Hello to all of my lovely readers out there!! It’s been a while since I’ve last sat down and written a post for you guys, and I apologize. In my off time, I was out exploring as I so often love to do. Travelling is a passion of mine, and while COVID-19 has certainly put a cramp in my style, it hasn’t completely stopped me! This past weekend, I revisited Blowing Rock, North Carolina, to enjoy the vibrant colors of the Blue Ridge in autumn. For those of you who missed my previous article back in July titled “Finding Fraser’s Ridge”, I absolutely fell in love with the area that inspired Fraser’s Ridge, and it’s now a favorite weekend location of mine. All joking aside, don’t be surprised if I move down there in a few years time…
Back in the summer, the mountains were lush and green–gorgeous in their own right. But I must say, seeing the mountains in the fall gives me an entirely new appreciation for northwestern North Carolina. In my last post, I covered a lot of the Outlander inspired things to do in the area including the Hickory Ridge Living History Museum in Boone, NC.
I had fully intended to hike and explore some more on this trip, even going out to find the Jesse Brown Cabin, which is a ½ mile hike from the Tomkins Knob Overlook on the Blue Ridge Parkway outside of Blowing Rock. However, our hiking endeavors were cut short due to weather in the area.
Blowing Rock and Boone are at a higher elevation, so if there are clouds of any kind, more often than not, it creates a dense fog through most of the town(s). We did still get some hiking done by driving southwest towards Linville. There we visited Wiseman’s View in the Pisgah National Forest which is a solid 10 mile drive on a rough gravel road until you reach the end of the line–which honestly feels like the end of civilization.
On a good day, you can’t see any signs of human population except for the trail your standing on. However, what we saw when we arrived was a whole lot of… nothing. The cloud cover was so dense you couldn’t see more than 100 feet out into the valley which was a shame. Luckily the hike is an easy ½ mile out and back on a paved path, so it wasn’t a lot of time and energy wasted.
From there we ventured just down the road (still in the Pisgah National Forest) to the Linville Falls hike which is a bit more strenuous, but still only a 1 mile out and back trail kept in good condition. It was a bit mucky in places from all the rain they had received in recent weeks, but the view at the end was well worth the effort! On the trail you hike all the way down to the bottom of the Linville Gorge where the multi-tiered waterfall gushes through meer feet from the viewing platform. It was an amazing view for those that love natures, and the colors were coming into the peak viewing season as well. Some of the lower elevation look-outs had stunning views, and we were able to stop at Price Lake and Little Bald Overlook on the Blue Ridge Parkway to take in the sights.
So, what did we do for three days if it was all clouds and rain, you might ask? Well, we SHOPPED, of course! Blowing Rock’s Mainstreet is brimming with locally owned shops and antique stores, and if you get bored with that, there is an outlet mall on the north side of town, and all your regular haunts just up the road in Boone — a college town that hosts Appalachian State University. The antiques were pretty picked over this go around, but one piece that piqued my inner Outlander nerd’s interest was an 19th century surgeon’s kit in one of the shops, a bit out of my price range, but super cool nonetheless! There are also loads of crafty stores including Mountain Thread Company which has everything for your latest sewing project, and my person favorite, Unwound — a store dedicated to unique yarns for crocheting and knitting!
In addition to all our shopping adventures we also had some great food! We had a kicking breakfast at the Famous Toastery — the blah, blah, blah omelet was to DIE for! One evening we ate at the local Mellow Mushroom, which has a variety of pizzas and calzones. Consider this your friendly heads up, the alcoholic beverages are SUPER strong there, and the sangria is made with a dry wine, which was…interesting–I wasn’t a fan, but the pizza was delicious!!
On our final night we ate at a British themed restaurant called the Six Pence Pub, where we got the biggest plate of fried dill pickle chips I think I have EVER seen, and they were AMAZING. The fish and chips was a little bland, but dipped in the tartar sauce they made from scratch it was pretty dang tasty!!
Sooooo yeah, we kept busy despite the foggy weather, and luckily, the skies opened up for some gorgeous views of Grandfather Mountain and the surrounding peaks as we headed for home. I spoke with a local who was out enjoying the view, and she said it was the best display of color they’ve had in ten years in northwestern North Carolina, so I suppose, in a way, we lucked out! I could have sat on top of that mountain forever, looking at the amazing scenery and enjoying the sunny weather, but alas, all good things must come to an end, and after plenty of photographs for posterity, we took a bittersweet farewell, and headed for home!! One thing’s for sure, the weather didn’t deter us, and I’m already planing our next trip to the quaint little town of Blowing Rock for the 2021 Grandfather Mountain Highland Games!
For your convenience, and because it’s my mission in life to make sure every Outlander fan visits this adorable mountain town, I’ve included the link for Blowing Rock’s tourism site below. Happy travels!!
Until next time, Cheers!!