Winter Storm hits the NC Mountains

I had made plans a few weeks back to spend a few days in the Blowing Rock area in the hope that it might snow, and that I would capture some white, winter landscapes. Well, boy did it snow! In fact it snowed to the point where it caused significant chaos on the roads, and people were stranded all over the place. Some couldn’t travel home from ski resorts, and the roads and ditches were littered with cars planted firmly in the ice and snow. Not such a big deal up north, but certainly it certainly presented a challenge for the Watauga County public officials, stretching their resources to the limit. Fortunately for me, I was there for fun, and my Jeep Cherokee 4×4 certainly earned its stripes as it carefully transported me through a winter wonderland. One of my more thrilling and adventurous excursions!

More from Western North Carolina

Prepare to be surprised by sudden and ongoing changes in the weather when spending time in the upper elevations of the Blue Ridge Mountains. Our biggest surprise this time was to get caught in a flurry of snowflakes while admiring the brilliant fall foliage on the parkway. Here are a few more of my favorite images from this trip. Until next time ….

Fall in North Carolina

It’s the second week in October, and time to make my annual pilgrimage to the Blue Ridge mountains of North Carolina. We are coming to the end of three wonderful days spent in the rural community of Valle Crucis, near Blowing Rock, and tomorrow we will drive south down to the Lake Toxaway area and spend a week there. So far, we have covered over 500 miles and tomorrow will add another couple of hundred. Here are a couple of snapshots from our wanderings up and down the BRP.

Wintery day in Bryson City, NC

We chose this week to spend some time in the Smoky Mountains, and so far we haven’t seen much of the mountains. I chose to explore the “Road to No-Where” (see sign in last image)! In the 30’s and 40’s Swain County gave up the majority of its private land to the US government for the creation of Fontana Lake and the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Hundreds of families were forced to leave those small mountain communities. Not only were their homes gone, but also the roads leading to those communities. The US government promised to create a new road. Lakeview Drive was to have stretched 30 miles along the north shore of Fontana Lake, from Bryson City to Fontana; providing access to the old family cemeteries. But Lakeview Drive fell victim to an environmental issue and construction was stopped at the tunnel about six miles into the Park. Swain County citizens gave the unfinished Lakeview Drive its popular, but unofficial name, “The Road to Nowhere”. Here are a couple of photos taken along the way.

North Carolina in the Fall

Every year I go back to North Carolina at least once during the fall season. It’s definitely my prime “happy place”. This year, a few of us girlfriends rented a house on Lake Summit for a week, near Flat Rock / Zirconia. What a great getaway it was. We explored the Carl Sandburg National Historic Site, Brevard, Caesar’s Head State Park, Pearson’s Falls, the Sky Top Orchard for apples, apple pie, apple cider donuts … We took long walks to try and atone for all the food we ate. Just a really good time with good friends.

Downtown Brevard

“It’s got everything you need, and nothing that you don’t”, words borrowed from the Zac Brown Band but totally applicable to this charming mountain town. The people are relaxed and friendly. One of my new Brevard friends told me that if someone honks their horn at you, you know they’re from somewhere else, because the folks just don’t do that here. Great restaurants, coffee shops, shopping, festivals, exhibitions, entertainment; there is always something going on in Brevard. Here are some cameos of my favorite downtown stores. The photo of the trio jamming was taken inside a local bakery – folks just gathering to enjoy music together and the locals going about their business, drinking coffee, working on laptops, and stuffing a couple Dollar bills in the tip jar.

Country Brevard

This town offers the best of both worlds, both country and downtown experiences. The farmland surrounding the town center is quintessential charming, the stuff of childrens’ storybooks. Lush valleys currently supporting fields of corn and cattle, surrounded by blue mountains. I have photographed these areas through different seasons. This is the Summer look.

The Country Life

I live in the city, an increasingly busy city, but my heart has always been for the country and wide open spaces. This last week or so, I have enjoyed a slightly higher elevation, less humidity, and cooler temperatures in the town of Hillsborough, North Carolina. Keeping me company were my two kids, their spouses, and six grandkids! What fun for these city kids to feed chickens and pigs and collect eggs mornings and evenings. We also found and killed two snakes that were stealing the eggs. Tomorrow I move on to Brevard, my favorite mountain town, but here are some pics from this past week.

Tail End of Fall 2021

Some years I have barely managed to get away to my favorite places in North Carolina once during the fall season, but this year I was blessed with the opportunity to visit three times. These photos were from this third visit over Thanksgiving, and in Tryon the leaves were barely hanging on to the tree limbs. Thick carpets of dried foliage on the ground crunched underfoot as we walked the trails. Everything looked a glorious mess, and it was cool and crisp but sunny. So grateful for these good times with good friends.