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

Caliente-Bodfish Road

Caliente-Bodish Road is one of the finest driving roads in the southern Sierra Nevada range and has rich history. The approximately thirty-two-mile-long highway connects from Kern River Road in Bodfish south to Bena Road (former US Route 466) via Caliente siding. Caliente-Bodfish Road is a segment of Thomas Baker's stage road which facilitated overland travel to the claims of the Kern River Gold Rush. The Baker Stage Road was constructed during the 1860s-1870s and spanned from the outskirts of Caliente north to the Stockton-Los Angeles Road near Tailholt in Tulare County. The blog cover photo is from the nine-mile segment north of Caliente Creek Road which is known as the "Lion's Trail." Caliente-Bodish Road carries the internal designation of Kern County Road 483. Part 1; the history of Caliente-Bodfish Road Caliente-Bodish Road is a segment of what was Thomas Baker's stage road to Kern River Valley.  The Kern River Gold Rush began in 1853 and spurred devel

The Dummy Lights of New York

  A relic of the early days of motoring, dummy lights were traffic lights  that  were  placed  in the middle of a street intersection. In those early days, traffic shuffled through busy intersections with the help of a police officer who stood on top of a pedestal. As technology improved and electric traffic signals became commonplace, they were also  originally  positioned on a platform at the center of the intersection. Those traffic signals became known as  " dummy lights "  and were common until  traffic lights were moved  onto wires and poles that crossed above the intersection.  In New York State, only a handful of these dummy lights exist. The dummy lights  are found  in the Hudson Valley towns of Beacon and Croton-on-Hudson, plus there is an ongoing tug of war in Canajoharie in the Mohawk Valley, where their dummy light has been knocked down and replaced a few times. The dummy light in Canajoharie is currently out of commission, but popular demand has caused the dummy

Madera County Road 400 and the 1882-1886 Yosemite Stage Road

Madera County Road 400 is an approximately twenty-four-mile roadway following the course of the Fresno River in the Sierra Nevada Mountains.  Road 400 begins at California State Route 145 near Madera and terminates to the north at Road 415 near Coarsegold.  Traditionally Road 400 was known as "River Road" prior to Madera County dropping naming conventions on county highways.  Road 400 was part of the original Yosemite Stage Route by the Washburn Brothers which began in 1882.  The Yosemite Stage Route would be realigned to the west in 1886 along what is now Road 600 to a rail terminus in Raymond.  Parts of Road 400 were realigned in 1974 to make way for the Hensley Lake Reservoir.  Part 1; the history of Madera County Road 400 Road 400 is historically tied to the Wawona Road and Hotel.  The Wawona Hotel is located near the Mariposa Grove in the modern southern extent of Yosemite National Park.   The origins of the Wawona Road are tied to the Wawona Hotel but it does predate th