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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?

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