quality clothing for women in the middle-age demographic.

The business is the brainchild of former Blowing Rock school teacher Kate Patterson, who re-entered the

world of retail after the pandemic. Customers can find a wide assortment of women’s apparel, jewelry, shoes, bags and children’s gifts.

Sweet Mimi’s is located at 1107

Main St Suite D and is open from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Thursday and from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday and from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Sundays.


Amongst its public parks and lush hiking trails, Blowing Rock is more than accommodating to visitors’ furry friends.

Barks and Co caters to a wide array of canine needs. The boutique prioritizes the health of their customers’ K9s and offers treats, leashes and much more to help ensure your four-legged family members enjoy their time in the Blue Ridge Mountains.

Barks and Co is located at 110

Sunset Dr. in Blowing Rock and is open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday to Saturday and noon to 5 p.m. on Sunday.


PHOTO COURTESY BLOWING ROCK CHAMBER OF COMMERCE Barks and Co opened this year in Blowing Rock.

DOWNTOWN BLOWING ROCK offers something for everyone

Downtown Blowing Rock offers something for all community members, from parks and trails to galleries and businesses alike.


Blowing Rock Memorial Park is the centerpiece of downtown.

The Park hosts the 2024 Concert in the Park: Alair Summer Concert Series monthly on Sundays through September.

The concert series is a food drive for the Hunger and Health Coalition’s A Simple Gesture Program. Organizers ask for a donation of canned goods and other nonperishable food.

Blowing Rock’s Concert in the Park Series is an annual set of free outdoor concerts at the Rotary Gazebo in Memorial Park.

The Park has paved paths, sports courts, horseshoe pits, and two playgrounds. There is no shortage of opportunities for exercise.

Admission is free. Anyone who attends is encouraged to bring a lawn chair and a blanket.

Memorial Park is located at 1036 Main St. For more information, call (828) 264-1299.


Broyhill Park is a recreation area that includes a walking trail that surrounds Mayview Lake. The Broyhill Gazebo is available for rental. It has seating areas and a dock for fishing, feeding the ducks or relaxing by

the lake. The Park is located at 173 Lakeside Dr.


The Grover Robbins Pool — located at 173 Lakeside Dr. — is the only outdoor publicuse swimming pool in Watauga County. It includes a multi-use pool and a smaller wading pool. It has a concession area with snack and drink machines. The pool is open to the public and operates from noon to 8 p.m.



The Memorial Park Gazebo is used for ice carving during Winter Fest, for Sunday afternoon concerts following Art in the Park, the Fourth of July Festival, and many other events throughout the year.


The Pavilion is an open greenspace area that includes a walking trail, athletic Ballfield, Rotary Pavilion (available for rental), and restrooms. It is open to the public 365 days a year.


The Blowing Rock Art & History Museum is located at 159 Ginny

Stevens Lane. Open to the public in 2011, it serves as a community cultural center with a focus on engagement, enrichment and education for all who visit. BRAHM allows those who visit the museum to have an intimate exploration of both art and history. The museum is open Tuesday - Saturday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Thursday from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., and — from May through October — Sunday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Admission to the museum is always free. Learn more at www.

The Blowing Rock 1888 Museum is

located on the south side of Memorial Park in a cottage that was built in 1888. Owned by the Town of Blowing Rock and managed by the Blowing Rock Historical Society, today, the building serves as a museum that emphasizes Blowing Rock’s long history of supporting tourism. The museum is open for self-guided tours daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and on weekends during the winter. Admittance is free. Learn more at www.blowingrockhistoricalsociety. com/1888-museum.

Blowing Rock Town Hall is in the heart of downtown.


Blowing Rock Frameworks and Gallery (7539 Valley Blvd.) “displays a number of local artists and their interpretations of incredible mountain vistas and wildlife of the area,” according to “We have been in business 29 years, and as a reputable frame shop and gallery, we guarantee the highest quality product to all of our customers.”

Crown Gallery (1153 Main St,) describes itself as a “fine art boutique gallery.”

Bolick & Traditions Pottery (155 Main St.) “is a family of potters that have been in Blowing Rock for more than 40 years.” To learn about it, go online to It hosts the annual Heritage Day and Wood Kiln Opening on the last Saturday of June. To learn about it, visit www.

Jack Hamrick Art (252 Old Camp Catawba Rd.), is open by appointment (803-929-2456). To learn more, go to

The Martin House Gallery (1098-12 Main St.) is described as “surrounded and inspired by natural beauty.” Learn more about it at martinhousegallery. com.

The Artists in Residence at Edgewood Cottage (115 Ginny Stevens Ln.) began its 2024 season in late May and will run through Sept. 8. It is open daily from 10 a.m. until 5 p.m. It offers weekly free art shows with a different pair each week. It is located on Main Street, one block south of Town Tavern. To learn more, go online to

For information on downtown Blowing Rock, visit

The Memorial Park Gazebo gets a lot of foot traffic

After being ‘watered’ during this 4th of July Parade skit, flowers suddenly bloomed in unison on July 2. The

and fall months.


Blowing Rock clubs, nonprofits and organizations

Whether you are new to the area or simply looking for something to do this summer, Blowing Rock clubs, nonprofits and organizations are accepting new members. From raising money for local scholarships to helping preserve the charm and history of the town, these organizations provide many opportunities to contribute to the community. Here are some of the many organizations that you can get involved with this summer:

Blowing Rock Chamber of

Commerce: (828) 295-7851

The Blowing Rock Chamber of Commerce serves as the business hub of the Blowing Rock community. The Chamber organizes business relationships, networking, education, civic advocacy, volunteerism, fundraising and tourism events.

Businesses looking to join the Chamber can apply through their website,

Blowing Rock Garden Club: (561) 315-9913

The Blowing Rock Garden Club is a volunteer organization whose

Blowing Rock Garden Club is responsible for many of the colorful flowers that adorn Blowing Rock in the spring, summer

main service project is caring for the Blowing Rock Memorial Gardens. The club hosts programs like local litter pick-up, a native plant project with Blowing Rock Elementary School and the Native Plant Project. From May to October, the club will meet at Memorial Gardens on Main Street on Mondays at 5:30 p.m. and Thursdays at 8:30 a.m. Yearly dues are $35. For more information, visit

Blowing Rock Community Library: (828) 295-7000

The Blowing Rock Community Library is a historic library in downtown Blowing Rock on the corner of Main Street and Park Avenue. The library has two volunteer shifts every day but Sunday. Volunteers work at the front desk and help with book circulation. Volunteers also assist with the library’s summer hot dog sales during Art in the Park. If you are interested in volunteering, visit the library. For more information, visit

Blowing Rock Women’s Club: (828) 414-9900

The Blowing Rock Women’s Club is a volunteer organization that runs Village Thrift to raise money for student scholarships. Village Thrift is located at 8332 Valley Blvd in Blowing Rock. Village Thrift accepts donations Thursday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. For more information about volunteering, visit their Facebook page: “Blowing Rock Women’s Club.”

Rotary Club of Blowing Rock: (336) 354-6375

The Rotary Club of Blowing Rock is a volunteer service organization established in 1946. The club aims to provide Blowing Rock with an opportunity for friendship,

fellowship, and service. Visitors and fellow Rotarians are welcome to join. For more information, visit

Blowing Rock Historical Society:

The Blowing Rock Historical Society was founded in 1985 with the mission to identify, protect and preserve Blowing Rock’s heritage and historical charm. The organization sponsors and participates in a variety of events and activities throughout the year. Membership dues vary. For more information, visit

Women’s Fund of the Blue Ridge (WFBR): (828) 264-4002

Women’s Fund of the Blue Ridge

is a collective giving organization. Formed and sustained by women anthropologists, WFBR strives to positively impact the lives of women and girls in Ashe, Avery and Watauga Counties through its grant and outreach programs. Membership fees vary. For more information, visit

Here are more organizations to learn more about:

Blowing Rock Charity Horse Show: (828) 495-2700

Blowing Rock Civic Association: (828) 295-3199

Blowing Rock Community Foundation: (828) 295-3048

Blowing Rock Art and History Museum: (828) 295-9099

Blowing Rock Young Professionals: (828) 295-7851

Boy Scouts Troop 160: (828) 434-1320

Girl Scouts Troops 02252:

Blowing Rock School Parent Teacher Organization: (828) 295-3204

Blue Ridge Parkway Foundation: (866) 308-2773

Blowing Rock American Legion: (828) 295-5222

Members of the Rotary Club of Blowing Rock volunteered to help install pavers at the Middle Fork Greenway trailhead last year.

BLOWING ROCK’S HISTORY WALK continues to educate

The Blowing Rock’s History Walk has educated visitors about the town for more than a year now. The ¼ mile trail, which is marked with 21 pillars, recounts some of the most interesting parts of the town’s rich and colorful history.

“We had several goals for this history walk; one of them was to be engaging,” said the President of the Blowing Rock Historical Society, Tom O’Brien. “We wanted each of these history stations to be something of interest and that if you read it, you’d think, ‘Hey, that’s cool. I think I’ll go read the next one.’”

The history walk starts in the middle of downtown, near the intersection of Main Street and Laurel Lane, and travels a block and a half down Laurel Lane and around the beautiful lake in Broyhill Park, then back to Main Street.

Along the way, people can read stories about early education, early settlers, the history of tourism, medical care in the high country and many other events and people who made Blowing Rock the town it is today.

Blowing Rock Mayor and owner of The Blowing Rock, Charlie Sellers, helped fund the history of tourism marker. His family has an extensive history in Blowing Rock, specifically in tourism.

“I, as a citizen and my bloodline, have all been in tourism, and as the mayor of Blowing Rock, I felt like it was an excellent idea for the village foundation and the historical society to promote the history walk, which delved into the history of people,

buildings and tourism,” Sellers said. “I’m very happy to be able to promote what my family and other families have done to take Blowing Rock to the next level,” Sellers said.

Sellers is one of many public and private individuals who sponsor individual markers about specific aspects of the town’s history.

Dianne Davant Moffitt is a Blowing Rock native whose family helped bring medical care to Blowing Rock.

“My father was an early physician here,” Moffitt said. “He was known as really the first physician. My father devoted his life to helping the mountain people, that was his mission.”

Moffitt sponsored the medical history marker on the history walk and said that everybody had enjoyed the opportunity to walk around the lake at Broyhill Park and learn about the history of how the town was established.

The interactive historical attraction has received overwhelmingly positive feedback from the public and has inspired plans for similar projects in the future. In collaboration with the Village Foundation of Blowing Rock, the Blowing Rock Historical Society intends to make enhancements to Broyhill Park, Annie Cannon Gardens, and Glen Burney trail that include historical features.

“It’s been incredible,” O’Brien said. “I cannot tell you how many people have stopped me on the street or bump into me in a bar and tell me how much they love the history walk.”

Blowing Rock’s History Walk gives visitors the opportunity to learn more about the town.
A panel along the Blowing Rock History Walk in Broyhill Park.

AMERICAN LEGION has been serving Blowing Rock for more than 8 decades

There has been an American Legion Hall in Blowing Rock since shortly after World War II. First constructed in Blowing Rock by WWII veterans, the American Legion Hall, located at 333 Wallingford St., got a major renovation in 2014. To contact the American Legion in Blowing Rock, call (828) 295-5222.

Donations and volunteer labor are responsible for the hall being built. Reservations for the facility can be made at Green Constriction worked with the Town of Blowing Rock and David Patrick Moses Architect on the historic project to help preserve the legacy of those veterans and countless others.

Starting in the late 1940s, the American Legion Hall hosted live music, cookouts, barbecues, and crucial town meetings and operated as a dance hall.

Renovations began on the American Legion building in the fall of 2014. Among the upgrades were an outdoor covered terrace on the back of the building, a new roof, a new floor, new bathrooms, new windows, and other amenities.

Town Council Member Albert Yount paid to have the American Legion Hall’s kitchen remodeled in memory of his wife, Martha. Other contributors to the 2014 repair and update included $142,00 from the North Carolina Parks and Recreation Foundation Grants program, $65,000 from the Blowing Rock ABC Store, $50,000 from the Blowing Rock Historical Society and $15,000 from the Blowing Rock Community Foundation.

In recent years, the American Legion Hall has continued to host holiday events, birthday parties, town and county council meetings,

The origins of Blowing Rock’s American Legion Building began in 1945 when a town referendum passed to purchase the property from the Watauga Inn. Through the collaboration of many individuals and organizations, the building was first opened in 1959 and quickly became the focal point of the town’s social life. It was renovated in 2014-15
Hall in Blowing Rock.

BLOWING ROCK SCHOOL In the heart of downtown

Blowing Rock School is right in the heart of downtown. The school is part of the Watauga County School System and averages more than 300 students each year.

The 2024-25 school year will be a bit different as longtime principal Patrick Sukow retired. Madison Hollar will lead the Rockets moving forward as the new principal.

“I am full of gratitude to assume the role of principal at Blowing Rock School and to follow in the footsteps of Mr. Sukow, whom I deeply admire and who has had such an incredible impact on the school community,” Hollar said when she was announced as the new principal. “Throughout my journey in this district, I have been the recipient of extraordinary opportunities that led me to this place. I am extremely honored for the opportunity to lead and serve this vibrant school community. I am most excited to be a Rocket!”

Hollar began her employment with Watauga County Schools as an intern at Valle Crucis School in 2011. After her internship, she remained at VCS as a student teacher.

She shared that it was during this time that she knew she wanted to be a principal in the district at some point. This was always the end goal for her. She expressed that reaching this goal she set for herself is a dream come true.

Hollar spent the 2012-2013 school year teaching third grade in Avery County. She returned to WCS in Fall 2013 and was an English Language Arts/Social Studies teacher for middle grades at Cove Creek School until

2022. During her time at Cove Creek, she completed a Master’s degree in Curriculum and her administrator licensure. In 2020, she completed her National Board Certification.

“Madison is highly focused on student success and building positive relationships with students, staff and families,” said Watauga County Schools Superintendent Dr. Leslie Alexander. “She brings energy and excitement to everything she does and will do great things at Blowing Rock School.”

Hollar was an assistant principal at Hardin Park School, where she joined the Golden Eagles family in fall 2022. Blowing Rock School also boasts the

Blowing Rock Elementary School third grade teacher Lara Whiteside receives high fives from students after being recognized as the school system’s teacher of the year.
The sign at the school.
See SCHOOL on page 23

SCHOOL continued from page 22

reigning Watauga County Schools Teacher of the Year in Lara Whiteside.

Whiteside, who teaches third grade at Blowing Rock School, said she was “blown away” upon receiving the recognition and was thankful to the school’s faculty, staff and students.

“I’m super overwhelmed and very thankful to be able to represent Watauga County to the rest of the state,” Whiteside said when she was surprised with the award. “I’m also happy for our school and the students here to be able to represent them.”

Whiteside teaches a variety of subjects to her students but said she focuses on trying to get to know each and every one of them on a personal level.

“I think one of the main things is just being able to get to know your students and celebrate what makes them special and different. They’re all so special in different ways, and they all have different ways they learn. Being able to tap into that and motivate them is really important,” Whiteside said.

Among other progressive features of elementary education, Blowing Rock School was the first school in Watauga County to have a School Resource Officer hired by the town. The Blowing Rock Police Department has equipped the SRO with a ballistic shield after a community donated two to the department.

The playground at Blowing Rock School.
New Blowing Rock School Principal Madison Hollar (right) with WCS Superintendent Leslie Alexander and new Parkway School Principal Martha Trimble after the Board of Education officially announced their hiring.

auctions, raffles, fundraisers and musical performances.

The facility has 15 tables that are 8 feet long, 15 round tables (5 feet across), 10 cocktail tables, and 140 fold-out chairs.

The American Legion Hall has restrooms, wifi, a full kitchen and a projector screen. It can hold more than 100 people.

To learn more about it, go online to www. townofblowingrocknc. gov/Home/Components/ FacilityDirectory/ FacilityDirectory/16/329

The inside of the American Legion Building is spacious, with a great view to the outside along the west wall.

home styles and sizes in these quiet neighborhoods.

Highway 221 Southwest: There are several neighborhoods on either side of Highway 221 headed southwest toward Linville, some offering beautiful Grandfather Mountain and St. Johns River Gorge views. These include Misty Mountain, Fair Mountain Acres, Saddle Hills and Sweetgrass, a development with trails and a lake.

321 north (toward Boone): One of the largest residential areas in this direction is Appalachian Ski Mountain, with many mountain homes close to skiing. This is a popular location for vacation rentals. Also along Highway 321 are the luxury gated communities of Firethorn and Timber Creek, as well as the log home community Friendly Mountain Acres.

Blue Ridge Parkway North: There

are several established neighborhoods with mid-range to high end homes along this route. This general area is referred to on maps as the Aho area and includes the neighborhoods of Sorrento, Greystone, Blackberry, Goshen Valley, Summit Park, and Brown Stone Ridge, to name a few. Some of these neighborhoods are in the Boone zip code but are considered the Blowing Rock area from a Real Estate standpoint.

Also in this direction is the Blue Ridge Mountain Club (BRMC), an impressive development with timber frame homes, townhomes and many lots available. BRMC offers trails, a gym, restaurant and clubhouse facility.

Leslie Eason is a Realtor® with Keller Williams High Country Realty, and is owner of the Leslie Eason Real Estate Team. She and her team have helped numerous buyers purchase homes in Blowing Rock and the High Country. She can be contacted at leslie@ , 828-484-4811



A house on Gorge View.
A house on Rainey Street.


of Worship

Blowing Rock Methodist Church

1314 Main Street (828) 372-7009

Hymn singing at 10:30 a.m., and service starts at 11 a.m.

Church of Epiphany

Catholic Church

Open May to October

168 Galax Lane (828) 264-8338

9 a.m. mass

FaithBridge United

Methodist Church

194 Aho Road (828) 295-8333

Service starts at 11 a.m.

First Baptist Church of Blowing Rock

350 Sunset Drive

(828) 295-7715

Service starts at 10:30 a.m.

Rumple Memorial Presbyterian Church

1218 Main Street (828) 295-7675

9:45 a.m. Sunday School

11 a.m. Worship

St. Mary of the Hills

Episcopal Church

140 Chestnut Drive (828) 295-7323

8 a.m. Holy Eucharist

9 a.m. Sunday School

10:10 a.m. Holy Eucharist

Sandy Flats Baptist Church 1756 US Highway 221 S

7 p.m. Wednesday service

10 a.m. and 5 p.m. Sunday service

The Temple of the High Country

1043 West King Street (828) 266-9777

Shabbat Services every Friday at 6 p.m.

Rabbi Alty’s office hours

Tuesday and Wednesday 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.

Islamic Center of Boone 643 Greenway Road

Masjid is open at 1 p.m.

Jummah Prayer is conducted every week at 1:45. p.m.

Rumple Church is located at 1218 Main Street.
St. Mary of the Hills Episcopal Church is located at 140 Chestnut Drive.


Despite the small size of Blowing Rock, there are options for quality healthcare right here in town — along with larger hospitals and other facilities in neighboring Boone and Lenoir.

In Blowing Rock itself, there are healthcare practices at Chestnut Ridge Medical, Blowing Rock Medical Park and a dentistry practice at the offices of Dr. Adam Hill.


Located at 623 Chestnut Ridge Pkwy in Blowing Rock, Chestnut Ridge Medical is a member of Appalachian Regional Medical Associates.

Chestnut Ridge Medical focuses on family medicine and women’s health services, stating that its mission is to assist patients in achieving and maintaining high levels of health and quality of life. Employing medical professionals committed to lifelong learning, Chestnut Ridge Medical “welcomes questions on new and emerging treatments and strategies for preventive health,” according to their website.

Dr. Cecilia Grasinger and Heidi Robertson, FN, also practice at Chestnut Ridge Medical and offer services in the fields of gynecology and women’s health. Chestnut Ridge Medical’s website says they “meet a woman’s needs throughout her life cycle,

ranging from well-women care to complex medical and surgical management of gynecological disorders.” Grasinger and Robertson also collaborate closely with the midwives and obstetricians at Women’s Health, located in Boone.


Situated at 8439 Valley Blvd., Blowing Rock Medical Park is a subsidiary practice of Caldwell Memorial Hospital — based a half-hour’s drive south in Lenoir.

The BR MedPark has a pair of family medicine and primary care practitioners in, Dr. Charles Davant III and Amanda Kincaid, NP-C. Furthermore, there is what Caldwell Memorial Hospital terms as a PLUS Urgent Care site.

CMH’s Urgent Care facilities can see walk-in patients as well as scheduled appointments.

BR MedPark’s Urgent Care can provide treatment for acute and chronic minor illnesses and injuries, alleviation of sickness symptoms, allergic reactions and testing for COVID-19, among other services. BR MedPark can also process basic lab technology needs and even has x-ray services.

Caldwell Memorial Hospital’s website stresses the importance of understanding the difference in capabilities between urgent care locations versus hospital ERs. CMH’s website states, “Urgent Care is NOT for medical emergencies. If you are having a medical emergency, dial 9-1-1 or go to the nearest hospital

emergency room for treatment.”

The nearest hospitals to Blowing Rock are Watauga Medical Center at Watauga Medical Ctr, 336 Deerfield Rd, Boone, NC 28607 (10-minute drive from Blowing Rock) and Caldwell Memorial Hospital at 321 Mulberry St SW, Lenoir, NC 28645 (30-minute drive from Blowing Rock).


Operating as the general dentistry practice in Blowing Rock, Dr. Adam Hill’s offices are located at 123 Little Springs Road in Blowing Rock, across from the Food Lion grocery store.

Dr. Hill and his five-member staff offer family, implant and cosmetic dentistry services, as

Blowing Rock Medical Park is located at 8439 Valley Blvd.

well as dental hygiene education to patients.

According to the practice’s website, Dr. Hill has been offering dentistry treatments in the Blowing Rock and Boone region for nearly two decades and “offers a convenient High Country location and broad-ranging dentistry services for every member of your family,” using techniques ranging from “basic preventive care to complex cosmetic procedures.”

Dr. Hill holds undergraduate and doctorate degrees in dental surgery, obtained at UNC-Chapel Hill, is a member of the International Congress of Oral Implantologists, and retains an Associate Fellowship status at the World Clinical Laser Institute.

Outside of general family medicine, women’s health, and dentistry, Blowing Rock residents will have to travel to utilize other healthcare industry practices and services — but the basics are well-covered within the town.

Chestnut Ridge Medical is located at 623 Chestnut Ridge Pkwy in Blowing Rock.

THE BLUE RIDGE PARKWAY has more to offer than one thinks

Among all the tourist attractions in the town of Blowing Rock, there’s one with a little something to offer everybody.

Spanning from Cherokee to Waynesboro, Va., the Blue Ridge Parkway is home to picturesque

sites, regardless of your mode of transportation or location on the trail.

The Blue Ridge Parkway has deep roots in Blowing Rock, home to the original location and engineer and consultant for the Blue Ridge Parkway, R. Getty Browning.

It was primarily Browning who convinced federal officials to move the

Parkway alignment to North Carolina from its original route through Tennessee.

Blowing Rock is one of the only full-service towns on the Blue Ridge Parkway and is also home to one of the most popular and historic structures on the Parkway — Moses Cone.

Moses H. Cone Memorial Park was

owned and developed as a gentleman’s country estate by Moses, an American captain of industry of the late 19th and early 20th centuries, who, with his brother, Ceasar Cone, brought denim production to the South, according to the Blue Ridge Parkway Foundation.

The Linn Cove Viaduct along the Blue Ridge Parkway.

Cone was not only a successful entrepreneur, and he was an inquisitive farmer who experimented with agriculture and designed and built one of America’s most beautiful country estates. Beginning in 1897, he meticulously crafted an impressive retreat featuring carriage trails, lakes, orchards, fields, and forests.

Before his untimely death in 1908, Moses constructed Flat Top Manor as the centerpiece of this idyllic mountain retreat. After his passing, his wife, Bertha, operated the estate for 40 years, adhering to his original concept. The 3,500-acre estate became part of the Blue Ridge Parkway in 1949.

For many years, the Foundation has worked with donors to invest in the preservation of Moses H. Cone Memorial Park, including renovating the exterior of Flat Top Manor and

the construction of restrooms at Bass Lake. Since its inception in 1997, the nonprofit has provided more than $22 million in support for the country’s most visited national park unit. To learn more, visit

The historic road that shapes around the highest mountains east of the Rocky Mountains, the Blue Ridge Parkway’s concrete mileposts double as useful landmarks, particularly in rural locations where GPS may be inaccurate or non-existent. The mileposts direct travelers past all of the detours off the road, including trailheads, attractions and pull-offs.

Starting at Milepost 294 after Moses Cone Park, the next 25 miles of the Parkway provide plenty of impressive vistas and trailheads.

Hiking enthusiasts or lovers of views would be advised to visit Wilson Creek Valley View Overlook and Rough Ridge Trail at milepost 300 and Yonahlossee Overlook Trail near




milepost 304.

Then, at milepost 305 is the Linn Cove Viaduct Information Center and the Beacon Heights Trail.

Milepost 305 is also the exit for Grandfather Mountain State Park, which provides amazing experiences with a diverse collection of wild animals, hiking paths, a gift store, a restaurant and the renowned Mile High Bridge. From there, the Charlotte skyline can sometimes be seen on the horizon on very clear days, despite being almost 90 miles away.

If you continue the Parkway to milepost 317, you have the option to take Highway 221 to the vista of Linville Falls and Linville Gorge.

If roads are wet, it’s recommended that you only drive if your car has allwheel drive or four-wheel drive, and even then keep an eye out for patches of mud.

The Linville Falls Winery, which has live music every Saturday afternoon,


is also located at milepost 317. To get there, keep right at the exit and the winery will be on your right-hand side in less than a mile.

The Linville Gorge Wilderness Area has a variety of easy-to-challenging paths for more experienced hikers to explore. Several other trails include the Table Rock Mountain Summit Trail, Rock Jock Rim Trail, Chimneys Rim Trail and Hawksbill Mountain Summit Trail.

Continuing south on the Blue Ridge Parkway, you’ll find more lovely spots like Crabtree Falls, the village of Little Switzerland, the Museum of North Carolina Minerals, and more.

A final famous attraction on the leg is Mount Mitchell, with a turnoff found at milepost 355. Mount Mitchell, the tallest peak east of the Rocky Mountains, rises to 6,683 feet. Luckily, the trek to the peak can be made almost entirely by car, with a simple walk for an amazing view.

EVENTS draw big crowds in Blowing Rock

The town of Blowing Rock holds events that draw thousands of people every year. Here are just a few of the events that those of all ages can enjoy.


For the last several years, the Blowing Rock Historical Society has hosted a summer artist-in-residency program at the Edgewood Cottage on Main Street in downtown Blowing Rock starting in late June. Chat with the artist of the week, and have the chance to take their work home with you.


Art in the Park is a staple in the town during the summer. It is a juried art showcase where you can

purchase the work of local artists. There are usually 80 to 100 local artists showcased from May to October. Art in the Park is hosted by the Blowing Rock Chamber of Commerce.


The Blowing Rock Farmers Market (132 Park Ave.) opens in May and runs until October, every Thursday from 2 to 6 p.m. Shoppers can pick over fresh produce and other locally produced food. For more information, call (828) 295-9598.


The summer concert series Concert in the Park is a free program hosted by the Blowing Rock Chamber of Commerce. These shows always attract a crowd with their musical artists. Learn more about it by calling

(828) 295-7851.


Symphony by the Lake at Chetola is held in July. This event brings music to an outdoor stage at Chetola Resort (500 North Main St.).


The annual Fourth of July festival and parade shuts down Main Street in downtown Blowing Rock. Live music, games, and a horseshoe tournament are popular during the festival.


The Blowing Rock Charity Horse Show is home to the longest continually running annual horse show in the eastern half of the country, running strong for 100 years. This show brings horse lovers

to town for three weeks each summer starting in June.


Blowing Rock celebrates the beginning of Trout Season every April. The event takes place on Broyhill Lake, Bass Lake, Trout Lake, and the Middle Fork of the New River. Prizes and trophies are awarded in a variety of categories, including first catch and largest catch. To learn more about it, call (828) 295-7851.


Blowing Rock Park and Recreation celebrates Easter with the town. Aimed at the younger citizens, games and pictures with the Easter Bunny are popular during this event.

See EVENTS on page 34

Ac as ua ld in ing br un ch ex pe rien ce in the he ar to f Blo wi ng Ro ck

So ut her nC omfort Food Breakf as t Sa nd wic he s Mi mo sa sa nd Bloody Mar y's

Asher Boyd won the trout drawing contest in 2024.


Blowing Rock’s Halloween festival and Monster Mash are spooky, family-friendly events close to Halloween hosted by Parks and Recreation.


WinterFest takes place in January every year and celebrates winter. The festival includes the polar plunge and ice carving contests, among many others. WinterFest is one of the biggest events every year in Blowing Rock and is put on by the Blowing Rock Chamber of Commerce

Community Banking

At Its Best

The 26th Annual Polar Plunge was held last January.

BLOWING ROCK CHARITY HORSE SHOW looks to the next 100 years

Celebrating 101 years, the Blowing Rock Charity Horse Show kicked off the 2024 event on the weekend of June 6-9 with the first of three weeks of festivities at the L.M. Tate Showgrounds, which is located on the Broyhill Equestrian Preserve (1500 Laurel Lane).

The first portion of shows celebrated the Saddlebred Class.

That showcase will be followed up by two weeks of Hunter/Jumper competitions. Those are slated to take place on July 23 to 28 and July 30 to Aug. 4.

The three shows are the primary

fundraiser for the Blowing Rock Charity Horse Show Foundation.

According to their website, the mission of the Blowing Rock Horse Show Foundation is to “Support education and worthy charities through encouraging and preserving the traditions of horse sports in Blowing Rock.”

The yearly funds raised go to various entities such as the Blowing Rock Fire Department, the Blowing Rock Rotary Club, the Appalachian State University Equestrian Club, various animal welfare organizations and more.

Claiming to be the oldest

See HORSE on page 36

Residential & Commercial


Christopher Robin, ridden by Jenna Ball, and Nutcracker’s Elsa, ridden by James D. Lawrence, performed in the ASB 5 Gaited Junior Exhibitor’s class on Sunday, June 9, at the L.M. Tate Showgrounds, which is located on the Broyhill Equestrian Preserve.

HORSE continued from page 35

continuous outdoor horse show in America, the foundation carries on with tradition by continuing with traditional horse sports but has also expanded to a resort that is open yearround.

The Broyhill Equestrian Preserve also offers both short- and long-term horse boarding, horse trailer parking, and overnight camper parking. It also has 17 barns with 450 stalls and an oval arena with a grandstand.

There are also 35 camper locations with power and water and 13 more camper sites with sewer hook-ups.

The preserve, which is located less than a mile from downtown Blowing Rock, is open from May to midNovember and features more than 20 miles of horse and carriage access to beautiful trails and roads through the Moses Cone Memorial Park.

In 1923, the first Blowing Rock Horse Show was held on Green Hill Road, behind the Green Park Hotel, according to The Broyhill Equestrian Preserve has been hosting the charity horse show since 1928.

The Blowing Rock Charity Horse Show has also earned a plethora of awards in recent years, most recently when it was nominated for the National Show Hunter Hall of Fame in March 2022.

The show was also either named or nominated for two accolades in 2021, which has included being selected as one of the top 10 shows in the country. The Blowing Rock Hunter Derby was named among the nation’s top six Derbies that same year. For additional information on upcoming events, visit the Blowing Rock Charity Horse Show website at or call them at (828) 2954700

Heartland High Hopes, ridden by Sydney Fortuner, rounds a turn in the Roadster Pony Junior/Limit Pony class on Sunday, June 9.
Nutcracker’s Elsa, ridden by James D. Lawrence, rides around a turn during the ASB 5 Gaited Junior Exhibitor’s class on Sunday, June 9.

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ANNIE CANNON GARDENS and the Glen Burney Trail

Located on Laurel Lane in Blowing Rock, the Annie Cannon Gardens are an almost secret venue that sits next to the trailhead of the Glen Burney Trail.

The Blowing Rock Rotary Club built a wooden stage frequently used by Blowing Rock School classes and their students in the Mid-2000s. A few years ago, several rotary members were instrumental in fixing some features that had gone into disrepair over the years.

The town of Blowing Rock describes Annie Cannon Gardens as a passive creekside recreation area with a walking trail through the garden.

Annie Cannon Gardens is open daily from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m., and parking is free.

Less than 100 yards from Main Street, the Glen Burney Trail features a 2.3-mile adventure). The trail drops more than 600 feet into the Johns River Gorge (a part of Catawba River Basin), following the path of New

Year’s Creek, so if venturing down toward the falls, you’d be climbing back out the way you came in.

The trail is broken into two segments, the first being a 320foot drop over what is roughly three-quarters of a mile down to the Cascades. The trail is rated as moderate on the way down and “harder” to get back up.

A small lake in Annie Cannon Park on the right side of Laurel Lane feeds New Years Creek.

Dogs are welcome, but must be on a leash. The trail is initially fairly easy, going to the first set of falls, but it becomes challenging after that. It is mostly downhill to the falls but then has steep inclines coming back. Visitors are recommended to wear shoes with good tread and watch their footing as there are a lot of exposed roots and rocks.

Hikers have been seriously injured on the trail before, and it is not uncommon for Blowing Rock Fire and Rescue to do a carry-out several times a year.

The trail, which passes through

native hardwood forests with views of three waterfalls, was first used by native travelers in the region to get up and down the mountain, then later it connected logging camps, according to historical records.

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Annie Cannon Gardens features a small outdoor stage that has featured many child productions. Just to the left of this photo is the trailhead of the Glen Burney Trail.
The Glen Burney Trail features three spectacular waterfalls, two of them approximately 45-feet and 55-feet.

MOSES CONE Memorial Park and Manor

Sitting near Blowing Rock along the Blue Ridge Parkway at Milepost 294 is the Moses Cone Memorial Park and Cone Manor residence.

Also known as Flat Top Manor for its 23-room Colonial Revival mansion, it is located on the parkway just outside Blowing Rock; it also provides access to the Fire Tower Overlook Trail — a four-mile round trip climb.

The country estate was developed during the 1890s and early 1900s by Moses and Bertha Cone, the son and daughter of German and Jewish immigrants.

Moses and his brother, Caesar, established one of North Carolina’s largest textile empires during the late 19th and early 20th centuries. According to reports, the brothers’ mills produced one-third of the world’s supply of denim fabric.

The Cone Family gave the National Park Service their farmhouse and more than 4,000 acres.

Flat Top Manor is open to the public for free from April to November (closed on Thanksgiving) and open daily from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

While there, visit the Appalachian Arts and Crafts

The Moses H. Cone Manor on the Blue Ridge Parkway is a great spot for a picnic or hiking right near Blowing Rock. The manor offers great views and a variety of hikes.

from page 40

Store, where members of the Southern Highland Craft Guild create each item in the shop. The Guild and the National Park Service have shared shop management since 1951.

The 4,000-acre park has 25 miles of well-maintained roads, including the Watkins and Black Bottom paths, the scenic Rich Mountain Carriage Trail and paths that round Bass Lake and Trout Lake.

The Carriage Run at Moses Cone Park offers horse-drawn carriage rides to the picturesque park. Groups of two to eight passengers will enjoy an approximately two-hour carriage ride along the 32 miles of trails at the estate, taking in the spectacular views.

Visitors may still see relics of the Cone Family’s vast, 10,000-tree apple orchards along these pathways, along with colorful rhododendrons, mountain laurels and other natural plants.

In addition to Milepost 294, there are also exits at 291.8 and 280.8.

A view from the porch of the Moses Cone Manor House.

BLOWING ROCK’S Art & History Corner

Tucked away on Ginny Stevens Lane is a historical cottage that is part of Blowing Rock’s Art and History Corner.

Considered one of North Carolina’s most prolific — and most famous — artists, Elliott Daingerfield built Edgewood Cottage as his first home in Blowing Rock, where he created some of his most precious paintings.

In addition to being an exceptionally talented and successful artist, Daingerfield was also quite generous with his time and talent, helping other artists learn and develop their skills.

Now, the Cottage is part of Blowing Rock’s “Culture Corner” as it resides across from St. Mary’s Episcopal and Rumple Memorial Presbyterian churches and next to the Blowing Rock Art and History Museum.

Today, Edgewood Cottage has a dual purpose. From May through mid-September, it is the host site of the Artists in Residence series produced by the Blowing Rock Historical Society. In the other months, it serves as a museum for historical society, professionally curated with exhibits that educate the community about Blowing Rock’s development and personalities through the ages.

The Artists in Residence program is special in itself, featuring one or more different artists every week. Those artists and artisans selected to exhibit their pieces and crafts stay on site from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. every day of their assigned week to greet folks, explain what they do, answer questions, and even sell their work. Admission is free.

The schedule from July to September is as follows:

• July 1 to July 7: Earl Davis and Thomas Rowell

• July 8 to July 14: Ricky Evans and Bobbie Kelly

• July 15 to July 21: Frederick

Craig Franz and Gina Marrale

• July 22 to July 28: Susan March Payne and Lonnie Webster

• July 29 to Aug. 4: Jack Hamrick and Joann Pippin

• Aug. 5 to Aug. 11: Blue Ridge Fiber Guild and Alysa Cantor

• Aug. 12 to Aug. 18: Scott Ballard and Randi Robeson

• Aug. 19 to Aug. 25: Brad Gates and Lee Harper

• Aug. 26 to Sept. 1: Jim Magruder and Sue Wilders

• Sept. 2 to Sept. 8: Lucas Hundley and Crystal Hurt

More information on Edgewood Cottage — located at 115 Ginny Stevens Ln. — and the most up-to-date Artist in Residence schedule can be found at

A sculpture of impressionist artist Elliot Daingerfield in front of Edgewood Cottage.
Edgewood Cottage is a big part of Blowing Rock’s art and history corner.

SYMPHONY BY THE LAKE popular every year

Symphony by the Lake at Chetola returns to Blowing Rock this year on July 19. The central summer season event in Blowing Rock garners hundreds of attendees every year. Featuring The Symphony of the Mountains, it is set to be yet another cultural highlight for the community.

For 36 years, the Blowing Rock Chamber of Commerce has produced this unique musical experience for the community.

“It’s that once-a-year event that everyone looks forward to no matter what the age,” said Vice President of Business Development for the Blowing Rock Chamber of Commerce Cathy Barker. “It’s just a spectacular event that’s not matched

by anything else in the summer season. The fact that you can walk through that gate at a very minimal charge and bring your own food, beverage, blanket, and chairs and have a nice evening with food, fun, music, and fireworks, it’s amazing.”

Every year, the event features a new theme that patrons can incorporate into their costumes and tent decor. This year’s theme is “Live From


“We try to have a variety of styles of soloists with us,” said Music Director of Symphony of the Mountains Cornelia Laemmli Orth.

Ray Cornelius Smith is the tenor and soloist accompanying the symphony at this year’s event.

“Ray is from Big Stone Gap,

Symphony by the Lake is a fun event that takes over the area near Chetola Lake every year.
The crowd at a past Symphony by the Lake.

LAKE continued from page 44

Virginia, and now lives in Vienna and sings in big opera houses around Europe,” Orth said. “He is very special because, in addition to all of the opera stuff, he also loves country music. He has this voice that allows him to do many different styles, which, of course, is what I want to do for this program.”

“This will be my third year, I always look forward to seeing how our tent patrons take the theme and run with it,” Barker said. “About ⅓ of them will enter a decorating contest for their tents and it’s always amazing to me how they dress up their costumes and they decorate their tents.”

The Symphony of the Mountains began in 1946 as a community orchestra consisting of 27 musicians, and at the time was called the Kingsport Symphony Orchestra. During the 1980s and 90s, the

orchestra grew and expanded its outreach, and in 1998, the symphony board added to the long-range plans the goal of becoming an orchestra for the entire Northeast Tennessee and Southwest Virginia region.

In 2003, the symphony changed its name to The Symphony of the Mountains. Today it is a fully professional regional orchestra consisting of more than 70 professional musicians and performs in Tennessee, Virginia, and North Carolina.

“It’s our favorite concert of the year. It’s gorgeous, and the atmosphere is absolutely spectacular,” Orth said. “The Blowing Rock Chamber of Commerce and Chetola Resort takes such good care of the orchestra and the soloists. We are so proud and honored that we are a part of this spectacular event.”


moving forward to connect Blowing Rock and Boone

Segments of the Middle Fork Greenway in Blowing Rock, a planned 6.5-mile multi-use recreational trail connecting Blowing Rock and Boone, are expected to begin construction this summer.

While no definitive timeline for the greenway completion is available, Blue Ridge Conservancy and its partners hope to begin the construction bid process in 2024 on two out of three segments in Blowing Rock, including a section near Tweetsie Railroad.

Two miles of greenway trail are open for public use, and 2 miles are in the design process and engineering phase. Another 2 miles are being

evaluated for possible routes.

“A segment of the greenway will be constructed near Tweetsie Railroad that includes an underpass under Hwy 321, a bridge over the Middle Fork New River and greenway trail,” said Middle Fork Greenway Project Director Wendy Patoprsty.

Organizers will host a ribbon cutting and check drop-off party in August to celebrate the completion of the Underpass Connector at Tweetsie Railroad. Once completed, this segment can be accessed off of Niley Cook Road, the 321 Trailhead by Birdies Coffee Camper and Sterling

See GREENWAY on page 48

Providing the High Country With Oriental Rugs for 105 Years!

Once complete, the Middle Fork Greenway will connect Boone and Blowing Rock.

GREENWAY continued from page 47

Creek Park.

In addition to the greenway trail, three pocket parks and two trailheads have been completed in the corridor. The completed parks and trailheads are Sterling Creek Park, Payne Branch Park, Goldmine Branch Park, the Blowing Rock trailhead and the Trailhead on 321. These areas include parking lots, picnic areas, benches and informational signs.

In addition to amenities, the project has partnered with the Watauga County Arts Council to add two sculptures to the greenway.

“The goal is to have additional sculpture, mosaics and murals all throughout the completed segments of the trail,” said Patoprsty.

“Round Up for the Greenway,” an annual fundraiser for the project since 2018, is in July. During the

month-long fundraiser, businesses and individuals can donate to the greenway. This year, an anonymous donor will match every dollar donated up to $200,000.

“This $400,000 will match a state grant to triple every dollar to the greenway,” said Patoprsty.

The project also plans to use funding secured by the state in the development and construction process.

“I was glad to secure $2 million in state funding for the construction of the Middle Fork Greenway,” Rep. Ray Pickett said in a previous press release.

“The progress made on this project is a testament to the collaborative efforts of state and local partners, especially the fine folks at the Blue Ridge Conservancy.”

For more information about the project and the “Round Up for the Greenway” fundraiser, visit

The trailhead of the Middle Fork Greenway in Blowing Rock.


Free cultural enrichment for all

The Blowing Rock Art & History Museum (BRAHM), located at 159 Ginny Stevens Ln., is a free museum that showcases American art, history, and Appalachian culture with exhibits, classes, tours, and events throughout the year.

The 25,000-square-foot Blowing Rock Art and History Museum, known as BRAHM, opened its doors on Oct. 1, 2011. BRAHM provides cultural enrichment by promoting the arts and Southern Appalachian heritage and history through educational programs, exhibitions, and activities. The permanent collection of more than 600 objects includes works by Elliott Daingerfield, Maud Gatewood, Elizabeth Bradford, Mark Hewitt, and other American impressionist and post-impressionist artists. Open year-round, 24,000 visitors are welcomed free of charge to experience 25 changing exhibitions. BRAHM also has an outreach education program that encourages arts education in local schools, daycares, and senior centers, according to the museum.

BRAHM’s welcome page states, “At BRAHM, we build relationships between the visitors to the museum and artists of great talent and renown, to the voices of our region’s rich heritage, and to our community. We connect people to the history and heritage of the Southern Appalachian region and enrich their appreciation of this region. BRAHM allows intimate exploration of both art and history to those who visit our museum.”

BRAHM is open to the public, free

of charge, Tuesdays through Saturdays from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., Thursdays from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., and May 1 through Oct. 31, Sundays from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

In May, the museum celebrated the purchase of the land that is the site of the Museum from the Town of Blowing Rock, which was made possible by a gift from an anonymous donor. Before the purchase of the land, BRAHM owned its building, and the Town of Blowing Rock owned the land and leased it the Museum.

The gift to purchase the land was given in honor of BRAHM’s previous executive director, Lee Carol Giduz, who led BRAHM through a period of growth and evolution as its executive director from 2015 through 2022.

Stephan Dragisic has been BRAHM’s Teresa & Don Caine Executive Director since July 2023.

In addition to a Bachelor of Arts with a major in history from High Point University, Dragisic has a Certificate in Nonprofit Leadership Essentials from Wake Forest University. His career spans hotel management, tourism marketing, and leading the Advancement effort for the last thirteen years at Reynolda House Museum of American Art and Reynolda Gardens of Wake Forest University.


The museum has gallery attendants who are there to both protect the artworks and provide visitors with assistance. The museum asks that visitors stay 12 inches away from the artwork and that they do not touch the artwork or the cases.

See CULTURE on page 50

Previous BRAHM executive director Lee Carol Giduz and current Teresa & Don Caine Executive Director Stephan Dragisic stand in front of the plaque commemorating the museum purchasing the land it sits on from the town

Personal non-flash photography is encouraged in most special exhibitions and within BRAHM’s collection galleries unless otherwise noted. To see where photography is not permitted, look at signs and art work wall labels.

Food or drinks, including water and baby bottles, are not allowed in the museum’s galleries.

Free parking is available in the deck adjacent to BRAHM.

During the summer, BRAHM offers regular public guided tours as well as in-depth focus tours for members that are both led by our skilled team of knowledgeable docents.

The museum also offers year-round programs that are relevant to the culture and history of the region and range from lectures to film screenings to dance demonstrations, all featuring local experts.

To learn more about the museum and to check out their upcoming programs and exhibits, visit

The Blowing Rock Art & History Museum is located at 159 Ginny Stevens Ln. in Blowing Rock.


Blowing Rock can be busy, especially during the tourist season. But when you need a tranquil spot to read or have a moment of peace and quiet, there’s no better place than Broyhill Park and Mayview Lake. Walk the path and sidewalks, sit on the grass or in the gazebo. Maybe even dangle your feet in the water. Watch the ducks and geese, whether they splash about in frolic or glide over the smooth face of the water alone or in tandem. Have a picnic.

On the opening day of trout fishing weekend (the first weekend

in April, usually), you may find lots of fun and excitement during the Blowing Rock Trout Derby. Organizers have the lake stocked with fish for the “small fry” to catch. Some are even tagged and worth cash prizes. Catch a big one, and maybe win even more!

The Broyhill Park Gazebo can be rented for a fee. Visit www. government/parks-and-recreationand-landscaping/facility-rentals to learn more about how to rent it for an event.

PLACE on page 52

The Gazebo at Broyhill Park features multiple concerts throughout the year.
Mayview Lake is a quiet, tranquil spot to relax, not very far from the hustle and bustle of Main Street.

Town of Blowing Rock LEADERS

Every town needs strong leadership to function well, and Blowing Rock is no exception.

According to the town, Blowing Rock operates under the Council-Manager form of Government. The registered voters of the town elect the town council, and the council then chooses a full-time manager whose duties are comparable to those of a business corporation’s general manager. Mayoral elections are held every two years, and the five council members are elected to four-year overlapping terms. These elections are nonpartisan and are held in odd-numbered years.

The Town Council meets on the second Tuesday of the month in the Council Chambers at Town Hall, 1036 Main Street. It also meets in special sessions when necessary.

According to the town, the function of the council is:

(1) adopt and amend town ordinances and resolutions;

(2) determine Town policies and levels of service;

(3) determine how the money in the budget is to be raised and for what purposes it is to be spent;

(4) determine what Town taxes are to be levied and set the tax rate for ad valorem taxes;

(5) approve contracts and agreements;

(6) appoint citizens to various Boards and Committees; and

(7) represent the Municipality as its leadership in all areas.

More information on Blowing Rock’s form of government can be found at

Elected Officials Contact Information

Mayor Charlie Sellers: mayor@

Mayor Pro-Tem Doug Matheson:

Councilwoman Cat Perry: cperry@

Councilman David Harwood:

Councilwoman Melissa Pickett:

Councilman “Pier” Pete Gherini:


Blowing Rock Town Manager Shane Fox has been in his position — on paper — for less than a year after he started in May 2024. That doesn’t quite give the full picture, though, as Fox returned after a year away when he was hired as Alexander County’s manager. Fox and his family moved to Blowing Rock in 2019, during which he was town manager until his departure last year when he accepted the role of Alexander County’s county manager. Fox said that the position in Alexander County was a great opportunity, and he is very thankful for it, but he missed Blowing Rock’s small-town feel and the connection that comes with it.

“One of the best things about Blowing Rock is that you get to know all of your citizens, you get to know your stakeholders, and they get to know you,” Fox said. “They come directly to you, or they lean on you for your advice and your ability to help them through problems and finding solutions. I missed that hands-on approach. I would say the difference, and one of the biggest reasons I wanted to come back, is just being able to be a part of the solution.”

According to the town, the town manager serves as the chief administrative officer of Blowing Rock and is responsible for carrying out the policies and laws adopted by the town council. As Chief Administrative Officer, the town manager is empowered to make all personnel appointments,

supervise the work of all administrative department heads and employees, enforce the laws and ordinances of the town, supervise the preparation of the annual operating budget for council approval, and conduct the day-to-day business of the town.

The town manager attends all meetings of the council with the right to take part in discussions but without the right

to vote and is responsible for making recommendations to the Council as he or she may deem necessary or expedient for the benefit of the public, according to the town of Blowing Rock. For more information on the town of Blowing Rock, visit www.


Town of Blowing Rock LEADERS


MARTIN HOUSE FINE ART GALLERY brings beautiful artwork to Blowing Rock

Mike Gaydon opened the Martin House Fine Art Gallery in February of 2017, and the venue brings a lot of culture to downtown Blowing Rock.

The Martin House is located at 1098 Main St., next to the town park. The Gallery can be reached by phone (828-963-2720) or by email at

To learn more about it, go online to

Artists who populate the Martin House with their work include Alice Williams, Elizabeth Robbins, Chris Bell, Lindsay Carroll, Amy Dixon, Howard Friesland, Larry Horowitz, John Mac Kah, Peter Bro ate, Anita Lewis, Lori McNee, Tommy Mitchell, Vera Oxley, Murray Parker, Tanvi Pathare, Hillary Scott, Erica Arcudi, George Stone, Ljubica Podhraski, Laura Espinosa, Rebecca King Hawkinson, Jill McGannon, Patrick McGannon, Eric Santoli, Kevin Beck and Ralph James.

In addition to hosting a variety of artists, the Martin House also brings in gifted musicians, like violinist Katherine V. Gilger, who performed in the Martin House on June 11.

Williams says it’s an honor to be among the “many talented artists” Gaydon has assembled.

The Martin House Gallery offers paintings that range in size from 4x6 up to 24x24 inches.

The Martin House specializes in “showcasing the work of emerging and established artists from around the world. Our mission is to provide a platform for artists to share their unique visions and connect with art lovers and collectors alike. We strive to create an environment where art lovers can come to discover new artists and find their next favorite piece.

“… Our knowledgeable staff is always on hand to answer any questions and assist you in finding the perfect piece for your collection.”

Bell, an accomplished artist who lives in Franklin, regularly makes the drive to Blowing Rock to help host a reception or create art in front of patrons. Bell made himself available at the Mountain House on June 1.

The Martin House, which was built in 1870, is one of the oldest buildings in Blowing Rock, according to theclio. com/entry/67082; it was built for residency but was converted into a boarding house in the 1880s. The House was nearly doubled in size in 1923 when nine rooms were added. In addition to dabbling in retail, the Martin House

remained a boarding house until the 1970s. The House is now home to seven retail businesses, according to theclio. com/entry/67082.

There are 12 shops at the Main Martin House and the adjacent courtyard, according to

The Martin House is recognized by the Blowing Rock Historical Society

as one of 40 Historical Markers in and around Blowing Rock, according to

For more details about the Martin House, go to A2oo/martin-house-gallery, www. or martinhousegallery/

The Mountain House Gallery is located on Main Street in Blowing Rock.
Chris Bell, left, explains to Martin House Gallery proprietor Michael Gaydon some of the techniques he uses to achieve the level of detail in one of his oil paintings of landscapes.
Katherine V. Gilger: Violinist Katherine V. Gilger performed at the Martin House in June.

WINTERFEST: Blowing Rock’s biggest event

In late January, during the slow winter season, Blowing Rock comes alive with one of the biggest events of the year: WinterFest.

“WinterFest is something we all look forward to during the cold days in January here in Blowing Rock! It is such a unique opportunity to be a part of this event in this amazing and beautiful town in the mountains,” said 2024 event coordinator John Goheen. “It really is an experience that can not be replicated in other places. With the whole town coming together to celebrate winter, you can’t help but fall in love with the charm of this wonderful community. As we like to say, ‘Don’t hibernate, celebrate!’”

Back in 1997, a group of businesses led by Jimmy Crippen, owner of Crippen’s Restaurant and Country Inn, came together to see if they could do something about the lack of business activity in the dead of winter. Realtors, restaurateurs, hoteliers, and retailers all worked to create a festival the last week of January that would celebrate winter, encourage locals to come out of hibernation, and stimulate the economy, all while providing opportunities for area nonprofits to benefit from the events. That idea has become one of the biggest events in Blowing Rock each year, bringing thousands of people to town.

Several Blowing Rock WinterFest events have become highly anticipated, like the Polar Bear Plunge at Chetola Lake. Hundreds of spectators gather to watch folks in zany costumes take

the plunge! Many are plunging to raise awareness and funds for their favorite local nonprofit. Plunge registration is open to anyone who wants to take a dip in the icy water. Those who prefer to stay dry in the chilly temperatures can join in to help countdown participants from the lakeside fire pit. Spectator admission is free.

At the 2024 event, a record 140 community members took the plunge. Those who took the dive included App State quarterback Joey Aguila — who said the Polar Bear Plunge was worse than facing Georgia Southern — and 89-year-old Joan Hearn, who has only missed one Polar Bear Plunge in 25 years.

As for the coveted Golden Plunger Award, The Speckled Trout Outfitters won in 2024 for the second year in a row.

Other events are just as popular but not as cold. The ice carving demonstrations offer a unique view of a beautiful art form as sculptors carve ice right before you.

The famous Rotary Chilly Chili allows attendees to eat tasty chili while giving money to good causes.

There’s even a place for dogs with the WinterPaws event, which was back in 2024 after a few years of hiatus. Not only did attendees get to watch their furry friends compete in various competitions, but they also raised money for the Hunger and Health Coalition.

Each year, the event is presented by the Blowing Rock Chamber of Commerce and other sponsors in the community.

The 2025 event will take place Jan. 23-26. Visit for more information.

The Ice Carving demonstrations also put on a show at WinterFest.
The Chilly Chili Cook Off is another popular and yummy event.

ROBBINS POOL A place to stay cool

The Grover Robbins Swimming Pool does more than catch the eye — it also cools body, mind and soul.

Open to the public, the swimming complex is a popular place, especially for the younger set, on hot summer days. It is located at 173 Lakeside Drive.

The smaller, older pool was closed and renovated, with the new complex opening in time for the summer season in 2015. The Robbins pool draws enthusiasts — young and old alike — to cool off.

The Robbin’s Pool at Broyhill Park is the only outdoor public-use swimming pool in Watauga County. The facility includes one large multi-use pool and a smaller wading pool. The pools are heated. The pool facility also includes shower and dressing facilities, restrooms, and a concession area with snack and drink machines, according to Blowing Rock Parks and Recreation.

Hours of the pool are noon to 8:30 p.m.

The Grover Robbins Swimming Complex in Blowing Rock is a great place to stay cool in the summer heat.
The Robbins Pool in Blowing Rock at sunset.


The Blowing Rock has been part of Watauga’s history since 1889. Blowing Rock has changed through the years as the town grows and the years pass. Check out some photos showing life as shown in previous editions of the Watauga Democrat and Blowing Rocket.

See MORE PHOTOS on page 63

Several Hands were shaken and backs were patted as a 12.8-mile segment of the Mountains-to-Sea Trail connecting Blowing

edition of the Watauga Democrat.

Pictures of the opening of Trout Lake in Blowing Rock taken by Parkway Ranger Edwin J. Elmore as seen in the April 14,1960, edition of the Watauga Democrat.
Rev. George Stenhouse tests the pitch of the tiny pipes of of a new and expensive organ donated to St. Mary’s in 1973 as seen in the archives of the Blowing Rocket.
Russell Hall and Virginia Stacks, right, sell then-Blowing Rock Mayor Troy Garrison, left, the first ticket to the Blowing Rock Charity Horse Show, as shown in the July 26, 1976, edition of the Watauga Democrat.
Concertgoers line up outside of P.B. Scott’s Music Hall in Blowing Rock. The music venue hosted local, regional and national acts from 1976-1983.

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