Ever since our trip to Asheville over Labor Day weekend 2012, Jimmy has been enthralled with the notion of going back to drive the Blue Ridge Parkway in the late fall. As someone who sat in the backseat during Jimmy’s first driving lesson on the freeway and survived with white knuckles to prove it, the irony is not lost on me.
The Blue Ridge Parkway, known reverently as “America’s Favorite Drive” is 469 miles of scenic roadway that takes you on a breathtaking ride through the majestic Appalachian Mountains as it winds its way from North Carolina to Virginia. This trip we had the good fortune of arriving around the same time that peak color began to snake its way across the forests of the eastern seaboard. The result was an unforgettable road trip through magnificent oceans of reds, yellows, greens and golds.
As is the case with most of our travels, Jimmy got to pick the destination, but I got to craft the itinerary. By the time we hopped on our red- eye flight from Vegas to Charlotte, I had settled on two places I knew we couldn’t miss – Grandfather Mountain and Great Smoky Mountain National Park.
Even though we have visited many national parks, it wouldn’t be an exaggeration to say that both destinations blew away any preconceived notions we may have had about the powers of place and nature’s spirit. Each rewarded our persistence with quiet shaded trails, gorgeous carpets of fall color, and expansive mountain vistas that evoked a sense of the divine every which way we looked.
There are not very many places that tug at my heart and demand that I return even before I have left, but the mountains of North Carolina is one of those sacred places.
Here are just a few of the highlights of our special trip. We hope you enjoy!