I remember visiting The Blowing Rock as a child. My mother would never let me go to the edge of the rock in fear that I would fall off. I also told her I would be fine because the wind would just carry me back up. She never bought it.
The Blowing Rock became a tourist attraction due to its distinct wind pattern and the legend that explains that wind flow. Due to the rock formation’s shape and the gorge where the rock is located, the wine blows upwards at that particular point. But according to legend, it is the Great Spirits who changed the laws of nature for love. The legend tells of a Cherokee brave being in love with the chief’s daughter.
And here is where my childhood memories start to conflict with the legend that is being told today. As a child, I always heard that the father did not approve of the relationship between his daughter and the brave, so he threw the brave off the rock. The Great Spirits, however, lift the young man back up, safely placing him back in the arms of his love. Unable to deny the Great Spirits’ blessing of this union, the chief allowed the brave to wed his daughter.
Imagine my shock during my recent visit to find that the legend does not tell of a murderous father. Instead, the legend today tells how the brave was torn between his love for the maiden and his duties to his tribe. In angst, he threw himself off the rock, leaving his maiden stunned and, well, alone. In desperation, she prayed to the Great Spirits, who heard her cries and lifted her lover back into her arms. He, obviously, didn’t try to jump again for fear of angering the Great Spirits. And I assume the couple lived happily ever after. The new version of the legend leaves that part out.
Both versions end with the wind perpetually blowing up to remind everyone of the Great Spirits’ power. I, of course, prefer my childhood version of the legend. It is a little more dramatic and a little less Bella Swan from Twilight. But legend conflicts aside, the area of The Blowing Rock is genuinely nice. The place has been spruced up a lot since I was a kid.
When I was a child, the entrance fee got you to the rock, and that was about it. Now the site has some short walking paths, picnic tables, an observation gazebo, a small museum, and a gift shop. The views alone are worth the $7.00 entrance fee.
With your entrance fee, you are allowed to reenter the property as many times as you would like in one day. So if you decide you want to eat lunch at one of their picnic tables, then you can leave, grab some food, and bring it back to enjoy without repaying the entrance fee.
If you have been to The Blowing Rock, let me know what legend you heard in the comments below.