A Blowing Rock New Years Eve

Despite spending a couple days in Charleston for Christmas just one week ago, I still had the itch to travel, and Blowing Rock seemed like the perfect destination.  Not quite 3 hours from Radford, Blowing Rock is located right off the Blue Ridge Parkway in the mountains of North Carolina.  It’s a small community only 3 square miles in size and visitors can easily walk to shops, restaurants, galleries, and opportunities for recreation.

Knowing that my only time constraint was the start of the VT / UCLA Sun Bowl Game, I took to the back roads.  Old Rt 221 provided pretty views and incredibly curvy roads that really made me miss my bike.

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I tuned the radio to the 740 AM station, WPAQ out of Mt Airy, and in addition to hearing some good old time music, I soon found myself listening to a man reading the obituaries.  Sure enough, it was just as if I was reading them from the paper.  It somehow seemed fitting as I drove those back roads and I imagined what it would have been like to have lived there during a time when local AM radio might have been the only real connection to life off the farm.

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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.

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Upon arriving in Blowing Rock, I checked into the recently reopened Blowing Rock Ale House and Inn, before heading out to find a place to watch the game.

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The Town Tavern offered a comfortable seat at the bar, right in front of a TV showing my game.  The food and microbrews were great … too bad the Hokies weren’t.  Sigh.  Even still, I enjoyed practicing photography and chatting up the folks coming and going at the bar.

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In the next couple days I’ll be sharing more of Blowing Rock with you, but for now I’ll leave you with a few pictures taken during my walk back to the Ale House.

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Once back at the Inn and while sitting in front of the fire with new found friends, I enjoyed a delicious Grilled Flatbread with Wild Mushrooms, Grilled Vidalia Onions, Smoked Mozzarella, Basil Pesto and Porter-Balsamic Reduction accompanied by a lovely glass of cabernet.

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Not a bad way to spend the last day of 2013.

41 thoughts on “A Blowing Rock New Years Eve

  1. Stunning photos Laurie – I love the red beads around the neck of the Angel – there must be a story ….. Blowing Rock is such a fabulous name – the whole place looks so pretty, I am a sucker for history too. [Finally got round to watching The Conspirator last night - have you seen it? Such a fascinating glimpse in to the aftermath of the Lincoln Assassination] and the food made me drool….. :-) Sorry about the Hokies [again!]

    • Thanks!! Those beads really caught my attention … and I agree, there must be a story.
      I have not seen that movie, but speaking of Lincoln, I just bought Team of Rivals … hope to read it soon.

  2. I really enjoyed this post Laurie, the photos were great as was the history but what really struck me was the Blowing Rock Ale House and Inn. It kind of remind me of our trip to Glenora Vineyards which also has a restaurant and a hotel on the premises right off Lake Seneca, NY where if you get too trashed you just walk back to your hotel room, LOL. Have a great evening :D

  3. What an interesting collection of photos. They remind me a fair bit of the British Aisles. I love the story of the rock, too. Was the inn cozy and comfortable?

    I can’t say that I’ve ever heard obits read on the radio, other than for someone famous. That must really lend itself to the local experience.

    Sorry your team lost, but glad you had a nice time and met new friends.

    • I emailed my friend Ralph about the readying of the obits and after giving me the call numbers for the station, he replied “They read the “condensed obituaries” at 1:30 and 3:30, then the “full obituaries” later. Of course, out thataway, it could’ve been any AM station! The last local radio there is”.
      The last truly local radio … not a national chain pretending to be local. Makes ya think (or at least it does me)

      • I was just answering some comments and thinking “when is the last time that Alys posted”? Good to hear from you and know that when you come East, you have a place to stay!!

      • Oh my! Thank you so much. I can’t wait to meet you in person one day.

        I generally post Mon-Fri, but needed to get my heart and head in a better place, so I took a few days off.

        We just launched our Little Free Library, so I’m feeling really energized by that.

        I hope your healing well, staying warm and enjoying life.

  4. What a beautiful collection of photographs, LB – I really felt like I was there with you – and cheering on your team even though I had no idea of the rules! Thanks for sharing such a lovely journey. xoxox

    • I so love it when people say, after reading, that they feel like they were with me. That is one of my most favorite things to hear!
      and believe me, my team NEEDED cheering :-)

    • Funny thing, isn’t it? Ha!
      I didn’t get to Six Pence Pub, an English Pub on Main Street. I’d been there a few years ago while riding through on the bike, and thoroughly enjoyed the Harp Lager on tap and Fish & Chips!

    • It felt good, too! My first real trip since the wreck. I purposely traveled to kind of process some things, but quickly fell back into just loving it!
      Happy New Year back in the States! Hope you’re getting all settled back in.

    • You would love this place, too, I think. Beautiful place for a bike ride and surrounded by many places for excellent hiking! And then … fun food and drink after! Great combo

  5. Loved this post. My favorite part? Picturing you “listening” to the obituaries being read on the radio as you drove through the country :)

    • It was a completely unexpected treat … I emailed with Ralph about it and his reply was ““They read the “condensed obituaries” at 1:30 and 3:30, then the “full obituaries” later. Of course, out thataway, it could’ve been any AM station! The last local radio there is”.

  6. Is that last photo a ribboned glass brick? If not, I still like the idea, ha ha.

    Thank you for explaining the history of the name of Blowing Rock. I love those little details of places, so that I can feel a better connection to the photos I see.

  7. Wow this is a super photo series of a neat little town. I really do enjoy these tours. It sure sounds like you had a wonderful stay…the food descriptions and the liquid refreshments made me drool. It’s fun finding places like those you describe!

  8. So happy to hear you are out riding again. I love joining you on these little adventures, seeing a part of the country I’m not familiar with. You have a way of making me feel right at home.

      • Nice. We decided to put our things away before the super cold hits tonight!!!! 30+ degrees below zero is NOT good and that’s the forecast for Sunday night! Monday’s high of minus 16 is not too special either…..ugh!

  9. I love how these little communities make an economy for themselves. I linked over to the Inn’s website to read their history. It seems like everything is so close for you to travel too from home. Lucky girl. That house I pinned on FB in Georgia, wasn’t really too far from Charleston NC and in the other direction was Savannah, a place I’ve always wanted to visit. I really love the photo you captured of the angel with the pink rosary beads. They really pop against the cold cement of statuary.

    Looks like Blowing Rock is steeped in History as is the entire region. I could stay a month and not see enough.

    • It really is such a great little community. Lots of charm and so much to do. I love that the new inn owners embrace change yet honor history.
      I’ve never been to Savannah either. In fact, until my son moved to Chareston, I’d never been there either.
      I just could not walk by that angel with the beads. Some would have made it B&W, but I loved the color, too!

  10. This town reminded me of some of the smaller towns here in RSA, if you travel around it is amazing the quaint old towns and gems you can find (check out Pilgrims Rest RSA). Sounds like you had a great New Year! I am now jealous and very keen to just skip work and go travelling a bit..
    -Megan

  11. Pingback: Blowing Rock: Come on In | Life on the Bike and other Fab Things

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