Monday, June 18, 2012

Ride With Me?

Let’s take a drive, shall we? Don’t be afraid, I won’t lead you astray! I’m sure we all could use a little de-stressing. Come on, pile into my vehicle. We are going to head about an hour north of where I live to one of my favorite places. It is a place of spectacular views, whispering pines, and some great shopping also. Hop in and buckle up. Let me guide you through Blowing Rock, North Carolina. *Hoping like heck this works!*

  The drive is not spectacular until you get close. The temperature fell six degrees from the bottom of the mountain to the top, but it is a comfortable 70 degrees, perfect for our first stop. We turn off of the main highway onto a winding, narrow road lined by centuries old rock walls. Trees overhang the street casting shadows. We pull into our destination, The Blowing Rock. Okay, I’ll give you a little bit of history first. The Blowing Rock is an immense cliff about 4000 feet above sea level. It is called this because the rocky walls of the gorge below form a flume in which the northwest wind sweeps with such a great force that it returns light objects cast over the void. Have you had enough history? Okay, let’s get to the good stuff.

  We park the vehicle and walk toward the stone building. Big, sweeping trees dance all around, welcoming us. As we near the building hydrangeas, hosta, and rhododendron offer a special hello. I’ll pay the small fee to enter the park because hey, you didn’t ask to come on this ride, so I’ll cover ya! We leave through the back of the shop to step out onto the first overlook. There it is…the valley and the rolling hills.

 The scene takes all the tension from your shoulders and lifts it straight into the air. Next is the blowing rock itself, all high and mighty, showing very little wear even after years of people climbing on it.

Behind us is a little park area with more flowers, a nature trail and benches for sitting. Finally we come to the observation tower.

I have to pause because my fears hit me, but I put one foot in front of the other to get these pictures just for you. I eased out onto the deck and snap a couple photos. Then it happened. The wind blew and I felt the deck sway. I thought that was it, that I definitely was going to fall all the way back to earth, but thankfully my legs stabilized. One more quick picture and I ran off the deck, happy to have my feet back on real ground.

  The nature trails were entwined with daylilies, ferns, hosta, and leucothoe. We sit at a bench and inhaled all of the beauty that this place had to offer. It is quiet except for an occasional squeal from a child. Awe sets in. It’s so hard to believe that something could be so breathtaking. We go back and check it out again before we pile into the car and head for downtown Blowing Rock. 
  A couple of miles down the road we enter the quaint little village. We park and stroll up and down the sidewalks. Occasionally we stop and shop at a boutique, or browse in a gallery. We eat lunch outdoors under the shade from an umbrella at a local restaurant. I like it because it is pet friendly. Dogs lie patiently under the table waiting for their owners to finish their meal. The aroma wafts through the air. After lunch we do more shopping, and grab an ice cream. Across the street, in the middle of town is a beautiful park with tennis courts, horseshoe pits, swings, and a playground for kids. Many benches line the edge, giving people a great view of the main street, and all its shops. People watching, taking in all the beauty of the landscape, shopping, and the fresh air has taken its toll. We are all tired, so we make our way back to reality.

  Thanks for taking this ride with me. I don’t know if anyone has ever been there, but Blowing Rock is a great place to visit. I hope I helped you envision it a little, and maybe even give you a mini vacation. 

Where do you go when you need a little break? Are you near the city, country, or suburbs? Did I ease your tension even a little? J

P.S.- Please forgive me for the number of pics, I just wanted to share as much as I could!

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