• Ingrid Lemme

Blowing Rock & Grandfather Mountain

Updated: Nov 26, 2021

Escape from Paradise with Ingrid Lemme-Chalut

First published in The Montauk Sun October issue 2021

Mind-blowing Blowing Rock and Grandfather Mountain in North Carolina

Let me say from the start that we’ve found another destination that really belongs on everyone’s bucket list and that we hope to visit next year once again as there is so much more for us to do and experience in and around the historic, charming, beautiful mountain town of Blowing Rock. The famous Rock, less than two miles from our hotel, that we visited the next morning, is the oldest tourist attraction in North Carolina and features an immense cliff jutting 4,000 feet above sea level.


Blowing Rock is a year round destination, but fall is especially beautiful in the mountains when the leaves are turning, and The Blue Ridge Mountains, with Blue Ridge Parkway access right in Blowing Rock, offer one of the most colorful and longest running fall leaf seasons in the world. One of the reasons is the varied elevations that show prime fall colors for over a month. Lucky us, a little of these famous fall colors were already becoming more noticeable around the Blowing Rock area during our visit in mid September.

We arrived in town on a blue-skied early Sunday afternoon and fell instantly in love with its beautiful, blooming Main Street. But, we unfortunately also realized quickly that most of the restaurants on Main Street were packed. Main Street in Blowing Rock is filled with plenty of fine dining options, cool Pubs and quaint Bistros. What did we expect, Sunday afternoon in one of North Carolina’s most scenic mountain towns, located in the midst of some of the High Country's most popular attractions?

Lucky us, Ali Borchardt, the General Manager at the Meadowbrook Inn got us last minute reservations at Bistro Roca where we shared a terrific wood-fired oven pizza ( Think local Prosciutto, caramelized onion, Manchego, sun-dried tomatoes on flat-bread ) and a large, crackling Salada de Casa.

Roca’s food and the 11.5 percent Dragon’s Milk Bourbon Barrel Aged Stout put my husband in an uber-pleasant mood, and we were ready to discover the town. www.bistroroca.com

We had reservations at the Meadowbrook Inn, a charming 62-room eco retreat surrounded by still blooming gardens and located just a block from all these cute shops, restaurants, and galleries on Blowing Rock's Main Street. A couple of ducks, who demanded the right of way, welcomed us by the main entrance. They seemed to be on the way to the duck pond which is part of the surrounding ‘Certified Wildlife Habitat by National Wildlife Federation’.

Our accommodations were located in the annex building, adjoining the pond with a fountain sparkling in the early afternoon light and turned out to be one of the most interesting ones we’ve come across in all our travels. Our spacious two-floor ‘Pool Suite’ featured a private pool with floating mats (and I mean private), a nice living room with a cozy fireplace, a comfortable king-sized bed with luscious bedding and a large jetted bathtub for two.

After we unpacked I made us a nice cup of coffee in the mini kitchen that we enjoyed briefly with some chocolates on our balcony. www.meadowbrook-inn.com

We couldn’t wait to get back to Main Street, join the crowd, do some shopping and listen to the band in the park. I especially liked The Final Touches Home & Garden boutique. www.blowingrock.com

After a whole afternoon of fun up and down Blowing Rock’s historic Main Street and meeting people from all over we were slowly looking for a place for dinner and found it practically right around the corner from our Inn, The Speckled Trout.

The Speckled Trout serves North Carolina’s famous trout, grilled, baked, blackened, crusted and/or smoked to one's liking. I enjoyed the Blackened Speckled Trout served over a ‘country kimchi’ with a side of fries. It’s a happy place with cool people, good food and cool drinks. www.thespeckledtrout.com

We decided right then to walk back to town one more time for a little more of the Music in the Park and some of Kilwins’ famous chocolate ice cream.

However there was no way we would neglect our private indoor pool; after a whole day of traveling and walking we both were looking forward to it. Neither of us had packed bathing suits, but, hey, we didn’t need them anyway. ;)

We decided to skip a nice breakfast buffet at the hotel the next morning and stop on the way to ‘The Rock’ at the ‘Sunny Rock Eggs and Things’ where the locals eat instead. Sunny Rock Eggs turned out to be a cozy, warm place with a hot breakfast and perfectly basted eggs! Btw our waitress Sheila rocked. Thanking Amanda Lugenbell from Blowing Rock Tourism, and our friends Denise Hagan, Amy and Joe Lockman and Dick Schambach for all their valuable input. www.sunnyrockeggs.com