A nice little trip to Blowing Rock, NC

Princess Gail and I just spent a couple of days in and around Blowing Rock, NC. It is a less than 2 hour drive northeast of us from Winston, up into the Blue Ridge Mountains. In fact, Blowing Rock is at one of the exits off The Blue Ridge Parkway.

We found Blowing Rock to be a really pretty, quaint little town. The walkable main street is full of very nice shops (not the cheap touristy stuff) and excellent restaurants. We enjoyed nice meals at The Village Café, Twigg’s, and the Storie Street Grille. My favorite was the Village Café, with an upscale menu, a beautiful, secluded outside patio, and reasonable prices.

We stayed at the Chetola Resort only because we got a Groupon for over a hundred bucks off. Otherwise it would not be worth the price to stay, at least not for me. If I’m in the mountains I want a mountain view, and though the grounds are lovely, there is no mountain view. We saw many little motel-type places right in town that were really done nicely! If we ever go back we’ll stay at one of those.

The town of Blowing Rock has a lot of local activities all summer long. Just stop at the Visitor Center as you come into town and get a list. We weren’t there for the good shopping or eating, though. We love the great outdoors. Right in town, we can suggest the Glen Burney Trail. The rough trail follows a little stream for 1.6 downhill miles, with three waterfalls along the way. It is an excellent spot for birding. Just remember you then have to walk the 1.6 uphill miles! This little Carolina Wren came out from the underbrush to pose for us:

Right outside of town is the town’s namesake, The Blowing Rock. The rock itself is nothing at all to speak of and wouldn’t be worth the price of admission if not for the views. The views are pretty cool. It was a bit overcast, but here is an example. Princess Gail with Grandfather Mountain in the distance.

We spent a morning at Grandfather Mountain. It is one of the highest peaks in the Blue Ridge, and famous for numerous wildlife habitats at the different altitudes as well as some dramatic (and dangerous) weather. We were hoping to spot a Peregrine Falcon but were unlucky. Here are a few pictures at the Mile High Swinging Bridge where winds have been measured at over 100 mph.

Can you tell how she feels about heights and howling winds? 😉

The short span of The Blue Ridge Parkway between Grandfather Mountain and the town of Blowing Rock is full of activity. That includes The Moses Cone Memorial Park, the Julian Price Memorial Park, and the Tanawha Trail. There are numerous scenic overlooks as well. You can spend days just in that tiny bit of the Parkway.

We had fun! Life is good! 😀


Bethabara Park clean-up

Princess Gail and I spent a bit of our morning with a few other members of our Audubon group cleaning up a part of Bethabara Park. It is the site of the Moravian settlement of the mid 1700’s that would eventually become Winston-Salem. A lot of the old history is preserved here. The park also has plenty of green space, woods and a pond that give birds plenty of habitats, and birders plenty of opportunities. So our group does a quarterly clean-up to help preserve this special place.

It made me mad! I simply cannot put myself into the minds of people who thoughtlessly trash and pollute our world. I cannot conceive of the idea of finishing my beer and throwing the empty can out the car window! It’s just all wrong! I guess there will always be people who make messes, and others who clean them up. This morning, I wasn’t liking mess-making people very much!

Here’s a very short list: beer and soda cans, beer bottles (broken and unbroken,) booze bottles, plastic water bottles, wrappers of all sorts, plastic bags, fast food cups, styrofoam cups, lids, straws, a shoe, a wheel, broken toys, an eyeliner, a perfume bottle, and even a used pregnancy test (one line out of two turned pink.) We filled many garbage bags.

The best part of the morning, besides the simple joy of doing something good, was hearing at least four Wood Thrushes and seeing one. They sing a beautiful song! A fine example of what we are trying to preserve.

In writing this post, as I was googling for images, I stumbled upon this North Carolina gem!

The Swat-a-Litterbug Program was designed by the NCDOT to reduce roadside littering. Clever, funny, green, and successful. I love my state! 🙂

Pilot Mountain Hot Nights Hot Cars

The small town of Pilot Mountain, NC hosts a monthly “Cruise-in” for old cars, every first Saturday of the month over the summer months. I’ve posted on it before, and I’ll do it again because it’s always a fun time for us. The cars are cool, car people are cool, AND… I can always find a fix for my insatiable need for funnel cakes and/or deep fried Oreos!

Here’s Princess Gail with a random old car. I took the picture because you can see Pilot Mountain in the distance.

Gail has been talking about taking a ride in a big ol’ car from the past. One that could seat 4 people across the front seat and another four people in the back. Before the days of seat belts. When kids could walk around inside the car, jump from the front to the back, and nobody got hurt. From the days of 32 cents a gallon and who cared if your gas hog V-8 only got 12 miles to the gallon. She was particularly drooly over this car.

There’s plenty of patriotic in these small town affairs. Dude with old tractor and flag is a prime example.

I threw in this picture just to show the kind of cars Detroit was making in the year I was born. A 1955 Buick 2-door Hardtop. Makes me feel pretty damn old! Or should I say… Vintage! Or maybe even Historic!

And who wouldn’t want to ride one of these beauties! I mean the Corvette! 😉

Pretty good backyard birding yesterday!

It was a good morning yesterday. We had just arrived the night before from our trip to AZ and I was feeling a little jet lagged. I took my Land O’ Lakes hot chocolate, a magazine, and my camera to the porch and just hung out for an hour. Lots of little visitors came and went. I got some nice shots of some of our frequent flyers. Do you have a favorite? 🙂