Friday, July 21, 2017

Heading for the Hills to Beat the Heat

Early in the week we drove north and west about 6 hours to the mountains of North Carolina to get away from the heat and humidity for a few days.  This is the area where we lived 35 years ago, where we bought 33 acres in the Blue Ridge Mountains and built a log and stone home with our own hands.  

The Blue Ridge Parkway runs 469 miles through Virginia and North Carolina on the crest of the Appalachian Mountains between Shenandoah National Park and Great Smoky Mountains National Park.  There are scenic overlooks every few miles, cars move leisurely along, and it's one of the most beautiful places on Earth.   

The parkway was begun in 1935 and the last section finished in 1987.  The land and views along it are protected, with no advertising or commercial businesses, and since the altitude was 3200 feet to 4300 feet, the air was cool and fresh.  
Ah, just what we needed!  

Grandview Overlook, 3200 feet

Milkweed in bloom, Stony Fork

We drove down a primitive one lane, steep (and scary!) Pisgah National Forest road to a parking area and hiked out to Wisemans Bluff Overlook.  This view shows Table Rock, Hawksbill, and Shortoff Mountains.

There were two overlooks built out on rock cliffs where you can safely walk out over the edge to photograph.

There were blackberries along the trail but birds 
or other hikers had gotten to the ripe ones first.

At the bottom, some 4000 feet down, is Linville Gorge and waterfall.  

The bushes in the foreground with the red cone shapes at the top are sumac.  You can make a sort of lemonade-tasting drink from them and it's very good.  Pretty too as it is a bit pink.  

On the way back to our inn we stopped here to see if we could buy some horehound candy and sure enough, they had some!

Horehound is an herb in the mint family and it has a taste somewhere between root beer and licorice.  It soothes your throat and when I was a kid my grandpa would pull some out of his pocket, wrapped in twisted brown paper, and dole out a piece if you were a good girl. 


  1. Beautiful place, we've been meaning to go there forever, enjoy.

  2. lovely place and nice memories

  3. What a great place to go to get cooler weather. I want to hear more about this house you built in the mountains.

    We welcomed a new granddaughter today. We went to visit for an hour - shorter than the trip there and back home but well worth it. She's lovely.

  4. Very impressive National Park and a bit of a "walk" down memory lane at the same time.
    Cheers between wheezes.
    Ps: Your old stamping ground is certainly getting plenty of coverage here in Australia
    and not for the good side.

  5. Can imagene you wanted a cooler place for some time to get some fresh air. It looks very beautiful.

  6. I bet it was fun to go back. You know, I am still in love with yours and The Writer's story. Poppy and I have been talking about riding to the mountains for a weekend. I often search craigslist for a small home with a little land for sale in the NC mountains. We would consider moving.

  7. When I was about 12 we drove the Skyline Drive and the Blue Ridge Parkway.... camping all the way. Saw my first caverns ( with water fountains for colored or white), the Trail of Tears outside play, a small black bear and wonderful views!! We drove South from W.Nyack, NY and came back along the coast. Great trip except for the fountain sign ... quite a shock! Never had seen anything like it. This was around 1957.

  8. What a pretty place to visit! I didn't know about the drink from the Sumac:)

  9. Dear Cynthia, I so remember horehound and Mom giving it to me for a sore throat. Your excursion seems filled not only with coolness but with beauty. I recently read another blog--Betsy's--about a trip to the Blue Ridge Parkway. Does it run along the Appalachian Trail? I've always wanted to walk at least a small portion of that trail, which I know is over 2,000 miles long from north to south. But it's never happened. Such beauty you say. thank you for sharing the photographs. Peace.

  10. That looks so refreshing - quite like remote New Zealand. I'm going on a hunt for horehound and sumac now - you learn something every day!

  11. Cool fresh air - I'm enjoying that too. Lovely photos!
    Wren x

  12. Can imagene you wanted a cooler place for some time to get some fresh air. It looks very beautiful.