There are few places on Earth that bring me as much joy as Blowing Rock, NC. I grew up visiting my grandparents there several times a year, and not many things have devastated me quite as much as the day they sold their beautiful cabin and its accompanying small apple orchard and blueberry bushes. So, when my grandparents rent a house each year in the month of July, I always try and find time to visit if possible. This year, I was lucky enough to overlap with Jessica, Taegan and Dave, which led to many joint, fun adventures. Here are a few of my favorite things in the Blowing Rock area of the mountains of NC:
Tweetsie Railroad: Though it can be expensive without the AAA or military discount, Tweetsie is absolutely worth a day of adventure if your children are under 10 (past that it might get a little dull). Between the train ride, western adventures and showdowns, shows, petting zoo, and carnival rides, Tweetsie will keep the whole family busy for at least half a day. Definitely worth a trip!
The Incredible Toy Company- Close by Tweetsie is an awesome toy company with almost every toy imaginable. Great place to load up on birthday or learning toys while the kids play with legos or in a toy van.
Downtown Blowing Rock- Not only is downtown Blowing Rock ridiculously beautiful, with loads of flowers everywhere and adorable shops left and right, but right in the middle of town is an awesome playground. I grew up going to this playground and my kids still love it today (don’t worry- they’ve updated the equipment since then)! Make sure to stop at Kilwin’s Ice Cream shop with the kids. Kilwins is many more places now, but this shop has been there since my childhood and located right across from the playground, where you can usually eat ice cream while listening to music from a local performer.
The Children’s Playhouse, Boone- We didn’t actually make it to this playhouse on our recent trip, but my cousin, who lives in the area, says that it is the best place for kids to visit. Not only do they have unique crafts and activities each day, but it is basically a huge life-size playhouse for kids to play in and learn!
Watuaga County Farmer’s Market- This is a great local farmer’s market where everyone selling has to make or sell only their own product. So, you know it is real and local! Not only do they have great produce, coffee, and treats, but they have a great kids play area set up by The Children’s Playhouse where kids can play with loads of learning activities during a break from shopping. The Farmer’s Market is located outside of the Horn of the West, which is where an outdoor reenactment of pioneers occurs. Worth a visit later in the day!
Moses Cone Park- Walk around the lake for an easy “hike” with kids. It’s really pretty!
The Tanger Outlets in Blowing Rock- There are some awesome and cheap kids stores here (Carters, Gymboree, Gap, and Oshkosh), and if you go at the holidays the deals are amazing. We went ahead and loaded up on Christmas outfits because it was just that cheap!
Appalachian Ski Mountain- I grew up skiing here and it is a really great mountain for beginners and young kids because the mountain is so much smaller than the ones you find in the Rockies. When the kids get a little older, this is probably where I will take them to learn to ski.
For the 4th of July:
Boone Fireworks over Tweetie fireworks (Boone ones are free and Tweetsie is not)- The Boone fireworks are an awesome and long show. They also have playgrounds for the kids and local churches put out jumping castles for kids. Just get there a bit early to find a spot to park.
Boone Parade over Blowing Rock Parade- My reasoning behind this is simple: the Boone parade throws out way, way less candy. I have no problem with parades that throw out candy, but at the Blowing Rock parade this year, the kids got more candy than they got at Halloween. It seemed to teach them that it was okay to run in front of cars as long as there is candy, and I just didn’t think that was cool. My advice is definitely to try to make it to the Boone one if you can!
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Jessica and Ana
Our Homeschooling Mission Statement: We will strive to be patient, godly examples to our children, integrating biblical principles and morality into every subject. Learning should be fun. We will foster an attitude of lifelong curiosity and play while providing the best possible education we can through books, art, technology, food, tactile activities, and cultural experiences. Learning will not be dictated by hours on a clock but will be a way of life for our families.