The High Country has several iconic attractions, and it takes more than one day to see all the best known sites. If you are looking for a sight-seeing adventure or just want to revisit all your favorites, check out this itinerary!
Afternoon at Tweetsie Railroad (Mid April through October)
Tweetsie Railroad is NC’s first theme park, and an enduring icon in the High Country. Take the kids or release your inner child with rides, shows, and characters. Historic steam locomotives pull passenger cars around along a two-mile track through beautiful mountain scenes for a fun Wild West show. In October, weekend evenings become spooktacular during the Ghost Train Halloween Festival.
Less than 10 minutes from downtown Blowing Rock on Hwy 321, allow 4+ hours.
Dinner in Blowing Rock
Try Woodlands, a long-standing favorite spot for tasty barbeque, a friendly atmosphere, and live music from local performers. Or take in the views at The Ridgeline, with a deck that overlooks areas in the Pisgah National Forest. See more dining options at http://www.blowingrock.com/services/restaurants/
Morning : Blue Ridge Parkway and Grandfather Mountain (year round, weather permitting)
Before heading out to Grandfather Mountain, visit the Parkway Craft Center (open March-November) to get a great start to the day. The Craft Center is located inside the historic home of Moses H. Cone, who built the mansion at the turn of the 20th century. The house holds crafts and fine arts created by members of the Southern Highland Craft Guild, offering a look at traditional arts and processes. The manor house overlooks the Blowing Rock area and offers lots of photographic opportunities on the front porch.
Less than 10 minutes from downtown Blowing Rock at milepost 296 on the Blue Ridge Parkway. Access Blue Ridge Parkway from Hwy 221 south, head North on Parkway for one mile. Allow 1 hour.
From the Parkway Craft Center, head south on the Blue Ridge Parkway to Grandfather Mountain. On the way you’ll enjoy breathtaking vistas and wooded settings, as well as the iconic view of Price Lake. On the south slopes of Grandfather Mountain rests the Linn Cove Viaduct, a marvel of engineering that allowed the preservation of the pristine slopes below. Designed and constructed with the landscape in mind, only the trees directly under the roadway were cut. The s-curve bridge is exciting to drive across, offering an experience like no other as the roadway seems to rush into the sky.
About 20 minutes from downtown Blowing Rock, milepost 304.6 of the Blue Ridge Parkway. Best photos are on approach on the north side. No pedestrians are allowed on the Viaduct. A trail from the Linn Cove Visitor Center on south side of the Viaduct provides access to the underside of the structure.
Just after the Linn Cove Viaduct is the exit to Grandfather Mountain (open year round, weather permitting). At admission, a great cd guide is available to play in your car as you travel up the access road. Grandfather Mountain is home to a natural history museum, animal habitats and observation areas, and the Mile High Swinging Bridge. You can drive all the way to the top where incredible views can be enjoyed from the bridge and cliffs. There are also plenty of leg-stretching trails to enjoy, where you can experience the various ecosystems on the mountain up-close.
About 25 minutes from downtown Blowing Rock on Hwy 221 in Linville. From the Parkway, look for the exit for Hwy 221 to Grandfather Mountain. Turn right to head south on Hwy 221 and travel one mile to the entrance gate to Grandfather. Allow 3+ hours.
Lunch: Grandfather Mountain.
There are lots of great picnic spots on the Mountain. You can bring a picnic to enjoy, or grab one from Mildred’s Grill by the natural history museum on Grandfather. If you opt to dine inside at the Grill, the large windows offer great views of feeding areas for wild birds, squirrels, and chipmunks.
Afternoon: The Original Mast General Store
The Mast General Store in Valle Crucis was built in 1883 and is still a working store and post office. Find all kinds of supplies, toys, housewares, and old-fashioned candies while enjoying original floors and a funky layout that only comes from decades of existence. The store is a major historic attraction and a step back in time. The entire community of Valle Crucis is worth seeing for the same reasons. The name means “Vale of the Cross” for the waterways that crisscross the valley. It’s as beautiful as the name implies.
About 20 minutes from Grandfather Mountain (25 minutes from downtown Blowing Rock), allow 1+ hours.
Dinner in Boone or Blowing Rock
The Dan’l Boone Inn is a favorite restaurant of many and has become almost synonymous with dining in Boone. Meals are served family style, and the menu features southern staples. In Blowing Rock, you can enjoy a more upscale experience at one of two quintessential High Country restaurants: the AAA 4-Diamond Gamekeeper or the long-established Best Cellar.
More dining options at http://www.blowingrock.com/services/restaurants/
Morning: The Blowing Rock and downtown Blowing Rock
The Blowing Rock (open year round, weather permitting) is NC’s first travel attraction and the town’s namesake. The view is incomparable, and the near-constant winds inspired a Native legend about the site. An impressive observation deck offers nearly 365-degree views, while a pretty loop trail is a relaxing way to enjoy the scenery. The rock itself is a perfect place to take a bucket-list photo!
About 5 minutes from downtown Blowing Rock off Valley Boulevard/Hwy 321. Allow at least 30 minutes.
We feel that no attractions tour of the High Country is complete without a visit to downtown Blowing Rock! The quaint village-like atmosphere is uncommon nowadays and there is plenty to enjoy. Stroll along the welcoming streets to see unique shops and galleries, and take a break in the large Memorial Park right on Main Street. Have lunch at one of many eateries downtown before you head back home!
Looking for more iconic experiences in the area? Consider the following attractions that promise true High Country fun:
–High Gravity Adventures– Less than 10 minutes from Blowing Rock, open spring, summer, and fall. Allow 3 hours.
–Appalachian Ski Mountain – 10 minutes from Blowing Rock, check for session times
–Linville Falls – 30 minutes from Blowing Rock, allow 1+ hours
–Linville Caverns – 35 minutes from Blowing Rock, allow 1 hour
–Mystery Hill – less than 10 minutes from Blowing Rock, allow 1 hour
–Horn in the West & Hickory Ridge Homestead – 15 minutes from Blowing Rock, check for showtimes
-Gem Mining at Doc’s Rocks – less than 10 minutes from Blowing Rock, allow 1+ hours
See more travel ideas on our Main Itineraries Page!