Return to Boone and Blowing Rock

by Leeya

This spring break, my family and I traveled to the North Carolina mountains. The 3 hour car ride felt long enough to feel like we were traveling but short enough to cause any family conflict from being cooped up in the car too long. 

We stayed in a beautiful mountain home in the community of Hound Ears which was surrounded by waterfalls, large boulders, and a slight view of the mountains. It was private enough to feel like we were in the mountains but close enough to downtown Boone. 

We ate at several good restaurants like Lost Providence Brewing Co. Lost Providence was one of my favorites because they had an open kitchen where you could see the pizza being put into a brick oven and the pizza was just spectacular. In fact, they make their sausage from scratch and the pizza combinations are innovative but perfect. We also went on a hike by the Cone Manor which offered a breathtaking view of the mountains.

Unfortunately, since we went in early spring, most things were closed including the Cone Manor House, Hickory Ridge History Museum, and the outdoor play Horn In The West. However, we still had fun by driving the quick 15 minutes to Blowing Rock.

We found a restaurant called Speckled Trout, my favorite restaurant on the trip. The atmosphere was relaxed with great outdoor and indoor seating and the food did not fall short. The cornmeal hoecakes were fluffy with a sweet buttery flavor from the sorghum. The wagyu burger with goat cheese, caramelized onions, bacon jam, and garlic aioli was like a sloppy joe full of flavor.

We liked Blowing Rock so much that my mom went there the next day. We had refreshing blackberry lemonade at Blue Deer on Main and traveled to sweet and spicy heaven at Sunset Tee’s & Hatterry (a hot sauce and candy shop). While we were walking, a building called Blowing Rock Art & Museum caught our eye. As you can probably guess from the title, this cute museum told the history of Blowing Rock and I learned so much.

The Cherokee and Catawba Indian tribes originally inhabited this area, creating the Blowing Rock legend. This legend says that two lovers, one from each tribe, were walking near the blowing rock when the sky urged one of the lovers that he must return to his tribal duty. His lover wanted him to stay with her. The choice between duty and love was too much for the lover and caused him to leap from the edge into the rocks below. The maiden was heartbroken and prayed for her lover to be brought back for her. Her prayers were answered and the winds of the river blew her lover back into her arms. Thus, this town was named “Blowing Rock.”

After the eighteenth century, the Scottish and Irish began to immigrate to this area. Other colonists and farmers also migrated, bringing slaves with them. They all came to work in the lumber industry fueling the industrial revolution. In 1845, a man by the name of James Harper built the first summer home in Blowing Rock. He also petitioned the Senate to build Blowing Rock’s first toll road. He realized the potential of Blowing Rock as a resort community. After all, Blowing Rock offered mountain air, stunning mountain views, and so much nature. Eventually, people were traveling from all over the world to ​​visit Blowing Rock. For example, Camp Catawba was founded for Jewish Refugees from New York to visit the South. As someone described Blowing Rock, “… it offered an escape from industrial life. These new people brought different cultures, religions, and a new perspective on life.”

We ended out the day with lunch from Storie Street Grille, where the apples were crisp and the figs were homegrown.

Overall, while the size of these towns might be small, the community and character is not.

~ App State ~

by Adalia

Appalachian State University, which is located in Boone, has one of the largest teaching programs in North Carolina, graduating as many as 500 teachers every year! The college, originally called Watauga Academy, has been around since 1899. It has evolved into the Reich College of Education. Because so many teachers graduate from App State, it is estimated that in every county in North Carolina there is at least one App State graduate teacher!

But why did we mention this in our Virtual Voyages?

Well, this is a thank you to teachers everywhere because teachers are true leaders. They lead us from childhood to adulthood. They teach us the important facts that maybe we’ll forget, but that will help a good number of us later in life. And most importantly, they teach us critical life skills—we spend close to 20,000 hours of our life with them, not including college and university!