Blowing Rock, NC, Travel Guide

Good morning, everyone! I’ve gotten a lot of emails/DMs requesting a Blowing Rock Travel Guide, so I’m really excited to share one with you today. My family has been going to Blowing Rock ever since I was a child… it’s only a few hours away from both Charlotte and Winston-Salem, but it feels like a world away. Imagine the cutest, most charming little town nestled in the mountains, with friendly people, incredible food and stunning views… and that’s Blowing Rock!

Since it’s 2020 and we are in the middle of the pandemic, I wanted to say that my family felt very safe in Blowing Rock on our recent trip, and we were able to stay safe/quarantined while traveling. There are a lot of restaurants in Blowing Rock with outdoor patios… even my favorite ice cream shop has started serving sweets right from their window so you don’t have to go inside! Everyone wears a mask (even outside), and if you choose to stay in a cabin, you can guarantee even more privacy.

Here are a few of my favorite photos from Blowing Rock throughout the years!

monogrammed pullover // black leggings // leopard lace duck boots // striped weekender bag

“Pumpkin Spice” sweatshirt // black leggings // YSL handbag

Kyi Kyi beanie // faux leather leggings // Marc Fisher lace-up boots

on me: white tee // plaid flannel // Free People jeans // Kaylah pointed toe booties, dupes here // YSL handbag

similar off-the-shoulder sweater

similar red beanie // similar plaid scarf, also similar here // turtleneck sweater // faux leather leggings // Marc Fisher lace-up boots

black ruched bodycon dress // shawl collar coat (less than $100!) // tall suede boots // suede YSL bag // gold coin necklace

And without further ado, here are all of the best recommendations for Blowing Rock:

Where to Stay

CABIN: I personally would choose to stay in a cabin in Blowing Rock! Especially right now, while everyone is wanting to stay socially distanced. A cabin is so nice because they’re private, you can cook all your meals right there, and most of the houses in Blowing Rock have nice, cozy fireplaces or fire pits. My dad’s uncle owns a cabin that we usually go to and we’ve also rented several cute cabins in the area. There’s a lot to choose from on VRBO and Airbnb! If you’re looking for recommendations, here are a few that I love:

2 Bedroom Cabin with Hot Tub

3 Bedroom Cabin with Panoramic Views and fire pit

CHETOLA RESORT LODGE: We have never stayed here, but I’ve heard great things about Chetola Resort Lodge! I think the rooms might be a little dated, but the location is great and I’ve heard awesome things about the cleanliness and the staff. Chetola Resort also has some condos for rent, like this one:

2 Bedroom Condo in Chetola Resort (walking distance to downtown)

Where to Eat

COFFEE/BREAKFAST

BALD GUY COFFEE: This is the cutest coffee shop, and the most photogenic in town! All of the coffee they serve is organic, which is a bonus. They have a really cute outdoor area with tables and chairs where you can sit and enjoy your coffee.

CAMP COFFEE ROASTERS: Our family thinks their coffee actually tastes better than Bald Guy, but the actual coffee shop is not as cute, haha!

SUNNY ROCK EGGS AND THINGS: This place is known for having the best sit-down breakfast in Blowing Rock. From eggs to pancakes and buttery biscuits, this little diner serves up comfort food that’s made from scratch (and tastes like it too!).

BLOWING ROCK MARKET: This is a great place to stop by if you need snacks, some homemade bread, or wine! In addition to being a wine shop, they’re also a deli and serve up sandwiches and refrigerated cake slices. We stopped in and bought some homemade jalapeño cheese bread on our last visit. They also serve fresh bagels in the morning. This would be a great place to go if you need some snacks for a hike!

LUNCH/DINNER

To be honest, we prefer to cook dinner ourselves most nights when we are in Blowing Rock, so we haven’t tried a ton of dinner restaurants! Here are our favorites, though:

TOWN TAVERN: This is one of our favorite restaurants in Blowing Rock, even though it’s super casual and serves mainly pub fare. We like to sit outside on their expansive patio (which is dog-friendly!). A lot of nights they’ll even have live music. As for the food, we’ve never had a bad meal here! From the sliders to salads, everything is delicious.

VILLAGE CAFE: If you’re looking for another restaurant to sit and eat outdoors, this is the cutest little restaurant! We went for brunch. Their portions are pretty small, so I recommend getting several dishes for the table. They make homemade “fugasa” bread that is to-die-for!

MELLOW MUSHROOM: You might be familiar with Mellow Mushroom, and if so, you probably know how good it is! We love going here for the spinach artichoke dip and a variety of pizzas (somehow my family members each end up ordering their own pizza and then we end up with a ton of leftovers!). There’s something about hot pizza in the mountains that is super satisfying, and I think their House Special pizza is one of the best pizzas on the planet.

DESSERT

KILWINS: Kilwins is a staple on main street in downtown, you can’t miss it! You can often smell the waffle cones being baked from a block away. They make homemade ice cream, fudge and chocolate treats. My dad always buys chocolate turtles and fudge to bring home for the family, while I usually prefer to get an ice cream in the store! My favorite flavor is the Cookie Dough.

BLUE DEER COOKIES: Someone recommended this place to us the last time we were in Blowing Rock and wow! It’s amazing. Two cookies with incredible ice cream in the middle… even when it’s cold out, I dare you to resist one of these treats.

What To Do

There’s a ton to do in Blowing Rock, I don’t think you could ever get bored! I would definitely plan ahead, though, as it looks like you might need to buy tickets to some attractions online and in advance due to COVID.

BASS LAKE: One of our favorite lakes near Blowing Rock! With a large parking lot, you can park here for free and hang out with your dogs. Bring a picnic, or put on your walking shoes and take a walk around the massive lake. It’s truly a beautiful and peaceful place, especially when the leaves are changing in the fall.

BLOWING ROCK: Visit the actual Blowing Rock! The Blowing Rock is an immense cliff 4,000 feet above sea level, overhanging Johns River Gorge 3,000 feet below, and is called “the Blowing Rock” because the northwest wind sweeps with such force that it returns light objects cast over the void. It’s a short drive away from downtown, and you can drive right up to the center and park. They do charge admission (I think it’s $10 per adult), but it’s a nice way to spend an hour or two. There’s no hiking involved, really… there’s only a few steps until you’re out on the rocks. They serve small treats and snacks in the gift shop, and there’s also a museum with tons of history and facts about the legend of Blowing Rock, if you’re interested.

GRANDFATHER MOUNTAIN: Located about 15 miles from Blowing Rock, Grandfather Mountain is the highest peak in the Blue Ridge. You do have to pay admission, but you get access to all kinds of attractions within the park, including my favorite, the Mile High Swinging Bridge, with an elevation of 5,305 feet! (It is a little nerve-wracking to walk across the bridge, but it’s perfectly safe.) The park also contains environmental habitats for black bears and bear cubs, a nature museum, more than 12 miles of maintained hiking trails and an indoor theater.

GRANDFATHER VINEYARD AND WINERY: We love this nearby winery (although I haven’t been in quite a while due to being pregnant, haha!). There’s nothing better than spending a lazy, sun-filled afternoon at Grandfather vineyard, taste-testing a flight of wines surrounded by your friends and family. I don’t remember the wines being particularly spectacular, but the scenery is beautiful and it’s a great way to spend an afternoon.

SHOP: The downtown area is filled with tons of cute stores, from clothing to antiques to small trinkets. And if you’re in the mood for some more mainstream shopping, head to the nearby Tanger Outlets, where you’ll find an American Eagle, J.Crew Outlet, and more.

TAKE A DRIVE: One of my favorite things to do in Blowing Rock is hop on the Blue Ridge Parkway and DRIVE! It is so beautiful anytime of year, but especially during the fall when the leaves are starting to change. Running for 469 miles between the Shenandoah Valley in Virginia to the Great Smoky Mountains in Tennessee, all you have to do is look out your car window for seemingly endless mountain vistas. There are also several viewpoint areas where you can park your car and take pictures of the amazing scenery.

TWEETSIE RAILROAD: If you have young kids, Tweetsie Railroad is a must-visit! I have the best memories of coming here with my family when I was little. Tweetsie is an authentic western town and theme park where you’ll meet cowboys, cowgirls and even some outlaws. Take your turn in the Shooter’s Arcade or ride the chairlift to Miner’s Mountain, but don’t forget the main attraction: taking a ride on historic steam locomotive No. 12, listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

If you’ve been to Blowing Rock and have any favorites, definitely list them in the comments so that we all can see! 🙂

Leave a Comment

23 Comments

  1. Kate Severino

    Love this. Thanks for sharing. I’d love to visit one day. And your styles throughout the years are gorgeous.

    9.28.20Reply
    • Autumn

      Hi from a local! These are all great suggestions! The only thing I would add for lunch/dinner are 2 great restaurants in Blowing Rock: Storie Street Grill and Bistro Roca. Both have amazing options for lunch and dinner!

      9.28.20Reply
  2. Ashlyn

    Would highly recommend going into Boone, as no mention of it here! Though it is a college town, king street has such a charm to it that you’re missing if you just stay in BR. Boone also has so many grat breakfast places that BR doesn’t – I would highly suggest Melanies, Sunrise Grill, or for a true diner experience, Troys. BR is the best place for dinner, and I would highly recommend Story Street Grille (fried asparagus is AMAZING), Bistro Roca, or Town Tavern (like you mentioned) for a more casual feel! Shoutout to Blowing Rock Market is greatly appreciated, I used to work there and will pass this on to the owner!

    9.28.20Reply
    • Madie

      Yes! I’m an App State alum and agree with all of your recommendations for Boone 🙂

      9.28.20Reply
  3. Amelia

    Hi, where is your mom’s jacket from? Loved the post!

    9.28.20Reply
  4. Amanda

    My parents live near Blowing Rock, so we visit fairly frequently. We are partial to Bistro Roca for date nights. Rough Ridge on the Parkway is about 30 minutes away great for views and photos 🙂

    9.28.20Reply
  5. Kristina

    We just went this weekend! If you’ve never been to Bistro Roca, you MUST go next time. It’s the cutest and their food is amazing!

    9.28.20Reply
  6. Lauren

    I used to live in Boone and have been visiting the area since moving away for the last 17 years.
    I worked summers at The Village Cafe and owners Annie and Andy are lovely and their food spectacular.
    Timberlake’s is an amazing place for dinner. Thursday night is our favorite with the Lucky Strike live music band. The Best Cellar is another favorite restaurant housed inside the Inn at Ragged Gardens.
    The American /Mexican restaurant on Main Street serves a killer breakfast at unbeatable prices.
    The Brass Exchange and Last Straw are my go-to’s for
    home decor.
    We close on a mountain house in 2 weeks and will have it on VRBO. It’s right at the top of the mountain next to Appalachian Ski Resort. We can’t wait to own a little slice of heaven.

    9.29.20Reply
    • Tenille

      We’ve stayed in a cabin right at the peak of app ski a few years ago. It was so cool to wake up to snow (because of them blowing snow on the slopes) and our friends were able to walk out the door and snowboard down the hill. Congrats to you on your purchase !

      9.30.20Reply
  7. This looks so fun Caltlin! Love your outfits, so cute on you!
    Thanks for sharing

    ♡————————————————————–♡
    Fashion┊Lifestyle┊Japan ―https://happyesme.com/

    9.29.20Reply
  8. Marcea

    I love your mom’s purse! where did she get it from? Thanks!

    9.29.20Reply
  9. Lee

    Love this list- especially as an App State Alum! I would also recommend Boone and a few places to eat worth mentioning: Stick Boy Kitchen (wonderful place for breakfast), Coyote Kitchen (it’s in a shopping center but don’t let the location fool you, the food is excellent) and in BR- Foggy Rock for pizza is awesome! Glen Burney trail in BR is a great hike. Lastly, if you have kids, they would like Price Park which is a short drive from downtown Blowing Rock- great place for picnics and for kids to play in all of the creeks!

    9.29.20Reply
  10. Laura Leigh

    LOVE blowing rock so much and you’re totally making me crave a trip there! also a big fan of all of the food + coffee shops you shared. I would also recommend the bed & breakfast downtown Blowing Rock – New Public House – it is amazing and a very romantic spot to stay plus their breakfast is incredible!

    xo Laura Leigh
    https:/louellareese.com

    9.29.20Reply
  11. Lena

    Thank you for sharing, all the pictures are beautiful! I love your style posts as always too. I’d love to visit sometime. Last year I went somewhere called Lovers Falls in Connecticut and took some gorgeous fall photos for late senior year pictures and I absolutely love them with the changing leaves and fall colors!

    9.29.20Reply
  12. Marilyn

    We went to BR two years ago and stayed at Chetola Lodge/Resort and loved it. The restaurant is really yummy too. We like that it was right outside of town so quiet when we wanted quiet. I loved the shops in town. I got some brass candlesticks at an antique shop. Good prices!

    9.29.20Reply
  13. Sara

    Yes, yes, yes to this post!! I’m from Hickory, so I’m just about an hour from Blowing Rock and I have to say I agree with all of your places!! They’re my family’s go-to places too! 🙂 My parents actually just went up for the afternoon/dinner on Saturday to Town Tavern! It’s our favorite! Six Pence is also amazing too!

    9.29.20Reply
  14. Ah, this sounds like such a charming place to visit! Thanks for sharing your travel guide, I find it always very interesting to read about different locations 🙂
    xx Janine
    https://walkinmysneaks.blogspot.com

    9.30.20Reply
  15. Kadie

    Definitely go into downtown Boone, there’s also skimming in the winter, take a trip to valle Crucis mass general store (also one in Boone), linville gorge, while a little drive away, is a beautiful hike. I’ve been going to the Blue Ridge Mtns all my life and this little piece of Heaven will always hold a dear spot in my heart. While I may not reside in NC anymore, we always make a point to visit BR/Boone when I visit family.

    9.30.20Reply
    • Kadie

      Skiing*

      9.30.20Reply
  16. Mammie

    Hi Caitlin,
    As a native to the area, I love this post and agree with all your recs but one. Please don’t encourage your followers to visit blue deer cookies, the owners are racist, homophobic, and bigots. They have shared posts on their personal social media platforms (now private but definitely screens-shotted and posted online by others) and several people have come forward and shared their conversations and interactions that verify these are their beliefs. The owners also are “anti-maskers” and have asked employees/interviewees to take off their masks when speaking to them.
    Kilwins on the other hand is delicious, the owners are great, and contribute to/engage positively with our local community.

    9.30.20Reply
  17. Ahhh you did a Blowing Rock travel guide! Thanks so much for this. The photos look amazing!

    I’m totally going to talk to my husband about going there sometime, and when we do, I’m going to refer to this post! Thanks again!

    xx
    Key
    https://storiesbysuddreth.com/

    10.4.20Reply
  18. Jessica

    Love Blowing Rock and Boone! Boone is about a 15 minute drive down the mountain from Blowing Rock for first timers… so many yummy places to eat everywhere. We love Foggy Rock and Sunny Rock and Bass Lake/the Cone Manor hike. For Boone- love Stick Boy, Sunrise Grill, Come Back Shack, and Lost Province. So fun to walk around everywhere, check out the main streets, campus, etc! Weirdly enough, we always struggle to find coffee ha- will have to check out Bald Guy!

    10.6.20Reply