Named for the bluish color they exhibit from a distance, the Blue Ridge Mountains are a part of the Appalachians, and in North Carolina, they are certainly a sight to see. The area is ideal for an outdoor getaway complete with plenty of hiking, skiing, fishing, kayaking, biking and other exciting activities.
The Blue Ridge Mountains allow you to step back and take a deep breath full of crisp, mountain air. Tensions will ease and you can enjoy visiting local wineries to take a tour and sample their best reds and whites, check out fun events like music festivals, visit museums and galleries or feast on Southern homestyle cooking.
In the fall you can witness the stunning beauty as the leaves of the forests change to their brilliant shades of red, orange and yellow, or come in the winter when the snow begins to fall and creates a winter wonderland. In the spring and summer, temperatures warm up and the beautiful flowers begin to bloom once again.
Things to Do in Blue Ridge Mountains
- Blowing Rock: North Carolina’s oldest attraction is not one to be missed. Blowing Rock is a cliff 4,000 feet above sea level overhanging the Johns River Gorge that provides a wonderfully scenic experience with a waterfall, lush gardens and an observation deck where you can take in the sights. This spot is said to be a magical place where star-crossed lovers - a Cherokee brave and a Chickasaw maiden - fell in love, so bring your sweetie here and feel the sparks fly.
- Carl Sandburg Home National Historic Site: Step back in time to experience The Carl Sandburg Home National Historic Site, which preserves the residence of the famous American writer and poet. Connemara, the 264-acre farm, was purchased by Sandburg is 1945 when he sought out peace and solitude for his writing. Today, you can visit the farm to learn about the three-time Pulitzer Prize winner and his work. You can also see three remaining breeds of Mrs. Sandburg’s champion dairy goats that are cared for on the grounds. In addition to touring the home and farm, you can stroll down 5 miles of trails that cover the property, taking you past lakes, woods, pastures, flower and vegetable gardens and an apple orchard.
- Blue Ridge Parkway: Blue Ridge Parkway is one of America’s most visited national parks and offers an amazing drive down 469 miles that connect Great Smoky Mountains National Park to Shenandoah National Park. Blue Ridge Parkway delivers leafy green forests, towering mountain peaks and picturesque landscapes surrounding exciting hiking trails and picnic areas where you can stop and enjoy a quick meal.
- Apple Hill Orchard & Cider Mill: If you enjoy the tasty crunch of freshly picked apples, be sure to make a stop at Apple Hill Orchard & Cider Mill. Since 1930, this apple farm has been ripe for visitors to pick their favorite fruit after taking a wagon tour of the orchard. Sip some delicious homemade cider as you browse the country store for fruit butters, cheese, jam, fudge, preserves, apples and apple-themed gifts.
- The Biltmore Estate: Experience America’s largest home with a trip to The Biltmore Estate. This 250-room house (which looks more like a castle) features century-old gardens and looks out across Blue Ridge Mountains. Enjoy a variety of activities like horseback riding or rafting after stopping at the Antler Village and Winery for a free tasting. This massive home is still owned by one of the America's wealthiest families - the Vanderbilts, so you can bet there will be decadence at every turn. Enjoy a self-guided tour of the various rooms throughout the home or wander through the gardens, which were designed by esteemed landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted during the height of the Gilded Age.
- Colburn Earth Science Museum: Science lovers won’t want to miss out on the Colburn Earth Science Museum. The interactive exhibits include the Hall of Gems and Minerals, the history of Western North Carolina Mining and Weather, Climate and You. Children and parents alike will enjoy learning about the natural history of the area.
- Flat Rock Playhouse Theatre: During your trip to Blue Ridge Mountains, plan a fun night out to the Flat Rock Playhouse Theatre. For 57 years, the theatre has been delighting audiences with musicals, comedies and drama. Previous performances have included "Man of La Mancha," "Seven Brides for Seven Brothers", "Around the World in 80 Days" and many others.
Dining and Shopping in Blue Ridge Mountains
- Chimney Rock Park’s Old Rock Cafe: Enjoy a tasty meal indoors or dine al fresco on a deck overlooking the Rocky Broad River at this fine establishment. Choose from burgers, sandwiches, salads and daily specials for a delightful meal. In the cafe you can check out old photos, souvenirs and memorabilia, and on the weekends you have some fun listening to live music.
- The Folk Art Center Southern Highland Craft Guild: For something special to remember your trip to Blue Ridge Mountains by, check out the Southern Highland Craft Guild, where local craftspeople put on exhibitions, special events and demonstrations. Here, the Allanstand Craft Shop features work from more than 200 members of the guild, including crafts made from fiber, clay, wood, metal, paper, glass and natural materials.