Monday, October 20, 2014

Making Mountain Memories

We invited my Mom to stay with us a few days to enjoy the Blue Ridge Parkway too.  An awful wind and rain storm blew through the day she arrived so some of those bright leaf colors were absent during our drives.  We still had a great time sightseeing, laughing and enjoying our time together.

Boy, it was chilly on top of Mount Mitchell that day.  It was 42 degrees with a stuff breeze.

We drove up to Looking Glass Falls the day after all that rain.  We really couldn't tell any increase in water volume but I'm sure it was there.

This was Mom's first visit to the Biltmore Estate.  Ron and I have been before yet we still saw new things as we toured this amazing place. 

Facade of the stair-tower.

 On this clear day, we had a great view from Waterrock Knob Overlook.  In the valley below, you can see the town of Cherokee.

And of course we visited the apple orchards.  There are several to choose but Mom wanted the experience of picking her own fresh apples.  Stepp Orchards, located in Herndersonville, had great reviews and had an all-you-can pick orchard section.  Perfect.
We found plentiful varieties of the Pink Lady and Golden Delicious apples.  We picked over a bushel.
..and they were very good!

This has been a memorable week for us.  We also enjoyed some some fabulous restaurants too. (12 Bones BBQ, Salsa's in downtown Asheville and The Moose Cafe at the Farmer's Market)  Our month-long stay in Asheville is about up and it's time to ease on down the road.
More later..

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Driving The Blue Ridge Parkway..Part 2

On this day we drove the section of the Parkway south of Asheville, going towards Waynesville.  It was a cool and cloudy day and as we gained altitude we could tell the leaves turned brighter with more color.

Overlook near Graveyard Fields

Graveyard Fields Waterfall Overlook

What a visual treat we found as we came upon the Graveyard Fields Trail and Overlook.  There were a lot of people taking photos including me.  We drove on and didn't do the popular hike, it was just a little too cool and windy for us on this day.
Graveyard Fields Trail Overlook

As we traveled on towards Richland Balsam Overlook, the highest point on the Parkway, the clouds and rain prevailed.  We continued on towards Waynesville.  We finally got out of the heavy fog to find more brilliant color.
Overlook descending down from Richland Balsam into Waynesville.

We knew Waynesville was having their annual Church Street Arts and Crafts Show.  We also wanted lunch so we came off the parkway to enjoy some good food and excellent art.  Yes..I browsed all the booths!

We had one more stop on this day's trip.  We wanted to see the Elk of Cataloochee Valley.
This was an interesting experience: seeing the elk and hearing the bull's bugle call and the drive on Cove Creek Road too.
Elk in the meadow at Cataloochee Valley

More elk, we saw around 11 that afternoon.

Bull elk with a loud bugle call.  Wow, this was awesome to hear!
More later..

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Driving The Blue Ridge Parkway

We have had some beautiful days this week to drive the Blue Ridge Parkway.  The fall color is really starting to show at almost all elevations now.  It is just amazing to see the trees change from green to bright reds, yellows and golden orange.

Overlook near Mount Mitchell.. looking left.

Overlook near Mount Mitchell..looking right.

Grandfather Mountain

Price Lake

John's Rock Overlook (Looking Glass Rock)

Richland Balsam Overlook, highest point on the Parkway, 6047ft.

Linville Falls

Linn Cove Viaduct

Sunset near Mount Mitchell

Monday, October 6, 2014

In & About Asheville..Part 2

The weather has been very nice, sunny and comfortable.  A cold front moved through and brought the temps down but that only encourages the leaves to turn color quicker and in some cases get brighter. 

We had a fun visit with Rick and Gail, the Gypsy Turtles.  We met at Pack's Tavern and spent the afternoon catching up on our summer travels.  It's possible our paths may cross again in Florida this winter.

We attended the Cradle of Forestry's Forest Festival Day.  It was fun to watch the wood chopping contests and the pole climbing competition.  Some how we missed some of the craft demonstrations but it was still a good day.

Participants were forestry students from various community collages in western NC and from NC State's Forestry School.

While walking along the interpretive trail at their Discovery Center we found this unique sycamore tree and its information display. Cool...
I'm hugging the sycamore..guess that makes me a tree hugger.

We've experienced some clear skies since the cold front came through and swept all the clouds away.
Photo from one of the several overlooks on the Blue Ridge Parkway.

Photo from top of Mount Mitchell.

This was one of the clearest days we have seen.  The Smoky Mountains are the last row visible.

Grandfather Mountain is the highest peak on the horizon.

The temperature that day on Mitchell was 45 with wind.

We have sampled 2 more breweries.  The Wicked Weed, located in Asheville
Ron had the Freak of Nature IPA and I really enjoyed the special brew of the season, Pumpk-Anne.  We just love this place.

The entrance to the tap room was filled with their signature cans..very colorful.

Ron selected the popular Dale's Pale Ale and I choose their season special Bavarian Hefeweizen.  Good choices, we think.

We have 2 more weeks here and the leaves are just beginning to really show their color.
More later...