The Moses Cone Manor is more than just a beautiful house. The estate offers a beautiful and historic mansion, 25 miles of trails, a carriage and apple barn, and beautiful views that attract visitors from far and wide.
The estate is now formally part of the Moses Cone Memorial Park at milepost 294 on the Blue Ridge Parkway. People might also refer to Moses Cone Manor as Flat Top Manor.
Top 5 Reasons To Visit Moses Cone Manor
Moses Cone Manor is the type of place that you can go back to time and time again. It’s one of our family’s favorite day trips to take from Charlotte. These are some of the reasons that we love to visit.
1. Stunning Views Along Blue Ridge Parkway
The Blue Ridge Parkway is known worldwide for its gorgeous views, but sometimes driving on it isn’t enough. To fully experience the beautiful mountains, you must get out, breathe fresh air, and allow your eyes to wander.
After all, eye wandering isn’t advised when you are driving. 😎
The Moses Cone Manor sits atop a mountain, with a cleared hillside drawing your gaze toward beautiful mountainscapes. The mountains are referred to as the Blue Ridge Mountains because the ridge often has a stunning blue hue appearance. The namesake is clearly evident from the manor mountaintop.
The views are simply breathtaking. And during the fall, the foliage is so beautiful that you must arrive around sunrise to find somewhere to park.
2. Hiking on Carriage Trails
Visiting Moses Cone Manor is a full-sensory experience. It’s one thing to see the beauty, but it’s another to take in the experience altogether.
Moses Cone carefully planned 25 miles of carriage trails that wind through the mountains offering scenic views. There are two things that we really enjoy about the carriage trails. The first is that they are very easy to hike along, especially with kids.
We love to take the whole family hiking, but our little ones are still growing and maturing. The carriage trails are easy to walk along and offer plenty of room in case you need to pass or be passed. Sometimes it feels like our family is slowing others down on hiking trails. This isn’t the case along the carriage trails.
The second thing we love about the carriage trails is that they were master planned to curve across the estate. As such, you get much more than just different versions of the same view. Instead, portions of the trail slope along under the tree canopy, which is breathtakingly gorgeous during the fall.
Still, other sections of the carriage trails cross below beautiful arches built under the Blue Ridge Parkway or down by a lake. There are places along the trails where you will stop in surprise at just how beautiful the estate is. There’ve been a few times when I actually gasped in surprise at the beauty.
The carriage trails are safe and well-maintained. The only downside is that you might pass horse manure, but even that adds to the authenticity of the experience.
3. Beautiful Architecture
Flat Top Manor is beautiful. The house itself is an eye-catching mansion featuring 23 rooms. It is built in the Colonial Revival style, which is usually identified by two-story homes with a symmetrical front facade, and front porches and dormers.
The beautiful white paint perfectly accentuates the Colonial Revival design, especially for Cone Manor, as it sits atop the mountainside. For most of the year, the beautiful white house pops against the surrounding greenery and hazy blue ridge that sits off in the distance.
During the fall, the red, yellow, and orange foliage perfectly adorn the white manor. And it’s not just the manor. The carriage and apple barn harken back to a time gone by. And even the arches below the Blue Ridge Parkway are beautiful. When you see the stone arch bridges, you first think, “they don’t make them like that anymore.”
Whether it’s the mansion or the arches, the design looks like it is just meant to be on top of the mountain.
4. Horses On The Trails
We’ve mentioned that the trails used for hiking and trail running are actually carriage trails, but we haven’t mentioned that they run a carriage on the grounds. The trails are open to other horseback riders, too.
Horses are majestic animals, but most of us probably don’t get to see horses up close very often. Hiking on the Moses Cone Estate often results in the opportunity to see (and sometimes pet) the horses.
You can also book your own horse and carriage ride through the park if you want to take the experience to the next level.
The only other hike that my family has been on where horses are commonly seen is at Grayson Highlands in lower Virginia. Of course, the ponies at Grayson Highlands are “wild” ponies, which is pretty cool. Nonetheless, seeing the horses up close at Moses Cone is tons of fun. If you get to ride a carriage, even better.
5. Preserved History
Moses Cone made his money in the family textile business, most notably as the co-founder of the Proximity Manufacturing Company in Greensboro, North Carolina. The Cone family was so successful that Moses cone and his wife, Bertha Lindau, were able to develop the beautiful country estate now known as the Moses Cone Manor.
The manor sits in Blowing Rock, North Carolina, so it was close to the family business in Greenville.
It’s hard to overstate how impressive the overall estate is. Remember that 25 miles of master-planned trails traverse around the manner and were designed to highlight the countryside’s natural beauty.
Moses Cone was friends with a conservationist named Gifford Pinchot, that recommended planting a white pine forest and hemlock hedges. Beyond this, Mr. Cone built multiple lakes that he stocked with bass and trout and planted a 10,000-tree apple orchard.
It is hard to imagine anyone having enough money to create an estate like this in modern times. Still, Flat Top Manor is preserved as a reminder of the past and a connection to the beauties of nature in the present.
Moses Cone Manor: Also Called Flat Top Manor
The Moses Cone Manor is a must-visit destination if you’re in the Blowing Rock area, and it is worth a day trip from Charlotte and the other major North Carolina cities. The outside of the manor house underwent a major restoration in 2021, so the house is as impressive as it ever was.
Can You Tour Moses Cone Manor?
The National Park Service offers Ranger-led tours of the Moses Cone Manor. The tour lasts about 45 minutes, and you should arrive at least 15 minutes early to allow time to park and check in. You can call the National Park Service to make a reservation.
Tours take place on Sundays, seasonally during the warm months. You can call the National Park Service at 828-295-3782 to learn more.
Who Owns Moses Cone Manor?
Moses and Bertha Cone gifted their estate to the National Park Service in 1949, who still own and maintain the facilities today. The beautiful country estate is listed on the Register of Historic Places.
In many ways, visiting the manor house and estate is like stepping back in time to visit life through the eyes of a wealthy industrialist that loved nature.
When Was Moses Cone Manor Built?
The 13,000-square-foot manor started construction before the turn of the century, back in 1899. Flat Top Manor finished construction in 1901, and the twenty-three-room mansion exists today largely in the same way it might have been found more than 100 years ago.
Moses Cone followed in the footsteps of George Vanderbilt, that built the Biltmore Estate down the road in Asheville, North Carolina. Both houses were constructed as showpieces to stand the test of time.
Where Is Moses Cone Manor (Flat Top Manor)?
You will find Moses H. Cone Memorial Park at Milepost 294 on the Blue Ridge Parkway. While the estate is out in the countryside, the address is in Blowing Rock. The fact that this house has an address on the Blue Ridge Parkway makes it even more special.
Downtown Blowing Rock is a cool place to visit, with many walkable shops and restaurants. Go for a hike on the carriage trails and then eat dinner in Blowing Rock. Attractions like Wilderness Run Alpine Coaster and Tweetsie Railroad are also nearby.
For those looking for more difficult mountainside hiking, we recommend visiting the nearby Grandfather Mountain.
What Was Moses Cone Famous For?
Moses Cone, and his brother Ceasar, rose to prominence as a leading supplier of denim to prominent brands such as Levi Strauss and Company. Cone and his wife are most famous for their philanthropy, which resulted in the Moses Cone Hospital in Greensboro.
The husband and wife philanthropist duo didn’t have any children, which is likely one reason they donated their manor to the National Park Service.
Hotels Near Moses Cone Manor
We recommend staying in nearby Blowing Rock or Boone if you are looking for hotels near Moses Cone Manor. You will also likely find some short-term mountain cab rentals on platforms like Airbnb and VRBO.
Boone has more restaurants, hotels, and grocery stores while Blowing Rock offers a more boutique feel.
Is Moses Cone Manor Worth Visiting?
The Moses Cone Manor is worth visiting for anyone who enjoys preserved history and incredible scenic views. While few people can possibly live such extravagant lives as the Cones did during the Gilded Age, we can still appreciate the estate’s beauty and majesty in the present day.
The carriage trails are perfect for hiking or horseback riding, and almost every time I’ve visited the estate, I’ve seen trail runners, too. The manor is worth a day trip or even a staple in a weekend trip to the high-country surrounding Boone and Blowing Rock.