Tuesday, March 26, 2019

Blowing Rock Leadership Challenge Reaches Halfway Point

The Blowing Rock Leadership Challenge has continued throughout the month of March with a series of valuable programs taking the 14 participants on a whirlwind tour of local culture and infrastructure. As part of the treasure of this program is in discovering the surprises along the way, we don't want to give too much away for future participants! Following are just a few highlights of the past month.

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.

Thursday, March 14, 2019

Weekly Village Update 3.14.19

Commerce Communications

We are lucky to live, work & play in Blowing Rock... and to serve our community!

Chamber Events & News

Adopt a Highway or Join a Litter Sweep Event to Build Teamwork and Community!

The NC Department of Transportation needs volunteers to help clean up trash along roads during the Adopt-A Highway Spring Litter Sweep, April 13th - 27th.

We would like to encourage businesses looking for volunteer and team building opportunities to either join a litter sweep event or adopt a highway in our area. It's a simple, low time commitment way to give back. 
Our Chamber has adopted Highway 221 and facilitates a trash pick-up each April and September. Chamber Board members come together to clean up while building relationships, having fun and doing good for our community. Read More

St. Patty's Pop-Up Beer Garden
March 16th, 11 am - 3 pm
Join Blowing Rock Young Professionals at the American Legion for a family-friendly St. Patty's event. Enjoy music from The Harris Brothers, local beer, BBQ, and a potato cook-off. Tickets: $20 advance / $25 at the door. Proceeds benefit Blue Ridge Conservancy.

Business After Hours
March 19th, 5:30 - 7 pm
Join us at Green Park Inn for a fun evening of networking and nibbles!

Questions? Call the Chamber at 828.295.7851

Chamber Building Receives Historic Plaque
Blowing Rock's 130th birthday was celebrated Monday at Town Hall. During the celebration, Blowing Rock Art & History Museum and the Blowing Rock Historical Society presented a historical plaque to members of the Robbins family who grew up in the Miller/Robbins House which is now the Blowing Rock Chamber of Commerce building.

Pictured: Carolyn Ward of the Blue Ridge Parkway Foundation, Tracy Brown, Blue Ridge Parkway Superintendent J.D. Lee, and Jim McDowell.
Blue Ridge Parkway Collaboration
Blowing Rock Chamber of Commerce Community Government & Education Committee Chair, Jim McDowell traveled with Blowing Rock Tourism Development Authority Executive Director, Tracy Brown to the Blue Ridge Parkway headquarters in Asheville. They met with the Superintendent of the Blue Ridge Parkway to discuss parkway concerns. Maintaining relationships like these helps Blowing Rock stay top-of-mind when it comes to towns along the Parkway and keeps us in the loop with news at the National Park.

Real Estate Report
Regional home sales for the first two months of the year have been the busiest in a decade, according to the latest monthly report from the High Country Association of Realtors®. Home sales are up 8 percent compared to the start of last year, and up 29 percent compared to the start of 2017. Read More

Member Events & News

High Gravity Adventures Open for the Season
High Gravity Adventures is officially open for the season! HGA will operate every Saturday and Sunday in March from 11 am - 5 pm, with special spring break hours 11 am - 5 pm every day from March 21st to March 31st. Visitors can explore the challenges in the adventure park, pull the rip cord on the giant swing and soar through the treetops on the zip line tour. Those who book in advance can use the discount code "SB10" at checkout on the HGA website to save 10% on their reservation.

Middle Fork Greenway Update
Substantial progress is underway for the Middle Fork Greenway, a 6.5-mile paved path connecting Blowing Rock to Boone, naturally. This project is directed under the leadership of Blue Ridge Conservancy, a local land trust dedicated to conserving Northwest North Carolina’s natural resources and expanding recreational opportunities for its residents and visitors. The Middle Fork Greenway has achieved great momentum with fundraising efforts and community support. 

Blue Ridge Mountain Club Relocates Blowing Rock Sales Office
Blue Ridge Mountain Club (BRMC) is relocating its downtown Sales Office and integrating with the company’s Administrative Offices located in the historic Martin House on Main Street in Blowing Rock. At the site of the old Sales Office, BRMC is pleased to announce that Bald Guy Brew Coffee Roasting Company will be moving into the vacant BRMC Sales Office bringing a dynamic new coffee house experience to the Blowing Rock village. Read More

Photo by NC Tripping.
Green Park Inn Featured in NC Tripping
Blowing Rock has some friends over at NC Tripping who love visiting and writing about their experiences. They most recently stayed at Green Park Inn, which is profiled in an article that was published yesterday. With great photos and fun details, the post highlights some of Green Park Inn's most notable features.

Sky Valley Zip Tours Kicks Off Season April 5th with Course Improvements and a Special Offer
Over the winter, Sky Valley staff reworked lines 7, 8 and 9 of the Canopy Tour to increase zip line lengths and improve angles for viewing the natural beauty surrounding the course.
To celebrate the course improvements and the start of their eighth season, Sky Valley is offering a special promotion for their Canopy Tour. Between now and March 31st, buy two tickets for $99 (a 45% discount). These tours must be completed between April 5th and May 23rd. This promotion is only available through this special link.

Watauga Compassionate Community Initiative (WCCI) Conference 2019
May 4th, 8 am - 4 pm
Registration closes March 15th for the WCCI Conference at Watauga High School. This is a community impact event focused on transforming Watauga County and creating a shared understanding of how trauma and resiliency affect behavior, learning, and lifetime physical and mental health. Cost is $25. Pre-registration required. Register Online.

Food Hub Farm to Plate Dinner
March 24th, 4:30 - 7 pm
Join Blue Ridge Women in Agriculture at Gamekeeper Restaurant and Bar for a french-style family meal. This ticketed event will feature three local farms with a unique meal prepared incorporating seasonal local ingredients. Participants will hear stories from the farmers about their craft and why small-scale agriculture plays such an important role in the High Country.

Community Events & News

Sunset Drive Streetscape Revitalization Project to Begin Soon
Town Hall has released a tentative schedule for the streetscape work on Sunset Drive. Construction is expected to begin the week of March 25th with final completion estimated mid-November. The approximate construction sequence is as follows:

1. Water and Sewer - Main St to Valley Blvd
2. Storm Drainage - Small sections along the route
3. Sidewalks and Curb/Gutter - Main St to Valley Blvd
4. Paving - Main St to Valley Blvd
5. Landscaping 

During construction, one lane is to remain open at all times. Both lanes will be open during non-working hours.

Chamber Information and Meetings

St. Patty's Day Showdown: Saturday, March 16th, 11am-3pm, American Legion
Business After Hours: Tuesday, March 19th at 5:30 pm, Green Park Inn
Board of Directors Meeting: Wednesday, April 3rd at 8 am
Talent Jam - Work It Watauga: Thursday, April 4th at 5 pm, Ransom in Boone
Vision Northwest North Carolina: Wednesday, May 22nd at 8 am, Appalachian State University

All meetings are held in the Chamber Boardroom unless otherwise noted.