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Monday, November 10, 2014


WOW! What an eye opener! I used to go to Boone with my grandparents (in the '50's!). It was so small that we got our mail in Banner Elk. Blowing Rock was there, and a nascent tourist attraction, but it would appear that all three have grown exponentially!


Virtual hugs,


As a long time NC resident, I can provide some perspective on why the state park / non-profit arrangement exists, and maybe some insight on why people love it so much.

Hugh Morton is painted as a visionary conservationist and photographer with a love for the mountain and everything that lives there. He was all that, but he was also a developer and long time power broker in NC. He was well connected in state government (announced a run for governor once), and was well known as someone you could call on to get things done behind the scenes.

I don't mean this in a bad way at all, it's just the way NC politics worked. The state park / non-profit relationship is unique in NC and quite uncharacteristic of the rest of the state park system. I doubt anyone but Hugh Morton could have pulled it off, and I seriously doubt we'll see another relationship like that in the future.

As far as the good reviews, GFM is a place where people came as children, and then return to with their own kids and grandkids. It benefits from a lot of nostalgia in that regard. In some cases, I think the enjoyment comes as much from memories of childhood visits as from the merits of the attraction itself. Tweetsie Railroad is the same way.

Since I know you enjoy fishing, it's worth pointing out that waters along the Blue Ridge Parkway have a special license arrangement. You can fish parkway waters with a NC or VA license, and no trout stamp is required.

I'm glad we did not go in the Grandfather Mountain attraction when we passed that way last year. We did see the Biltmore Mansion last year. It was pretty expensive at over $50 per person. However, it was worth the money as it is a very unique house. That time of year, in late October, it was so crowded that we aborted the self-guided house tour and booked one of the guided tours (e.g., the tour of the staff quarters). The wine tasting included with the admission price was also a good final destination for the day.

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