Thursday, August 15, 2013

Jack and Amy's Weekend Getaway
to Blowing Rock, NC
Friday, August 9th through 
Sunday, August 11th, 2013

It has been a while since Amy and I have taken a trip with just the two of us.  So this past weekend we decided it was time for a weekend getaway.  We wanted something close enough that it would not be a major drive, but far enough that it would still feel like we were getting away.

We came up with Blowing Rock, NC which is about a 2.5 hour drive.  My search for accommodations took about 2 minutes as the first place that caught my eye was the Blowing Rock Brewing Company.  Brewery, Restaurant, Ale House, and Inn all in one place!  Everything I need for a relaxing weekend away!

Our original plan was to try and scoot out of work early on Friday, but in the end we both decided to just take Friday as a Vacation day making a true 3-day weekend.  This would give us the opportunity to take our time on the drive up and make a few stops along the way.

Our first stop was Toms Creek Falls just off of Hwy 221 a few miles north of Marion, NC.  A short and easy hike of about a quarter mile leads you to the base of this nice waterfall.

Jack and Amy at Toms Creek Falls

After the short hike to Toms Creek Falls, we continued up Hwy 221 and got on the Blue Ridge Parkway in Linville, NC.  A few miles on the parkway led us to our second stop of the day, Linville Falls.  I decided to do the hike down to the base of the falls on the Plunge Basin Trail.  Amy elected to hang back with her book.

From the visitors center it is a steep descent of a little less than a mile to the base of Linville Falls.  Photo conditions would have been really good except for the place was swarming with people. At least they people give a sense of scale and girls in bikinis don't really hurt the photos either!

Linville Falls

After Linville Falls we continued on the Blue Ridge Parkway making our next stop at the Linn Cove Viaduct Visitors Center.  We hiked a short stretch of the Tanawha trail to a rocky area which offered up a nice view of this famous section of road.

The Linn Cove Viaduct

After our hike, we continued on to Blowing Rock, NC and checked into the Blowing Rock Brewing Company Ale House and Inn
The Blowing Rock Brewing Company Ale House and Inn

We unpacked, settled into our room, and went for an early dinner at the Inn's restaurant.  In addition to a nice meal, I also enjoyed a flight of (5) varieties of beer which were all excellent!  And since we didn't have to drive anywhere, Amy even ordered an adult beverage!

After dinner we decided to go for a little walk around town.  Amy was quickly distracted by a plethora of cute little shops.  So while she browsed through a variety of shops, I wandered around town getting a feel for the lay of the land.  All throughout town there are gorgeous displays of flowers blooming just about everywhere you look.  And lots of butterflies!


After a few hours of shopping and wandering around, we had burned off enough dinner to head back to the restaurant for dessert (for Amy) and more beer (for me).  It was nice to be able to just walk a few steps from the restaurant to get to our room at the end of the evening.

The next morning I decided to get up early for a sunrise.  Amy wanted no part of getting up at 6:00am, so I made the short drive to the Blue Ridge Parkway alone.  I found an overlook a few miles from town that looked like it might be promising.

View from the Blue Ridge Parkway Overlook

The sunrise was nice, but nothing spectacular.

Sunrise from the Blue Ridge Parkway

Cows grazing under some Cool Trees

I returned back to our room to meet back up with Amy, and we took a short walk to a nearby restaurant for a nice breakfast.

Afterwards, we decided to head to Julian Price Park on the Blue Ridge Parkway for a little hike.  The Price Lake Trail looked to be about a 3 mile easy hike around Price Lake the seemed like it would be perfect for Amy.

 Price Lake

The trail was mostly level with just a few minor ups and downs.  However, the very wet spring and summer made much of the trail a mucky mess!  Plus some washed out bridges made it difficult to maintain dry feet on some of the stream crossings.

 Amy working her way across an underwater bridge.

After our morning hike we headed back into town for a light lunch.  Amy was wanting to do some more hiking, but for me a nice waterfall trail in order.  The Glen Burney Falls Trailhead was just a 5 minute walk from the Inn, so I left Amy the car in case she had a inkling to visit the nearby Outlet Mall.

The weather forecast called for almost certain rain and the way the skies look, I was almost positive I would get wet, but I decided to do the hike anyway.

I saw about 30 people on the trail, but they were all hiking back up to the trailhead to beat the rain.  Thunder roared as I made my way down to Glen Burney and Glen Marie Falls.  Just as I hit the side trail to Glen Burney Falls, the skies opened up in a downpour.  So I skipped Glen Burney Falls and continued down the trail to Glen Marie Falls.

Fortunately the storm only lasted about 10 minutes and by the time I made it to Glen Marie Falls, all I had to deal with were water drops from the trees.

 Glen Marie Falls

After a short break at Glen Marie Falls, I backtracked to Glen Burney Falls.  

Glen Burney Falls

The hike out was uneventful except for a Yellow Jacket sting on my calf!  Fortunately, I am not allergic and I finished up the hike without any further issues.  By the time I made it back to the trailhead the sun was shining so I took a short stroll through a nice park across the road from the trailhead.

Nice park across the road from the Glen Burney Trailhead


Amy had returned from her shopping excursions by the time I arrived back at the Inn, so we took another little walk around town and found a nice restaurant for dinner.  We made the mistake of going for an after dinner walk and got totally drenched as another downpour hit.  This one much heavier and longer than the one earlier in the afternoon.  Fortunately we were able to take shelter and ride out the storm in a little English Pub, where we enjoyed dessert (for Amy) and more beer (for me).

The next morning I decided to get up early for another sunrise.  I think this one was a little nicer than the previous morning.

 Blue Ridge Parkway Sunrise

Blue Ridge Parkway Sunrise

After sunrise, I returned back to the Inn to meet up with Amy and we went for a walk to a nearby restaurant from some breakfast.  After breakfast we packed our stuff, checked out of the Inn, and hit the road.

But first we decided to be tourists and hit Blowing Rocks most famous tourist attraction, "The Blowing Rock".  Definitely not a must see, but it was nice to be able to cross this one off my list!

Amy on the Blowing Rock Overlook

 Me on the Actual "Blowing Rock"

Jack and Amy at Blowing Rock

Overall it was a great weekend getaway with My Love!

The Complete set of photos is posted here:

Monday, August 5, 2013

Amy's Dad's 70th Birthday Party

Amy's Dad 70th Birthday Party
Rutherfordton, NC
Saturday, August 3rd, 2013

This past Saturday we threw Amy's Dad a surprise party for his 70th birthday.  I did miss a few, but I managed to get photos of most of the guests:

The Birthday Boy

A great time was had by all!

The complete set of photos is posted here: