In October we headed west to Boone, NC and drove over 100 miles of the Blue Ridge Parkway. The road connects Shenandoah National Park in Virginia with the Great Smokey Mountain National Park in North Carolina. What originally began as part of the New Deal and an effort to create jobs for Americans during the Great Depression, has since become a beloved drive through some of the United States' most beautiful scenery.
We stopped at many of the scenic overlooks- some just to stretch our legs and some to enjoy the view. While the "mountains" are nothing more than hills by Rocky Mountain standards, they are still beautiful in their own way.
We were too early for peak fall color but everything was starting to change. Some spots were gold and red while others were still pretty green.
On one of our stops Ben found a fuzzy caterpillar so we stopped to play for awhile. And we just HAD to show the caterpillar to everyone that walked by! Surprisingly we didn't see very much wildlife and most of what we did see was "sleeping" on the side of the road.
One of the main reasons that we drove Blue Ridge Parkway was too see the fall colors. We were surprised how many wildflowers were also blooming!
All the kids had a great time playing in the leaves-- especially the boys!! We don't have many big trees in our neighborhood at home so it was a chance for them to jump and crunch on as many as they wanted.
We did a short hike to Linville Falls (about a mile) and the kids had a blast! They asked if we could go hiking every day from now on. It's amazing how much more enjoyable it is to walk a mile in a beautiful surrounding than a mile in the neighborhood (which is still pretty, just not the same).
After our hiking adventure we decided it was time for lunch. We found a picnic area by the Linville River and enjoyed our tuna sandwiches and chips.
As with most picnic areas there were bees buzzing around. They weren't bothering anybody but Christopher is TERRIFIED of bees so he had to keep moving around so that they wouldn't "attack" him.
Like father, like son :)
We continued heading south on the parkway after lunch. Mt Mitchell is the highest peak east of the Mississippi.
One of the biggest highlights of the drive was all of the tunnels. Twin Tunnels was especially neat because there were two in a row!!
We stopped to take pictures of Glassmine Falls, a non-constant waterfall falling over 800 feet, making it one of the tallest waterfalls east of the Mississippi. The kids were not very impressed, probably partially because it was so far away and partially because we had been driving for almost 12 hours at that point.
Once we reached Asheville (after 100 miles on the BRP) we headed east back home. We were only able to drive about one fifth of the parkway and only did a handful of things on the portion that we drove. Luckily, we live less than two hours away and can go back many times!!