Our general plan was to get in the car and drove north through the North Mountains to go leaf peeping and visit a few sites. The line of cars to go on the suspended bridge at Grandfather Mountain went on for days so we called an audible and continued on to Blowing Rock. We had to settle for a few pics of the bridge from a distance.
We rode through Linville, Boone (Appalachian State has a nice campus!) and Blowing Rock. We missed the best of the leaves by a week but it was still beautiful. The weather was perfect.
Appalachian State Campus
We stumbled upon Cone Manor, a summer home owned by one of the leading families of the Guilded Age. Their property was second only to the Vanderbilt’s holdings in the state of North Carolina. They never had any children but left the home and grounds to the National Park service with a few stipulations. Private donors have raised a few million to do much-needed repairs. The view from the front porch was serene.
They give tours in the summer but in the fall the main floor and gift shops are all that was open. I did see people riding on horseback so I assume one can rent horses at the stable. It was a nice (quick) stop. Side note: The bathrooms are in the Carriage House not the main house.
Flat Top Manor
We ended the day at Blowing Rock. It was freezing up there! My fingers were so cold I could barely take pictures but, of course, I persevered. It cost $7 per person to leave the gift shop and go out to the observation deck. We arrived right at sunset so I had to move fast but the pictures turned out great. Very Last of the Mohicans (I’m dating myself but whatever that is one of my favorite movies) feeling view! Speaking of Indians, there is an ancient legend that gave Blowing Rock its name but you’ll have to Google to find out. Next time, I’ll wear gloves. It was a good end to a great day!