Sunday, January 24, 2016

2016-01-16 thru 2016-01-18 Martin Luther King Weekend Getaway

Jack and Amy's Martin Luther King Weekend Getaway
Boone, NC and surrounding areas
Saturday, January 16th thru Monday, January 18th, 2016

 Amy and Jack at Cascade Falls

For the Martin Luther King Holiday, Amy and I decided on a last minute weekend getaway in search of some white stuff!  We saw a good chance of snow in the forecast for the North Carolina High Country around Boone, NC.

So Amy found and booked us a nice cabin about 15 miles outside of Boone for about the price you would pay for a typical hotel room.

We left Spartanburg on Saturday Morning and arrived in Boone just before lunch.  We easily found a parking spot, fed the meter $2.00 for 2 hours of parking and started exploring around downtown.  After about an hour of Amy enjoying some of the many quaint little shops, it was time to head to the Lost Province Brewing Company for a flight of brew and some lunch.

Enjoying a Flight at the Lost Province Brewing Company
This turned out to be one of the better Brewery/Restaurants I have been to.  Another one to add to the SCJack recommended list!

After lunch we took a nice little stroll along the Boone Greenway Trail.  Definitely not a destination type trail, but a nice little walk to burn a few calories if you happen to be in Boone.

Covered Bridge along the Boone Greenway Trail

Dam Ruins along the Boone Greenway Trail

After our nice little stroll, we made our way to the cabin to unpack.  The cabin proved to be very nice, clean, equipped with everything we could possible need, and in a nice quiet and secluded location.

For dinner we would make our way to Blowing Rock, but first back to Boone for some pre-dinner brews.  The Booneshine Brewing Company.

Me at the Booneshine Brewing Company

I was not really impressed with this one, but since they have only been open for a few months, I would give them some time to work out the bugs and possible give them another chance next time I visit Boone.

We also stopped by the Appalachian Mountain Brewery, but that place was way too crowded and noisy for us.  So I decided to save that one for when it is warm enough to sit outside!

Continuing on into Blowing Rock, NC we had dinner at The Town Tavern, which was our favorite of all the Blowing Rock Restaurants during our weekend getaway there a few years ago.  Nothing fancy, just typical pub food, but so far everything we have gotten there has been excellent!

After dinner we stopped for a flight at the Blowing Rock Brewing Company.  Excellent beer, but the restaurant/bar area is a bit too small to handle Saturday Evening crowds.

After enjoying my flight, it was time for something on Amy's agenda, The Chetola Resort Festival of Lights.  This proved to be a disappointment, but at least admission was free!

The next morning, I woke up early to possible catch a sunrise, but after checking the radar and seeing snow flurries outside I decided there would be too much cloud cover for a sunrise, so I just enjoyed my coffee at the cabin, and took a little stroll outside while waiting for Amy to wake up and get herself ready.

 Sunday Morning Snow at our Cabin

 Christmas Tree Farm near the Cabin

After a light breakfast at the cabin, we hit the road towards the Blue Ridge Parkway.  This would be Wallie's first Snow!  (Note: Wallie is the name that Amy gave to our new Subaru Outback). 

 Wallie's First Snow

Our first stop was at the Tomkins Knob Overlook for the short stroll to check out the Jesse Brown Cabin and the Cool Spring Baptist Church.

 Amy at the Tomkins Knob Overlook

 Me at the Jesse Brown Cabin

 Jesse Brown Cabin

 The Cool Spring Baptist Church

 Amy by the Jesse Brown Cabin

 The Jesse Brown Cabin with the Spring House in the distance

We continued on to the Cascade Falls Trailhead, an easy "Amy Approved" hike of about a mile round trip to an impressive waterfall.  This hike was even more magical with all the fresh snow!  I always enjoy being the first one to make tracks through the snow along the trail!

 Amy along the trail to Cascade Falls

 The Top of Cascade Falls

 Cascade Falls

 Amy and Jack at Cascade Falls

E.B. Jeffress Park, near the Cascade Falls Trailhead

As we drove along the Blue Ridge parkway back towards Boone, the snow had stopped and the clouds had settled down into the valleys below leaving a sea of clouds to the South!

 A sea of clouds from the Blue Ridge Parkway

 Amy checking out the sea of clouds

 Wallie above the clouds

While not as stunning as the sea of clouds, the views to the north were pretty as well:

 view from the Blue Ridge Parkway

 view from Blue Ridge Parkway

along the Blue Ridge Parkway

We made our way back to Boone and had lunch a quirky little restaurant called The Red Onion Cafe which turned out to be an excellent choice!

For the afternoon we made our way to West Jefferson to do what I expected to be some Amy Approved hiking on top of Mount Jefferson.  You can drive almost all the way to the summit and from there the trails are all fairly easy.  Unfortunately the road to the summit was close just past the Ranger Station.

 Road Closed to the Summit of Mount Jefferson

That didn't stop me, but the 1,200 feet of elevation from there to the summit was a bit more than Amy was willing to tackle, so I was on my own for this one!

 One benefit to the road being closed was that by the time I got to the top, I had the place all to myself!

After my hike to Mount Jefferson, we made our way back to West Jefferson for dinner at Boondocks Brewing Tap Room and Restaurant.  Boondocks turned out to be my favorite of the (5) breweries we visited this weekend.

I thought about a few more hikes along the way home the next morning, but since it was 6 degrees F, I decided to save them for another time.  I did stop to take a few photos from the along NC221 between Blowing Rock and Linville.

 NC221 Looking up at the Linn Cove Viaduct

Frosted Mountain Tops above NC221

I had also hoped to catch Toms Creek Falls with a bunch of ice, but apparently it didn't get nearly as cold down toward Marion, NC.

Toms Creek Falls

This was a very enjoyable weekend getaway!  The complete set of photos is posted here:

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