(Blowing Rock, NC) – Flat Top Manor, a primary feature of the Moses H. Cone Memorial Park at Milepost 294 on the Blue Ridge Parkway, opens today for the 2018 season with new opportunities for visitors. This 13,000 square foot manor house, surrounded by 25 miles of carriage roads meandering through orchards, pastures, meadows, lakes, ponds, roads, and forests, was built as the summer home of textile magnate Moses H. Cone in the late nineteenth century. The estate was conveyed to the National Park Service in 1949 and has since become one of the most popular locations for visitors along the Blue Ridge Parkway.
A multi-year planning and rehabilitation effort, funded in part by the Blue Ridge Parkway Foundation, is underway to address needed repairs and visitor enhancements throughout the estate. Some of the initial changes visitors can expect this summer include temporary exhibits about Moses and Bertha Cone, their families, and life on the estate along with a short film about the Cones in the Manor House. Park rangers will also expand popular house tours to feature several newly opened rooms of Flat Top Manor; including the home’s kitchen, which provides a look into what life in the house was like for the Cones as well as those employed at the estate. Information for planning a visit to Moses H. Cone Memorial Park is available on the Parkway’s website.
The Southern Highland Craft Guild will continue a 60-plus year tradition of the Cone Manor House being used as a regional craft center as they enter a new 10-year concession contract period. In a reconfigured area of the main floor, the Craft Guild will continue its role of providing visitors with an opportunity to experience handmade craft representative of the southern and central Appalachian region through items for purchase and artist demonstrations.
In addition, four wayside maps of the historic carriage road system will be installed at several locations to assist visitors exploring the trails. Landscape and historic stone wall restoration work will also continue this summer. The extensive network of carriage roads and landscaping, designed by Moses Cone, is among very few such systems representative of this period that remains intact in this country.
Moses Cone is described as an entrepreneur who founded a company that became a leading manufacturer of denim. Fond of nature, Cone was drawn to the mountainous region of western North Carolina with its moderate climate, fresh spring water, and clean air. Moses Cone established this gentleman’s country retreat in the style of those established by American captains of industry of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries applying a conservation ethic to the creation and management of the estate.
About the Blue Ridge Parkway
The 469-mile Blue Ridge Parkway connects Shenandoah National Park to the north with Great Smoky Mountains National Park to the south. The route travels the crests, ridges, and valleys of five major mountain ranges, encompassing several geographic and vegetative zones ranging from 600 to more than 6,000 feet above sea level. It provides visitors with many varied vistas of scenic Appalachian landscapes ranging from forested ridgetops and mountain slopes to rural farm lands and urban areas. The parkway offers a “ride-a-while, stop-a-while” experience that includes scenic pullouts, recreation areas, historic sites, and visitor contact stations. It is known nationally and internationally for its designed landscape as a scenic motorway. www.nps.gov/blri
About the Blue Ridge Parkway Foundation
The Blue Ridge Parkway Foundation is the primary nonprofit fundraising partner, 501(c)(3), of the Blue Ridge Parkway, helping ensure cultural and historical preservation, natural resource protection, educational outreach, and visitor enjoyment now and for future generations. Since its inception in 1997, the nonprofit has worked with donors to invest in critical projects along the scenic road. For more information, visit www.brpfoundation.org.