Friday (7-21-17) Karen and I fled the relentless heat in Charlotte and headed for relief in the Blue Ridge Mountains. We booked two nights in the Brewery B&B in Plumtree. I can’t say enough about how nice the Young family that owns this enterprise and their staff were. The Cafe served good food, the beer was excellent and breakfast each morning was made special just for us. 

The B&B consists of five rooms located in the back of the taproom/restaurant adjacent to the Blind Squirrel Brewery. The accommodations are clean, cozy and air conditioned. The mountains’ mineral water is touted as “good for your health” and took me a little bit to adjust to in our private bathroom.

We weren’t the only people headed to the high country for the weekend and the 2.5-hour drive took closer to 4-hours. Decompressing with dinner and a Blind Squirrel taste flight was a fine reward for making the trek. The Restaurant and Tap Room closed at 9:00pm, leaving the place to just four B&B guests.

The Toe River runs next to The Blind Squirrel’s property. Sitting on their deck watching the water turn pink at sunset was very relaxing.

Saturday after a hearty breakfast we drove to Linville Falls. The hiking trails were well maintained and provided views at the base of the falls’ multiple cascades and from high above.

A large viewing area welcomes hikers to the base of Linville Falls. No swimming is allowed in this pool.

It was all uphill to the Erwins View vantage point. The trees here were huge and the forest dense. You never know what to expect along the way.

Make what you want of this UFO on the hike to Upper Linville Falls.

It was a warm day, even in the woods and we were thankful the hike to the top was only about 1-mile.

Looking down at Linville Falls from the rim of the gorge. Linville Falls produces the highest volume of water by any falls in the Northern Blue Ridge Mountains.

Further down the unpaved road from Linville Falls is Wiseman’s View. The guidance I read said, “You’ll think you are lost by the time you get there.” We actually turned around on the narrow road once before going back and sticking with it until we found the place.

There are two of these stone viewing points 1500-feet above the Linville River in Pisgah National Forest.

The Linville Gorge is known as the “Grand Canyon of Eastern USA.”

Hiking in July can be a hot and thirsty endeavor. The Linville Falls Winery was just the spot to cool down on the way back to the Blind Squirrel.

The Winery offered seven sweet wines or seven dry wines for a tasting. Karen and I ordered one of each and shared them. I’m not partial to sweet wines, but we enjoyed everything our hostess Lily served.

We booked a 4:00pm Brewery Tour before leaving home and planned to go tubing afterward. A couple we met at the winery followed us back to the Blind Squirrel Brewery for lunch. They took off tubing while we toured the massive stone building that houses the brewery. The building was originally built in 1919 as the T.B. Vance General Store and was restored by the Young family. 

Dave gave us a private brewery tour. This first home brewing rig was fired up in the restaurant parking lot on weekends and the beer got so popular the Young family went into the business. Since the Young’s had no formal training brewing beer and it turned out good, someone said that, “Even a blind squirrel gets lucky sometimes.” The name stuck.

An afternoon thunderstorm brought lighting to the stretch of the Toe River we planned to tube and our float was cancelled.

We watched the last of the tubers return to the Blind Squirrel from the deck with a cold beer.

My trip notes included Elk River Falls and since we still had some daylight, Karen and I drove north to find them.

The shadows were long when we made the short hike to the top of Elk River Falls. There is an inviting pool at the base of the falls that is very popular with the locals and tourists.

The falls plunge 50-feet with impressive volume. We avoided the crowd by arriving late in the day.

After another impressive breakfast we were off to tallest peak on the eastern slope of the Blue Ridge Mountains. On a clear day it’s possible to see Charlotte from the top. We did not arrive on a clear day.

It’s 20-bucks per adult to visit this awesome summit and worth every penny.

Karen had to conquer a bit of Acrophobia to cross the Mile High Swinging bridge between the pinnacles on top of Grandfather Mountain.

Looking back at the swinging bridge from the last crest after crossing makes it appear even scarier.

Karen did not make the walk over the jagged rocks to the last cliff, so I had to take a selfie. There was a stiff wind and I kept thinking about the girl that plunged to her death taking a selfie on a bridge.

The State Park at Grandfather Mountain has hiking trails, a turn in the road that Forest Gump ran around in the movie, picnic areas, nature museum, restaurant, animal habitats, giant split rocks and a fudge shop, but for me it was all about the high elevation views.

Relaxing on top of Grandfather Mountain with to die for views is a great way to spend Sunday afternoon.

We had another splendid North Carolina adventure. It’s cooler in the mountains!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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