Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Taking a little time for a little bluegrass

Fiddle, banjo, guitar. What a combination.

I like bluegrass music.

But then again, I like a lot of different types of music, just so long as it is good.

So there was somewhat of a musical surprise when we took the 11-mile one-way trip around Cades Cove in the Great Smoky Mountains.

There is a visitors' center about halfway (and also a restroom), that we like to stop and visit whether to look at the various offerings inside the building or to visit the homestead adjacent to it.

This time, we came across three park entertainers sitting on the porch of the center, offering up some good bluegrass music.

While wifey worked her way around the center and then to the farmstead, I just sat down on one of the seats on the porch and enjoyed their offerings.

Others seemed to get an equal amount of enjoyment as the crowd grew and entertainers entertained.

It was  brief moment, but added a bit of nostalgia and history to such a beautiful place.

Next post: June 4, 2013

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Finally, a stopover at the Pisgah Inn

View looking south from our Pisgah Inn room

Its kind of cold here at the Pisgah Inn on the Blue Ridge Parkway in North Carolina. It must be in the low to mid 50s in the early afternoon.

I'm sitting on a small balcony in a wooden rocker with a blanket I brought from home wrapped around my legs and lower body. I have a long-sleeve hoddie helping keep the rest of me warm.

I am looking across the horizon to the east, south and southwest as the evening sun scoots across the mid-May sky heading for its demise in the far west.

And as I sit here, I am typing on my computer.

Yes, out here in the middle of nowhere, on the almost top of the Carolina world, there is WIFI. Its hard to break the habit. If there's a connection, I gravitate to my computer no matter the location.

I didn't really know if there would be WIFI here. But since it is, I am taking advantage of it.

Wifey and I got here about 2 in the afternoon (on a Tuesday) and decided to go into the restaurant for a dessert. At the time she didn't know we were going to spend the night at this elevation which is at 5,000 feet.

Upon leaving the restaurant, I told her that when we were up this way we always talked about spending the night, but never did.

We walked into the office and when the clerk asked if she could help us, wifey was surprised when I spelled out our last name for the clerk to look it up for our reservation for that night.

We were given room 104. That was in the same building as the office and was adjacent to the restaurant, which made it great because of my wife's walking challenge since her stroke.

Its cold and getting colder. But we'll start getting ready in a couple hours for supper and hopefully a glorious sunset although that big red ball will be going down farther to the north and we'll just get to see the afterglow.

Next post: May 28, 2013

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

A little windy at the "Blowing Rock"

There was a lot of wind the other day when we visited a storied location in North Carolina.

But that was to be expected.

It was the "Blowing Rock" in the city of Blowing Rock

We had been through the area a year or so ago and decided, if we had the chance to visit the area, to return and see some of the sights.

Well, we only saw one of the local sights -- the oldest tourist attraction in the state -- saving others for the future.

Wifey said, after visiting the park, that the $6 entrance fee was well worth it.

We got to get out and stretch our legs, see some beautiful scenery, view some local flowers and also get a look at the rocks. Not to mention shivering a little because of the cool temps.

It was mid-May but still on the cold side. A cool front came through and the temperature got down to 32 degrees the night we spent in the town.

After the overnight stay and seeing "Blowing Rock," we headed to Boone for another short stay before going down the Blue Ridge Parkway for a night's stay at the Pisgah Inn.

Next post: May 21, 2013

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Reving up for another Gatlinburg visit

Overlooking Gatlinburg from our Christmastime visit

It's already May of 2013 and we haven't been to Gatlinburg yet.

But that's about to change. 

Somehow we end up making at least three trips to the Great Smoky Mountains each year.  It just somehow works out that way. I guess we just like it.

Well, that's an understatement.

A visit to the mountains will come following this weekend's jaunt of 1,000 miles for a two-night stay in Hampton, VA for a relative's high school graduation.

And this is on the heels of a 550-mile roundtrip this past weekend from our hometown to Lake Charles, LA for a 50th wedding anniversary celebration of family acquaintances. Brightening up the trip even more was our stopover in Baton Rouge for our youngest grandson's birthday.

But I digress. Upon leaving Hampton we'll head back to Blowing Rock, NC for a night and then mosey over about eight miles for a night's stay in Boone. We're familiar with this area, having gone snow skiing at Sugar Mountain a number of times.

We hope our extended stay in the area (OK, it's only going to be a day and a half from Sunday afternoon through Tuesday midday) will acquaint us with more of the area's attractions and beauty.

And then two days later, on Wednesday night, we'll be in Gatlinburg for a three-night stay.

Our interim stop is being kept a secret from wifey. No, it's not going to be a bed and breakfast.

Space Needle and mountains dominate Gatlinburg scenery
But it will be a place I feel that I will like a lot.  And I guess she will too.

Our second trip to the Smokeys will be in July for a camping excursion. And then, hey, why not another Christmastime visit. We'll just have to wait and see.

Next post: May 14, 2013