Hello Everyone! We had a wonderful three day car trip to the beautiful mountains of North Carolina.
The purpose of the trip was to visit some of the towns in Western NC to see if they were retirement worthy. We started early the first morning and traveled through the Georgia towns of Clayton and Dillard then into Franklin, NC. As we left Franklin, we started to climb and encountered snow covered mountain tops.
The morning stayed overcast as we made our way through Waynesville, then just past Ashville to Swannanoa. It was also the colder of the two days, staying in the mid to high 30’s, depending on where we were. In Swannanoa we stopped to visit Mama Gertie’s Hideaway Campground.
Mama Gertie’s was one of the campgrounds I was considering for our fall trip that was rerouted because of Hurricane Michael. Most of the lower sites were on a hill, but the sites were level and with full hookups.
The Upper Campground is closed in the winter, but we took a walk up there. It had beautiful views, but it was even more cold and windy! The sites here were all level and some even had a little deck that overlooked the mountains. I think we will definitely plan a trip here in late spring or early fall. There is also so much to do. It’s close to Ashville and the Blue Ridge Parkway is just a few miles away.
We had lunch in a cute café in Black Mountain, one town east of Swannanoa, then headed northeast towards our final destination of Boone.
By now the sun was shining and it had turned into a beautiful but still cold day. One of the stops we made was at Linville Falls. If you’ve followed my travelogues, you know I like my waterfalls. This one didn’t disappoint.
The trail was easy to navigate from the Linville Gorge Wilderness Area Parking lot. You can also access the trail from the Blue Ridge Parkway at the Linville Falls Visitor Center.
There was lots of water with all the recent rain. The falls plunged through this narrow gap at the top to open up into a 90 foot drop around the corner.
There are several overlooks along the trail. This picture was taken from the first one we came to.
This picture is taken from the second overlook, where you could see all of the upper falls. This is as far as we went, which was just under a mile to get to the second overlook. The trail kept going and I think you got a view of the gorge to the west. There is also a trail to get down to the basin of the falls. If you are in the area, it is definitely worth an extra 45 minutes to see the falls.
As we continued on into Boone, we passed Grandfather Mountain. We were also close to all the ski areas in NC. I didn’t take any pictures in Boone. It was almost 4:00 when we got into the area and we spent some time driving around looking at it. Appalachian State University is located in Boone, so even though the town is small, there appears to be lots of activities, shopping and restaurants because of the University. There is an indoor aquatic center and a brand new Publix (a grocery store for all non Florida and Georgia readers). Those are my two retirement requirements, a grocery store and indoor pool close by. There is even a quilt shop!
We explored a little more in Boone the next morning, after we cleared a layer of frost off the car, before heading back to Ashville via a different route. We took US Hwy 19E then I26 into Weaverville. I had planned this stop because there was a cross-stitch store I wanted to visit.
I made these purchases at Sassy Jacks Stitchery and spent some time exploring all the goodies. But guess what was right next door?
5 Little Monkeys Quilt and Sew shop where I picked this fabric bundle up for 40% off! I knew there were several quilt shops in the area, but since I was dragging my husband to the stitch shop, I wasn’t going to ask him to go to all the quilt shops with me. He was very patient and since it was lunch time, he went to a restaurant down the street and waited at the bar for me. We had a good lunch there and then meandered on into Asheville just a few miles away.
We stayed at the Aloft downtown where we could walk around. They did not have the king room we reserved so they gave us a queen room with a patio and view for the same price.
Our room was one of those on the left with the arbor over it. This was a little warmer day (low 50s) and I sat outside in the sun for a little bit enjoying the view from the deck.
This would have been an awesome place to watch the sunset, but we were out and about that afternoon. We visited some of the gallery shops and walked around Ashville. There are also 8 brew pubs within walking distance of the hotel. We had to check out a few during the afternoon and had dinner at the last one.
The next morning, we started to make our way home via Hendersonville and Brevard. Both nice towns from what I could see in the fog. From Brevard we went back through Franklin, then on to Cashiers and Highlands. We didn’t want to backtrack! We ended up going by Lake Nottely into Blairsville, GA then into Blue Ridge where we had planned to stop and have lunch. It was a little early and pouring down rain, so we went to Ellijay instead and ate at our favorite café there. We got home in the early afternoon.
It was a thoroughly pleasant road trip and has given us more things to ponder for our retirement plans. My husband has fished a few times in the Boone area and has now added Boone to his retirement list. I think I would want to go and stay for a week or so and do things that I do at home to see what it might really be like. Having the University there does make it retirement worthy though.
Anyway, I hope you enjoyed pictures of the Western North Carolina Mountains. Have a great week and thanks for stopping by.