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my BLOWING hometown



scenic beauty and gracious, comfortable mountain living

Retail ∙ Entertainment ∙ Restaurants ∙ Events ∙ Important Numbers Utilities ∙ The Chamber of Commerce ∙ Civic Groups and Much More!

Supplement to

Blowing Rock My Hometown

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June 2013

Main Street and Blowing Rock Memorial Park are the hub of activity for the town and its visitors.

Photos by Jeff Eason

Welcome to Blowing Rock! As Mayor of Blowing Rock, Rock it is my pleasure to welcome and thank you for choosing our lovely village as your vacation destination or maybe even your new address. Prepare yourself to enjoy fine dining, unique shopping, superior accommodaJ.B. LAWRENCE tions and year-’round activities for everyone in your family. Our state-of-the-art Blowing Rock Art and History Museum is a must see to fully appreciate the great history of our town.

The Ensemble Stage Company provides professional theater for your enjoyment. Whether taking advantage of the many things to see and do, or just sitting and letting the beauty of the mountains of Western North Carolina sink in, our hope is that you will find the beauty and charm that make Blowing Rock the special place it is. Once again, on behalf of the citizens and merchants of Blowing Rock we welcome you to enjoy our piece of heaven. Sincerely, J. B. Lawrence Mayor

The rental boats at Julian Price Park Lake.

About the cover The cover photo is by Todd Bush and depicts life on Main Street during a typical Blowing Rock summer. Todd Bush is a professional studio and location photographer whose work can be found at

June 2013

Blowing Rock My Hometown

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Blowing Rock My Hometown

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June 2013

Blowing Rock, why it’s special BY GINNY STEVENS Blowing Rock Historical Society


hen ever I am working at the 1888 Museum or Edgewood Cottage, I find that our guests want to know what it’s like to live in Blowing Rock, which has made be think about all the components that have filled my life since we bought our house here in 1985. There are many pieces of that puzzle. They all meld to make our choice of Blowing Rock for our retirement years the best of all the options. We really enjoy the deer and turkeys that come through the yard daily, which will always be a distinctive pleasure of living here. First of all, the village and the surrounding mountains are not only beautiful to behold, but a nurturing place to call home. The beautiful scenery that surrounds us daily is an inspiration, both visually and emotionally. Winters in the snow are idyllic, with the exception of ice storms, and that makes it easy to stay home, snuggle in and read a good book. Snow is not usually a constraint to venturing out, as our road crew comes to plow at 6:30 a.m. and is pouring salt on the roads by 7:30 a.m. in our neighborhood, making the roads quite accessible … we do have four-wheel drive on both cars, however. Spring and fall are both colorful, with perfect temperatures, and we await the blooming jonquils, peonies, iris and other harbingers of spring, or the colorful leaves and crisp breezes of autumn. Summers have always filled the village with guests who come to the delightful 75-85 degree temperatures, and the attendant activities outside: swimming, hiking, exploring, tennis, golf and the special events put on by the variety of organizations in town as well as chamber of commerce, Horse Show Board, House and Garden tours, Blowing Rock Art and History Museum and Blowing Rock Historical Society events as well as the Blowing Rock Foundation and Rotary activities. The churches also play a very important role in this area, as does the town parks and recreation department. There seem to be far too many things to attend, but there are a greatly increased number of people to host and entertain and the community arises to meet the need. All of these activities require a guiding hand and much camaraderie in gathering to plan and present these activities, which leads me to talk about the people of our town, who work exceptionally hard to make the kind of activities that bring

people to the village — as we are all very much aware that our economy is dependant upon bringing guests and visitors to the village. Thousands of volunteer hours are invested by the residents of Blowing Rock in the beautification of town and the organization and planning of activities presented by the village, to appeal to residents and visitors. With all the pleasures of interesting shopping and eating in the exciting village restaurants, there is more than ample opportunity to enjoy the fellowship and leadership of our permanent residents. In the 1989 town survey, 88 percent of the population stated that their primary interest was to keep the historic character of the village, and we are still working hard to maintain that goal. We have numerous people to applaud in that effort, Bill Brooks and Dean Bullis who own three stores on Main Street, and Rob Dyer and Lisa Stripling who own the Inn at Ragged Garden and have recently bought the Maple Lodge and the original children’s clinic on south Main Street — all historic buildings that have been saved by their selective choices. Many of the shop owners, and that includes places like the Village Market (which serves up gasoline, as well as great sandwiches, wine and selected specialty items.), choose merchandise that appeals to our visitors. The Blowing Rock Country Club has a full schedule of activities from May to October for its membership, and hosts many of the local organizations’ benefits and special events throughout the summer. This is a beautiful and popular venue for extraordinary fundraisers, hosted by the Blowing Rock Hospital and others who help support the community. The staff at town hall, under the leadership of town manager, Scott Hildebran, has a special place in the hearts of permanent residents, as they are ever ready to assist and problem-solve. Eric Brown, our chief of police, and his well-trained officers have a “can-do” attitude, as does the entire fire department and emergency crew, with Kent Graham at the head. Each fall we have the Hometown Harvest Supper for the entire village in November, where we gather for fellowship and the chance to know each other a little bit better. This is popular celebration will be November 17, 2013 for the sixth time at the fire station. Our mayor, J.B. Lawrence, and wife, Lynn, lead our elected officials, and the board of five commissioners are responsible for the town’s wellbeing, and the boards under their tutelage, these CONTINUED ON PAGE 6

Art in the Park, now in its 52nd year, draws thousands of art lovers to Blowing Rock each summer.

Photo by Jeff Eason

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Blowing Rock My Hometown

June 2013


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Blowing Rock My Hometown

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June 2013

AW, SHUCKS: Blowing Rock keeps winning awards BY JEFF EASON


lowing Rock doesn’t fish for compliments. It just lands them … and lots of them. It seems as if every time we pick up the phone, it’s some national or state organization calling to congratulate us on some recent award or accolade that has been bestowed upon Blowing Rock. Here’s a short list (compiled from a much longer list) of recent awards and honors Blowing Rock has received from folks who don’t even live here. Blowing Rock was named: • North Carolina’s Prettiest Small Town by a panel of Southeastern travel journalists, besting places such as South Port and Southern Pines. • One of America’s Prettiest Winter Towns by Travel+Leisure magazine. • Favorite Mountain Destination by Our State magazine. • Best Mountain Town by Blue Ridge Country magazine. • Best Day Trip by The Winston-Salem Journal. • Platinum award for Art in the Park/Best Arts/ crafts Show, Gold award for Best Main Street and Silver awards for Best Arts Town and Best Shopping in the 2013 Blue Ridge Country’s “Best of the Mountains” readers poll. Winners were selected from candidates in Virginia, North Carolina, Tennessee, West Virginia, Georgia, South Carolina and Alabama. • A 2013 “Great Places in North Carolina” Award from the North Carolina Chapter of the American Planning Association for Blowing Rock’s Main Street area.

Blowing Rock was named one of America’s Prettiest Winter Towns by Travel+Leisure magazine.

The Hometown Harvest, held each November, is Blowing Rock’s largest potluck supper.

Photo by Jeff Eason


elected officials have a difficult job of pleasing everyone all the time, and for the most part have done an excellent job of keeping the town alive and well. We have a number of special celebrations around the Christmas holidays, with a parade the Saturday after Thanksgiving, and the lighting of the huge tree in front of town hall. (I forgot to mention the Independence Day parade, a typical Norman Rockwell celebration of our town, with bicycles, horses, floats and much merriment including our town clown, Bobby Ball). There is certainly more to do than one could possibly do alone, and I hasten to mention the kindness of our citizenry, now that I am using a cane, and have a constant barrage of folks asking to help me load things in my Photo by Jeff Eason car, or assist in some manner. I

know that would not be the case in a larger location, and am ever grateful that so many people stop to assist me, and feel this may be unique to the High Country and Blowing Rock. Living here is the best of all worlds as far as my husband and I are concerned. We have been nurtured and loved and found so many treasured memories that are unique to Blowing Rock, its people, and the beautiful mountains that we feel we could have no better place to live; we count our blessings daily and know that we have made the best choice to share this “Shangri-la” with all of the other residents who enjoy this paradise with us. Editor’s note: Ginny Stevens is an active member of the Blowing Rock Historical Society and helps coordinate the Artists in Residence series at Edgewood Cottage.

Blowing Rock My Hometown

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Clubs, Nonprofits and Civic Organizations (All phone numbers are in the 828 area code, except where noted). • American Red Cross (Watauga County Chapter) 264-8226 • Appalachian Women’s Fund 264-4002 • Blowing Rock C.A.R.E.S (Children Are Really Extra Special) • Blowing Rock Chamber of Commerce 295-7851 • Blowing Rock Community Foundation 295-3048 • Blowing Rock Historical Society 295-6114 • Blowing Rock Art and History Museum 295-9099 • Boy Scout Troop 101 • Girl Scout Troop 4 • Blowing Rock School PTO • Blowing Rock Garden Club • Blowing Rock Community Library 295-7000 • Blowing Rock Jazz Society (423) 727-0795

• Blowing Rock Women’s Club 295-7656 • Blue Ridge Parkway Foundation (336) 721-0260 • High Country United Way 265-2111 • Blowing Rock American Legion • Middle Fork Greenway Association 264-3754 • Rotary Club of Blowing Rock • Watauga Humane Society 264-7865 • Dylan’s Hearts (336) 299-6392 • O.A.S.I.S. (Opposing Abuse with Shelter, Information and Service) 264-1532 • Habitat for Humanity 268-9545 • Watauga Arts Council 264-1789 • Western Youth Network 264-51274 • Wine to Water 355-9655 • Samaritan’s Purse 262-1980

Fiber artist Ineke Thomas displays quilt art as part of last year’s Artist in Residency series at Edgewood Cottage.

Photo by Jeff Eason

Historic Valle Crucis across from The Mast General Store

The 1861 Farmhouse Restaurant & Winery Valle Crucis

Unforgettable Meals...Award-Winning Wines...Casual Outdoor Dining Available



Blowing Rock My Hometown

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June 2013

Upturn. Downturn. Your Turn.

Some things never change. You watched while frenzied buyers purchased elsewhere at historic highs. You waited while the market inevitably made corrections. Through it all, the mountains never changed. And the things that drew over 500 families to Echota remained the

133 Echota Parkway, Boone, NC 800.333.7601

same. Timeless mountain views. Exceptional value. Debt-free, resort-style amenities

in the heart of the High Country. You watched. You waited. And now it’s your turn to

Call or stop in today to arrange a tour.

enjoy Echota. Beautiful today. Beautiful tomorrow.






Blowing Rock My Hometown

June 2013

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Important Numbers In Blowing l i Rock, k d don’t ’ b be too surprised i d if you ask k for f the h phone h number b for f a person or business and the reply is only four digits long. That’s because just about every single land-line number in the town begins with “295.” Here’s a quick guide to some of the numbers you might need to find out what’s going on in town. All of them are in the 828 area code, unless otherwise noted:

Any Emergency Blowing Rock Police Dept. (non-emergency) Blowing Rock Fire and Rescue (non-emergency) Blowing Rock Town Hall Planning and Inspections Grover Robbins Pool Complex Parks and Recreation Blowing Rock School The Blowing Rocket Newspaper Blowing Rock Hospital Village Pharmacy U.S. 321 Widening Hotline High Country Council of Governments High Country Workforce Development Board Blue Ridge Electric Membership Corporation Appalachian Energy Blue Ridge Energies Carolina West Wireless Charter Business Skyline Membership Corporation Wireless Center/Verizon Wireless Blowing Rock Post Office

911 295-5212 295-5218 295-5200 295-5240 295-5224 295-5222 295-3204 295-7522 295-3136 295-3482 964-3260 265-5434 265-5434 264-8894 295-9563 264-3521 (336) 973-5000 (800) 314-7195 963-1350 406-4040 295-3589

TripAdvisor 2013 American’s Top 25 Small Hotels

Voted #2 “Destination Spa in the World” 2011 World’s Best Awards by Travel + Leaisure Magazine

Spa Finder 2010 Readers’ Choice Awards Best Boutique Hotel, Best for Romance, Best for Cuisine, Best for Hiking

Come to our house for dinner. – ROWLAND’S SUMMER MENU – STARTERS Garden Salad Bonnie's Heirloom Tomato Salad Baby Romaine Salad Soup Du Jour Eggplant Prawns Ora King Salmon Sashimi

ENTREES Grilled Beef Tenderloin Broiled Rack of Lamb Pork Tenderloin Grilled Lobster Pan Roasted Salmon Roasted Chicken and Potato Gnocchi (Vegetarian option available)

Sea Bass Chef’s Tasting of Summer Vegetables

DESSERTS Chocolate Torte Peaches and Cream Lemon Cake Chocolate Earth Naner Puddin Berry Crisp

Rowland's Wine Tastings Join us every Wednesday at the Library Bar from 5:30pm - 6:30pm for a complimentary public tasting of fine boutique wines and hors d'oeuvres. No reservations are required. Follow 'Friends of Westglow Resort & Spa' on facebook to keep up to date on what wines and winemakers we'll be featuring each week!

Blowing Rock Fire and Rescue are standing by 24 hours a day should the need arise.

Photo by Jeff Eason

828.295.4463 | WESTGLOW.COM

828.295.5141 | BLOWING ROCK

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Blowing Rock My Hometown

Blowing Rock Voted Best Real Estate Office in Watauga County!



June 2013

Since 1991, Blowing Rock Properties has been helping folks turn their dreams of owning mountain property into a reality. Our experienced, top producing agents welcome your inquiries and the opportunity to show you what makes our town so special!

Blowing Rock My Hometown

June 2013

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FOUR SEASONS OF FUN Blowing Rock offers something to do all year long BY JEFF EASON


or more than a century, Blowing Rock has been a popular summer destination for folks looking to escape the heat of places such as Charlotte, Atlanta and pretty much all of Florida. But for many of us, Blowing Rock is our home all year ‘round. You might think that when our summer visitors leave in the autumn that things slow down around here. Well, it’s true that we have a little less traffic on the highways during the winter months. But there are still lots of special events to enjoy. In fact, there is something going on every month of the year in Blowing Rock.


Blowing Rock celebrates the dead of winter each year with a four-day celebration known as Winterfest. With the motto of “Don’t hibernate, celebrate!” Winterfest is a way of sharing our unique position in the Southeast as a skiing and snowboarding destination, coupled with lots of special events. Highlights of Winterfest are the Polar Plunge into Chetola Lake, the Chili Challenge Cook-off, WinterFeast, silent auction, ice carving demonstrations, wine auction and tastings, the Winterpaws dog show, pancake breakfast, Little Miss and Master Winterfest Pageant, hay rides, bonfires and the Winterfashions runway show. Winterfest is presented each year by the Blowing Rock Chamber of Commerce.

February Every year in February, alumni from the old Blowing Rock High School gather together for a pot luck supper and reunion. Blowing Rock High School, at the site of the current Blowing Rock Elementary School, was consolidated with other schools in the county in 1965 when Watauga High School opened in Boone.


On March 11 each year, the Town of Blowing Rock celebrates its birthday. In 2014, the town will mark its 123rd year in existence. To celebrate the occasion, folks will gather at Blowing Rock Town Hall for punch and cake. It is also the occasion where we announce the new set of historic

The Blowing Rock Charity Horse Show is the longest running event of its kind in the eastern half of the United States.

Photo by Jeff Eason markers that will be placed at historic sites, businesses and houses.

April Trout season in North Carolina begins on the first weekend in April, and Blowing Rock kicks off the season with its annual Trout Derby. The Blowing Rock American Legion Hall becomes Trout Derby Central and is the place where fish are measured and prizes and trophies are handed out. Younger anglers can take advantage of the newly stocked waters of Broyhill Lake, while older fishers can try to land trout from the Middle Fork of the New River and other hot fishing spots. In mid-April, Blowing Rock hosts the annual Blue Ridge Wine and Food Festival. A giant tent is erected at the parking lot at Maple Street (between The Best Cellar and the post office), and a number of special events are held there including Grillin’ and Chillin’ (live music, food and wine tastings) and the Grand Wine Tasting on Saturday. The Blue Ridge Wine and Food Festival also features “Uncork the Festival,” a

celebration of the first day of the festival, and winemakers’ dinners, wine seminars and cooking classes, and special appearances by the celebrities of wine and food TV shows. The Blue Ridge Wine and Food Festival is presented by the Blowing Rock Chamber of Commerce. Tweetsie Railroad and Wild West Theme Park has been entertaining families in the North Carolina High Country for more than a half-century. Each year in April, Tweetsie opens its gates for the season. The centerpiece of the theme park is the steam-powered locomotives that take riders on a 3.5-mile loop through the mountains where they travel back in time to see life in the old Wild West. Tweetsie also includes the Palace Saloon can-can show, amusement park, petting zoo, gem mine, clogging and bluegrass shows, and much more. Tweetsie is open from mid-April until the end of October. In April, the Blowing Rock Art and History Museum begins its monthly Third Thursday lecture series. Each month, BRAHM will host an artist, celebrity or ex-

pert in a particular field who will entertain and educate visitors to the museum. The Third Thursday lecture series runs through October.

May For many people and events, the month of May is the true beginning of the “busy” season. It marks the beginning of the Blowing Rock Chamber of Commerce’s weekly Farmers Market. The open air market takes place on Park Place next to Blowing Rock Memorial Park from 4 to 6 p.m. each Thursday. Art in the Park also begins in May. This monthly, juried art market is held from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. one Saturday per month through October. It is held on the parking deck next to the American Legion Hall and features approximately 90 arts and crafts booths. On the Friday of each Art in the Park weekend, restaurants and galleries along Sunset Drive hold what they call a “Sunset Stroll,” from 5:30 to 8 p.m. The event features new art exhibits, hors d’oeuvres and artist meet and greets. Also in May, the Inn at Ragged Gardens CONTINUED ON PAGE 14

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Blowing Rock My Hometown

June 2013

Blowing Rock My Hometown

June 2013

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Cool off in the water this summer

From Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day weekend, the Grover Robbins Swimming Complex in Blowing Rock is a central hub where families enjoy some fun in the sun, splash in the pool, and find out what’s going on in town that week.

Photo by Jeff Eason

Thank you High Country Community for trusting us with your business, and selecting us - for the second time - to be the 1st place recipient of the "Best of the Best" Home Builder Award.






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begins hosting its weekly music on the lawn series. Music lovers are invited to bring picnic blankets and lawn chairs to the front lawn and hear great live music from local artists such as the Harris Brothers and Soul Benefactor.

On Memorial Day Monday, U.S. military veterans, their families and supporters gather at Blowing Rock Memorial Park to honor fallen servicemen and servicewomen, those who paid the ultimate sacrifice. The service includes stories, patriotic songs including the “Star Spangled Banner” and the playing of “Taps.” At the entrance to the park is a plaque that honors all of the Blowing Rock servicemen who have died in battle.

June Now in its 90th year, the Blowing Rock Charity Horse Show is the longest continually running horse show in the eastern half of the country. The event takes place over three long weekends in the summer and includes a Saddlebred division and two Hunter and Jumper divisions. Held at the Blowing Rock Equestrian Preserve, the horse show is a must-see event for all horse lovers.

For 44 years, Jerry Burns served as editor of The Blowing Rocket. But he also served on numerous boards around town, participated in the Blowing Rock Community Theater, and was generally known as the town’s biggest cheerleader. On June 18, each year, Blowing Rock celebrates Jerry Burns Day. It takes place at Edgewood Cottage on Main Street and serves as a day of celebration and reflection on the families that helped build Blowing Rock into what it is today. The Blowing Rock Chamber of Commerce holds its annual picnic in June. It is a great way to meet the other members of the organization and taste some of the best homemade dishes to ever come out of a kitchen. June is Gardening Month in Blowing Rock, celebrated with several “Bloom in June” events. The highlight of “Bloom in June” is the annual Mile of Flowers and Garden Tour, sponsored by the Blowing Rock Garden Club. It takes visitors on a tour of some of the most beautiful private gardens in town, as well as showing them places such as Blowing Rock Memorial Park where the garden club’s handiwork can be found. For the past four out of five years, Blowing Rock has hosted the Oasis Shriners spring get-together. Representing the Shriners organizations in the 50 western counties of North Carolina, it is marked by dinner and strategy meetings. What most folks in Blowing Rock see, and love, is the Shriners parade that marches down Main Street. It features clowns, bands and more miniatur-

ized vehicles than you can possible imagine. The Shriners is an organization dedicated to raising money for their children’s hospitals.

ty on Thursday the Art and Antiques Show is Friday through Sunday at the museum on Chestnut Drive.

In June, the Blowing Rock Chamber of Commerce begins its monthly concerts in Blowing Rock Memorial Park. And the Monday Night Concert Series, hosted by Amy Marie Young, begins putting on shows at the gazebo at Broyhill Lake. Both series are free and open to the public.

The annual Blowing Rock Hospital Fashion Show and Luncheon serves as a fundraiser for the soon-to-be-constructed Appalachian Place at Chestnut Ridge. Operated by Appalachian Regional Healthcare System, the new facility will replace Blowing Rock Hospital. The fashion show and luncheon is held at the Blowing Rock Country Club and features local models striding down the runway wearing fashions from local clothiers. The event is held in early August each year.

July Spending the Fourth of July in Blowing Rock has become a family tradition for folks from all over the Southeast. That’s partly because of our small town charm, partly because of our “Norman Rockwell” style Independence Day parade and partly because that’s usually the hottest time of the year off the mountain. Highlights of our Fourth of July celebration include giant fireworks displays at the Green Park Inn, Tweetsie Railroad and Westglow Spa and Resort, the pre-parade festivities in Memorial Park (including horse shoe tournament), and a Fourth of July dance in the park. Another longtime tradition for visitors coming to Blowing Rock is to drive to Grandfather Mountain and see the animal habitats and the Mile High Swinging Bridge. Grandfather Mountain attracts tens of thousands during its four-day Highland Games and Gathering of the Scottish Clans in July. It is truly a celebration of all things Scottish with lots of dancing, music, demonstrations, crafts, and games of strength and skill. The annual Blowing Rock Tour of Homes is a chance to see some of the most gorgeous houses in the High Country. Some are historic, some are brand new, but they are all breathtaking. Sponsored by the St. Mary of the Hills Episcopal Church, the Tour of Homes is an annual fundraiser that raises money for a number of good causes around Blowing Rock. Simply put, the annual Symphony by the Lake at Chetola concert and fireworks show is one that should never be missed. Approximately 3,000 people attend the show each year and for the past several seasons it has been the Symphony of the Mountains from Kingsport, Tenn. playing classical music and popular favorites to the crowd. A number of businesses set up booths for the event and it is a great opportunity to meet the movers and shakers of the High Country. The event is presented by the Blowing Rock Chamber of Commerce at Chetola Resort.

August The Blowing Rock Art and History Museum’s annual Art and Antiques Show is a first class fundraiser for the museum. Art and antique dealers from all over the Southeast travel to Blowing Rock for this event. BRAHM opens the event with a preview par-

The Blowing Rock Community Foundation is a locally run organization that raises money for local nonprofits and for scholarships for college students from the Blowing Rock area. It hosts several fundraising events in August, including tennis and golf tournaments at Blowing Rock Country Club. For the past five years, it has also produced a variety lip synch show called “Groovy Nights.” “Groovy Nights” is a chance to see your friends and neighbors pretend to be the singing stars of yesteryear. The Rotary Club of Blowing Rock is responsible for a number of good works, including blood drives for the American Red Cross and raising money to restore the American Legion Building. In August, the Rotary Club puts on a live auction of a wide variety of items to help raise money for its ongoing projects.

September As the weather begins to cool, but before it gets too cold, Blowing Rock hosts the annual Mayview Madness 5-K Race and Fun Run in mid-September. The annual event attracts some of the best runners in the High Country and begins and ends in Blowing Rock. The Blowing Art and History Museum celebrates its birthday each year at the end of September. 2013 marks the second birthday of the new facility and will feature a celebration and Alexander Arts Lecture.

October October marks the last chance of the year to catch the Sunset Stroll, Art in the Park, Farmer’s Market, and Third Thursday lecture at BRAHM. Blowing Rock’s Halloween Festival, presented by Blowing Rock Parks and Rec, is fun for kids of all ages. It includes a monster and costume parade, trick-or-treating with the merchants of Downtown Blowing Rock, and a scavenger hunt down at Broyhill Lake.

June 2013 around Town Hall so that they will magically appear the following spring. On Veterans Day, local retired military personnel, their family and friends gather at the Blowing Rock School auditorium for songs, stories and a chance to socialize. Everyone is invited to attend. The Hometown Harvest Supper, held annually at the Blowing Rock Fire Department, is one of the area’s largest potluck dinners. Everyone brings a dish or two, plus canned food for the Hunger and Health Coalition. The meal is complemented by cake contests for adults and children. If snowmaking conditions are good, with crisp cool nights, Appalachian Ski Mountain will open prior to Thanksgiving. For more than 50 years skiers from all over the Southeast have been hitting the slopes of Appalachian Ski Mountain. The resort now features a terrain park, plenty of rental options, and a skating rink. The day after Thanksgiving, Blowing Rock celebrates Christmas in the Park and the annual Lighting of the Town ceremony. Folks from all over gather in Blowing Rock Memorial Park to drink hot chocolate and hot apple cider, sing Christmas carols and plan some holiday shopping with the downtown merchants. Chetola Resort’s annual Festival of Lights runs from Thanksgiving until WinterFest, at the end of January. The resort offers special holiday dinners, carriage rides around Chetola Lake and a visit with Santa Claus. This may be the most photographed area in the High Country for people looking to make a personalized Christmas card. Traditions Pottery and Bolick Pottery host an annual holiday kiln opening on the Saturday after Thanksgiving. Early in the morning, members of the extended Bolick family climb into the wood-fired kiln and empty it of its treasures. After each piece is cleaned and priced, the scramble is on to grab a perfect piece of pottery. The event also includes craft demonstrations, live music and traditional mountain food such as cornbread and pinto beans. On the Saturday after Thanksgiving, the Town of Blowing Rock hosts its annual Christmas parade down Main Street. The parade features dignitaries, floats, cloggers, marching bands and much more.



Former students from the old Blowing Rock High School hold an annual holiday party each year in December, as do members of the Blowing Rock Historical Society.

In early November, the Blowing Rock Appearance Advisory Commission gets together for its annual planting day. Bulbs are planted

Appalachian Ski Mountain annually hosts a torchlight skiing and fireworks display to celebrate New Year’s Eve.

June 2013

Blowing Rock My Hometown

Pickin’ in the pickin’ parlor

Patrick Williamson serenades diners at Woodlands Barbecue and Pickin’ Parlor on a rainy Saturday. For more than three decades, local musicians have found a friendly venue at Woodlands and a launching pad for many musical careers.

Always Great Savings! Also Featuring Henredon, Lane, Laneventure & Maitland-Smith

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Photo by Jeff Eason

OPEN 7 DAYS A WEEK Mon. - Sat. 10 AM - 6 PM Sunday 1 PM - 5 PM 8486 Valley Blvd. (Hwy 321) Blowing Rock • 828-295-0965

Blowing Rock My Hometown

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June 2013


Blowing Rock School takes advantage of wealth of local resources BY JEFF EASON


t’s one thing to claim that your town has good schools, it’s quite another thing to prove it. Last August, Blowing Rock School was named an Honor School of Excellence for the third consecutive year. It was the only school in Watauga County to receive the state’s highest award. Why does Blowing Rock School, which includes grades kindergarten through eighth, continually rank among the state’s best each year? The reasons are many, but it begins with teachers and staff who are bright, dedicated and eager to give students the tools to succeed in the classroom and in life. Class sizes are relatively small at Blowing Rock School, allowing plenty of opportunities for individualized instruction. The school also takes advantage of its proximity to Appalachian State University by utilizing ASU student teachers, who are in turn rewarded with valuable on-the-job training. During the summer months, many of Blowing Rock School’s students attend the Mountaineer Summer Reading Program, a collaboration between ASU Athletics and the university’s Reich College of Education. Speaking of reading, Blowing Rock School can lay claim as the place where the Operation Mama Gaye Book Program began. Blowing Rock School alumna Wendy Estes and Kim Hartley started the program several years back as a way of honoring their late mother, Gaye McDonald. Operation Mama Gaye holds events and raises money to make sure that every student in the school can purchase their own books. Now in its fifth year, Operation Mama Gaye has given more than 6,000 books to students in North Carolina and Alabama. Another resource that is unique to Blowing Rock School is its relationship with the Blowing Rock Art and History Museum (BRAHM). BRAHM’s Young at Art Program is an outreach program designed to augment the art curriculum of students from kindergarten through second grade at the school. Each class is treated to a monthly art class at the museum. In addition to the formal education the students receive at Blowing Rock School, they are also introduced to how volun-

This past spring, students at Blowing Rock School pose for a photograph to celebrate the Operation Mama Gaye Book Fair. For the past five years, Operation Mama Gaye has provided more than 5,000 books for students in North Carolina and Alabama.

Photo submitted teerism can be a positive force in their community. This past school year, 7th and 8th graders in the school’s Beta Club volunteered at the Watauga Humane Society. The school’s Junior Beta Club spent time this past spring cleaning up the Gwen Tyrie Memorial Garden, located in the center of the school. Tyrie was a Blowing Rock School third grade teacher who taught for 23 years before passing away in 2002. Ensemble Stage Company, the local professional theater company, regularly puts on its productions at the Blowing Rock School Auditorium. The company also works with the school to coordinate summer theater camps for children and anti-bullying plays during the school year. Blowing Rock School’s Parent Teacher Organization is one of the more active such groups in existence. They continually work with the school to ensure that resources are the best in the county and that event such as Spring Fling and the Halloween Festival run smoothly and provide plenty of fun for the kids. When students from Blowing Rock School eventually graduate from Watauga High School in Boone, they are eligible for the Blowing Rock Community Foundation’s scholarship program to help them attend colleges, universities and trade schools. For more information, call Blowing Rock School at (828) 295-3204.

Find the best agents in town at this address:


828-262-1836 2408 HWY. 105, BOONE, NC

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July 27 - September 24 AUTUMN:

September 28 - November 22 WINTER:


10360 Highway 105 South, 10 Miles South of Boone in the Grandfather Mt. Community • • 828-963-4288


Chestnut Grille

Real Food for Real People Casual Mountain Dining James Welch, Chef Serving Nightly Tuesday thru Sunday Divide Tavern Open Nightly at 5pm 9239 Valley Blvd Blowing Rock, NC 28605 | 828.414.9230

Classic Surrounding Modern Amenities

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June 2013

For more than a decade, the Blowing Rock Jazz Society has brought some of the best musicians in the Southeast to the mountains.

Photos by Jeff Eason

Small town, big town entertainment styles, Mountain Home Music performances are your best bet for finding the finest musicians in the worlds of bluegrass, country, gospel, old-time, folk and Celtic.



t seems as if there is always something to do in Blowing Rock, especially in the summer. A lot of talented folks end up in our village and are constantly looking for an audience.

Live music

Ensemble Stage

For the past five years, Ensemble Stage Company has been producing quality theater entertainment for all ages. This summer the company has five productions: “Searching for Eden,” “Mindgame,” “A Bench in the Sun,” “Bedside Manners” and “Vincent.” It will also present two children’s theatre productions: “Marmalade Gumdrops” and the world premiere of the new play “Isabella Propeller and the Magic Beanie,” which was written by Jonathan Graves and is set in Blowing Rock. Ensemble Stage presents its productions at the Blowing Rock School auditorium. Ensemble Stage also hosts children’s theater camps and kids shows on the weekends. This December, Ensemble Stage will present its fifth annual production of “Christmas in Blowing Rock,” a salute to the old TV Christmas specials hosted by Andy Williams and others. “Christmas in Blowing Rock” is a wonderful way to bring in the holidays with a couple hours of skits, dancing and holiday tunes.

Blowing Rock Jazz Society

For the past decade, the Blowing Rock Jazz Society has presented monthly “Second Sunday” concerts at the Meadow-

Mark Woodard stars in Laddy Sartin’s play ‘Catfish Moon’ presented by Blowing Rocks Ensemble Stage Company.

brook Inn. Pulling in talented acts from all over the Southeast, the BRJS concerts are a class act in a wonderful relaxing setting. You can also order food and drinks while you listen to pianos, saxes, bass and drums. Members of the Blowing Rock Jazz Society get to hear the shows for free.

Mountain Home Music Presented by musical host Joe Shannon, Mountain Home Music shows are presented on a regular basis at the Blowing Rock School auditorium. With an emphasis on regional musical

In Blowing Rock, you never know when somebody’s going to break out into song. But if that is too random and unpredictable for you, there are a number of surefire locales where you are bound to hear great music. Canyons of the Blue Ridge features live music on the weekends, usually starting around 10 p.m. The majority of the shows are free, but Bart occasionally books the big national act and charges a little bit at the door. You can also always count on Canyons for great live jazz music during its Sunday brunch. Woodlands Barbecue and Pickin’ Parlor is the perfect place to grab some grub and hear some live music. The upstairs of the restaurant features live music nightly, usually by some of the High Country’s best bluegrass and country musicians. More and more restaurants are adding live entertainment to their offerings, especially in the summer. Call ahead to find out when they are playing. The Blowing Rock Chamber of Commerce presents a summer concert series called Concerts in the Park. About once a month, you’ll find a musical act performing to an audience of about 100, filling the warm Sunday atmosphere with beautiful music. Another outdoor concert series uses Mondays instead of Sundays and Broyhill Park instead of Memorial Park. The Monday Night Concert Series, organized by Amy Marie Young, features a wide variety of acts performing at the gazebo next to Broyhill Lake, behind the Blowing Rock American Legion.

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Restaurants for every taste BY JEFF EASON

• Outback Steakhouse 295-6283 • Papa Joe’s Italian-American Restaurant 295-3239 • Restaurant G at Gideon Ridge 295-3664 • Rowland’s at Westglow Resort and Spa 295-4463 • Six Pence Pub 295-3155 • Speckled Trout Café and Oyster Bar 295-9819 • Storie Street Grille 295-7075 • Subway 295-7827 • The Table at Crestwood 263-9176 • Timberlake’s Restaurant at Chetola Resort 295-5505 • Twigs 295-5050 • The Village Café 295-3769 • Woodlands Barbecue and Pickin’ Parlor 295-3651


lowing Rock is famous for a lot of things, not least of which is our incredibly wide variety restaurants. If you are looking for fine dining with an elegant atmosphere, you have more choices than there are evenings in the week. If you are looking for a great burger or a deluxe pizza for the family, you can find it in one of the Blowing Rock restaurants. Here is a handy list of Blowing Rock restaurants and their phone numbers (all of which are in the 828 area code). • The Best Cellar 295-3466 • Bistro Roca 295-4008 • Blowing Rock Ale House and Inn 414-9254 • Canyons of the Blue Ridge 295-7661 • Cheeseburgers Grille 295-0211 • Chestnut Grille at the Green Park Inn 414-9230 • Divide Tavern and Restaurant 414-9230

Timberlake’s Restaurant at Chetola Resort opened last summer and has turned into a big hit among residents and visitors alike.

Photo by Jeff Eason • Foggy Rock Eatery and Pub 295-7262 • The Gamekeeper Restaurant 963-7400 • Jake’s Great Fast Food 295-4988

• Knight’s on Main 295-3869 • Kojay’s Café and Coffee Shop 295-0015 • Mellow Mushroom 295-3399 • Mi Carreta Mexican Grill 295-7204

Additionally, at press time, Blowing Rock is looking forward to several new restaurants opening in town. The New Public House and Inn will open at the former site of Crippen’s Country Inn and Restaurant, The Town Tavern will open at the former site of M.K.’s Country Kitchen (Tijuana Fats), and Heirloom will open at the former site of Pssghetti’s.

Your Hometown Restaurant For More Than 30 Years Catering Available for Special Events Luncheon Specials Weekdays 11am - 2pm Live Entertainment Nightly - No Cover All ABC Privileges Hwy 321 Bypass, Blowing Rock, NC | 828.295.3651

The Woodlands Barbecue & Pickin’ Parlor

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June 2013

Destination Blue Ridge Parkway BY JEFF EASON The heart of no town lies closer to the Blue Ridge Parkway than Blowing Rock’s. Downtown Blowing Rock is less than five miles from the Southern Highland Craft Guild Center at the Moses H. Cone Estate (closer, if you walk from Bass Lake). Some of the Blue Ridge Parkway’s greatest assets are closer to Blowing Rock than anywhere else. The Thunder Hill Overlook, with its majestic views and wonderful hiking trails are located at Parkway Milepost 290.3. On the Forth of July you can see a number of fireworks displays from the vantage point of Thunder Hill. At Milepost 294, you will find the Southern Highland Craft Center and Moses Cone Memorial Park. The park features 25 miles of carriage trails for hiking and horseback riding, 16acre Trout Lake, 22-acre Bass Lake, observation tower, and Flat Top Manor. Julian Price Memorial Park, with its lake and

fabulous campground, is found at Milepost 297. It includes a boathouse where visitors can rent kayaks, canoes and small rowboats. There are also plenty of overlooks and picnic areas on the Blue Ridge Parkway that are only minutes from Blowing Rock.

Blue Ridge Parkway Foundation The Blue Ridge Parkway Foundation is the primary and professional fundraising organization for the Blue Ridge Parkway. The role of the Foundation is to identify and cultivate the constituency of the Blue Ridge Parkway for philanthropic support. The Foundation only provides funding for those projects that enhance the quality of the visitor’s experience and have lasting value. In recent years, the Blue Ridge Parkway Foundation has provided much needed funding for projects at Bass Lake and Julian Price Park. For more information, contact the Blue Ridge Parkway Foundation at (336) 721-0260.

Moses H. Cone Memorial Park, with its trails, views and craft center, is one of the biggest attractions on the Blue Ridge Parkway.

Photos by Jeff Eason

… Blowing Rock − your dream address. Julian Price Park Lake

June 2013

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Churches serving Blowing Rock Blowing Rock Methodist Church Summer only 1314 Main St., Blowing Rock 295-6207 FaithBridge United Methodist Church 194 Aho Road., Blowing Rock 295-8333 First Baptist Church of Blowing Rock 350 Sunset Drive, Blowing Rock 295-7715 Rumple Memorial Presbyterian Church 1218 Main St., Blowing Rock 295-7675 St. Mary of the Hills Episcopal Church 140 Chestnut Drive, Blowing Rock 295-7323 St. Mark’s Lutheran Church 5570 Blowing Rock Blvd., Lenoir 295-4750

St. Mary of the Hills Episcopal Church in downtown Blowing Rock.

Photo by Jeff Eason The Temple of the High Country 1043 W. King St., Boone 264-8364

St. Elizabeth of the Hill Country Catholic Church 259 Pilgrims Way, Boone 264-8338

Sandy Flats Baptist Church 1776 Hwy. 221 S., Blowing Rock

The suburbs of Blowing Rock



ure, downtown Blowing Rock is swell, with its shops, restaurants, parks, churches and everything else. But sometimes, you just want to get away from the hustle and bustle of downtown activity. Well, that’s one of the wonderful things about our area. Head off in any direction and chances are that you’ll be in the scenic countryside in a matter of minutes. Blowing Rock has a number of outlying neighborhoods — suburbs, if you will — that deserve exploring while you are here. With exotic names such as Blackberry, Aho and The Globe, these areas are full of

history and mystique. And they are all just minutes from downtown Blowing Rock. If you head out of town on U.S. Hwy. 221 toward Grandfather Mountain, you’ll find a wealth of small communities such as Boone Fork and Hodges Gap. Many of the areas in that direction boast some of the most beautiful views in all of North Carolina. Perhaps that’s why legendary 20th century painter Elliott Daingerfield chose it for his stately manor, now home to Westglow Resort and Spa. Many of Blowing Rock’s outlying neighborhoods, such as Aho and the Shulls Mill Road area, feature easy access to the Blue Ridge Parkway and its popular destinations such as Julian Price Park, Bass Lake, Moses Cone Estate and Thunder Hill.

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June 2013

The weather is always changing in Blowing Rock BY JEFF EASON


he old saying, “everyone talks about the weather, but no one ever does anything about it,” is particularly apt in Blowing Rock. Visitors always ask about the weather in Blowing Rock, but it is hard to give a definitive answer other that what the next few days will be like. For instance, four years ago we had one of the fiercest winters in recent memory. A Christmas day ice storm left many people without electricity for days, and that was after 18 inches of snow fell the week before. That entire winter was brutal and kids had to go to school well into June to make up for days missed during the winter. Three years ago, it looked like a similar scenario. We had lots of snow and cold weather prior to Christmas and area ski resorts opened earlier than they ever have. Then a strange thing happened. That winter ended rather early and spring temperatures rolled in. The winter we had two years ago may have been the weirdest of all. Folks around here are calling it “the winter without a winter.” Unusually warm temperatures permeated all winter long and we experienced the least

The Linn Cove Viaduct between Blowing Rock and Grandfather Mountain is a marvel of engineering and popular tourist destination.

Photo by Hugh Morton, courtesy Grandfather Mountain amount of snowfall in decades. Oh, but we did get one good snow in April. Go figure. Last winter, while not unusually brutal, seemed to hang on forever. We even had a decent snowfall in May. If the weather in Blowing Rock is a little

unpredictable, there are two things you can count on. First, it’s going to be 10 to 15 degrees colder up here than in Charlotte at any time of the year. Second, we’re one of the few places in the South that truly experiences all four seasons.

We do have our own weather station in the area at Grandfather Mountain and it is an excellent source for forecasts, fun facts and monthly updates. You can find out more at your_visit/weather_conditions.php

Find something for everyone at the...

Exhibits, workshops, programs, and events for all ages. THE Conveniently located on the corner of Chestnut and Main Street in downtown Blowing Rock.



8562 NC Highway 105 S., Suite 102, Boone, NC 828.963.7981 •

159 Chestnut Street 828-295-9099

June 2013

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SPRING AIR MATTRESSES 4900 Hickory Blvd • Granite Falls, NC 28630 • 828-496-2262 Open Monday - Saturday 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. • Open Sunday 1 p.m. until 5 p.m. Just North of Hickory - Located at corner of 321 & Alex Lee Road at the entrance to MDI

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