BLOWING ROCK - The tiny mountain town has been a retreat for visitors since the Civil War. Today, Blowing Rock's proximity to Pisgah National Forest, its abundant opportunities for fishing, hiking, bouldering, and cycling, as well as its shops and restaurants, inspired readers of USA Today to vote the nominee into the Top 10 Best Small Towns for Adventure.

The newspaper wrote, "Those looking for a mountain escape have been coming to Blowing Rock since the 1880s [the opening date of the Watauga Hotel]. Today, this North Carolina village sits directly on the Blue Ridge Parkway and serves as a gateway to adjacent Pisgah National Forest."

This recent accolade is not the only occasion when USA Today has recognized the allure of Blowing Rock. In May 2017, USA Today announced readers had chosen the high-perched hamlet as a Top 10 Best Small Southern Town.

A committee of judges nominates candidates for the Top 10 lists at USA Today. Readers of the popular newspaper are then encouraged to vote online for their favorites in each category throughout a month-long period.

The Town of Blowing Rock, elevation 3,600 FASL, was incorporated on March 11, 1889. The village enjoys the distinction of being the only municipality along all 469 miles to physically border the National Park Service unit of the Blue Ridge Parkway.

Watauga County and Blowing Rock are a short two-hour drive from Charlotte and Greensboro and approximately three hours from Raleigh and Greenville-Spartanburg. For more information, go to


052418_wctda_blowingrock_064_ML: The namesake of the town, The Blowing Rock is a cliff 4,000 feet above sea level, overhanging Johns River Gorge 3,000 feet below. Photo by Michelle Ligon, Watauga County Tourism Development Authority.

A man stands on The Blowing Rock overlooking Johns River Gorge