The area's biggest attraction, from which the town takes its name, is the Blowing Rock (tel. 828/295-7111;, on U.S. 321, 2 miles south of town. Rising 4,000 feet above John's River Gorge, the mountain has a strong updraft that returns any light object (such as a handkerchief) that's thrown into the void. The observation tower, gazebos, and gardens offer panoramic views of John's River Gorge and nearby Blue Ridge peaks. You can visit the mountain January to February Saturday and Sunday 9am to 5pm, March to May daily 9am to 5pm, June to Labor Day daily 8:30am to 7pm, September and October daily 9am to 6pm, and November and December daily 9am to 5pm. Admission is $6 for adults and $1 for children 4 to 11.

Another natural phenomenon at Blowing Rock is Mystery Hill (tel. 828/264-2792;, where balls and water run uphill. The pioneer museum is interesting, and you'll get a kick out of the mock grave marked simply HE WAS A REVENOOR -- a pile of dirt with boots sticking out one end.

Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.