Skip to main content

2024 First Day Road Trip

At around 10 am on New Year's Day, my wife says, "OK everyone - get dressed. We're going on a roadtrip. Oh, and wear warm clothes."

The dusting of snow as we drove along the Blue Ridge Parkway was a great part of the trip.

This is how some of my family's most interesting adventures begin.  You see, after a long holiday break - the kids out two and a half weeks of school, my oldest and I got sick (stomach virus) on Christmas day in Virginia, among other things - we just needed to get out of the house, and we did just that.

My wife didn't tell us the destination - all I knew was that it was about two hours away and it was 28 degrees there.  So, I knew it was the mountains, but she wisely put the destination in the GPS before I got in the car.

With that in mind, we headed on various routes to US 321 south of Hickory.  And with all four of us starving, we decided to get lunch. After a quick Yelp! search and a phone call to see if they were open - we headed into Downtown Hickory for lunch at the Olde Hickory Tap Room.

This was really my first time in Downtown Hickory, and it was a pleasant surprise. The Union Square area allows for somewhat of a larger pedestrian mall, there's also City Walk - a multi-use trail, a very nice playground, a restored train station, and more.  Lunch was delicious and we decided to let the boys play at the playground.  If they had their way, we could have stayed another 30 minutes.  

Both of my kids climbing inside a sphere at the Lowes Foods City Park in Downtown Hickory, NC.

Instead, we continued North up US 321 to Blowing Rock and then onto the Blue Ridge Parkway. The Parkway was lightly covered with a dusting of snow.  It was very pretty.  We hadn't seen any snow in Charlotte for nearly two years - so the excitement of seeing fresh snow on the ground and even the slightest flurry was exciting to all four of us.

My wife wanted to do a 'First Day Hike', so we stopped at Sims Pond Overlook near Price Lake.  We did a short one-mile or so out-and-back hike - we weren't walking across Sims Creek. (I don't think kids having wet feet would be a good idea.) It was simple but so enjoyable.

Our hike was a simple one mile or so out and back around Sims Pond. It didn't matter - the snow made it worth it.

As I mentioned earlier, we drove through Blowing Rock on our way to the Parkway.  In the center of town is a large playground / public square.  The kids were practically begging us to stop - and of course we did.

My oldest enjoying the playground in Downtown Blowing Rock.

Blowing Rock had a Hallmark Movie feel to it.  With it being New Year's Day - and Blowing Rock is a mountain tourist town - there were several people out walking, enjoying the snow in the playground, and many shops were open.  We stopped at got ice cream and then headed home.

Downtown Blowing Rock

This was an unexpected pick me up for my whole crew. It had a lot of unexpected surprises that made this roadtrip so much fun.  And isn't that what a roadtrip is about? Regardless of distance?

Additional Links:


Popular posts from this blog

The Central Freeway of San Francisco (US Route 101)

The Central Freeway is a 1.2-mile elevated limited access corridor in the city of San Francisco.  As presently configured the Central Freeway connects from the end of the Bayshore Freeway to Market Street.  The Central Freeway carries the mainline of northbound US Route 101 from the Bayshore Freeway to Mission Street. The Central Freeway has origins with the establishment of Legislative Route Number 223 and is heavily tied to the history of the once proposed Panhandle Freeway.  The Central Freeway between the Bayshore Freeway and Mission Street was completed during 1955.  The corridor was extended to a one-way couplet located at Turk Street and Golden Gate Avenue in 1959 which served to connect US Route 101 to Van Ness Avenue.  The Central Freeway was damaged by the 1989 Loma Prieta Earthquake and has since been truncated to Market Street.   The Central Freeway as pictured on the blog cover was featured in the May/June 1959 California Highways & Public Works.  The scan below is fro

The Bayshore Freeway (US Route 101)

The Bayshore Freeway is a 56.4-mile component of US Route 101 located in the San Francisco Bay Area.  The Bayshore Freeway connects the southern extent of San Jose to the Central Freeway in the city of San Francisco.  The corridor was originally developed as the Bayshore Highway between 1923 and 1937.  The Bayshore Highway would serve briefly as mainline US Route 101 before being reassigned as US Route 101 Bypass in 1938.  Conceptually the designs for the Bayshore Freeway originated in 1940 but construction would be delayed until 1947.  The Bayshore Freeway was completed by 1962 and became mainline US Route 101 during June 1963.   Part 1; the history of the Bayshore Freeway Prior the creation of the Bayshore Highway corridor the most commonly used highway between San Jose and San Francisco was El Camino Real (alternatively known as Peninsula Highway).  The  American El Camino Real  began as an early example of a signed as an Auto Trail starting in 1906.  The era of State Highway Mainte

Former US Route 101 and California State Route 41 through Paso Robles

Paso Robles is a city located on the Salinas River of San Luis Obispo County, California.  As originally configured the surface alignments of US Route 101 and California State Route 41 converged in downtown Paso Robles.  US Route 101 originally was aligned through Paso Robles via Spring Street.  California State Route 41 entered the City of Paso Robles via Union Road and 13th Street where it intersected US Route 101 at Spring Street.  US Route 101 and California State Route 41 departed Paso Robles southbound via a multiplex which split near Templeton.   Pictured above is the cover of the September/October 1957 California Highways & Public Works which features construction of the Paso Robles Bypass.  Pictured below is the 1935 Division of Highways Map of San Luis Obispo County which depicts US Route 101 and California State Route 41 intersecting in downtown Paso Robles.   Part 1; the history of US Route 101 and California State Route 41 in Paso Robles Paso Robles ("Pass of the