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A Visit to Blowing Rock Park, North Carolina; Where it Snows Upside Down
The Blowing Rock
At the top of John's River Gorge in Western North Carolina is a place where it snows upside down. The Blowing Rock is a cliff that sits 4000 feet above sea level, and 1500 feet above the ground below. The natural shape of the gorge creates a flume that sends a constant flow of air up the cliff wall. The cliffs of Blowing Rock are giant rocks that jut out towards the sky. They have been carved by the wind and stretched like taffy by the very geographic forces that created the Appalachian Mountains.
According to legend, there was once a Chickasaw Chieftan who was so protective of his daughter that he spirited her away to the top of the cliff that is now the Blowing Rock. Peering over the cliff one day, the maiden spied a Cherokee brave on the ground below. She playfully shot an arrow at him, and soon he was atop the cliff with her, where they fell in love. Not long after that, the young brave witnessed a sign in the sky that he knew was a call for him to return to his tribe. Torn between love and duty, the brave leaped from the cliff to his apparent death. This was the moment that the miraculous wind began to blow up the cliff side, carrying the brave back to the maiden.
Visitors to The Blowing Rock enter the park through a quaint gift shop that offers information on the attraction, handcrafted gifts, and candy. There is a small fee to enter the park. A walkway winds around the cliff top with many outlooks and an observation tower with great panoramic views of the area including Grandfather Mountain. There is also a scenic picnic area with a waterfall, and a short nature walk.
The wind really does blow straight upwards at Blowing Rock. Looking out over the cliff will blow your hair back as if you've stuck your head out the window of a moving car. Small objects tossed over the side will return. Blowing Rock was featured in the Ripley's Believe It or Not series as the "only place in the world where snow falls upside down."
While you're in the area, don't miss the town of Blowing Rock. It is a beautiful Appalachian village with great shops and restaurants, a nice park, and music that plays through open doors and windows all through the downtown area.