You guys know that I am always on the lookout for fun activities that we can do as a family (ya know for those times when the teenager can squeeze us into her schedule). So when I saw a Facebook ad last March about a crazy little roadside attraction called Mystery Hill that was only a couple hours away, I had to plan a family trip to check it out, and as a little bonus, they were offering a discount on admission to North Carolina residents. Family time + a discount? That’s what I’m talking about 🙂
Supposedly, the Mystery Hill hillside is a gravitational anomaly that has been documented as far back as the Revolutionary War. It was converted from an apple orchard to a roadside attraction in the 1950’s and has been going strong ever since. This little piece of Americana contains two museums, a hall of mystery, gem mining, a cafe, a gift shop, and an “old-timey” portrait studio.
Mystery Hill is located in between Blowing Rock and Boone off of highway 321 and is about a 2-hour scenic drive from Charlotte. The drive is a good one as it offers up some truly stunning mountain views, and the destination was super easy to find. If you are coming from farther away, you could easily make it a weekend and rent one of the many cabins dotting the mountainside. They even offer a few rentals on the Mystery Hill website!
It was a balmy Spring day in Charlotte, but when we arrived in Blowing Rock, the mountain air was decidedly cooler. Lucky for us, we all remembered to grab sweaters and sweatshirts or we would have been freezing…actually even with the sweaters, we were pretty cold! So, our first stop upon arrival was the attached coffee shop for a nice hand-warming beverage. The coffee was pretty tasty (I believe it was a snickers latte on special), and we all loved the dinosaurs on the roof and fossils embedded in the walls. Coffee in hand, we headed out to explore the rest of the property.
The Native American Artifact museum contains over 50,000 arrowheads and a few other pieces. Apparently, most of the items were found by a couple, Moon and Irene Mullins. The Mullins’ traveled to over 20 states in pursuit of Native American artifacts that they searched for and collected themselves. It is a pretty impressive display even if arrowheads aren’t really your thing.
Upstairs from the arrowheads is the Appalachian Heritage Museum. Originally located on the Appalachian State University grounds, it was moved to Mystery Hill in 1989. The museum is the Dougherty House restored to its original 1903 state, and it is a glimpse into life at the turn of the century. It contains plenty of authentic antiques including furniture, books, and toys. It was a cool little walkthrough, and the kids found it amusing how small everything was in comparison to modern items.
The Hall of Mysteries is obviously the reason why everyone makes the trip out to Mystery Hill, and I will admit we had a fantastic time playing around in there! There is a short guided tour that explains the history of the property and includes a bunch of cheesy jokes and one-liners, but it doesn’t drag on too long. The tour leads you to the main attraction: the gravitational anomaly! In this room, you do feel super strange and heavy. Balls appear to roll uphill, you can stand practically horizontal without falling, and water flows up instead of down. Warning: It does kind of make you feel nauseous after you have been in the room for a little while.
After defying gravity (ha! it will be stuck in your head all day!), we made our way to the bubble room where we spent the majority of our time. Seriously, this was a ton of fun! It totally makes you feel like a little kid. There are several different stations you can play on including a giant bubble maker so you can stand inside a bubble! YESSSSS! #lifegoals
On the way out, we had to peruse the gift shop. It contained exactly the items you would expect a gift shop to contain. Basically, a ton of overpriced toys that your kids will need so bad! We settled for a piece of rock candy each 😉
All in all, we had an awesome time! Will we go back…meh, probably not unless we decide to bring a grandparent or cousin to play there, but I do totally recommend a trip to anyone looking for a silly day of family fun.
Have you ever been to Mystery Hill? Know of another roadside attraction we should check out?