Each fall I find myself longing to be in the mountains. Here in coastal South Carolina we do not have the change in colors, or in temperatures, that I was accustomed to growing up in New Jersey. Sensing my need for cooler air and higher elevations, my husband suggested a long weekend in Asheville, NC, and we decided Thanksgiving was the perfect time for a road trip.
We drove up on Thanksgiving and enjoyed a holiday feast of chicken nachos and smoked gouda mac ‘n cheese accompanied by a few local craft beers at The Bier Garden in Asheville. If you are a craft beer lover I suggest you put this city on your must-visit list as there are several quality breweries in the area. Our favorite find this trip was the Catawba Valley White Zombie Ale with a fresh orange slice.
On Friday we hit the Blue Ridge Parkway for a scenic trip to Graveyard Fields Falls for our first hike. We were a few weeks late for the fall foliage, but the air was blissfully humidity-free. The upside was less traffic and less crowds. We did not find this area to be the most picturesque, but we did enjoy an active four-plus mile hike that helped us burn off (some) of our meal from the night before.
On Saturday we ventured off to Catawba Falls in Old Fort, NC at the recommendation of a friend. It was a gorgeous day, and the scenery here did not disappoint. The trail is basically a three-mile roundtrip up to the falls and back. You do have to cross the river at the start/ end point, so be prepared with waterproof boots (or wade across sans socks and shoes as some hikers do).
Upon leaving Catawba Falls we decided to drive to Mount Mitchell State Park in Burnsville, NC. The drive up the Blue Ridge Parkway is breathtaking in its own right. Upon reaching the park you can climb to the summit and look out from the highest elevation point east of the Mississippi River. There are different trails to choose from, and due to limited daylight hours left we picked a short three-quarters of a mile Balsam Trail.
We made our way back to the coast this afternoon tired, happy, and with great memories of a wonderful weekend getaway. It was the perfect opportunity to unplug and tune in to the wonders that nature offers. If there is one thing I have learned it is that when the mountains are calling I must put down the phone and answer them.
Daily Prompt: Bloggers, Unplugged
All Photos Copyright @Karen B. Pearce 2015