The Blue Ridge Parkway

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What a weekend! I was off on Friday and as soon as I got home on Thursday, my parents and I headed out in the rain toward Asheville, North Carolina for the weekend. We made a stop in Lexington, Virginia for dinner – at one of those “hole in the wall” stop called Foothill Momma’s BBQ Juke Joint – found courtesy of Yelp! It was delicious and we somehow managed to avoid the worst of the rain and storms until we made it to Galax, Virginia for the night.

The next morning it was decided that we’d take the longer more scenic route (which I initially voted no on – because I’m a nut… I don’t know guys…) through the Blue Ridge Parkway and I took so many pictures – which you guys get to see today! Our first stop was Mast General Store in Boone, North Carolina and it was filled with so many perfect things – but most of all this notebook that I couldn’t resist snapping a picture with!

I don’t know if anything could describe me better, ha-ha! We grabbed a picnic lunch from Our Daily Bread and headed onto the Blue Ridge Parkway to find a spot to picnic, stopping for overlook pictures along the way – as you do! I’ve shared just a few of the pictures from the overlook(s) below but I have to give a shout out to Our Daily Bread – if you’re ever in Boone, North Carolina – do not miss this place! Granted; we only got sandwiches and Magic bars but it was all to die for and I would pop back into this place in a heartbeat!

We stopped at Linville Falls picnic area for lunch and found a picnic bench right by a stream that was gurgling along – it was pretty idyllic if I do say so myself. The food was divine, the setting was picturesque and a wee caterpillar even made an appearance – although it was one of the kind with stinging spines and so I shrieked for my Dad to flick it off himself as quickly as possible…and he flicked in right in my direction. Talk about disrupting the peaceful solitude of nature…ha-ha! No humans or caterpillars were harmed, I’m pleased to report.

 

The views all along the Blue Ridge Parkway are absolutely stunning – the mountains just roll on as far as the eye can see like a ridge of blue…hence the name, right? Ha-ha! I always think maybe I’m taking too many pictures but it’s just too beautiful not to take it all in!

There were also tunnels around each and every corner as the road wound it’s way around, over and through the mountains and I couldn’t resist snapping a few pictures here and there. It was especially interesting to see that small stalactites had begun to form on the bridges from the water that drips…drips…drips… over the edges.

The ultimate stop along our drive on the parkway was Mount Mitchell – the highest peak east of the Mississippi River – which was about 45 minutes from Asheville. The road leaves the parkway and winds up and around, up and around for another five miles and then you climb up about 300 yards to the view point at 6,684 feet above it all. The peak of Mount Mitchell is not only the highest east of the MS, it’s also the tallest peak south of the Arctic Cordillera (I’m not 100% sure…)..

The mountain is named for Elisha Mitchell, who explored the Black Mountains in the 1830’s and determined the peak’s height was more than originally thought. He fell to his death when he returned in 1857 to confirm his theory and he is buried near the observation deck at the top of the summit. The views from the top were impeccable – even if at times obscured by clouds – at times it seemed like it was hard to know where mountain peak ended and sky began.

The last stop on the parkway before we exited at Asheville was Glassmine Falls – a waterfall that is visible from the parkway that crashes down the face of the mountain and can be heard roaring away across the gorge. The falls are named for the Mica Mine that once sat at the base of the falls; the mica from the mines was thought to be glass and thus – the falls were named.

We made our way off the parkway, into Asheville and on to the grounds of Biltmore Estate around 4:00 on Friday afternoon. We checked into the Village Hotel and got some dinner at Village Social, perused some of the shops and then got ready to head over to the house for Chihuly Nights. I’ll end the post here – I’ll share about the Chihuly exhibit tomorrow because there are so many pictures. The exhibit was absolutely incredible and if you are going to be anywhere in the vicinity of Biltmore Estate in the next week – I’d recommend checking the exhibit out – it runs through October 7th and is incredible!

I’ve linked all the places we ate and the hotel we stayed at on the ground of Biltmore Estate – feel free to check them out and give them a try if you’re in the area! I promise you won’t be disappointed!

 

 

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