[Post updated August 2016 after most recent visit]
I’m pretty lucky that I get to mooch a trip with the ‘rents to Blowing Rock every August thanks to the timeshare my parents inherited. The small mountain town can get pretty packed on the weekends, but is relatively quiet during the week — at least in August. Fall may be another story with the leaves changing color. The quaint downtown area is packed with shops and restaurants. Here are a few places you shouldn’t miss:
Bald Guy Brew — I knew I would leave this place with a t-shirt as soon as I saw the name. It’s a cozy coffee shop above the Footsloggers store. August afternoons can get pretty muggy, even in the mountains, so I grabbed a tasty iced coffee here.
Update: There have been a few changes since I was here last year. Bald Guy Brew is no longer in Blowing Rock, but they are in nearby Boone. The Blowing Rock location is now Camp Coffee.
Kojay’s Cafe — Great place for coffee and a quick sandwich. Grab a seat on the patio if you can. It can get a little warm inside in the summer.
Update: Kojay’s was sold and it is now BR Bites and Brews. You can still get a sandwich, but it is no longer a coffee shop. You can get smoothies, wine and craft beer.
Blowing Rock Brewery — Hello, new favorite place! This was our first time checking this joint out and we liked it so much we went twice. I was mostly excited about the beer, but hoped the food would be good, too. It turned out to be fantastic. I’m not shy about sampling the food of my table mates so I can vouch for the bison burger, fried chicken sandwich, fries (order a side of Ranch for the fries!) and their specials, the grilled cheese sandwich and Asian coleslaw. A generous flight of five of their beers is only $10.
The Village Cafe — we always hit this spot for breakfast. The unique 1907 building is set back from the main street down a quiet path. The outdoor eating area is uber relaxing.
Bistro Roca –The Porkocalypse mac & cheese. Enough said. This most recent trip I had the trout.
*Timberlake’s — Located on the grounds of the Chetola Resort at Blowing Rock just a few minutes from downtown, this is where I ate my first brisket. The brisket crepe to be exact, described on the menu as “slow smoked beef brisket and sweet onion jam in a beer and
chive crepe, topped with housemade Appalachian steak sauce.” Yum. The patio and window seats offer nice views of the lake. Wednesdays are Steak on the Lake with live music and Thursdays are Jazz and Oyster Night. On Fridays they light the big bonfire by the water. And did I mention there is a pub connected?
NEACO Home Decor — Every year I see a piece of furniture or something I else I long to own.
The Brass Exchange — They always have adorable and reasonably-priced Halloween decorations out when we are there. I usually find some sort of wall decoration as well.
The Last Straw — I just bought the best smelling candle ever there. They have tons of garden and decor items, including some pretty amazing Halloween decorations. Unfortunately it’s a little pricey, but still worth a look.
*Mast General Store — You’ll have to jump in the car for this one. There are two locations, Boone, near the Appalachian State campus, and Valle Crucis. Great for all the kids (meaning kids and husbands)!
*Tanger Shoppes on the Parkway — Outlets a short distance from downtown. OUTLETS!!!
There are tons of parks and play areas in Blowing Rock. Memorial Park is right there on the main street and Broyhill Park is nearby.
*Julian Price Memorial Park — This year we went to check out the park and walk around the lake. It is a beautiful recreation area. There were people fishing, kayaking and running. There is a pretty decent 2.7 mile path through the trees around the lake we tried to walk. From what we were able to do, although not fully paved, it was flat enough to push my son’s adapted stroller/wheelchair. We abandoned the full walk due to recent rains leaving some sizable muddy patches, but if you can go when it has been dry for a few days, from what I saw it seemed pretty accessible.
*Lin Cove Viaduct — This remarkable piece of the Blue Ridge Parkway was created to preserve the flora and fauna of Grandfather Mountain. You can stop at a nearby overlook and walk over to photograph it or explore the nearby hiking trails.
*away from downtown area
What are your favorite spots?