Visiting? Here’s the Latest on Operations & Safety!

Updated November 24, 2020, 1:30 pm.

Blowing Rock’s businesses are open

and excited to welcome responsible travelers! The safety of our community and visitors is a top priority.

What we’re doing help to keep you safe:

  • Restaurants are seating at a reduced capacity to allow for physical distancing. Extra sanitizing protocols further ensure diners’ safety, and staff wear masks. Take-out is still encouraged as a safe alternative, and is available from all of our restaurants (hours subject to change).
  • Hotels, inns, and rentals have increased sanitizing practices, staff wear masks with guests, and many have implemented protocols that reduce contact between guests and others.
  • Local shops are welcoming shoppers with limits on capacity inside the store to help with distancing, and are implementing increased sanitizing practices and masks.
  • Attractions and recreation providers have created additional safety measures relative to the activity.  Nearly all are open and operational; see some of those details in the attractions section below.
  • Hand sanitizer stations are available at the downtown public information kiosks, and extra disposable masks are available at the Chamber of Commerce if you forget one or need an extra. Low-cost reusable masks are also available at the Chamber for just $1. Many shops have some unique designs available for sale, too!
  • Many businesses have taken extra steps to become certified through the official NC COVID-19 safety program: Count on Me NC. Look for the Count on Me NC logo on business listings on this site to see which ones have completed the program.

What we ask you to do to help:

  • If anyone in your group has been feeling unwell or had flu-like symptoms in the past week, reschedule your trip.
  • Remember and practice the three Ws: WEAR a face mask, WAIT 6 feet from others, and WASH your hands or use hand sanitizer often. People are required to wear face coverings in public spaces in NC: inside all buildings regardless of distance, and outdoors where physical distancing of six feet is not possible. As passage on sidewalks can be narrow, it’s best to keep masks on while using sidewalks during business hours.
  • Reserve your activities in advance to allow our accommodations, restaurants, and attractions to prepare for your visit.  It’s a good idea to call ahead to confirm services and/or operating hours at any business. For attractions and recreation activities in particular, check on any new protocols ahead of time so you know what to expect.
  • Bring your own personal protective equipment such as hand sanitizer and masks.
  • Leave no trace. With more visitors seeking respite and distance in our natural spaces, the impact to these places is growing. Plan ahead for your trip into nature, respect the wild, physically distance from others, and pack out all trash.
  • Be patient and kind. Our locals are doing everything possible to welcome you safely this season. Check ins and preparations may take slightly longer than usual, so account for that in your plans.
  • Support local businesses. We are eager to welcome you back and your support is needed more than ever! Consider buying a lodging voucher or gift card from your favorite business if you are not currently traveling.

 

Operations at Blowing Rock Attractions:

You might find a few changes at some local attractions while we all try to keep each other healthy amid COVID-19 concerns.
When making reservations for adventure activities in particular, you should check ahead for details on what to expect. Here are some basics (and links) for attractions in and near Blowing Rock.
  • The Blowing Rock Open daily. Social distancing is encouraged between groups, and you’ll see some new safety measures in the gift shop. Indoor spaces (the gift shop and snack bar) have occupancy limits.
  • Blowing Rock Art & History Museum– Open with masking requirements and posted capacity limits for gallery spaces. Hours of operation are Tuesday – Saturday 11am – 4pm.

 

  • Appalachian Ski Mtn.: Open as soon as weather permits. Online reservations are now required for the 2020-2021 season for all activities. Many safety measures are implemented this year, including timeslot based ticket pickup and limited daily ticket sales. See more about enhanced policies here.

 

  • Moses Cone Manor– The Southern Highland Craft Guild is open, but upstairs tours are not currently available. The number of shoppers admitted at one time is limited due to narrow aisles and small spaces. Visitors are asked to wear masks. Craft center hours are Thursday-Sunday 10a-4p in September and November, and Wednesday-Sunday 10a-4p in October.
  • Mystery Hill Open daily. All attractions open with some modifications for social distancing. Group tour sizes limited.
  • Doc’s Rocks– Open daily with normal operations. Social distancing and personal safety encouraged.
  • Tweetsie Railroad- Tweetsie Christmas began the weekend of November 13! Masks are required for employees and guests inside the park. Special offer: 2020 Season Passes are also good for the 2021 season. More information here.

 

 

 

  • Hawksnest Ziplines and Snow Tubing- Reservations available! Face masks or buff must be worn by guests and staff during zip tours. Routine sanitizing of equipment and limited occupancy on the tours help keep everyone safe, and staff temperatures are checked daily. See more about enhanced policies here.

 

  • High Gravity Adventures Reservations available! The park has reduced high-touch surfaces, enhanced cleaning and disinfecting protocols, and implemented changes to guest traffic to ensure distancing. Group sizes are limited, and a modified operating schedule will allow adequate time for increased cleaning. See more about enhanced policies here.
  • Sky Valley Zip Tours– Reservations available! Implementing sanitation and personal protection equipment protocols, as well as touchless payment options and smaller tour sizes. All employees and guests are required to wear face coverings while at Sky Valley Zip Tours and throughout their zip line tour. See more about enhanced policies here.
  • Vx3 Trail Rides– Reservations available! This outdoor activity is naturally socially distanced. All equipment is cleaned after each rider. Only small groups of 5 or less riders.

 

  • Grandfather Mountain– Open by reserved tickets to limit crowding. Simply select the time of your visit and purchase the corresponding tickets (online only) prior to your visit.

 

  • Wahoo’s Closed for the season. New policies: Shuttle groups are separated so different parties don’t ride in vans together, and masks are required in vans and while inside outpost buildings. Employees will wear masks when in contact with guests, and work to rotate and sanitize equipment. See more about enhanced policies here.

For information about operations of other local attractions, see High Country Host’s list here.

About NC’s Response

In North Carolina, Phase 3 of the state re-opening plan began on October 2.  A Safer at Home recommendation is still in place. 

During Phase 3:

  • People are required to wear face coverings in public spaces;  inside all buildings regardless of distancing, and outdoors where physical distancing of six feet is not possible.
  • NC restaurants are required to keep a reduced dining capacity, necessary to allow for continued physical distancing. Employees must wear face coverings, and guests must wear face coverings while not actively eating or drinking. Extra sanitizing protocols further ensure diners’ safety. As of July 31, the sale of alcoholic beverages in restaurants, breweries, wineries, and distilleries in NC is not allowed after 11pm.
  • Retail businesses are required to allow for enough physical distance between shoppers, so capacity is limited. If you still prefer to shop at home, several stores have online shopping options.
  • Lodging is open, and you can enjoy a stay at your favorite Blowing Rock hotel, inn, or rental now.
  • Groups of more than 10 people in indoor settings is prohibited (change in effect as of November 13). Groups of more than 50 people in outdoor settings is prohibited.
  • The outdoor areas of amusement parks, bars, and small entertainment venues may reopen, subject to reduced capacity limits and other restrictions.
  • Movie theaters, meeting spaces in hotels, conference centers, meeting halls, and reception venues may be open, subject to reduced capacity limits and other restrictions.
  • Large outdoor venues with seating greater than 10,000 may operate with 7% occupancy for spectators.
  • People are encouraged to get outdoors for exercise. Parks and picnic shelters in our town and county are open, including playgrounds.

Indoor areas in bars, venues, and amusement parks are still closed at this time.

See Frequently Asked Questions about NC Executive Order 180 and increased face covering requirements here.
See Frequently Asked Questions about NC’s Phase 3 changes. Here are FAQ’s for the modifications in effect as of November 13.
Read Frequently Asked Questions about NC Executive Order 147 and mandatory face coverings here.
Read Frequently Asked Questions about NC Executive Order 153 and the curfew on alcohol sales here.

Please contact us if you have any questions ahead of a visit.

Watauga County

Blowing Rock is located in Watauga County.

The County recognizes the need for testing, tracing and trends to move in a leveling or
downward trajectory for each of the County phases to move forward. In the event there is a spike, the
County will follow recommendations from the Governor’s team, AppHealthCare and all of our
partners to determine if additional temporary County restrictions are necessary.