Parkway Craft Center reopens for the 2012 season
The Moses Cone Manor, located at Milepost 294 of the Blue Ridge
Parkway in Blowing Rock, was a century ago home to Moses “The Denim King” Cone and his wife, Bertha.
The Cones’ sprawling estate included apple orchards, stables, guest houses and other trappings of upscale life.
Sadly, many of the buildings were torn down by the National Park Service in the 1940s and ’50s, precisely because they were too upscale. It was believed at that time that visitors to the Blue Ridge Parkway and Appalachian Mountains wanted to see a more rustic “hillbilly” lifestyle when visiting the area.
Fortunately, the Cone Manor, a mansion overlooking Bass Lake, was spared.
Today, it serves as the home of the Blue Ridge Parkway Craft Center, which reopened last week. Open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. every day except Thanksgiving from now until Nov. 30, the Parkway Craft Center is at once a look into the region’s past, while also a home for some of today’s cutting edge artisans.
During the late spring, summer and early fall months, those artisans will set up shop in the screened-in portion of the Cone Manor front porch. Visitors will have the opportunity to see how they create their one-of-a-kind crafts.
Handmade items at the Parkway Craft Center include wood carvings, wooden turned “burl” bowls, games, pottery, jewelry, paintings, Christmas ornaments, brooms, prints, woven placemats, tiles, metal sculpture, hats, vases, baskets, clothes, hand-blown glassware, yarn, sock monkeys, puppets, stuffed animals, books, stained glass and more.
Cone Manor Tours
Once you’ve visited the Parkway Crafts Center on the first floor of the Cone Manor, you’re bound to be intrigued by what might be found on the second floor.
Ranger-led tours of the former home of Moses and Bertha Cone are held on Saturdays and Sundays, from the beginning of June through mid-October. Tour times are at 9 a.m., 10 a.m., 11 a.m., 2 p.m. and 3 p.m.
To reserve a tour, call the National Park Service information desk at (828) 295-3782, or sign up at the information desk at the Manor House.
Registrations are accepted beginning at 9 a.m. for the weekend of the requested tour only.
Moses Cone Manor and Milepost 294 are also popular destinations for hikers and horse riding.
From the front of the house, visitors can easily access Rich Mountain Carriage, Horse and Hiking Trail (4.3 miles, moderate), Flat Top Mountain Carriage, Horse and Hiking Trail (3 miles, moderate), Watkins Carriage, Horse and Hiking Trail (3.3 miles, moderate/easy), Black Bottom Carriage, Horse and Hiking Trail (0.5 miles, easy), Bass Lake Horse and Hiking Trail (1.7 miles, easy) Deer Park Carriage, Horse and Hiking Trail (0.8 miles, moderate), Maze Carriage, Horse and Hiking Trail (2.3 miles, moderate), Duncan Carriage, Horse and Hiking Trail (2.5 miles, moderate), Rock Creek Bridge Carriage, Horse and Hiking Trail (1 mile, easy) and Figure 8 Trail (0.7, easy).
For more information on the trails, call the information desk at (828) 295-3782.