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Sunday, August 25, 2013

Mountain Getaway

It took us almost a year, but we finally found a weekend that wasn't calling for absurd amounts of rain, and headed to Grandfather Mountain Campground to use our rain voucher from last Labor Day weekend. We had $70 in vouchers, and couldn't use it all ourselves on a tent site, so we decided to rent a Cozy Cabin for a night. It is just a 12x12 cabin, with a double bed and bunk beds, plus a bathroom, shower stall, and kitchenette with sink, mini fridge, and microwave.

Cozy Cabin, Grandfather Campground, Banner Elk, NC


This campground is probably one of the best campgrounds at which we've stayed. It is easily accessible from Greensboro and takes just a bit over 2 hours to get there. The grounds are in good condition, with plenty of tent sites, cabins of various sizes, and RV sites. It is also very family-friendly, with a playground, Saturday night hay rides, and big open fields where kids can play. The people are friendly, and the bathhouse is clean, with hot water for showers. In addition to all that, the Watauga River runs through the campground, which is situation with beautiful views of the mountains. There is also a big field for group tent camping, that has almost zero light pollution and amazing views of the nighttime sky. We were lucky enough to have a clear night to lay under the stars and just marvel at the universe.

Grandfather Campground, Banner Elk, NC

Watauga River, Grandfather Campground, Banner Elk, NC


The campground is located less than 30 minutes from Blowing Rock, so we were able to head over to The Blowing Rock and take in the views of the mountains from a beautiful vantage point. There is a small admission fee to enter, but the spectacular sights are worth the price. There are small trails to follow around to different points to take in the view.
The Blowing Rock, NC
We visited Linville Caverns our last trip to this campground a year ago, which was a great tour of the caverns and history of the area. This time we took time to drive to Linville Falls, and experience the beauty of the park. It is a short hike, but it does have some change in elevation going up and down the trails to the falls. Kids would be OK hiking, but new or unsteady walkers might need some assistance. There are a few trails to different viewpoints, and we were able to take some amazing pictures. I took a short video (26 seconds) of the upper falls going down into the gorge.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qVDTsHMUpjg


Linville Falls, NC (Upper Falls)
Linville Falls, NC (Lower Falls)


Linville Falls, NC (Upper and Lower Falls)

Linville Falls, NC
Linville Falls = Truly spectacular.


On the way back to Greensboro, we took a drive on the Blue Ridge Parkway to take in some of the clear views of the mountains. We are all lucky to live so close to such beauty. If you haven't taken the time to drive on the Blue Ridge Parkway, I highly recommend spending a day driving and taking in the sights. It is easy enough to get there from Greensboro, with plenty of stopping points and overlooks to take photos, let the kids out, and have a picnic.

Blue Ridge Parkway view

Blue Ridge Parkway view

All in all, a great weekend away, very affordable, and beautiful scenery.

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