Blowing Rock, NC: A Magical Place to Live

by Charles Richardson

140715_fb_lp_HauteMag1_2“The mountains are calling, and I must go.” John Muir

It’s said the snow falls upside down here. And that gentle mountain winds blow long-lost lovers back into one another’s arms. Such is the legend of The Blowing Rock. There is, indeed, magic in these hills. Deep mysteries that only unveil themselves to the observant. One must keep awake, attentive to the hidden charms of this enchanted region. You can glimpse it in a multi-hued summer sunset. In the early morning mist caressing a pasture. The hushed trickle of a stream. Or a blanket of snow draping a quiet hillside. Most of all, you’ll catch it in the eyes of the people who live here. Lured by the area’s dazzling natural beauty. Drawn in by towering ridgelines on every side. Enticed by soul-inspiring breezes that lift us off our feet—and the smiles of locals that take us gently back to earth. This is a special place. A place to gather. A place to cherish. A place to call home.

Blowing Rock, NC voted #2
on Haute Living’s
“Six Best Locations for a Summer Home,”
Beating out the South of France,
Mykonos, France, Telluride, CO,
& White Fish, Montana.

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Old Hills, New Heights

These are ancient hills. They date back some 250 million years. Due to the craftsmanship of Mother Nature over the millennia, they stand today like chiseled sentries, keeping an ever-present watch over the streams, valleys, and forests below. But make no mistake, these mountains invite exploration. They are more approachable than their younger, rugged counterparts out west—and more temperate and hospitable than the frigid, “over-utilized” ranges to the north. On one hand these hills have a mystical quality that elicits awe and wonder. On the other, they exude an intimacy and familiarity that seeps into one’s spirit. The native Cherokee called them the “great blue hills of God.” And they provided a way of life that sustained these noble people throughout the calendar year.

Over time, the region began to attract city dwellers from North Carolina, Georgia, South Carolina, and Florida. The more affluent were drawn to the crisp mountain air, free-flowing streams, and freshwater lakes touted for their restorative, healing powers. By the turn of the twentieth century, the area blossomed into a bona fide resort, especially in the summer months, when the thick stagnant heat of July and August drove those with sufficient means to the blessed relief of higher elevations. They didn’t loaf for long either. They built summer homes. They carved out streets. They erected inns, hotels, restaurants, resorts, and basically harnessed the mighty wilderness to make it accessible for fishing, hiking, canoeing, boating, snow skiing, and eventually, shopping and socializing. And just like that, a mountain tourist town was born.

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A Way of Living — and Being

Today, these mountains have not only withstood the test of time, they have become a retreat, a getaway, even a sanctuary for anyone who has ever felt a calling to this mystically captivating region. Just as it had been to the Cherokee before them, Blowing Rock and the surrounding High Country remain vital to the families who reside here full time, or come throughout the year to make this their second home. The mountains, valleys, and streams extend themselves as beloved companions, bestowing the possibility to embark on a life or journey you’ve always dreamed of. “We felt a connection to this area the first time we visited,” says Elaine Topodas. Elaine and her husband, Jonathan, relocated from Washington, D.C. to the luxury Blue Ridge Mountain Club community in Blowing Rock in 2011. “It was a feeling we had here,” she says. “We connected with these mountains. We love the grand views and the high altitude—we are living above the clouds.”


John and Susannah Dupuy also fell in love with Blowing Rock. They too bought a home at Blue Ridge Mountain Club—a vacation home, not a permanent residence—as they live in Charlotte, NC with their school-age children. “We are both busy attorneys,” says John. “Our children are 10 and 7, immersed in school, sports, and various activities. We wanted a family retreat that we could enjoy on weekends, a place that promotes nature and outdoor recreation, and gives us a chance to really connect as a family. It’s a place our family will enjoy for years to come.”

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The Ultimate Family Destination

Blowing Rock truly presents something for everyone—aesthetically, culturally and recreationally—regardless of age and no matter what your interests. It has emerged as a premier destination for multi-generational families, offering new residents and their guests a heightened living experience that perfectly integrates small-town mountain charm, big-city energy, and a treasure trove of outdoor pursuits. Perhaps therein lies its greatness. Of all the mountain towns in this country, only Blowing Rock seems to possess the diversity to truly be all things to all people. And through its evolution over the past century, the town has not compromised its beauty, soul, or integrity. As the Cherokee would say: it stands tall among trees. That is a rare quality. Blowing Rock literally knits all types of people together in a brilliant fabric of true community. That’s the magic. That’s what makes it special. And that is what more and more families—like the Topodases and the Dupuys—are realizing for themselves: the chance to build a legacy as powerful and life-affirming as the great Blowing Rock itself.

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