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Underrated, but scenic : discover this small North Carolina town as a great Asheville alternative

When most people think of charming towns in North Carolina, Asheville often steals the spotlight. But what if I told you there’s another gem that offers the same allure with even more tranquility ? Blowing Rock, located in the heart of the Blue Ridge Mountains, is the underrated, but scenic town you’ve been dreaming of. Nestled amidst nature’s splendor, Blowing Rock is a fantastic alternative to the bustling tourist hub of Asheville.

Immerse yourself in blowing rock’s natural beauty

Blowing Rock’s pristine scenery is a breathtaking showcase of North Carolina’s natural elegance. From lush forests to dramatic cliffs, every corner of this town whispers tales of nature’s marvels. One of the town’s most iconic attractions is the Blowing Rock itself. The legend says the rock got its name because of the strong wind currents that blow vertically up the face of the rock.

Consider walking along one of Blowing Rock’s numerous hiking trails, such as the Glen Burney Trail. It’s a 3.2-mile round trip that takes you through stunning waterfalls and offers picturesque views that can rival any spot in Asheville. For those who enjoy a bit of adventure with their strolls, the Moses H. Cone Memorial Park provides 25 miles of carriage trails, perfect for hiking, horseback riding, or even a leisurely stroll.

If an aerial view is more your style, how about a ride on the Tweetsie Railroad ? This wild west-themed amusement park has a historic steam engine that takes you on a scenic journey through the Appalachian Mountains. Established in 1957, Tweetsie Railroad is a family favorite and an exciting way to experience Blowing Rock’s stunning landscapes.

Delve into blowing rock’s rich cultural heritage

While Blowing Rock’s natural scenes are awe-inspiring, the town also boasts a vibrant cultural scene. Stroll down Main Street and you’ll find a myriad of boutiques, art galleries, and cozy cafes. One of these unique spots is the Blowing Rock Art & History Museum (BRAHM), which opened in 2011 and offers a rich collection of exhibits that reflect the heritage and artistic spirit of the region. The museum oftentimes hosts events, workshops, and lectures, making it a cultural hub in the community.

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For theater enthusiasts, the Blowing Rock is home to the renowned Blowing Rock Playhouse. Throughout the year, this venue showcases a variety of performances from classic plays to contemporary shows. Theatergoers can enjoy a stellar lineup of productions without the crowds you’d typically find in Asheville.

Blowing Rock’s commitment to culture extends to its annual events. The Blue Ridge Wine and Food Festival, held every April, is a highlight, celebrating the best in local and regional culinary arts. Another must-visit event is the Art in the Park series, which runs from May to October and features over 90 artisans showcasing their handcrafted works. These events provide a perfect blend of artistry and community spirit.

Savor the local flavors

Food enthusiasts will find Blowing Rock a delightful destination with its array of cafes, bistros, and restaurants. Whether you’re in the mood for a hearty Southern breakfast or an elegant dinner, the town has something to appease every palate. At Bistro Roca, a local favorite, you can indulge in a menu that blends Southern comfort food with global influences in a cozy, inviting setting.

If you’re looking for something more upscale, Timberlake’s Restaurant at Chetola Resort offers a refined dining experience with a menu inspired by local ingredients and the culinary genius of famed artist Bob Timberlake. Don’t miss out on their signature dishes like the Carolina Black Bass and the Braised Short Ribs.

For those who prefer a casual dining experience, head over to the Storie Street Grille. With its laid-back ambiance and farm-to-table philosophy, it’s a great place to enjoy delicious meals prepared with freshly sourced ingredients. Their shrimp and grits are particularly popular, offering a true taste of Southern cuisine.

Experience blowing rock’s unique charm

In addition to its natural beauty and cultural offerings, Blowing Rock also has a unique charm that makes it a beloved destination. The town’s quaint, storybook streets are lined with historic buildings that harken back to an era of simpler times. Walking through these streets, you’ll feel a sense of community and friendliness that’s incredibly inviting.

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Stay at one of the charming bed and breakfasts or boutique hotels that emphasize personal touches and superior hospitality. The Meadowbrook Inn is one such place, offering luxurious accommodations and stunning views of the surrounding landscapes. Another great option is the Westglow Resort & Spa, providing a serene retreat with world-class amenities and services.

Outdoor enthusiasts will find plenty of activities to enjoy in Blowing Rock. From fishing and boating on the nearby lakes to golfing at the Blowing Rock Country Club, there’s no shortage of ways to bask in the beauty of this small town. Don’t forget to visit the nearby Grandfather Mountain, home to a mile-high swinging bridge that offers panoramic views as far as the eye can see.

Plan your visit to blowing rock

Whether you’re seeking adventure, culture, or simply a peaceful getaway, Blowing Rock is an ideal alternative to Asheville. This underrated, yet scenic town offers an array of attractions and experiences that cater to every type of traveler. Its combination of natural beauty, rich culture, delectable cuisine, and warm hospitality makes it a hidden gem worth exploring.

In summary, don’t let Blowing Rock’s quieter reputation fool you—this small town is brimming with scenic vistas, engaging cultural offerings, and memorable experiences. Pack your bags, hit the road, and discover why Blowing Rock is the perfect alternative to Asheville.

Aspect Blowing Rock Asheville
Population 1,259 92,452
Elevation 3,566 ft 2,134 ft
Main Attractions Blowing Rock, Moses H. Cone Memorial Park Biltmore Estate, Blue Ridge Parkway
Annual Events Blue Ridge Wine and Food Festival, Art in the Park LEAF Festival, Brewgrass Festival
Lance Brownfield