Skip to main content

Weekend Trip to Blowing Rock and Grandfather Mountain

We took a weekend to the mountains...staying overnight in Blowing Rock and then spending the day exploring the area.

For the entire photo set on flickr...go here.

What started out as a gorgeous day in Raleigh turned into a foggy, rainy, and later stormy evening in the Mountains. The rain started just west of North Wilkesboro, the fog really kicked in on the ascent up the Blue Ridge to Deep Gap and stuck around the rest of the day. Oddly, the fog lifted as the night went on.

We made a quick stop in Burlington and went through downtown Graham. There's quite a few older wall advertisements and billboards in town. It's certainly worth a return visit for more photos.



Sunday Morning we spent sometime along the Blue Ridge Parkway before heading to the Mast General Store in Valle Crucis.

Our first Parkway Overlook was at the Thunder Hill Overlook just north and east of Blowing Rock.
They don't call it the Blue Ridge Mountains for nothing.

Across from the overlook is a brief trail (shown above) that goes past a small family cemetery (shown below).

Although it was overcast and chilly, there were still some great views like above.

It was then on to the Mast General Store on NC 194 in Valle Crucis. It's a must stop. Just South/West? of the Mast General Store is the Church of the Holy Cross Episcopal Church. It's a gorgeous stone building and is worth a few minutes of exploring.


In the valley below the Church of the Holy Cross, NC 194 crosses Craborehard Creek, and after the rains from the day and night before, the creek had some soothing small waterfalls.


From there is was over to Granfather Mountain. We took Broadstone Road (SR 1121) from Valle Crucis to NC 105. Be sure to stop at The Ham Shoppe for a bite to eat. The sandwiches are delicious and the folks that run the place are very hospitable.

Grandfather Mountain is located off of US 221 about a mile south of the Blue Ridge Parkway and two miles north of NC 105. Admission is $14/per person, with AAA it's $12. There's plenty to do at the park. There's a wildlife habitat (more on that later), numerous hiking and nature trails, and of course the mile high swinging (suspension bridge).

The wildlife habitat includes, otter, brown and black bear, deer, cougars, and bald eagles.



I love this shot of the raven.


Of course, the highlight of Grandfather Mountain is the Mile High Swing Bridge. Opened in 1952, the 252 foot suspension bridge over an 80 foot chasm can make for an interesting experience. Especially when the wind is quite gusty.

After Grandfather Mountain, it was back on the Parkway to Blowing Rock before heading home. A number of spots on the Parkway afford great views of Grandfather Mountain, and the unique weather that goes along with it.

Before leaving the Parkway, we stopped at Price Lake and headed around the Price Lake Loop Trail that is about 2.3 miles long. It's a nice hike and easy to follow, even though it's not marked. At the far end of the lake, it is rather swampy, but only a minor inconvenience. Price Lake is popular with anglers and kayakers and is quite a restful spot overall.


There is one sad part about the Parkway. In the Grandfather to Blowing Rock Area, there was quite a few cases of vandalism. Almost all overlook signs were missing (only the sign posts were standing) and there was a few overlooks that were unfortunately well littered. It's a shame that carelessness was so wide spread on that section of the very scenic highway.

But overall a great trip, we took over 200 photos and got to explore more of North Carolina's mountains.

Comments

Anonymous said…
Hi Adam,
My name is Jane and I'm with Dwellable.
I was looking for blogs about Blowing Rock to share on our site and I came across your post...If you're open to it, shoot me an email at jane(at)dwellable(dot)com.
Hope to hear from you soon!
Jane

Popular posts from this blog

Yes, the color of your nearby fire hydrant matters...

...and here's why. You will find White, Red, Yellow and Violet colored fire hydrants pretty much everywhere.  But there's a reason for this - and it's because of the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA).  This association has issued guidelines for color coding standards for fire hydrants.  These color codes from the body of the hydrant, top of the hydrant, and in some municipalities the outlet caps are designed to allow fire fighters to know what type of system, water flow rate (Gallons Per Minute or GPM), and level of water pressure.  This guideline is known as NFPA 291 and is intended to be used universally throughout the United States. The NFPA guidelines are specific to the body and the top cap of the hydrant.  If a hydrant is WHITE or YELLOW - it means that it is connected to a public/municipal water system.  If a hydrant is RED - the hydrant is connected to a private system, typically a well.  These are most common in rural or unincorporated areas

Phase 1 of the California State Route 132 West Expressway (in the making since 1947)

On September 15, 2022, the Phase 1 of the California State Route 132 West Expressway opened in the city of Modesto from California State Route 99 west to North Dakota Avenue.  Phase 1 of the California State Route 132 West Expressway was built upon a corridor which was tentatively to designated to become the branching point for Interstate 5W in the 1947 concept of the Interstate Highway System.  The present California State Route 132 West Expressway corridor was adopted by the California Highway Commission on June 20, 1956.  Despite almost being rescinded during the 1970s the concept of the California State Route 132 West Expressway corridor lingered on for over half a century and became likely the oldest undeveloped right-of-way owned by California Transportation Commission.  Pictured above is the planned California State Route 132 freeway west of US Route 99 in Modesto as featured in the May/June 1962 California Highways & Public Works.   The history of the California State Route

Aptos Creek Road to the Loma Prieta ghost town site

Aptos Creek Road is a roadway in Santa Cruz County, California which connects the community of Aptos north to The Forest of Nisene Marks State Parks.  Aptos Creek Road north of Aptos is largely unpaved and is where the town site of Loma Prieta can be located.  Loma Prieta was a sawmill community which operated from 1883-1923 and reached a peak population of approximately three hundred.  Loma Prieta included a railroad which is now occupied by Aptos Creek Road along with a spur to Bridge Creek which now the Loma Prieta Grade Trail.  The site of the Loma Prieta Mill and company town burned in 1942.   Part 1; the history of Aptos Creek Road and the Loma Prieta town site Modern Aptos traces its origin to Mexican Rancho Aptos.  Rancho Aptos was granted by the Mexican Government in 1833 Rafael Castro.  Rancho Aptos took its name from Aptos Creek which coursed through from the Santa Cruz Mountains to Monterey Bay.  Castro initially used Rancho Aptos to raise cattle for their hides.  Following