The Jewel of the South

This past weekend, Cam and I decided to go for another hike up in the mountains of North Carolina to enjoy the beautiful spring weather we’ve been having. We decided to drive up to Mt. Mitchell, which is about an hour north east of Asheville. Mt. Mitchell is the tallest peak east of the Rockies, but you can actually drive up to the summit. We ended up deciding to only do a 4 mile hike up to the top since it’s about a 2.5 hr drive from our house and we didn’t really have the time to hike all day, but were able to eat lunch at the top and enjoy the great views from the observation deck. Great way to spend a Sunday 🙂

 We were actually able to enjoy beautiful views for most of the drive up to Mt. Mitchell because we drove along the Blue Ridge Parkway! The Blue Ridge Parkway is one of my favorite things in the South…actually it’s probably one of my favorite things in the country. I mean, talk about a great idea. Here you have these gorgeous mountains (and they really are), and someone had the good sense to preserve this majesty and put this scenic road right through them so you can admire them from your car. The BRP runs between Virginia and North Carolina, and was commissioned as part of the New Deal in 1936. And it’s perfect because now the car is so central to our culture as Americans, so the Parkway allows you to drive and admire the beauty of nature at the same time. It’s a National Scenic Byway, which means that it’s basically a national park meant to be explored on wheels. It’s beautiful, yet functional, and that’s what I love about it. It snakes along like a gorgeous ribbon on top of the mountains and it gets you where you need to go, including taking travelers to lots of fantastic camping and hiking. And all the while, you’re surround by panoramic overlooks of these stunning mountains, and there are plenty of overlook points where you can pull over, get out of your car, and really take in the view. We’ve driven on the Parkway many times since moving to the South, and each season has been equally beautiful. If you’re ever in the North Carolina or Virginia, take the time to cruise the Parkway and enjoy what I think is one of the true jewels of our nation’s natural wonders. Here are some pictures I took along Parkway this weekend! 🙂