Bill Leslie's Carolina Conversations

Moses Cone

Posted September 20, 2005

While picnicking at the Moses Cone Manor on the Blue Ridge Parkway near Blowing Rock my family did what it usually does - it found comedy in the air. We imagined how funny it would be if a family dressed up as Coneheads from Saturday Night Live fame showed up and walk the grounds of this beautiful estate: "We are Moses Coneheads are we are here to consume mass quantities of fresh mountain air."

I admit I didn't know much about Moses Cone other than the fact that there's a hospital named after him in Greensboro and that he made a fortune in textiles more than 100 years ago.

I am quite impressed with Moses Cone after a little study. He and his family pumped a lot of money into what is now Appalachian State University where my daughter is studying to become a teacher. Moses also insisted that a tree be planted for every tree that was cut on his land. You will enjoy the environmental beauty of his rolling estate which is part of the Moses H. Cone Memorial Park. Today the Cone Manor houses a beautiful shop featuring the work of North Carolina’s finest artists and craftsmen. You will also enjoy more than 25 miles of hiking trails, horseback riding and a sturdy bank of rocking chairs.

When I was child growing up in Morganton I had a good friend named Bobby Reese. His family had a summer home in the mountains at Blowing Rock. I remember walking trails that led to this marvelous manor. Back then we just called it the Manor House. It is great to come back as an adult and appreciate beauty and rich stories behind this land and its prominent steward.

Moses Cones was a serious man. He was a perfectionist and a nature lover. You will surely love the land he loved.

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Bill Leslie