Flat Top Manor, ca. 1940s-50s. Photo courtesy of National Park Service/Blue Ridge Parkway.
Known as the “Denim King,” Moses Cone was a prosperous textile entrepreneur, conservationist, and philanthropist of the Gilded Age.
Moses H. Cone Memorial Park, near Blowing Rock, North Carolina on the Blue Ridge Parkway, preserves the country estate of Moses Cone, a prosperous textile entrepreneur, conservationist, and philanthropist of the Gilded Age. Its centerpiece is Flat Top Manor, a gleaming white 20-room, 13,000 square foot mansion built in 1901 in the grand Colonial Revival style.
The Manor is now the home of the Parkway Craft Center, one of five shops of the Southern Highland Craft Guild which features handmade crafts by hundreds of regional artists. Throughout the season, local artists demonstrate crafts such as quilting, embroidery, weaving, pottery, glass-blowing, and woodcarving on the front porch of the Manor.
Twenty-five miles of carriage trails wind through the fields and forests of the 3,500-acre estate. The trails are available to horse drawn carriages, horseback riding, and hiking. The Craftsman’s Trail is a 20-minute loop walk around the Manor which the Cones are said to have walked together every morning. The estate also contains a family cemetery and a carriage and apple barn.
Moses Cone’s interest in nature and conservation led him to plant extensive white pine forests and hemlock hedges (at the advice of friend and noted conservationist Gifford Pinchot), build several lakes stocked with bass and trout, and plant a 10,000-tree apple orchard.
The Blue Ridge Heritage Trail is a program of the Blue Ridge National Heritage Area Partnership.