10/21/13 Monday at Lenoir, NC (Green Mountain Park Resort-TT/MA)
Similar to last Friday, because we were organized we were out the door shortly after 9 am. This time we needed to drive to the Post Office in Lenoir first, to mail my box of watercolor books, thus we were later on the road to the Parkway.
On the Parkway. As we get closer to Asheville the ranges are more mountainous. We stopped at the Museum of North Carolina Minerals and Visitor Center for my Passport Stamps. There was also a trail of the “Overmountain Victory” that we didn’t take. It didn’t look that interesting and we figured by being at the Visitor Center we were standing where the Revolutionary war patriots from western Virginia and eastern Tennessee crossed North Carolina mountains in 1780 to defeat the British loyalists at Kings Mountain in North Carolina – where William Lenoir fought. This was a pivotal point when the patriots defeated the loyalists decisively, frustrating Britain’s southern strategy. Apparently when Major Fergusen (British) threatened the settlers west of the Blue Ridge to (from NPS brocure) “quit opposing British arms, or…he would march his army over the mountains, hang their leaders and lay their country waste with fire and sword.” His demand forced the Scotch-Irish frontiersmen-who largely stayed aloof from events to their east-into the patriot camp.”
On the Crabtree Falls trail (1.5 miles one way), we came upon 3 sets of stone stairways, but towards the end, it was just a lot of rocks! The Falls were well worth the trek. I was also glad we’d hiked so much last Friday because it was easier today.
Our short but steep hike to the top of Mount Mitchell, the tallest mountain east of the Mississippi. Images at the top. Nice views, but not cell phone coverage even though we could see towers on a nearby mountain.
Next stop was Craggy Gardens-named so because they are twisted rocky crags, so high that mostly rhododendrons, azalea and laurel blanket the area. Best time to visit is mid to late June when they are in bloom. We did get to see some mountain ash berries which happen in the fall. Really harsh weather can visit these high elevation summits but we were fortunate it was a quiet, warm day. There were several tunnels we got to drive through in this more mountainous area, so I finally got a picture of one.
On our way home we found I-40 to be almost as lovely as the Parkway in some areas.
Because it had been a long day of driving for John we treated ourselves to dinner out at Fatz Cafe in Lenoir. This was as wonderful as advertised by our friends. “First timers” get a free appetizer of Calabash Chicken tenders and a free desert of Peach Cobbler. John had the “all you can eat baby back ribs” for $12.99. He couldn’t eat anymore than the half rack they’d given him in the first place. The chicken and the ribs were SO moist and tender. I had Key West style white fish. All the food and service was fabulous. We ate way too much. So of course, once we got home, we vegged in front of the TV.