Saturday, April 16, 2016

North Carolina

North Carolina is my all time favorite state, so most of my traveling stories will be set in North Carolina. I lived in North Carolina for several years and try to get back there as much as I can. From the mountains to the beach and the cities in between, there's just so many things about North Carolina I love. I loved living in Greensboro because it was a nice city and it's located only about two hours from the mountains in the west and about three hours from the beach in the east. That's the perfect distance for a weekend trip to either location. There are also smaller mountains a little north and a little south of Greensboro, so you could technically get to some mountains in less than an hour. That being said, most of my NC stories will be set in the mountains or along the coast. 

Highlights of Western North Carolina

The Blue Ridge Parkway
The blue ridge pkwy goes from Cherokee, North Carolina to Skyline Drive near Waynesboro, Virginia. I've been to several different sections along the parkway, but at this point have yet to travel the entire thing from beginning to end. I think I'm going to have to plan a Blue Ridge PKWY trip in the future to do that. Here are some pictures from various areas of the parkway.

Grandfather Mountain 
Grandfather Mountain is a great place to go if you are near Linville, North Carolina. It's a North Carolina state park with awesome views of the mountains. The highlights include hiking trails, wildlife exhibits, and a swinging bridge. I've been going to Grandfather Mountain for 35 years, since I was five years old. I've always loved it, and now I get to share the experience with my own son. It's a great place to visit during all four seasons. In the winter when it's icy or snowy, they will close down the swinging bridge. Even with the bridge closed, I still love going there in the winter.

The Blowing Rock
The Blowing Rock is a nice place to visit too. It's not nearly as big as Grandfather Mountain, but it has a nice overlook and some gardens. I especially love Grover, the mountain cat who lives there. He is so friendly and sweet!

Linville Caverns
Linville Caverns are the only show caverns in  North Carolina. We love visiting caverns in every state we go to, and have gone to this one many times. They take you in a 30 minute tour through the cave to see the formations. It's very interesting and educational.

Linville Falls
Linville Falls is located just off the Blue Ridge parkway in Linville. They have several hiking trails that take you to the top and to the bottom of the falls. At the top of the falls, you can watch the water rush into the gorge. It's an amazing sight.

Biltmore Estate

Although I'm not much of a home touring person, I couldn't live in North Carolina without going to the Biltmore Estate at least once. Biltmore is known as one of the castles of America. It's enormous and very beautiful on the outside and inside. There's also a small village and farm nearby called Antler Hill that's fun to visit.