The first known visitors to Blowing Rock were Moravian Bishop August Gottlieb Spangenberg and his party. Spangenberg ventured to Blowing Rock in 1752 when the Earl of Granville offered the Moravian community 100,000 acres of land if they would settle here. The first night that Spangenberg and party camped in Blowing Rock, they experienced a taste of a Blowing Rock winter with heavy winds and snow fall. This first stay in Blowing Rock was also their last.
In 1790, the first family settled in Blowing Rock. They were the Greene family. Other families settled in Blowing Rock later, but many of the land holders only had summer/vacation homes. During the Civil War, families were forced to retreat to the North Carolina mountains to escape the battles and turmoil. Most families went to Lenoir, but space was limited and the families who arrived later were forced up the mountain to Blowing Rock. At that time, the overnight stay facilities were primarily camps.
The summer after the Civil War ended, many families took vacations. Although the families were originally forced to Blowing Rock because of the war, many returned to the beautiful mountain scenery and serenity as tourists. This led to a great demand for overnight lodging in Blowing Rock. In 1874, William Morris bought the Amos Greene property and turned it into Blowing Rock’s first true boarding house. Mr. Morris was well known for his cooking. The Morris house attracted many notable people. At this time, the Morris House charged 50 cents a day for room and board or $15 a month. In 1929 the Morris House was purchased from the Morris family and, today, is known as the Hemlock Inn.
Today, the original inn has been refurbished and additional rooms have been added. These historic rooms offer a rustic, mountain setting with hardwood floors and antique decor. In 1999, a new building was added to the Hemlock Inn and decorated with modern furnishings for those with the more modern tastes. These rooms have vaulted ceilings, are carpeted and are very spacious.
Buxton, Barry M. A Village Tapestry: The History of Blowing Rock. Boone: Appalachian Consortium Press, 1989