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Old 10-19-2010, 07:28 PM
 
42 posts, read 65,624 times
Reputation: 12

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I know there are a ton of threads about mountain day trips, but after sifting through what seems like hundreds of them, I think I'm more overwhelmed than anything. I'm hoping I can get some advice specific to what we're looking for.

My husband and I are looking to take a day trip up to the mountains on Saturday. Originally, someone had suggested Black Mountain to me, but I have also looked at Asheville and Blowing Rock. Here's what we're looking for:

--We would like to keep the drive time (from Huntersville) under 2 hours.

--We would either like to bring our dogs and do a short hike followed by lunch OR we could leave the dogs at home and do lunch/local shops

--I'm 7 months pregnant, so an intense hike to the top of a mountain isn't going to work for us, but we have invited another couple with us (all of us are mid-20's), so I'd like to make sure there are options for things to do to keep everyone happy

--We'd like to see some of the great fall colors on the drive

So, based on that, what are your recommendations? Which city/area would be best and what should we do when we get there? Thanks in advance!
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Old 10-19-2010, 07:45 PM
 
162 posts, read 599,260 times
Reputation: 98
My wife and I just did a trip up to Blowing Rock on Sunday, ate BBQ lunch, got on the Blue Ridge pkwy, drove to the Altapass Orchard, ate some carmel apples and went home. Total drive time about 5 hours (from Ballantyne, with 3 kids)... it was a good trip.

You are probably a bit past peak fall colors in the Blowing Rock now... this year hasn't been as good as in the past. If you want to leave the dogs home, go into historic downtown Blowing Rock... you can walk the shops and there are some great places to eat there.

Hope this helps...
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Old 10-19-2010, 07:58 PM
 
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Grandfather mtn was 2:05 from Cornelius. Due to fall colors, I heard last weekend had a 2 hour wait at the gate.

Good hike w/ Black Rock trail, not to strenuous, but certainly moderate (very rocky). Best views around...here was Columbus Day a few weeks ago: Grandfather Mountain, NC, Oct 2010 - a set on Flickr (http://www.flickr.com/photos/jeffcarolinecampbell/sets/72157625145612744/ - broken link)

Also, this is close to many short hikes off of the Blue Ridge Parkway which are mostly easy with great views. The Blowing Rock (~park) is paved/easy with good views as well. Here are some picks of both the Parkway trails & Blowing Rock from 2009: Blue Ridge Mts Hiking - Oct 2009 - a set on Flickr (http://www.flickr.com/photos/jeffcarolinecampbell/sets/72157622565938044/with/4003516894/ - broken link)

Pack your lunch...Blowing Rock (the town) is always packed on the weekends...spend your time on the trails and save your money. Enjoy!
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Old 10-19-2010, 11:08 PM
 
Location: Up above the world so high!
45,269 posts, read 88,534,779 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by smp0808 View Post
I know there are a ton of threads about mountain day trips, but after sifting through what seems like hundreds of them, I think I'm more overwhelmed than anything. I'm hoping I can get some advice specific to what we're looking for.

My husband and I are looking to take a day trip up to the mountains on Saturday. Originally, someone had suggested Black Mountain to me, but I have also looked at Asheville and Blowing Rock. Here's what we're looking for:

--We would like to keep the drive time (from Huntersville) under 2 hours.

--We would either like to bring our dogs and do a short hike followed by lunch OR we could leave the dogs at home and do lunch/local shops

--I'm 7 months pregnant, so an intense hike to the top of a mountain isn't going to work for us, but we have invited another couple with us (all of us are mid-20's), so I'd like to make sure there are options for things to do to keep everyone happy

--We'd like to see some of the great fall colors on the drive

So, based on that, what are your recommendations? Which city/area would be best and what should we do when we get there? Thanks in advance!
Personally I think you should avoid the crowds near Blowing Rock and instead head to Stone Mountain State Park near Roaring Gap. It's an easy drive up I77 North - take Exit #83/Hwy 21 North/Sparta/Roaring Gap (you will exit from the left lane). Go north about 13 miles to Traphill Road/ State Road 1002, (you will see a brown state park sign) and turn left. Go about 4 miles to John P Frank Parkway (you will see a brown state park sign) and turn right. Follow the parkway to the park.

There is a very easy hike along a stream, some historical buildings and exhibits and a beautiful waterfall. If you find your way to the meadow you may get to watch some rock climbers, as this is a top spot for that sport.

Once you are done with your outdoor adventure take a left immediately past the park gate onto Oklahoma Rd, a shortcut to hwy 21 which takes you to the Blue Ridge Parkway. (When Oklahoma ends you take a left on 21 to head north).

Once you reach the Parkway you can continue straight to go to Sparta in about 8 miles. There's a quaint old Main Street with some shops you might want to check out. There are places to eat there, but I recommend you find your way to The Mountain Surf Restaurant - a favorite of locals. It's not in Sparta, but not far out of it on hwy 18. You could google it for directions. But basically hwy 18 and hwy 21 intersect in the middle of downtown Sparta and you want to get on 18 heading north/northeast.

From the restaurant you'd want to head east on hwy 18 for just a few miles then look for hwy 89 and take it south. This will take you back to I77 in about 13 miles.

If you have any daylight or energy left I highly recommend you stop by Round Peak Vineyards - it is right off of hwy 89 about a mile from the interstate. Just look to take a left on Round Peak Church Rd and the winery will be about a mile on the left. It's a quaint little vineyard with a great tasting room and some nice views off their back veranda.

I'm sure this trip would be lots of fun and a lot less crowded than the more touristy spots near Asheville
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Old 10-20-2010, 11:26 AM
 
162 posts, read 599,260 times
Reputation: 98
I second the suggestion to Stone Mountain State Pk... I have been up there for trout fishing and it is really nice.

Blowing Rock can get a bit crowded on weekends for sure
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Old 10-20-2010, 12:08 PM
 
1,343 posts, read 2,921,048 times
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I am in Huntersville also. I mentioned in another thread - what we do is I-77 north to 421 and then rt 16 to the Blue Ridge Parkway. You can go either direction on the parkway. We went through Boone on a football Saturday and found it very difficult with the dog. (We did buy sandwiches there and ate on the parkway) I will also avoid Blowing Rock on the weekend. We like to just drive on the parkway and stop at overlooks or picnic areas.
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Old 10-26-2010, 10:34 AM
 
Location: South Park
1 posts, read 1,376 times
Reputation: 10
Default Day trip to mountains

Blowing Rock area, Parkway, Moses Cone Park
Mount Rogers, New River Trail
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