I took an adult-only camping trip to the NC mountains this weekend. My friend and I headed out of Greensboro on Friday afternoon around 1pm, and picked up 40W towards Asheville. We took exit 44 to NC-151 South which was an amazing mountain road full of twists, turns, and steep hills. From there, we picked up the beautiful Blue Ridge Parkway and continued south to NC-215 South which led us right to our campground.
At the Ridge Campground is owned by a great, friendly family who has 35 acres of land along the North Fork River, complete with a trout farm and riverside tent sites as well as RV hookups. They also have horses, goats, dogs, and other animals on their property - including a very friendly lab, Buck. We are tent campers, and set up our site Friday night right on the river. The locations are semi-secluded and our closest neighbors were several sites away. Our only complaint was the bathhouse/outhouse was pretty run down and had questionable plumbing. On the plus side, the firewood we bought from the campground owners was a large quantity at a very reasonable price and the other campers were friendly.
Saturday morning, instead of cooking breakfast over the campfire, we headed into Brevard, NC to eat at The Sunrise Cafe - great coffee, and super delicious breakfast burritos! From there, we headed back south to seek out some waterfalls. Our first stop was Nantahala National Forest to view the Whitewater Falls, which are the highest waterfalls east of the Rockies. It was beautiful! The path from the parking lot down to an upper viewing area was easy, then to view from the lower viewing area we had to descend several stairs. The lower viewing area has great photo ops! We started down a trail, but realized the paths didn't really go anywhere (and we weren't prepared to hike 47 miles!) so we headed back up to the parking lot.
From Nantahala National Forest, we headed back to Gorges State Park and enjoyed their brand new visitor center (seriously, brand new...the grand opening is NEXT weekend!) and exhibits. They have a few trails that lead to waterfalls, but it was too late in the day for us to start out on a hike at that point, so we enjoyed the views from the car.
We headed from Gorges State Park to Cashiers, NC to find a restaurant for a late lunch. We discovered Wild Thyme Cafe and enjoyed a delicious lunch of quesadillas, despite the slow service.
After returning to the campground for the night, we socialized with some other campers, relaxed by the fire with the resident dog, Buck (aka Bert), and enjoyed a dinner cooked over the campfire. We decided to head out of town a different route than we came in on, and traveled back through Brevard on NC-64. We eventually stopped for breakfast at Mills River Restaurant, which is southwest of the Asheville airport. This was a little homestyle restaurant, fully decked out for Halloween, with good home cooking.
Overall we had a wonderful weekend in the mountains, saw some fall foliage, and found a great new campground close to the BRP.
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