While exploring The Blue Ridge Foothills, we visited the town of Chimney Rock to see the Rocky Broad River and Main Street Village. Check out this recap to see what activities we did, where we ate, and what sites we saw during our one-day excursion.
Main Street Shops:
This quaint little village has a delightful mix of eateries, attractions, parks, jewelry and locally-focused shops. We spent some time browsing through a couple of gem stone retailers, tourist specialty stores and even bought some local coffee to bring back home. If you need a beer break, Hickory Nut Gorge Brewery overlooks the river with plenty of outdoor seating (which is ideal when you have a noisy toddler with you).
The Rocky Broad River Walk:
The River Walk runs parallel to Main Street Shops. These walking trails allow you to experience the water up close and personal, which our little guy loved. Dylan had a blast sitting on tree stumps and throwing rocks into the rushing river. These waters are the prime source for famous Lake Lure (Chimney Rock’s sister community), which is where Hollywood filmed part of Dirty Dancing.
We spent almost an hour hiking around the different river trails. It’s a great way to work up an appetite and allows your kids to burn off some energy too. There are a ton of spots that are perfect for pictures – next time I’ll bring a selfie stick so we can snap one of us all together.
We saw quite a few people fishing along the river.
The upper section of the Rocky Broad River is stocked with trout, while the lower parts are ideal for catching small and largemouth bass. Southern Appalachian Anglers offers guided fly fishing excursions and we plan to definitely check that out when our boys are older.
Chimney Rock Gem Mine:
A trip to Chimney Rock is not complete without doing a gemstone treasure hunt! We opted for the Mega Bucket and found over 25 gems inside! They supply you with all the equipment you’ll need and even have staff on hand to assist with identifying your finds. We unearthed Amethyst, Quartz, Garnet, and even a fossil. This experience was super cool and I would recommend it to anyone with kids two years and up.
Riverwatch Waterfront Bar & Grill:
If you’re looking for the best views for the Rocky Broad River while you enjoy lunch, this eatery is your spot. They have a full service bar and over 50 local, craft and domestic beers to choose from.
We fulfilled our fried fantasy and ordered their deep-fried mushrooms, pickles, and jumbo onion rings to start. We also tried a batch of their chicken wings because both my husband and I are a fan of heat. They offer twelve flavors, including atomic, but we played it safe and went for a mix of their blackened seasoning and hot varieties. For our main course, my husband and I split the Southwest Salad and Dylan got the Peanut Butter and Jelly Sandwich with fruit.
WATCH OUR TRAVELOGUE FROM CHIMNEY ROCK!
Chimney Rock State Park:
Explore the great outdoors while walking on the Great Woodland Adventure Trail! Designed specifically for kids, this easy walking trail features 12 Discovery Stations with locally made sculptures and educational reading material.
At the end of the trail is the Animal Discovery Den, which has interactive exhibits with reptiles and amphibians. There’s even an enclosure out back with Greta the Groundhog and Perry the Opossum!
Lake Lure Flowering Bridge:
This free-to-the-public garden is an adventure in itself. It measures over 150 long, 20 feet wide and houses over 15 unique gardens to view. If you look closely, you will find hidden gnomes, magical ferries and creative creatures among the flowers. We had a little time to spare before dinner, so this was a great place to take Dylan to explore. When you visit, keep in mind that it’s the park closes at sunset (it’s open from sunrise to sunset, seven days a week).
The Esmerelda Inn, Restaurant and Spa:
For dinner, we decided to check out The Esmerelda Restaurant, located in the picturesque granite cliffs of Hickory Nut Gorge. Known as one of the best Chimney Rock restaurants, it was the perfect place to end our evening. Their chef, Keith Chinn, is very talented and I highly recommend reserving his Chef’s Table if you have older children. Check out their delicious dinner menu here.
Psst: They even offer a hands-on cooking series! Which I think would be an excellent date night adventure if you have someone to watch the kiddos! Find out more info on their 2019 classes here.
This recap is the second post from our family getaway in picturesque Rutherfordton, North Carolina. Our accommodations and family activities were sponsored by visitncsmalltowns.com, which serves as an excellent resource when planning your visit to Lake Lure & The Blue Ridge Foothills. In this post I talk about our experiences traveling with a toddler; all opinions here are mine alone.
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The Esmaelda is a very nice place to stay and the restaurant is excellant! The breakfast was the beat We have ever ate in Town and The crab Cakes and Steak for dinner Was Stupindous! I am a Crab cake finatic and the Ones i make are Excellant… The crab Cakes at esmarelda was so so awesome! I would recomend this place for dining and also for a stay!
Thanks so much for checking out my blog post! The restaurant was fabulous, cannot wait to go back and stay for the night!
Hi, Jess, and thanks for visiting Chimney Rock, the place I’m lucky enough to call home. I volunteer at the Lake Lure Flowering Bridge and wanted to tell you that it’s open 24 hours a day, every day of the year, and is lit at night. We hope you and your family come back soon. Your photos are great!
Hi Alice! The Flowering Bridge was one of our favorite spots! It’s so cool. When we visited, there was a sign stating the park was closed between sunset and sunrise. I’m glad to hear it’s open now (and with lights! how fun!) We hope to head back soon – thanks for reading my post!