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Flat Top Manor, Blowing Rock

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#5 of 20 in Things to do in Blowing Rock
Historic Site Tourist Spot
Flat Top Manor, as it is known to the locals, is also referred to as Moses Cone Manor, Moses Cone Estate, the Moses H. Cone Mansion, or just Flat Top. On the Blue Ridge Parkway it is located at Milepost 294 in Blowing Rock, North Carolina. To most people who travel the Parkway it is simply the Parkway Craft Center, which is the major component of the manor house. It is open to the public from spring through fall and gets over 225,000 visitors annually.HistoryThe mansion was built by Moses H. Cone and his wife Bertha at the turn of the twentieth century. Its construction was started in 1899 and finished in 1901. It has twenty-three rooms and 13000sqft of living space.When Moses began acquiring land in the 1890s in the Blowing Rock area to build the house, he emulated George Vanderbilt’s Biltmore Estate in Asheville, North Carolina. Newspaper reporters of the time referred to these builders as "Farmer Cone" and "Farmer Vanderbilt". In 1898 Moses announced he was going to build a mansion in Blowing Rock that cost $25,000 when $200 would buy a habitable home in the area.LocationThe mansion is named "Flat Top" manor because of the nearness to Flat Top Mountain, which Moses and Bertha also purchased. It is part of the Blue Ridge Mountains. The elevation in this area where the house is built is just at 4500ft, while Grandfather Mountain, which is only a few miles to the south, has an elevation of nearly 6000ft. Moses used his estate to showcase his knowledge of scientific farming. It had extensive orchards, gardens and livestock. When the Blue Ridge Parkway came through and the government took over the property several buildings on the land were torn down. These included houses for workers, a building where washing took place, and a single lane bowling alley. The bowling alley was located in a small building that resembled an elongated outhouse. Only men used the bowling alley, they would roll the ball down the lane and have to walk down the lane themselves to retrieve the ball and set the pins back up. To stop the ball a large bear skin hung at on the back wall. The property included several apple orchards including one on a far end of the property called China because "it was on the other side of the world."
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415 reviews
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  • Visited there today, it was foggy but still a little ride from Blowing Rock NC North on the Blue Ridge Parkway at exit 294. The craft shop was loaded with some rare finds not available elsewhere. We f...  more »
  • This place is beautiful. Lots of history, lots of trails for hiking and riding. Long range views. Lakes. Close to Blowing Rock!  more »
  • This was a nice stop along the Blue Ridge Parkway. We enjoyed sitting on the porch in the rocking chairs. The view was absolutely breathtaking! The weather was cool. Also enjoyed the gift shop.  more »

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