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Coming in October with a 4 yr old

TN
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Coming in October with a 4 yr old

We drove through Blowing Rock, but due to a screaming baby we didn't get to stop and enjoy it and have wanted to go back. We have yet to find a place to stay, but due to costs may end up staying in Boone instead and just making a day of it in Blowing Rock. So far from reading this forum I have found the park in the middle of town to play, Cannon Gardens and Broyhill Park. Anything else that might be nice to see for us and ok for a little boy? Suggestions on kid friendly places to eat? Most places seem too fancy for him (and us :) ). Oh, and someone mentioned the Beacon Heights trail...FANTASTIC! I have been trying to find easier trails with nice views and that is perfect.

Oh, and The Blowing Rock...thoughts on it? Worth the money? Safe for kids? Do you just go and look at a rock or is there more there? I checked their site and didn't find much info really. Thanks in advance!

Chapel Hill, North...
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1. Re: Coming in October with a 4 yr old

I'd go to Grandfather Mountain instead of THE Blowing Rock. They have a nature center and if you stay for the various animal enrichments you can really get a good look at them all. They have mountain lions, otters, bears, etc. Super kid friendly. At the Mile High Swinging Bridge you will get an amazing view.

If he's a runner hold onto him at Beacon Heights. We took our kids up there then, but there are no guard rails or anything.

You might also like to check out Linville Falls. It's a relatively easy hike (not as short as Beacon Heights, but not too long).

Check out Cone Manor and take an easy walk around Bass Lake. If you go up to the Manor you can sit on the porch and have a beautiful view out over the lake.

October is peak season in the mts due to all the leaf peepers, so make your reservations ASAP.

A lot of people prefer Blowing Rock over Boone, but it really make no difference to me. We have a family house in Boone.

Check out the old Original Mast General Store in Valle Crucis. There's a great park right behind the Mast Store annex. There's a gravel road right before the Annex that leads down to it. They sometimes have music in the park as well as at the store. If you go to the General Store it would be a nice stop to let him run off some steam. It's right down by the Watauga River and has the usual playground equipment and big grassy fields to run in. The store is very kid friendly with a toy section and everything else you could want, but it does get crowded. The original store has candy, but the annex has oodles of it in barrels and you just put some in a basket and get it weighed when you check out.

For kid friendly restaurants there's the Mellow Mushroom in Blowing Rock. I think the new one in Boone is probably a little nicer. It's been awhile since I've been to the one in Blowing Rock. We mostly eat in Boone. We like Joe's Italian Kitchen (paper plates, and paper towels); Coyote Kitchen, Hob Knob Cafe (farm to table), Black Cat Burrito, Chada Thai, Melanie's (great brunch), Our Daily Bread — all these are fairly casual with Melanie's and Hob Knob being the most "fancy" and they might have a little longer wait times. Great food, though. For burger joint try Troy's 105 Diner. It's very shiny and kid friendly. We also like Sunrise Grill on 105 going toward Valle Crucis. It's super casual but they do a great, cheap breakfast. We really don't eat out in Blowing Rock that much with the kids.

Edited: 2:09 pm, August 19, 2012
Chapel Hill, North...
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2. Re: Coming in October with a 4 yr old

Boone restaurants:

tripadvisor.com/Restaurants-g48975-Boone_Nor…

Charlotte, North...
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3. Re: Coming in October with a 4 yr old

Totally agree with panchopup, Grandfather Mountain and the original Mast Store are great places for kids...skip THE Blowing Rock. In addition to Bass Lake, I also recommend nearby Price Lake Trail exploreboonearea.com/PlacestoPlay/Hiking/Pri… ;in addition to easy trails for all ages, they also have canoes for rent http://pricelakeboatrentals.wix.com/blueridgeparkway#!

The only restaurant in Blowing Rock that I recommend for families with young kids is Woodlands BBQ; Boone restaurants overall are much more family and budget friendly. My "kids", now college-age and older, also much prefer Boone restaurants to those in BR. (only exception...Woodlands BBQ, our family must eat there at least once each trip!)

As previously mentioned, October is peak season in the mountains, accommodations book up fast and at the most expensive rates of the year. Also adding to the crowds and super high accommodation rates in October are Appalachian State University football games. This October the Mountaineers have home football games on Oct.6 and Oct.20. If you aren't coming for the football games, I highly recommend not coming to the area during those weekends. Traffic is horrible, accommodation rates (if you can still find accommodations) are ridiculously high and lines at restaurants are very long on those weekends....we'll be there then, but I'm an alum and our youngest is now a Freshman there. :)

Edited: 4:48 pm, August 19, 2012
Raleigh, North...
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4. Re: Coming in October with a 4 yr old

I think The Blowing Rock would be worth it on a clear crisp day. It may be wasted on a four year old, though.

Another easy hike is Bass Lake, just out of town. There are usually horses on a segment of the trail which he might like. The park in town is excellent.

Kid friendly restaurants include Mia Carretta, a new Mexican place which is really pretty good. Also Woodland's barbeque and Mellow Mushroom. Kilwyn's Ice Cream is right across from the park and always has a line out the door.

Chapel Hill, North...
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5. Re: Coming in October with a 4 yr old

Yeah, Kilwin's is pretty much the one place we always go to with the kids in Blowing Rock! They have fudge, too, if it seems too cold for ice cream. And the ice cream scoops are HUGE! A single scoop is more than adequate.

UNC Mickey gives good advice to avoid the football weekends if it's feasible, but I wouldn't cancel your trip if those are the only weekends you can go. We've been up there many a football weekend over the years and it's never greatly cramped our style. I guess we avoid going to campus and King Street then, but it hasn't been a huge bother for us. Of course, we're coming from another college town so are used to dealing with game traffic. We just go another way! (We've never even checked the football schedule before heading up.)

Clemmons, North...
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6. Re: Coming in October with a 4 yr old

Not much to add to the above, other than to say these folks know what they're talking about! Definitely do Grandfather Mountain--it is fascinating for kids, although the mile-high bridge might be scary (but some kids love it). You don't have to cross the bridge to enjoy the views though.

I don't think anyone has mentioned Tweetsie Railroad yet, which is very kid-oriented. Any four year old would love it. It's located between Boone and Blowing Rock.

Good luck!

Charlotte, North...
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7. Re: Coming in October with a 4 yr old

Tweetsie Railroad is great, especially for little boys who love trains, but beginning today through their final open day for the year-Oct 28, 2012, their schedule is limited. www.tweetsie.com/plan-your-visit/schedule/

I thought of the Mexican restaurant mentioned above (Mia Carretta) after I had posted my earlier reply. We ate there last week, atmosphere is nice; prices are family/budget friendly(for the area), but we thought it was just average (at best) Mexican food. IMHO, Mexican restaurants in Boone are better....traditional Mexican- Taqueria El Paso and Dos Amigos. Also, Black Cat Burrito in Boone is wonderful; more of a Mexican "fusion" type place.

No, I too wouldn't cancel if you've already planned a trip during an ASU football weekend, just wanted to advise that accommodations in Boone are costing more than usual and many of the restaurants mentioned here are also favorites of ASU alums and fans and lines will be long then. Panchopup owns a house in/near Boone so is not effected by the huge difference in accommodation rates. We however are paying approx. $200.00 per night for a hotel room in Boone on Home football weekends, that we usually pay around $75 for the rest of the year.

When I travel for vacation, I try to research before I plan dates and unless I'm taking part in an event that brings lots of crowds to an area, I try to avoid that area while those type events are taking place. My budget and my patience (dealing with crowds) thanks me. :)

Best Wishes.

southcarolina
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8. Re: Coming in October with a 4 yr old

All great advice above. The only thing I might add (that my children enjoyed when they were younger) was the Mystery House, and if you are headed to Grandfather Mountain there's also Grandfather Trout Farm where your little guy can go fishing, and gem mining.

www.mysteryhill-nc.com/joomla/index.php…

http://grandfathertroutfarm.com/

Tennessee
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9. Re: Coming in October with a 4 yr old

There is a Holiday Inn Express on

#321 in Blowing Rock.

If you go to Mellow Mushroom in BR, you can eat outside up on the roof patio. Our grandson loves to do that.

Also, for easy eats, there is The Come Back Shack and Cracker Barrel in Boone. Knights on Main offer fair food at family prices.

You may want to see if there is Art in the Park on the date you will visit.

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10. Re: Coming in October with a 4 yr old

You all are so helpful! I managed a hotel near Notre Dame, IN and now live near Gatlinburg so I know all too well how um awesome crowds/tourists can be. We travel mid-week! ;) Hadn't seen the mystery House or the Grandfather mining place. Off to investigate. Thanks again!