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

New River Gorge National River Area To Become A National Park

Great news for those that enjoy National Parks, West Virginia's New River Gorge Region, or West Virginia tourism.  Included within the Fiscal Year 2021 Omnibus Appropriations Bill signed by President Trump last night (December 27th) is the New River Gorge Park and Preserve Designation Act.   The act will designate the existing New River National River and over 72,000 acres of land within it as a National Park and Preserve. The New River Gorge Bridge will continue to be the centerpiece of the new New River Gorge National Park and Preserve. (Adam Prince, 2007) The river and surrounding land, which was added to the National Park System in 1978, will be our 63rd National Park.   The designation preserves over 7,000 acres as a National Park.  This area will not allow any hunting.  The remaining 65,000 acres of the existing park will be designated as a preserve allowing hunting and fishing. The main attractions to the New River Gorge - whitewater rafting, camping, hiking, mountain bikin

The Great PA 48 Clearance Sale

It's not often that any department of transportation sells land it purchased.  They are usually in the business of acquiring land for right-of-way.  But in 1982, the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation did exactly that.  Offering to buyers land it purchased just 15 years earlier for the never-built Route 48 Expressway. Background: The sale was a result of the 1970s cash crunch the PennDOT experienced.  Many projects were cut back, shelved, or eliminated.  The 'New 48', or the North-South Parkway, which was touted for nearly 20 years as a connection from the industrial Mon Valley to the Turnpike and Monroeville was one of the casualties. In the mid-late 1960s, movement to construct the new highway began with targeting a two-mile stretch of highway from the Route 48 intersection at Lincoln Way in White Oak to US 30 in North Versailles.  The plan was then to continue the highway northwards to Monroeville.  Extension south across the Youghiogheny River and to PA 51 would

Legend of the Ridge Route; a history of crossing the mountains between the Los Angeles Basin and San Joaquin Valley from wagon trails to Interstates

Over the past two decades I've crossed the Interstate 5 corridor from Los Angeles north over the Sierra Pelona Mountains and Tehachapi Range to San Joaquin Valley what seems to be an immeasurable number of times.  While Interstate 5 from Castaic Junction to Grapevine via Tejon Pass today is known to most as "The Grapevine" it occupies a corridor which has been traversed by numerous historic highways.  The most notable of these highways is known as the "Ridge Route."  This article is dedicated to the Ridge Route and the various highways that preceded it.  The Ridge Route is a 44 mile section of highway which was completed in 1915.  The Ridge Route originally stretched from Castaic Junction north over Liebre Summit and Tejon Pass to the tiny community of Grapevine.  In spite of a roadway that once utilized nearly 700 curves the Ridge Route is generally considered far ahead of it's time and one of the first modern highways in California constructed for auto