Boone and Blowing Rock are neighboring towns in the mountains of northwestern North Carolina, less than a two-hour drive from Asheville, our previous stop. Blowing Rock is smaller and more upscale, with a quaint downtown commercial strip; we visited briefly in 2016 at the end of our first Big Trip. This time, we were curious to explore Boone, a busier (but still small) college town fifteen minutes north.
In town, we walked the section of King St near App State and stuck our heads into a few establishments: Mast General Store is always a fun one, and there are a bunch of places to eat and drink. We also toured our friends through downtown Blowing Rock. And we did some exploring farther afield, too!
We stayed at Flintlock Campground and absolutely loved it. Our campsites were next to each other under shady trees alongside an energetic creek–Bugsy loved running back and forth between the trailers. The creekside spots are short, and we were lucky to have an empty site next door to park our truck as otherwise we’d have to park in the overflow area near the office. Our friends’ smaller truck and RV fit fine in their space.
Hiking and Biking
As I mentioned before: in each town on this trip, one day’s activity was hiking and the other was cycling. But in Boone, since the hiking is close by, we squeezed in a second hike the morning of our departure.
The hike to Flat Top Tower was a gentle climb along carriage roads in Moses Cone Memorial Park to an observation tower; the views from the tower and from spots along the trail are gorgeous. This is an easy hike of 5.2 miles, 20 minutes from the campground, five minutes from downtown Blowing Rock (!), and just down the Blue Ridge Parkway from where we camped and hiked when we stayed in Blowing Rock in 2016.
Our quickie morning hike before we left town was along Boone Fork Trail. It’s a pretty, flat loop of just over five miles, with no mountain vistas, but you do get waterfalls and a happy creek. This hike is also about 20 minutes from Flintlock, and actually passes through where we camped in 2016. (Yes, Julian Price Campground in Blowing Rock is fantastic.)
The cycling route our friends chose was wonderful: a 29-miler from a local bike club. From App State, you pop up to the Blue Ridge Parkway, cruise down the Parkway into Blowing Rock via the Green Hill neighborhood with its bonkers gorgeous houses, then a slightly-harrowing return along busier roads to Boone.
We’re taking our bikes with us next visit, and will likely plan a similar but different route that leaves from Blowing Rock instead of Boone in an attempt to avoid the more trafficky roads.
Eating and Drinking
Another caravan rule, along with cycle one day and hike one day, was that we were eating out one night and cooking at home the other. Except for in Asheville, because there’s too much good food there! We also did most of our beverage consumption at home, sitting at the picnic table at our super sweet campsite. But somehow I still have a good bit to report:
For lunch after our bike ride we hit Booneshine Brewing and it was perfect. The patio was sunny (maybe that’s not so great in the depths of summer though) beers were yummy (but they didn’t have anything for our non-beer girl to drink, sadly) and we all ordered and hoovered up the warm grains bowl. If we’d had Bugsy with us, and if we didn’t smell so bad post-cycling, we may have hung out for a while.
We were in Blowing Rock at dinnertime on our designated dinner-at-restaurant day, and couldn’t agree on where to go or what to do. The answer to that dilemma is always pizza! We have Mellow Mushroom at home in Charlottesville and knew it was a great choice, and I can tell you that it tastes even better sitting outside your RV next to a bubbling creek. There’s a Mellow Mushroom location in Boone, too.
To complete our oh-so-healthy pizza meal, we got ice cream sandwiches for dessert, because of course. Holy cow you must go to Blue Deer and build your own ice cream sandwich. They also have locations in Blowing Rock and Boone.
To fuel our wanderings around Blowing Rock, we stopped at Bald Guy Brew for some eco-friendly coffee. Great spot.
My sister, who lives in North Carolina, loves to visit Chetola Resort in Blowing Rock, and we were excited to check it out. We ordered cocktails from the indoor bar and took them outside to the giant swing thing overlooking the pond. Be sure to walk through the lodge and look at the historical stuff–the history of the resort is really neat.
After we were denied at our target cocktail joint (see below), we drowned our sorrows on the back deck at Ransom, on the main drag in Boone. The staff was very friendly, the drinks were fine, and it was nice to be able to sit outside.
For next time: We love a rooftop bar, and Horton Hotel has one, but it was closed when we visited this time. We’re also interested in a beer at the TApp Room and a boozy slushie at Lily’s Snack Bar, recommendations from our server at Booneshine.
The next, and last, stop on our RV caravan with friends was Fayetteville, WV!