Susan & I just returned from likely our last NC mountain trip of this year - went to Blowing Rock which is just a 90 minute drive from our home (w/ the last third of the trip on the Blue Ridge Parkway, discussed in some of my previous posts) - we go there once or twice a year, just a nice quick get-away w/ some excellent restaurants & shopping. And a recommended visit to anymore traveling in the area - close to Boone, NC and just 20 miles or so north of the Linville area & Grandfather Mountain (also discussed in a previous post or so).
The lodging in the area is quite variable from small inns and motels to larger accommodations - we nearly always stay at the Chetola Resort - there is a small 'hotel' inn w/ an indoor pool, pub, restaurant, and exercise room, BUT we prefer renting a condo w/ one or two bedrooms - huge place and a lot of options. Below is a pic of the small Chetola Lake (boat rentals available & fishing permitted) and the lodge - some of the condos are seem on the horizon, but again there are dozens and dozens of separate buildings w/ different mountain & woodsy views. Also shown are some of the many flowers around the lodge and the property. If you plan to visit this area w/ friends or a family, then I would encourage a condo rental here or in the vicinity. Dave :)
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Blowing Rock - Part II - in addition to the small town, the Blue Ridge Parkway is close w/ several access points, but nearby is the Moses Cone Memorial Park, a 3,500 acre property consisting the the Mansion, Bass Lake, and surrounding forest and mountain trials, now part of the National Park Service. Moses H. Cone (1857-1908) was a textile magnate who started Cone Mills in Greensboro, NC (40 minutes east of us) (brief history of his life and contributions in the link, if interested).
Below - first pic of the mansion and second view from the house veranda of the mountains and Bass Lake - then the third image from the Bass Lake trail (an easy nearly 1 mile walk) showing the mansion high on a mountain. We've walked around this lake many times - wildlife includes Canadian geese (often w/ goslings depending on the time of the year), ducks, deer (saw a doe in the water a year ago), and this time a blue heron (day was overcast so not a great pic but check out the story and another image HERE) - fishing is permitted in the lake - there are plenty of trails & other lakes (Trout & Price) in the vicinity - from Bass Lake, a 2+ mile hike up to the house (which we've never done!). I'll see what other pics from previous trips there might be on my computer? Dave :)
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Thank you for these posts. I've mostly seen the Tennessee side of the Smokies, but have traveled over the mountains to SC and NC and am happy to know of more mountain vacation spots.
The Smokies is a large national park - we've been to the TN part several times and have crossed between the states - plenty to do on either side; hope that you'll get a chance to spend some time in the NC locales in my posts - cheers! Dave :)
Originally Posted by Czevski
We just traveled part of the Blue Ridge Parkway. My pictures are not like yours - but we enjoyed the fall and pre-winter views.
Hi Czevski - thanks for posting the pics of the Parkway - believe that the 'fall' colors are peaking about now - BTW, which part(s) did you visit? Dave :)
Czevski and Giradman, those are great photos and a nice sharing of your experiences.
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Ashe County, NC - Christmas Trees!
Well, I've not posted here about a NC mountain locale in nearly 3 months! Last year, we did a long weekend trip to Ashe County, NC which is the most northwestern county of the state bordering on Virginia to the north and Tennessee to the west; Jefferson & West Jefferson are the major towns in the county. North Carolina is second behind Oregon in the production of Christmas trees and Ashe County leads the state in number of trees produced (largely Frasier firs) - so driving through the county, acres of these trees are are seen resembling vineyards almost; occasionally trees are on both sides of the country roads giving a 'tunnel effect' - pic below (left) is one I took from a road w/ a small mountain in the background and trees bottom left; the second pic is from the web but nicely juxtaposing the mountains and the Christmas trees.
We stayed at the River House Inn & Restaurant which is owned by Gayle Winston, a remarkable woman (now 80+ y/o) who is an Ashe County native but has done so many other things in her life (the link will provide the history) - the Inn part consists of conversion of old farm buildings into rental units (we stayed @ the Chicken House) or new construction on the property - 3rd & 4th pics are the inside of the Chicken House & outside of the Inn where the restaurant is located - Winston is a gourmet cook who has been featured in national magazines and the two meals we ate there were marvelous. Also the property is on the north fork of the famous New River. Too be continued…..
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Great pics giradman and czevski! Love the fall color and the mountains!
Giradman-that room looked quite nice to stay in!
Did both of you do any hiking while there?
Ashe County, NC - Christmas Trees! (continued)
Ashe County is also famous for the frescoes (info HERE) painted by Benjamin F. Long IV - first two pics below by me of two of these frescoes (located in churches) - fresco painting is rarely done these days (i.e. painting in wet plaster - think of Leonardo da Vinci's Last Supper).
West Jefferson is a quaint mountain town (pic bottom left) w/ parking on the street - there are a variety of art stores, gift shops, and places that sell mountain related arts & crafts - wonderful to stroll around, look at the mountains, and smell the fresh air! A great cheese factory is located in the town and the last pic below is Susan coming out of their store w/ a bag containing an assortment of delicious cheeses.
So for those passing through where Tennessee, Virginia, and North Carolina come together, spend a little time in Ashe County - Dave :)
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