The group gathered for afternoon tea at the Green Park Inn and was treated to stories of what Blowing Rock used to be from local panelists who grew up and stayed in the area. General Manager Lorry Mulhern gave a tour of the Inn, spotlighting its historical significance in the state and renovations to date.
|Panel discussion in the Tea Room|
|Tour of Green Park Inn|
Another session focused on civic infrastructure was held in Town Hall. The Blowing Rock Police Department, Emergency Services and Parks & Recreation all had an opportunity to enlighten the group on the broad scope of their functions in our small but unique town. Watauga County government was also explored.
|Presentation by Interim Police Chief Aaron Miller|
|Presentation by Emergency Services Director Kent Graham|
|Government presentations in Town Hall|
A session on business development was hosted by Chetola Resort and included an insightful tour of the property from owner Kent Tarbutton. Tourism development experts from the state to local levels presented statistics on the popularity of North Carolina as a vacation destination. The critical impact of tourism and second homes on our economy was the focus of the day, and other presenters included a panel of local business owners to discuss the challenges and opportunities of operating a business in a seasonal location like Blowing Rock.
|Local business owners prepare their remarks|
The last session to date took place at Watauga High School and centered on educational and workforce opportunities in the High Country, from the top-ranked public school system to the local choices for continuing education through Caldwell Community College & Technical Institute and Appalachian State University. A walking tour of the "new" high school building provided a first look for many in the group with elementary-aged children.
With only four sessions remaining before graduation, the group will soon be selecting a class project to leave a lasting imprint on the town. Have a need for some dedicated volunteer hours in the near future? Contact Charles Hardin at 828.295.7851 to have your project considered by the group.