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Outdoor Adventure Seekers Have a New Place to Shop and Sip

By Kris Testori

The Blowing Rock Chamber of Commerce celebrated the official opening of Speckled Trout Outfitters with a ribbon cutting Friday afternoon. More than 150 people attended the event. “I think this is probably one of the largest crowds we’ve ever had at a ribbon cutting,” said Cathy Barker, Blowing Rock Chamber of Commerce’s membership engagement director. The outdoor shop and tap room are located at 916 Main Street, next door to the Speckled Trout Restaurant and Bottle Shop.  

The shop is a dream come true for adventure seekers offering a variety of items including apparel, sunglasses, technical fishing gear, hiking gear, knives, paddleboards, and more. William Brinker, one of the shop owners, said his family’s passion for the outdoors led them to open the store. “There wasn’t anything like it in town and we have a passion for the outdoors,” he said. “We thought it would be a way to get further involved in the community and people looking to come and explore the high country.”

In addition to a retail store, Speckled Trout Outfitters offers half-day and full-day guided fishing trips and guided hike packages. Hunting trips are coming soon. 

The shop, which shares a parking lot with the Speckled Trout Restaurant and Bottle Shop, offers a tap room with beer and wine. “We saw an opportunity to open a retail front for outdoor enthusiasts and an opportunity to put a bar in it,” Brinker said. Rising on Main, two short-term rental properties, are located above the outdoor shop. “Now people can book a stay at Rising on Main, grab a beer, and hopefully take a trip with us, and then dine at the restaurant,” Brinker said. 

Speckled Trout Outfitters is sponsoring the 2023 Trout Derby this Saturday. A full day of activities is planned in their parking lot, including free casting instruction and fly-tying. Four breweries will be and outdoor games will be set up. The awards ceremony and an after-party begin at 4:30 p.m. In lieu of a registration fee, they are asking that people make a donation to Watauga River Keeper. The Watauga Riverkeeper is the key protector and watchdog of the Watauga River Watershed in Western North Carolina’s High Country Region.