1. Eat at The Gamekeeper Restaurant. This restaurant is the MUST EAT recommendation for any celebration.Where do locals celebrate special occasions?You guessed it! Featuring a seasonal menu of organic veggies and wild game, fish and vegetarian selections. We recommend ordering the platter appetizer because where else can you try buffalo, ostrich and rattlesnake & rabbit sausages on one plate and under one roof? Located just outside Blowing Rock off Shulls Mill Road. Fine Dining in Blowing Rock.
2. Drive the Blue Ridge Parkway. Where better to kill a whole day than driving the most visited National Park, with over 19 Million visitors per year. Here are some Blue Ridge Parkway Facts.
3. Zip hundreds of feet off the group at Sky Valley Zip Lines, for anyone with adventure in their blood is a DO NOT MISS. This is the newest zipline, the largest and only one near Boone or Blowing Rock! Your three hour tour begins with an ATV ride and then 10 zip lines and then a cliff jump and swinging bridge that you CANNOT find anywhere else. #1 Zipline in the High Country. Located in Blowing Rock.
4. Gem Mine with the family. Although it is a drive from Blowing Rock, Gem Mountain has gem mining down to a science and is worth the trip to the Linville area, west of Boone. Great family time. Located in Spruce Pine North Carolina, the gem mining capital of the United States!
5. Visit downtown Blowing Rock, known as Main Street, for a collection of unique shops and a do not miss is Kilwin’s, famous for their fudge, salt water taffy and ice cream (or hot cocoa depending on the season). Located at 1103 Main Street, Blowing Rock, NC 28605 and typically open until 10pm and sometimes 11pm!
6. Walk the mile-high bridge at Grandfather Mountain, a MUST-SEE. Walk across its mile-high swinging bridge, hike all day long, visit their zoo, learn all about nature and sustainability on one of the most diverse mountains in the world. Visit their Facebook page to check for weather issues that may affect their opening or closing for the day (ie. high winds, ice and snow)
7. Purchase fresh, organic vegetables and produce from the Watauga County Farmer’s Market, open since 1974. Located in Boone NC at Horn in the West.
8. Eat breakfast, brunch or lunch at The Village Café, a Blowing Rock staple and listed on the National Register of Historic Places! Follow the stone walkway beside Kilwin’s off Main Street. Eat there now and thank us later!
9. Visit the Moses Cone mansion, a 13,000 square foot residence of the Denim King, a textile magnate and philanthropist whom passed in 1908. This is a 3500 acre estate with elevation changes from 3500 to over 4500 foot elevation. “Flat Top Manor” houses two lakes, great for strolling and walking and 25 miles of hiking, walking trails for carriage rides, sorry no bikes (located between mile marker 292 and 295 off the Blue Ridge Parkway), just 2 miles from downtown Blowing Rock NC.
10. Rent your own private NC Mountain Cabin Rental from Blue Ridge For Rent. With more than 100 vacation rentals to choose from, there are options for every budget! Pet friendly Rentals, hot tubs, WiFi, full kitchens, mountain views, river access, near NC Skiing and Grandfather Mountain. Ask about last-minute and Sunday arrival weekday-only discounts!
11. New River Tubing. Who better to rent inner tubes from than River Girl Fishing, the best in the business! Sit back and relax on the New River in a tube, kayak or canoe. They will set you up, get you into the water and then bring you back to your car. The New River is one of the oldest rivers in the world and flows north! Located in Todd NC, a few miles north of Boone NC.
12. Stroll around or fish in the 22-acre Bass Lake (.8 mile loop with access to additional trails) or 16-acre Trout Lake, both are located on the 3500 acre Moses Cone estate.Easy strolling, drive straight to and park at the park off the Blue Ridge Parkway.Degree of difficulty is easy on crushed gravel with benches for sitting and enjoying the view! Located near mile marker 296.
13. Whitewater Rafting for those with an adventurous spirit! From calm to difficult, Wahoos Adventures will make sure you are on the right rapids based on your skill level and spirit! There are a few rivers to choose from and Wahoos will drive you there, drop you off and pick you up!
14. Ride Tweetsie Railroad, a theme park for the kids open from May until October and located just north of the town of Blowing Rock on Hwy 321. If you are traveling with kids or simply love steam engines and the Wild West, this is a “do not miss!”
15. Visit the original Mast General Store, located in Valle Crucis (about 15 miles from Blowing Rock). Well worth the trip to see how we “used to” shop! The history of this “Original” store is amazing, read up and go buy some olde-time candy from your childhood.
16.Visit “The Blowing Rock” and learn the lore behind this small town’s name. The view is astounding from the observation deck and it is worth the cost of admission.
17. Visit Linville Caverns is a popular attraction near Boone. Privately owned and maintained and with seasonal hours. Watch out for the bats! Located in Linville NC, west of Boone.
18. Order from Boone Takeout for fast Food Delivery – Have 50+ restaurants delivered to your Boone Vacation Rental for a modest fee. Don’t want to drive in the snow? Call Boone Takeout. Had too much to drink? Call Boone Takeout. Can’t decide on just one restaurant?Boone Takeout will deliver from multiple restaurants to the same address!
19. Mountain Bike Rocky Knob. Just like it sounds, new to Boone NC and getting RAVE reviews from mountain bikers of all skill sets. 185 acres with miles of Boone Biking Trails, a terrain park and pet friendly! Off US Hwy 421 a couple miles east of 194.
20. High Country Golfing. There are plenty of Golf Courses near Boone and Blowing Rock. We don’t golf, but if we did, we would simply visit this site to see all of the area NC Golf Courses.
21. Visit the Southern Highland Craft Guild or Parkway Craft Center for craft shopping and exhibits from the finest craft artists from all the Appalachian states from baskets, woodcarvings, quilts and ironworks. Now located inside the Moses Cone Manor, a mere 2 miles from downtown Blowing Rock.
22. Woolly Worm Festival! A great outdoor, open-air event that takes place every October in downtown Banner Elk. Become a part of the 20,000 visitors, 140 vendors or the 1000+ worm trainers.Find your own Woolly Worm and race him against everyone else.
23. Eat at Knights on Main is the Blowing Rock diner where the locals eat breakfast. Located on Main Street Blowing Rock, it opens early, the food is hot and the portions are a great way to start your day of High Country activities.
24. Ride a Horse! Horseback Riding at Dutch Creek Trails in Vilas NC (near Boone) or Burnt Hill Stables in Laurel Springs NC (near West Jefferson). Mom and pop equestrian centers with excellent trails for beginners and advanced riders. Reasonable family fun.
25. Snow Tubing at Jonas Ridge. Best priced, LEAST CROWDED and most natural snow tubing in the area. Six lanes, great lodge for warm drinks and they have snow guns to make snow! Typically $20-25/person and often open until 10pm! Located in Newland NC, west of Banner Elk.
26. Watch ASU Sports LIVE. Appalachian State University Sports are played year-round. This is the best site to visit to see what is going on during your trip. If you haven’t watched the back-to-back National Champ Mountaineers play football, we recommend purchasing a ticket in advance!
27. Rent a bike from Magic Cycles and tour Boone, Blowing Rock, trails and parks. Need a Boone Mountain Bike Rental, a street bike or a place to service and fix a flat? Locally owned and operated since 1993. Downtown Boone on 140 S. Depot Street.
28. Camp on the New River. Pitch your tent along the river, sleep along the river and laugh and play all night long, along the river.
29. Take in the Blowing Rock Horse Show at the Blowing Rock Equestrian Preserve that takes place every July. Visit their new website to see what they have in store this season and year-round for horse lovers or anyone looking for some entertainment!
30. Day trip to The Biltmore in Asheville. 1.5 to 2 hours South of Blowing Rock in lovely Asheville, it makes for a great day trip. And it takes a day to wander through the largest private residence in America – you could spend a day just walking the grounds and gardens alone! Save by purchasing tickets a week in advance, live music, a day to remember!
31. Visit Linville Falls. Once donated to the state by John D Rockefeller Jr, the property is part of the Linville River and has a 45 foot drop. Known as a hiker’s paradise, it is complete with a campground, swimming, hiking and picnic area. Located on US Hwy 221 North, Marion North Carolina.
32. Buy a bottle of wine at the Blowing Rock Market for that special bottle of wine, a Boar’s Head sandwich or maybe some gas? Located on Main Street Blowing Rock and under new management as of 2012, an area staple and their friendliness is worth the visit while in downtown Blowing Rock!
33. Watch Women’s Roller Derby! Yes, it is actually a great time. Skates, pads and bruising! Come cheer for your Appalachian Roller Girls, seasonally, January thru September.
34. Visit Orchard at Altapass. Great family-friendly activity featuring hay rides, storytelling, live music, birding trips and of course apple picking. Open typically May through October, mile marker 328 in Spruce Pine along the Blue Ridge Parkway.
35. Visit Bo’s, a new Family Fun Center in Lenoir about 25 minutes south of Blowing Rock features arcade, bowling, pool tables, laser tag, bumper cars, putt putt golf and something else probably by the time you read this article. 45000 square feet of family fun and worth the drive!
36. Spend an afternoon at Art in the Park in Blowing Rock off Wallington Street. Artists and artisans alike showcasing their beautiful works of art.
37. Visit the Todd General Store, like the Mast Store, it is on the National Registrar of Historic Places. Visit for its deli, home-made jellies, ice cream, antiques and collectibles and to see how we used to live “back in the day!” Live Bluegrass Music on Fridays, storytelling on Tuesdays and Saturdays are book signings! Todd, NC, just north of Boone.
38. Go Skiing or Snowboarding with three local NC Ski Mountains to choose from; Sugar, Beech and Appalachian Ski Mountain. Visit NC Ski Resorts here.
39. Choose and Cut your own Christmas Tree! Visit RRR Tree Farm located in Todd, NC, a short drive from Boone and Blowing Rock, but their prices and friendliness are worth it!
40. Gather up all of your friends and Eat at Daniel Boone Inn. Homestyle Southern food and a lot of it! Served Family Style Dining for 50+ years!
41. Visit Mystery Hill, a Family-oriented amusement science center where visitors from 2 to 102 will enjoy their time in the crooked house. This is a 50 year old Blowing Rock staple and the kids will love it!
More to come!