This weekend took a spur of the moment trip to the North Carolina mountains on Saturday. It’s audacious to head up on the major leaf display weekend, but that’s what we did. To get a place to stay, we chose not to stay in Asheville but in nearby Black Mountain. Then to stay in a 50s motel that is haunted by night trains, the Acorn Inn. All this was good because 1) the Acorn Inn had rooms at noon on Saturday but they were sold out by 3ish and 2) Asheville was hosting two nights of sold-out shows by Sting Cheese Incident.
Despite (or because) of the whole town smelling of pachouli and packed with trustifarians seeking Cheese tickets, we had a wonderful visit to our favorite bookstore, Malaprop’s, and one of our favorite restaurants, Zambra’s, a great Spanish tapas place.
In Black Mountain, the Dipolator Coffee House had not only good java and great pastries but also free wireless broadband access which delighted Sally. I stayed off the grid showing great restraint.
The leaves despite or because of the clouds were magnificent. Getting around was a bit of an adventure. The hurricanes washed out large sections of highway so that the Blue Ridge Parkway now stops at Mount Mitchell going north, picks up again at Busick and Crabtree Meadows, then stops again between mile posts 325-317 at Linville Falls.
We remained audacious and headed up the Curtis Creek Road in Pisgah National Forest toward the Parkway. The road follows Curtis Creek and the drive is rough but beautiful. Not much of it is paved. But that road too is closed at the steepest climb.
We went down to Old Fort and picked up Highway 80 which is more high than way. The Parkway notes linked to above say that the road is steep and winding. Those are not strong enough words. There was evidence that 80 too had washed out, but it was mostly repaired.
After lunch at Little Switzerland, of which I think someone once said “This place looks a little like Switzerland; a little but not much,” we took the scenic route down the equally curved 226a to 221 and on to Marion.
A brief trip but a good respite.