First, my apologies for the mega post. But as I think you'll see, the Blue Ridge Parkway* we traveled along last weekend was, for the most part, stunningly beautiful. Of course, it didn't start out that way...
In fact, it started out a lot more like this:
But let's back up a bit. On Friday night we ate dinner at the New York Times recommended Early Girl Eatery, in downtown Asheville. It was delicious, and the first time I've really noticed a difference between fresh, organic, local veggies and your standard supermarket fare.
The next morning was drippy and cloudy. This was our view for most of the day:
Nevertheless I was rocking an awesome outfit...
and we decided to brave the elements on two separate occasions: once to journey into a mountain laurel forest...
and the second time to explore a set of waterfalls just off the Parkway (Graveyard Fields, milepost 418).
That's about when it really started to rain, of course, so we called it quits for the day. Luckily the next morning dawned bright and sunny, and we headed back out to the Parkway. We began by driving to the top of Mount Mitchell, the highest point east of the Mississippi.
It was quite windy, which made for some interesting photo ops.
Most of the time we just tried to soak in the beauty all around us.
(Linville Falls, milepost 317)
It wasn't too difficult.
*For those of you who don't know, the Blue Ridge Parkway is a 469 mile scenic highway that travels along the crests of the southern Appalachians and links Shenandoah National Park in Virginia to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park in North Carolina.