A Travellerspoint blog

USA

Day 4, 5 - The journey south

Historic Houses in Strasburg, Blue Ridge Parkway, Peaks of Otter Lodge, Expressway travel to the Great Smoky Mountains

rain

Distance traveled, Day 4, 336 miles (560 k)
Distance traveled, Day 5, 340 miles (570k), Total distance 1,648 miles (2,745 k)

These two days are about getting south to our rental cabin in the Smoky Mountains, where we plan to spend a full week exploring.

Day 4 - We left our rental cabin early, for it was to be somewhat longish day to get to the Peaks of Otter Lodge, our stopping point for the night. We paused in Strasburg to take some pictures of houses. The town dates back to the early 1700's and many of the houses are still in use today.

IMGP3591__1024x657_.jpg

IMGP3587__1024x663_.jpg

We headed south on the Journey Through Hallowed Ground Drive (National Geographic Guide to Scenic Highways and Byways, page 80). This route passes through many of the major battlegrounds of the Civil War. Neither of us are Civil War buffs, but the drive along these roads is far more interesting than the Interstates. We passed through Gettysburg, and passed Civil War battlegrounds of Antietam, Ball's Bluff, Mannassas. The drive is pleasant, most of it at right around 60 miles an hour.

Our ultimate goal for the day was to get onto the Blue Ridge Parkway, a 469 mile long scenic road in Virginia and North Carolina. (National Geographic Guide, pages 102-105) Built in the 1930's as a make work project during the depression, the road winds up and down. We stopped at the Parkway's Visitor Centre, which features a replica of an early farm from the area. It may be hard to believe, but farmers could eek out a subsidence living on the sides of these mountains, farming just enough to keep the family alive.

IMGP3601__1024x680_.jpg

The viewpoints along the Parkway provide vistas of the Valleys below. This one is from 3300 feet above sea level.

IMGP3605__1024x640_.jpg

Our day ended at mile post 86.2, at the Peaks of Otter Lodge, built back in the 1960's. The rooms are pretty decent and restaurant well priced and the food enjoyable. It was so cold and windy upon our arrival that we did not get to enjoy a hike around the lake. By early evening the temperature had dropped into the high 30's...brr!

IMGP3617__1024x680_.jpg

Day 5 - Once again we woke to an almost frosty morning, cold and windy. Our plans for an early morning hike were dashed. We have limited cold weather gear with us as the normal temperatures for this area at this time are in the 50's to 70's. We decided, due to the cold, to forego the long winding drive along the Parkway in favour of getting to our rental cabin in Whittier, NC. If the weather was not going to cooperate, we should just take that as our cue to get on down the highway.

We expresswayed along the I-81 and the I-26 to Ashville, NC, where we stopped for groceries to stock up for our stay. We have full facilities at this cabin and plan to cook most of our meals. We arrived late afternoon and were very pleasantly surprised by the quality of this cabin. We are paying arount $100 a night for this place and it is just fine. We settled in for the evening, had a North Carolina shrimp dinner with a Caesar Salad for supper.

DSCF2593__1024x1024_.jpg

DSCF2595__1024x1024_.jpg

The forecast is for rain for Tuesday, and, as I write this blog entry on Tuesday morning, it is raining, but the temperatures are up in the 50's, we have rain gear with us, so we will begin our exploration of the Great Smoky Mountain National Park today.

Posted by Rooseboom-Scott 06:33 Archived in USA Comments (0)

(Entries 1 - 1 of 1) Page [1]