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Flat Top Manor, Blowing Rock

(400+ reviews on the web)
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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Reviews
TripAdvisor
  • We stopped here during our horseback riding trip. It was a nice area to tour during the break before heading back down to bass lake. The house is very pretty on the outside. I do wish you were able to...  more »
  • I liked all the many different are work for sale. The grounds looking towards Bass lake was really nice. Worth the stop on a day you don't have anything planned.  more »
  • This is the Manor house in Moses Cone Memorial Park. We parked right at the house and walked down a bit. I went in the house to look at the art work and crafts. WOW! There was a quilting demonstration...  more »