I had the pleasure of spending my Fourth of July weekend in North Carolina. The weather was 20-30 degrees cooler than
Florida and I basked in every minute of reprieve from the heat. Usually when I go to NC I spend most of the time working on my next book, but this time I only had time to cram in a few hours of work time.
Another Florida friend was already staying with my family and we had made arrangements to drop her off with her sister in Banner Elk, NC on July 2. This should have been about a 3-hour drive, but it ended up being more like 5 or 6 hours. I’m beginning to learn to be wary of anything that says it’s 3 hours. One day I’m going to be on a 3-hour trip and become the next Gilligan!
Anyway, we made it to Banner Elk and drop off our friend, then head on to Boone, where we planned to spend the night. GPS may be a great invention, but it sure doesn’t know where it’s going when you get into the mountains. We put in the address for the hotel and GPS took us took up the side of a mountain then told us to stop in the middle of the road and walk the rest of the way. We went back to the highway and called the hotel, only to find we were about a mile and a half away. By this time, we were beat and crawled into the hotel bed with barely energy to click the TV remote.
The next morning we awoke refreshed and ready for a new adventure. We definitely wanted to take another route home, and found the Blue Ridge Parkway was about 10 miles south of us so we headed out. The weather the for my whole trip was cloudy and drizzling, but the sun was out this morning so we had high hopes for the Parkway drive.
Not ten minutes after we got onto the Parkway the clouds started moving in, and at an elevation of 4,000 feet, that meant we were IN the clouds. We stopped at the Moses Cone House to look at the native crafts for sale in this gorgeous historic house. I bet they had impressive views on a clear day, but not today.
We drove on and for the next couple of hours we struggled to see more than a few feet ahead of us through the thick clouds. What would have been a beautiful drive most other days, was completely obscured, interspersed with rain showers. It took about two hours to drive 22.3 miles from Moses Cone house to Linville Falls. We all needed to stretch our legs and give our nerves a break. I had been to the falls as a kid and was excited to see them again. The weather was now perfect for hiking.
It was nice to see families enjoying nature together. I’m thankful my parents took us on so many trips into the woods when my brother and I were growing up. The falls were beautiful and we felt much more relaxed, but now we were starving. We hit the road again and drove about 20 miles to Little Switzerland, where we stopped for a late lunch at the Switzerland Café. My mouth was watering from the moment I opened the menu. There were so many things I wanted to try: Grown-up Grilled Cheese made with Gouda, Blue Cheese and tomato, Tomato Basil soup, quiche, and a New South Pimento Panini that was out of this world. I’m still trying to figure out the secret ingredient in the pimento that made it so unique. If this place wasn’t so far from where I usually stay in NC, I’d have lunch here on every visit.
Satisfied that I’d taken enough time to see the sights, I knuckled down Saturday and spent several hours working on my current novel and was so deep in the flow of it that I almost missed the fireworks display the neighbors put on. If they hadn’t been so noisy I may have worked right through them, but I took a break and enjoyed watching the explosions along with the commentary from their little boy. All in all, it was a great weekend getaway.