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Getaway Guide: One Tank Trip to Blowing Rock

June 23, 2012 10:07 PM

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Photo Credit: The Blowing Rock Attraction/Facebook

Photo Credit: The Blowing Rock Attraction/Facebook

For many families these days, money is tight, and everyone is looking for ways to cut costs. One of the first things to go is usually travel, especially with gas being so expensive. Living in Charlotte means you don’t need to give up those trips at all. In one tank, adventures abound this summer. Blowing Rock is one of North Carolina’s oldest travel attractions, offering abundant hiking and scenery gawking opportunities near the famous outcropping itself. Strike out on a trip to Blowing Rock — just a tank of gas away — and you’ll never resent those jet-setting vacationers again.

Getting There
Blowing Rock is easily reached in less than a two-hour drive, 90 miles, by driving west out of Charlotte on I-85 South, then going north on U.S. 321 after reaching Gastonia.

the blowing rock Getaway Guide: One Tank Trip to Blowing Rock

Photo Credit: The Blowing Rock Attraction/Facebook

The Blowing Rock Attraction
Highway 321 South
P.O. Box 145
Blowing Rock, NC 28605
(828) 295-7111

Price: $6 adults/$5 seniors older than 60/$1 for 4 to 11-year-old children/free children 4 and younger

Going to Blowing Rock without seeing this legendary outcropping would be silly. This natural attraction has its own legend, repleat with Indian lovers, to explain why objects cast over the edge may be returned to the top of this 4,000-foot cliff. The winds blowing up the cliff actually cause snow to fall upside-down in a sense. From the rock itself, look down into the Johns River Gorge 3,000 feet below, or across to other well-known North Carolina peaks such as Grandfather Mountain or Mount Mitchell, the highest peak east of the Mississippi River. It is wheelchair accessible, and pets are permitted as long as they are on a leash.

moses cone memorial park Getaway Guide: One Tank Trip to Blowing Rock

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Moses Cone Memorial Park
667 Service Rd.
Blowing Rock, NC 28605
(828) 295-7938

Price: free

A short drive up the Blue Ridge Parkway opens up to what was once the estate of denim king Moses Cone, a conservationist, textile entrepreneur and philanthropist in the early 20th century. Cone’s Flat Top Manor is the centerpiece of the park: Built in 1901, it is 13,000 square feet and has 20 rooms. The park features 25 miles of preserved carriage trails, which are good for horse-drawn carriage rides, horseback riding or hiking. The Craftsman’s Trail is a 20-minute loop trail that offers views of the manor from all sides. Throughout the year, craft techniques are demonstrated on the front porch of the manor, and the inside of the manor is now how home to the Parkway Craft Center, a shop featuring work by hundreds of regional artists.

blue ridge mountains Getaway Guide: One Tank Trip to Blowing Rock

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Glen Burney Trail
Annie Cannon Gardens
Laurel Lane
Blowing Rock, NC 28605
(828) 295-5222

Price: free

Both the Appalachain Trail and the Mountains To Sea Trail run nearby, but the jewel of Blowing Rock hiking is the Glen Burney Trail. It starts just off of Main Street and runs 800 feet down into the Johns River Gorge. It then follows New Year’s Creek and leads to views of three waterfalls. This is a 1.6 mile out-and-back trail, and is strenuous and steep, so it may not be best for young children or the elderly. Parking is free, and the trail is open year round.

elk creek outfitters facebook Getaway Guide: One Tank Trip to Blowing Rock

Photo Credit: Elk Creek Outfitters/Facebook

Elk Creek Outfitters
1560 Highway 105
Boone, NC  28607
(828) 264-6497

Click here for rates

Elk Creek Outfitters strives to offer the best in fishing trips. Choose from a variety of excursions, and pick your species of fish for a custom-built fishing trip. In the Boone area, enjoy float trips, overnight trips and wilderness walk trips. These are professionally guided and must be reserved ahead of time. You may purchase a fishing license online at the company’s website as well.

grandfather trout farm Getaway Guide: One Tank Trip to Blowing Rock

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Grandfather Trout Farm
10767 Highway 105 South
Banner Elk, NC 28604
(828) 963-5098

Price: $5.95 per pound fishing/$15 to $40 gem mining

For a more low-maintenance day of fishing, without hauling gear and hunting down a fishing license, try Grandfather Trout Farm in nearby Banner Elk. It provides the gear, the bait and three pond sizes, and evens clean the fish for you. You pay only for what you catch, at $5.95 per pound. No license is required. Also on premises take advantage of gem mining, where you may buy buckets and use the on-site flume to clean the ore and find gems. Then take them to the gem shop for identification, cutting and mounting.

golfcourse2 Getaway Guide: One Tank Trip to Blowing Rock

Photo Credit: ThinkStock

Boone Golf Club 
433 Fairway Drive
Boone, NC  28607
(828) 264-8760

Click here for rates

The course at Boone Golf Club has been the site of many a professional and amateur event. Locker rooms and rental clubs are available for the public to use at this beautiful, scenic course. It is open all season, from April thru November, and rates depend upon the day, time and season during which you play. Take advantage of a well-stocked pro shop and on-site bar and restaurant for a nice break from the excitement.

Vincent Eagan, III is a minister who has preached and taught Jesus in 30 states and Peru over the last 15 years. He currently lives in Monroe, NC, and is working on his MTh in Theology. He has been a life-long student of the Bible and other religious texts, and loves to discuss history. His work can be found at
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