Wednesday, July 24, 2013

A Visit to the North Carolina Mountains

It's been a strange summer in Atlanta. It's scarcely gotten over 85 degrees, it's rained like Seattle and now it's almost over -- at least for the kids. I can't believe that my kids go back to school in less than two weeks! We are trying to squeeze every bit of remaining summer fun in between day camps, doctor's appointments, back to school shopping and afternoon thunderstorms. There are pools to frequent, amusement parks to visit, cooking projects and so much that we just haven't gotten to yet. But, we did get to travel a good bit this summer. We just got back from the beach in Florida, but in late June, we had the unexpected treat of going to the Boone and Blowing Rock area of North Carolina. I'm writing a story for Atlanta Parent, so look for that in September. But, for now, I want to share a few photos and highlights of our trip.

First of all, North Carolina is just a stunningly beautiful state. The mountain views of the high country near the border of Virginia, are just phenomenal. While my husband worked, my boys and I set off to Dahlonega to pick up my dad. Just before we got to his house, my youngest puked in the car. What's a road trip without a little drama? After a bit of a rough start, we got back on the road and drove the North Georgia Mountains and through Franklin heading toward Asheville. We made it to Boone in about 5 hours and met up with the travel writers that I would be tagging along with. On the agenda: family fun.

My oldest got to go ziplining with me the first day and had the time of his life. Remember that I zip lined for the first time last year in Hilton Head? Well, I feel like an old pro now (sniff, sniff). Hawksnest Zipline offers a scenic journey through what used to be a ski resort. The lines go through hardwood forests, over woodland creeks and offer amazing views throughout. A couple of the lines were over 1500 feet long and I pretty much screamed myself silly. I was proud of my cautious, level headed boy for taking on the challenge.

Zipping and crossing swinging bridges through the trees.
Proof I did it!

Another highlight was visiting Grandfather Mountain. It's so incredibly breathtaking -- and the best part -- you can drive almost to the top. No sherpa required! There is a swinging bridge that joins two of the peaks. The boys had fun climbing over the rocks along the cliff and scaring me to death. My dad, the ultimate mountain-lover, remembers going there as a kid. It was nice to get to see him reconnect with the beauty of the mountain views and experience it with his grandboys.

Grandfather and grandsons on top of Grandfather Mountain.

Please don't fall off the mountain, boys!
Simply unbelievable walking between two mountain tops.

There is much more to tell you about, but I'll have to save that for the story. Finally, since this is technically a food blog, I would be remiss not to mention our meal at the Dan'l Boone Inn. It's an old-fashioned family-style (meaning they bring heaping bowls of food to the table to share) restaurant that has served the Boone area for over 50 years. It's been covered in Southern Living and on all the "best of" lists. I particularly enjoyed the country ham and biscuits and fried chicken. The country ham was locally cured and the biscuits were definitely from scratch - buttery and delicious.

Country ham and biscuits at the Dan'l Boone Inn.

I hope you are having a wonderful summer. I'll be back soon with beach adventures and, of course, good food.

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