If you're in the Blowing Rock area and want a great half day moderate hike with a big pay off at the end, the Glen Burney trail is a great choice. Having lived in Blowing Rock for a few years, I knew about the trail but had never made the hike until recently. Depending on what kind of shape you're in, the trail is moderate to a little more than moderate. For me, hiking 3 weeks after I had a baby, the trail was a bit much on the way back up, but I made it! The trail starts out fairly level, but the last third of it you're definitely hiking straight down towards the falls. The trail is 1.2 miles down to the Glen Burney Falls and then another .4 miles to the Glen Marie Falls. You end up descending about 800 feet below the town of Blowing Rock. There are several great places to have a picnic lunch and sit for a while to break up the trip.
The view really is breathtaking at the bottom but the thing that I like about this trail is that it's interesting the whole way not just at the end. There's a lot of history in this ancient trail that was used by the Indians as a hunting trail and then later for turn of the century loggers. The town of Blowing Rock restored the trail in 1989 making it the only remaining portion preserved in usable condition. The hike takes around 2 hours round trip and is definitely a worthwhile trek.
If you're hungry after the trip, you're in luck because you're only a stones throw away from some great Blowing Rock restaurants. Check out Sonny's Grill if you're in the mood for a great hot dog or hamburger. You won't feel under dressed in your scrubby hiking clothes.
In peak season there is never any parking at the trail head but it is just as easy to park close by downtown. For directions click here.
As far as what's happening in the Boone and Blowing Rock real estate markets, we've had a great summer and early fall. Much of the market has held up fairly well across the board, slower of course than in year's past. The under 300K range for homes is still quite strong, and there's a ton of inventory, making it a great time to buy. In the past month or so, prices have started to soften. I'm hopeful now that the election is behind us, the current issues with the credit market will become the focus again, and the economy will make a turn-around. Let's all think positive!