Culture Vulture

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This one-day suggested itinerary is best during the theater season- mostly summer. However, there more more suggestions at the bottom for other activities. Enjoy lots of art and history in Blowing Rock!

-Start the day at Moses Cone Manor & Parkway Craft Center. There is plenty to enjoy just looking at the mansion, with classic twentieth-century architecture. Inside, the lower floor houses the Parkway Craft Center, with handmade works by members of the Southern Highland Craft Guild. On most summer days, there are live demonstrations by artisans on the front porch. On summer and fall weekends, you can enjoy a free upstairs tour, though you will need to reserve the tour in advance. Reservations are accepted beginning at 9 a.m. on Friday for the weekend of the requested tour only, and a limited number is allowed on each tour. Don’t miss the antique vehicles inside the stables, which now also house the public restrooms on the property.

-The Blowing Rock Art & History Museum is next, and it’s located right in downtown Blowing Rock. Featuring rotating exhibits that showcase the rich culture, visual and musical art, and history of the Southern Appalachians, there is always something beautiful and interesting to see at the museum. Past exhibits are incredibly varied, and include displays of antique Appalachian toys, 19th Century Romantic paintings, the Bruce Barclay Cameron Duck Decoy Collection, traditional Appalachian musical instruments, and photography by Margaret Morley. See hours and current exhibits on the museum’s website.

-Lunch and downtown galleries- Take in lunch at one of the great locations on Main Street or Sunset Drive before getting started on your gallery tour. Browse the many galleries in downtown Blowing Rock, which feature everything from jewelry and Appalachian pottery to oil paintings and glass work. In several cases, the galleries are run by the artists themselves, so be sure to ask. The conversations that follow are always worth having.

-Afterward, take a guided tour with Historic Tours of Blowing Rock. The guide will walk you through downtown, giving a wealth of information on the buildings, park, and businesses in town. Learn how Blowing Rock came to be the quaint and friendly village it is today.

-After dinner, take in a show with Ensemble Stage! A variety of plays are planned throughout the summer season, from thriller to comedy. In addition to the summer shows with Ensemble Stage, you could also check out Lees McRae Summer Theatre or the Performing Arts Series at Appalachian State University. The latter offers concerts, readings, plays, and more performances throughout the year. In July, the offerings really ramp up during the Appalachian Summer Festival.

More cultural attractions:
Turchin Center for the Visual Arts at Appalachian State University
Appalachian Heritage at Mystery Hill, home to Native American artifacts and Appalachian homestead antiques.
Hickory Ridge Homestead living history museum (May-October) and Horn in the West outdoor drama (Jun-Aug).
Jones House Concert Series in Boone.

See more travel ideas on our Itineraries Main Page!