With its incredible views and recreational activities, the Blue Ridge Parkway attracts visitors year round. The fall can be especially busy as people flock to see the vibrant colors as the trees change. If you’ve visited on a Saturday in October, you know that it can get quite crowded at popular overlooks and trails. Next time, skip peak times with a weekday visit! Blowing Rock has an excellent location on the Blue Ridge Parkway, and offers plenty of fun activities in the middle of the week.
Wednesday- Blue Ridge Parkway
Morning: Start the day at the Cone Estate. The manor house is being restored to its original beauty! A Southern Highland Craft Guild gallery is inside on the ground floor. Learn about the house ahead of a visit by checking out this fantastic virtual tour!
Afternoon: Blowing Rock has many trails to wander, and crisp fall days are perfect for hiking. For a moderate hike, follow Flat Top trail from the manor to the Tower. 360° views at the top! Want to ride instead of hike? Book a trail ride with Vx3 Trail Rides and enjoy the Cone Carriage Trails from horseback.
Evening: Skies over the Parkway are full of stars at night due to lack of streetlights and most other light sources. Cooler fall temperatures reduce haziness- great for stargazing! Price Lake is an ideal spot for it. When the lake is still, it reflects the sky.
Tip: Autumn mornings and evenings are chilly but afternoons can be warm, so dress in light layers.
Morning: Blowing Rock Art & History Museum opens three new exhibits open this fall. Admission is free. It’s right on Main Street, alongside downtown boutiques & galleries. After exhibits: shopping!
Afternoon: Try a wine flight at Sunset & Vine, where they’ll help you pick wines you’ll love. Prefer beer? The Blowing Rock Ale House is right next door with locally made brews. In September, don’t miss the Blowing Rock Farmer’s Market, Thursdays 3-6pm.
Evening: Wrap up the day with live music! Try Speckled Trout or Chetola for Thursday performances.
Tip: Stay at one of the 20+ hotels, inns, & rentals within easy walking distance of downtown, and skip looking for parking spaces in town.
25+ local restaurants offer many dining options for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Consider getting takeaway for a picnic on the Parkway (please remember to pack out your trash)! Most local attractions are open mid-week in September & October so you can easily extend your trip with more fun. Check out ziplining and climbing, gem mining, wildlife habitats, and even gravitational anomalies! Book ahead to be assured of entry, as many attractions are reducing crowding with limited sales.