Blowing Rock, North Carolina

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Blowing Rock is a town in North Carolina, USA, situated in both Caldwell and Watauga counties. The population was 1,418 at the 2000 census. However, during the summer the town's population increases to about 10,000. These summertime residents consist mainly of people from the State of Florida who come to Blowing Rock to escape the heat and humidity of the Deep South.

The Caldwell County portion of Blowing Rock is part of the HickoryLenoirMorganton Metropolitan Statistical Area, while the Watauga County portion is part of the Boone Micropolitan Statistical Area.

Contents

Attractions

The town of Blowing Rock takes its name from an unusual rock formation which juts over 1,500 feet (460 m) above the Johns River gorge. Due to the rock's shape and size, wind currents from the gorge often blow vertically, causing light objects to float upwards into the sky.

The Blowing Rock area was once fought over by the Cherokee and Catawba Native American tribes. According to legend, two lovers - one from each tribe - were walking near the rocks when the man received a notice to report to his village and go into battle. When his lover urged him to stay with her, he became so distraught that he threw himself off the blowing rock into the gorge. The woman prayed to the Great Spirit to return her lover, and the Spirit complied by sending a gust of wind which blew the man back up the cliff and landed him safely on the blowing rock itself. This story of course is fictional but it was used as a draw for the attraction. In the 1980s, a billboard in Wilkesboro for Blowing Rock showed two Indians holding hands, one standing on the rock and one "floating". Today "The Blowing Rock" is a tourist attraction and is known for its superb views of the surrounding Blue Ridge Mountains.

Another tourist attraction in Blowing Rock is the Tweetsie Railroad theme park, which is home to the only remaining fully-functional steam engine train in North Carolina. Visitors to Tweetsie can ride the train for three miles (5 km) and enjoy the mountain scenery; the park also contains traditional amusement-park rides and attractions. Other attractions in the Blowing Rock area include the elegant and historic Green Park Inn, Mystery Hill, the Blowing Rock Country Club, and the Mariam & Robert Hayes Performing Arts Center, which presents music, dance, and films as well as being the home to a professional theatre company (Blowing Rock Stage Company). The Hayes Center suspended operations in September 2009 and has remained closed.

On the nearby Blue Ridge Parkway is Moses Cone Memorial Park, which offers scenic views of the surrounding mountains. The park contains the Moses Cone Manor and Estate, and features two large lakes surrounded by forests and trails. These trails wind miles, and were once carriage trails for the Cone family. Adjacent to the park is the Blowing Rock Equestrian Preserve, where visitors can board their horses convenient to the trails; there are 25 miles (40 km) of riding and carriage trails in the park.

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