Flat Top Manor, Blowing Rock

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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  • Not my 1st visit but this place is beautiful. I love to walk around the lake or sit on the porch. I never miss a visit when I am in the area.  more »
  • Flat Top Manor/Moses Cone House was built in the early 1900’s as a summer home for the Cone family. I have no doubt that “in its Day” it was very grand. Unfortunately, the house does not appear to hav...  more »
  • We stopped by on a Sunday afternoon. The weather was amazing and made the experience so much better. Take your time and walk around the property. There’s a lot to see. They also offer tours, which we ...  more »

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