Back in the Swing of Things

Article Published: Dec. 29, 2011 | Modified: Dec. 29, 2011
Back in the Swing of Things

Blowing Rock’s historic Green Park Inn is decking the halls for a New Year’s Eve gala.
Photos by Jeff Eason

When the Green Park Inn first opened 120 years ago, it instantly became a magnet for visitors who had never thought of coming to Blowing Rock before.

The new owners of the hotel are reinvigorating its role as a must-visit location in western North Carolina.

“Last New Year’s Eve, we had 15 rooms open; this year, we have 50,” said Green Park Inn general manager Lorry Mulhern. “We reopened the restaurant in June, and we now have all of our beverage permits and the Divide bar open.”

Now that the Green Park Inn is up and running at full capacity, it has become a choice destination for special events. It attracted large contingents of people to its Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners, and reservations are now being taken for its gala New Year’s Eve celebration.

“We’ll have two seatings for dinner New Year’s Eve,” Mulhern said. “The first seating is from 6 to 9 p.m. and will feature the Charlie Ellis Jazz Trio. The second seating begins at 9 p.m. and will feature the High Standards Big Band.”

The High Standards Big Band, led by Steve Frank, is a 10-piece jazz band that will “swing” in the new year with classic big band jazz, a mix of popular songs from the ’50s, ’60s and ’70s, plus a beach music set.

“We want to make this a fun dancing event,” Mulhern said. “Where else can you dance to live music on a 120-year-old oak floor?”

The New Year’s Eve party will last until 1 a.m.

According to Mulhern, the event is free for all guests who book for two nights at the Green Park Inn, either on Friday and Saturday, or Saturday and Sunday. The New Year’s Eve event is $90 per person for guests not staying at the hotel. It includes a five-course meal, party favors, champagne toast at midnight with chocolate covered strawberries and muffins.

The dinner will be prepared by award-winning executive chef James Welch and his staff.

“The hotel is decked out for the holidays, and we’ll have special black and white and silver decorations in the ballroom that will give everyone the feeling of a classic New Years party from the past,” Mulhern said.

There will also be a papier mache green horse that will be dropped from the ceiling as the clock strikes midnight.

According to Mulhern, since the hotel has been reopened for special events, customers have been asking about new ones.

“At the Christmas dinner, I had someone ask if we were going to do something similar for Easter,” Mulhern said. “It’s hard to think that far in the future, but I’m sure we will do something if there is a demand for it.”

The New Year’s Eve party harkens back to a bygone era when former presidents, notable authors, movie stars, socialites and captains of industry made the Green Park Inn the center of their summer social life in the mountains.

For more information on Green Park Inn’s New Year’s Eve celebration, call the hotel at (828) 414-9230 or visit

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