Moses Cone Memorial Park in Blowing Rock NC

Moses Cone Memorial Park is located on the Blue Ridge Parkway, near Blowing Rock NC in the High Country section of the Blue Ridge Mountains.  The park is most known for Flat Top manner, a summer home built by Moses Cone and his wife Bertha.   

The Memorial Park is literally right off the Parkway, near Blowing Rock at MP294, an offers the home, stunning views, walking/hiking trails, Craft Guild shop and National Park store.

Visiting this beautiful home and park has been on our bucket list for a long time, and we finally got a chance to visit the home and park while in Blowing Rock for a Tweetsie Railroad event.    

Let's dive in and explore the Moses Cone Memorial Park in more detail!

Where is Moses Cone Memorial Park?

Moses Cone Memorial Park is located at MP294 on the Blue Ridge Parkway, not far from Blowing Rock NC.  From Blowing Rock, take the Parkway exit heading West to MP294, where there will be signs on the left for Moses Cone Memorial Park.  Follow the entrance road in, and park in the parking areas for access to Flat Top Manor, the trails, and more.

History of the Moses Cone Memorial Park

Textile entrepreneur, Moses Cone was known as the "Denim King", due to being one the largest producers of denim fabric in the world.  He was a major provider to Levi Strauss for hundred years.  

In 1898, Moses Cone and his wife Bertha announced that they would build a mansion on the 3500 acres they had purchased in the early 1890s.  The plan was for this mansion to emulate George Vanderbilt's Biltmore Estate in Asheville NC.

Construction started on Flat Top Manor in 1899, and completed in 1901.  Flat Top Manor has over 13,000 square feet of living space, and 23 rooms.

Moses used the estate to showcase his knowledge and use of scientific farming. The property had 12 structures, including: a school, church, residences for employees, servant's quarters, stables, and milking barns.  There was even  bowling ally.  

Flat Top Manor even had gaslights, a telephone, and a central heating system.  These were not trivial features for the turn of the twentieth century.

Sadly, Moses Cone passed before he could see the property fully become his vision.   In 1906, he took a year-long trip around the world, and was diagnosed with heart issues on his return.  He died 2 years later.   Bertha lived for another 40 years, and continued to live in the home, and mange the estate.   She passed away in 1947.  Both are buried on the estate.

The mansion and associated property were later donated to the National Park Service, where they can be visited and enjoyed for free.  The mansion was renovated in 2021.

Moses Cone Memorial Park Map

Things to do at Moses Cone Memorial Park

A visit to Moses Cone Memorial Park rewards visitors with lots of things to do and see, including the home itself, winding carriage trails for walking and hiking, and the Southern Highland Craft Guild craft shop.  You can also just relax in the rocking chairs on the porch, and enjoy the beautiful views.

Tour Flat Top Manor

The highlight of your visit is a tour of the 13,000 foot and 23-room mansion.   This beautiful old home was built in 1901, and restored in 2021.   

The first floor contains the main decks, which offer incredible views of the surrounding scenery and Bass Lake.  The first floor also has the craft center, a bookstore, and a National Park desk which provides information to visitors.

To tour the home, you can register for a ranger led tour that will tell you about the home, and walk you through it.  These are available May through October.

Walking/Hiking

25 miles of well-planned carriage roads, two man-made lakes, and apple orchards are part of the estate.

  • Explore a family cemetery, carriage and apple barn, and many different trails.
  • The Craftsman’s Trail is a 20-minute loop walk around the Manor which the Cones are said to have walked together every morning.

Horseback Riding and Carriage Rides

Enjoy horseback riding and carriage rides along the carriage trails.   Carriage Rides can be hired and booked in advance with various carriage ride providers in the area.

Horseback riding is available.  You can bring your own horse and ride on the carriage trails or take guided horseback riding trips using a private business, VX3 Trail Rides, who offer 2.5-hour guided horseback riding trip through Moses Cone Park.

If you want to bring your own horse, parking for personal horse trailers is located at Trout Lake and along Highway 221 near the entrance to Bass Lake.

Fishing

The property is home to two different lakes, including beautiful Bass Lake is located within Moses Cone Memorial Park, and provides excellent fishing.   Base Lake is located at the end of the carriage trails and is surrounded by the old apple orchards.   Both lakes are stocked by the National Park service, and provide for excellent fishing.   

Be sure to have a valid NC Fishing license, as they are checked, and rangers frequently patrol the area.

Shopping

The mansion houses the Southern Highland Craft Guild, which features handmade crafts by local artists. Items such as: turned bowls, ceramic tableware, woven garments, and many other handmade crafts are displayed throughout the first floor in the various  rooms. 

Tips for Visiting Moses Cone Memorial Park

When visiting Moses Cone Memorial Park, here are a few "insider tips" to make your visit more enjoyable:

  1. Get there early - The mansion and park are a very popular stopping point for those traveling the parkway and visiting nearby Blowing Rock and Boone NC.   You'll want to get there early.  Not only is this the best time for photos, but there are far less people.
  2. Open Year Round - The Park itself is open year round, but Flat Top Manor is only open seasonally (April - November).   The carriage trails make for great walking and hiking options in the winter and are open.
  3. 25 miles of Trails - The Moses family made sure the park focused on the outdoors, and the estate/park is full of Easy trails that start and end at the manor house.  This includes the popular, Craftsman Trail, which follows the original trail that Moses and Bertha Cone are said to have walked daily.  For a longer hike, be sure to check out the trail to Flat Top Observation tower, which provides incredible scenic views.
  4. More than a Day - Fully exploring the park and all that it has to offer may take more than a full day, depending on your activities and schedule.  There is a lot to see and do!

Nearby Attractions

Tweetsie Main Street

Moses Cone Memorial Park is located near a number of popular areas and attractions in North Carolinas "High Country".  Here are just a few options for you to explore:

Fall Color at Linn Cove Viaduct


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