Small Town Travel Series:
The Best Things to do in Blowing Rock NC
Blowing Rock is a magical small town nestled in the mountains in western North Carolina (not far from Asheville). And while it may be considered a “small town,” there is no lack of things to do and places to explore! We stayed at the beautiful Inn at Ragged Gardens located just off of main street. Therefore, we were walking distance to so many great shops and restaurants.
Sadly, we had a lot of rain during our visit – but that didn’t stop us from exploring! I will say it hindered the number of photos I was able to properly capture, but I still think you will still be able to tell the beauty that this area has to offer. Plus, we were treated to the Treehouse room at the Inn at Ragged Gardens, which offered us a spacious tub to relax in and a cozy fireplace! We honestly spent a lot of time in the room enjoying the moment (photos below!) So here are The Best Things to do in Blowing Rock NC:
The Full Itinerary:
- Sunset & Vine
- Check in at Inn at Ragged Gardens
- Dinner at Timberlake’s Restaurant at Chetola Resort
- Tweetsie Railroad (Christmas Event)
- Breakfast at Hotel
- The Blowing Rock Attraction – This formation is the town’s namesake, so a visit to the town isn’t complete without a stop there!
- Lunch at The Ridgeline
- Tasting at Grandfather Vineyard Winery
- Dinner at The Speckled Trout Restaurant & Bottle Shop
- Breakfast at Hotel
- Grab a Coffee at Camp Coffee
- Hiking if desired:Cone Memorial Park– 27 miles of carriage trails on preserved estate property, now part of the Blue Ridge Parkway. The estate was significant to early Blowing Rock’s history, and the Cone mansion overlooks the town area. The trails range from super easy (Bass Lake Loop, flat, 1 mile) to moderately strenuous (Flat Top Trail, slow climb to a fire tower with a huge view, about 5.5 miles roundtrip). On the linked trail map, downtown Blowing Rock would basically be in the blank space in the bottom right.
- Glen Burney Trail – an out-and-back trail that offers views of three waterfalls. The trailhead is right in town! This one is not an easy trail but is rewarding. About 3 miles round trip.
- Tanawha Trail at Rough Ridge– This section of the trail is easy to access and offers incredible views from a boardwalk on the ridge. It’s a fast change of elevation, so it’s steep, but only about 10 minutes to the view. To access, head south on the Blue Ridge Parkway about 9 miles, and park at the Rough Ridge Overlook near milepost 303. You’ll see it on the right. Take the trail out of the lot, and go left over the footbridge, then straight up. As you can see from the trail map, Tanawha is actually much longer than the short hike to the view.
Sunset & Vine is an adorable wine and cheese shop located just steps from the Inn at Ragged Gardens. They offer wine flights, wine by the glass or bottle, bottles to take home, cheese and crackers, and specialty gifts. The atmosphere is quite cozy and the staff makes you feel right at home! It was a great first stop to our trip, as we were able to unwind from the long drive.
Timberlake’s Restaurant is located within Chetola Resort, which is a large mountain resort in the Blowing Rock area. The restaurant is top-notch and offers a variety of American favorites. The atmosphere is warm and cozy, with a log-cabin feel. The staff took great care of us and the food was outstanding! We loved sitting by the fire and catching up over a nice dinner.
- Bottle of Cava (which was out of this world)
- Caesar salad
- White Cheddar Jalapeno Dip(Housemade with Ashe County sharp cheddar, jalapenos, served with pita points)
- Filet Mignon (Center cut 8-ounce Black Angus filet with smoked tomato demi-glace and topped with roasted garlic chive butter
- Pimento Chicken(Lightly blackened Coleman Ranch chicken breast with white cheddar jalapeno pimento dip and crumbled bacon over an herb veloute)
Tweetsie Railroad is an iconic family destination, throughout the entire year. However, at Christmas – it turns into something even more magical. The best part is riding the train through the sea of Christmas lights and decorations. But they have tons of other fun things to do inside the park as well. I highly recommend getting a cup of hot chocolate and a smores package. 🙂 We loved feeling like kids again for the night!
The Ridgeline is an awesome dining destination with views that you wouldn’t believe. Sadly, it was rainy and foggy during our visit. However, they offer a gorgeous outside dining deck that overlooks the mountains. It would be the perfect date night at sunset! The staff was incredible and the chef even made us a little surprise (see below). Everything tasted fabulous and I highly recommend it!
- The chef made us a tasting platter of a few items such as their ahi tuna, house-made hummus, crab fritters, and jumbo shrimp
The Ridgeline Burger (Premium chopped beef patty served with a signature ooey-gooey cheese, house sauce, lettuce, tomato & onion on a toasted brioche bun)
French Dip (Boar’s Head roast beef served hot with house-made au jus dipping sauce)
Grandfather Vineyard Winery is a very popular winery in the Blowing Rock area. Even with the cold and the rain, they stayed very busy. But it’s absolutely worth the hype! We were treated to a tasting (which I recommend doing to decide which wines are your favorite). Later, we decided to enjoy a glass of their Cabernet Sauvignon outside on the porch. Everyone we talked to was extremely friendly and the wine is purchase worthy!
The Speckled Trout is a unique, yet still delicious restaurant in downtown Blowing Rock. As the name suggests, they do offer a variety of trout dishes. However, Olivia nor myself are big on fish so we went with different options. The Brussel Sprouts were amazing and so was the mac and cheese! Make sure to check out The Speckled Trout when you visit Blowing Rock! 🙂
Thanks for reading my post on The Best Things to do in Blowing Rock NC! It truly is a magical small town, especially during the holiday season. A special thank you to the Blowing Rock Tourism Authority for sponsoring this trip. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to ask. Follow along on Facebook and Instagram for more adventures. I can’t wait to see what 2020 has in store for Wine and Weekends 🙂
Until next time,