Many visitors to the NC High Country have stopped on the Blue Ridge Parkway (milepost 294) to see the lovely Cone Manor. Left to the state by Moses Cone, the home and estate include orchards, lakes and carriage trails.
Mr. Cone was known as “The Denim King” and he and his family were generous to their neighbors and employees. Having no children, he continued his generous legacy and left the property to the state for public use upon his wife’s death.
Today, the home is one of two Parkway Craft Centers (the other is outside Asheville) and is filled with a wide variety of beautiful hand-crafted items. Weekends feature demonstrations by local artisans. The grounds offer several public trails, as well as carriage trails for horseback riding (you can see the local horse trailers along the Parkway on weekends).
But the little-known treat is the upstairs tour run by the National Park Service on weekends from June-mid-October. Park Rangers conduct the tours and explain the colorful history of Moses and Bertha Cone as well as the Cone sisters. It’s a perfect activity for any history or art buff.
Tours times are Saturday and Sunday 10 a.m., 11 a.m., 2 p.m. and 3 p.m. Groups are kept small and reservations are required. To reserve, call the National Park Service Information Desk at the Manor House: 828.295.3782.