North Carolina High Country – Great Dining

By Charlene & Richard Mixa

Exciting and Diverse Cuisine is Found in the Mountains

Delectable dining at Rowland's

Delectable dining at Rowland’s

Spectacular, breathtaking mountain views are enhanced with savory and delicious dining choices in the North Carolina High Country. The breadth and depth of these splendid Blue Ridge Mountains are matched by the breadth and depth of the dynamic and delectable cuisines of its local restaurants. From down home to world-class, diners will find many gastronomical options to please any appetite. All locally owned and operated, savor the flavor of the restaurants in the Boone and Blowing Rock, North Carolina Area. Throw away those ol’ notions of just fried or fast food, and join us on an excursion of our two top picks along with a few suggestions. 

The Manor at Westglow Spa

The Manor at Westglow Spa

Rowland’s at Westglow Resort & Spa, Blowing Rock, an all-inclusive resort, is located outside Blowing Rock, yet worlds away. An elegant and tranquil setting, the Manor House, a Greek Revival mansion, sits on a 20-acres estate. Before dinner at Rowland’s, we tour Westglow Day Spa offering a broad range of spa treatments, a relaxing indoor pool, a fireside lounge, and scenic balconies with mountain views. At the Manor, the former home of the renowned artist and author, Elliott Daingerfield, the majestic mansion retains its charm and grace, yet is beautifully restored and converted into a lavish resort. Living up to its name, “Westglow,” the Manor House faces “west” and its huge veranda “glows” in the afternoon sun with a stunning view of Grandfather Mountain.

Electing to dine in Rowland’s Garden Room, we rediscover gracious hospitality and fine dining in the comfort of this graceful home. Rowland’s new American cuisine has a Southern flare featuring two dining options, an indulgent menu with an array of eclectic dishes of fresh seafood, steaks, and savory game or the spa menu for those health conscious souls. Hospitality, service and quality are readily recognized as the wait staff sees to our every desire. Delicious warm, homemade breads of apple/raisin and wheat begin our gastronomic experience. It’s not powdered sugar it’s a tasty “powderized” bacon atop the fresh summer salad with red and yellow heirloom tomatoes. Our gourmet dinners are outstanding! I select the delicious Miso Marinated Sea Bass served with Baby Bok Choy, Forbidden Black Rice, and a Carrot Ginger Foam. The Pan Roasted North Carolina Day Boat Grouper with a Spinach Risotto, Grilled Artichoke, Roasted Pepper Broth with a Crimson Vinegar is Richard’s luscious choice. Our “indulgent menu” desserts of Granola Berry has a variety of fresh berries ala mode and the Five Ice Creams sauces include vanilla, chocolate, cherry and “blue cheese.” Rowland’s is our #1 place to dine in Blowing Rock. Celebrate a special romantic occasion or just gather with friends for a world-class culinary fare.Westglow Resort & Spa is a member of Relais & Châteaux, an exclusive collection of the finest hotels and gourmet restaurants in the world.

Crippen's Country Inn & Restaurant

Crippen’s Country Inn & Restaurant

Crippen’s Country Inn and Restaurant offers a unique dining experience in downtown Blowing Rock, NC. The charming Inn has a variety of comfy accommodations and a newly redecorated and updated restaurant, lobby and small bar. Jimmy and Carolyn Crippen are totally involved in the everyday operations of the Inn and Restaurant, personally welcoming us. They are passionate about offering guests simple elegance, delicious food, and great hospitality. Creative and innovative activities are found at Crippen’s Restaurant including the “Fire on the Rock Challenge” a local chef’s competition.

Crippen's Restaurant

Crippen’s Restaurant

Featuring a “Best Dish in NC Menu” of locally grown and sustainable foods, in addition to a traditional menu, we learn there is definitely more to the cow and pig than just the tenderloin, ribeye or pork chop. Ever had tongue or cheek? We find these are delicious and full of flavor. It is a fabulous dining experience as the attentive staff takes us on a delicious and fun dining adventure. Starting with an appetizer of Wild Mushrooms sautéed in just a small amount of extra virgin olive oil, the mushroom flavors are beautifully dominant. A crisp salad with locally grown lettuces, fresh strawberries, toasted almonds, and delicious goat cheese are all gently tossed in a balsamic vinaigrette. No joke, but the “Tongue & Cheek” grilled braised beef tongue and pork cheeks are absolutely the most, tender lean meat. Accompanied with smoked fingerling potatoes and a delightful combination of dandelion and mustard greens this is a wonderful dinner. Sharing a Chocolate Pot de Crème of a dulce de leche ice cream with the unusual twist of pink and black sea salt and spun sugar is a great way to end and sweeten our pallets. Yes, we agree with Chef Stan Chamberlain and Jimmy Crippen, there is definitely “more to the cow and pig” than traditional cuts of meat. When in Blowing Rock be sure to have dinner at Crippen’s Country Inn and Restaurant and try their “Best Dish in NC Menu.”

Rowland’s and Crippens Restaurants were our two favorites in Blowing Rocky due to the uniqueness each offers. For more casual dining there are numerous restaurants in the area. Foggy Rock Eatery and Pub has a casual dining setting with great food at low prices and offers 15 draft beers. In downtown Blowing Rock down a stone path, is charming Village Café with indoor dining in an old home or outdoor seating in a quaint English courtyard. In this serene off the main downtown shopping, the Village Café offers a delicious cuisine. A must for any visitor in the High Country area is the well known Dan’l Boone Inn in Boone with its home-cooked family style meals. Here it is crispy fried chicken, real mashed potatoes, home made biscuits and lots of fresh vegetables.

The High Country of North Carolina welcomes any visitor for a culinary trip to its varied restaurants. Visitors will be pleasantly surprised by the many dining options, food quality and many with scenic views. A great place for diners to sample a variety of cuisines and venture in to new areas for wonderful dining experiences.

If you go:

Blowing Rock Tourism Development Authority, 7738 Valley Boulevard, Blowing Rock, NC 28605
877.750.4636 or 838.295.4636

Boone & Watauga County Tourism;

Crippens Country Inn & Restaurant, 239 Sunset Drive, Blowing Rock, NC 38605

Rowland’s at Westglow Resort & Spa, 224 Westglow Circle, Blowing Rock, NC 28605

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About Charlene Mixa

Seeing new places, learning about cultures and seeing the sights has always been my dream. Growing up I was blessed with parents that enjoyed traveling and thought nothing of taking a family of seven on excursions. My career in Human Resources and later as a consultant for an international Human Resource firm offered some travel, but I knew as my husband and I approached retirement, my goal was to do more traveling and broader trips. The nine years since retirement has been filled with fantastic adventures from short local one day trips to several week excursions. Living in Florida, it is especially enjoyable to be away in the summer to cooler climates. Multi-week driving trips across the good ol' USA, settling in for a month in the mountains to explore the local area, or a combination of both fill much of our summer season. Our travels are predominantly self-orchestrated, bringing the fun and challenge of getting everything to click. It's all about doing and sharing! Experiencing a travel adventure is exciting. Reliving a special travel moment with a friend or family is exhilarating. I feel my heart race and pulse quicken, as I sharing that special moment. Thank you for joining in my travel adventures and allowing me to hear your stories.