Saturday, June 1, 2013

Blue Ridge Parkway, Linville Falls and The Fancy Gap KOA

Blue Ride Mountains, NC
Blueridge Mountains
Our destination for this leg of the trip is to arrive at the KOA in Fancy Gap, Virginia, mile marker 199.  We will be starting at mile marker 408, the Pisgah Inn. Nadia and I packed up our bags and loaded up the car.  The office at the Pisgah Inn, will give you a voucher in the morning for free breakfast in the restaurant.  There are only certain items that you can order with the free voucher and it worked for us.  Again it was good meal with a wonderful view. We checked out about 9:30 a.m. and started to head north on the parkway to continue our journey.  I was starting to feel confident driving again, but that changed after the first sharp turns.  I was back to my white-knuckle grip.

Driving the Blue Ridge Parkway, NC
Driving the Blue Ridge Parkway, NC
  •  MP 393.6 - A good place to exit for gasoline 
  •  MP 384.7 - Will take you to Asheville, The Biltmore Estates, Chimney Rock and Lake Lure. 
  •  MP 384 - Blue Ridge Parkway Visitor Center/Headquarters - Open daily 9-5. Information desk, gift shop, movie and restrooms 
  •  MP 382 - Folk Art Center 
  •  MP 364 - Craggy Gardens Visitor Center 
  •  MP 355 - Mount Mitchell State Park - Highest Peak in the Eastern USA I have wanted to visit Craggy Gardens and Mount Mitchell State Park for a long time.  By the time we arrived, it was very windy and the fog was picking up.  A storm was blowing in again, so I wanted to keep going to get out of it. It had gotten so foggy that you could only see the yellow line on the parkway.  We did not have to drive like that for long though.  It had cleared up in about twenty minutes of driving.  I would like to go back there someday to be able to see the park and gardens. 
  •  MP 331 - Overmountain Victory National Historic Trail - Recognizes the campaign leading up to the American Victory at Kings Mountain in 1780 
  •  MP 320 - Chestoa View 
  •  MP 316 - Linville Falls Visitor Center    
We stopped at Linville Falls Visitor Center to use the restroom.  To my surprise, Nadia wanted to hike to the falls.  I was concerned about our timing, but did not want to pass up a chance to hike.  Especially when we were not able to stop at more places like I had originally planned.  One reason was my anxiety in regard to driving the parkway.  I kind of wanted to get it done, even though it was a very pretty drive, ok and I admit; I was afraid we might see a bear.  I decided it would do us good to stretch our legs and go for the hike.  
Linville Falls, Blue Ridge Parkway, NC
Linville Falls, Blue Ridge Parkway, NC
After we were done eating our energy bars, we put on our hydro packs, which is a hydration system in your backpack and started our hike to Linville Falls.  There are five different viewpoints on two different trails to hike to.  These are very spectacular falls to witness.  At one view you see one set of falls and how the water rushes down into another waterfall.  Then you see the view of the whole thing from different elevations.  It is a good hike.  After we were done, I bought Nadia a patch to add to her junior ranger vest.  
Hiking Linville Falls, Blue-Ridge Parkway, NC
Hiking Linville Falls
Once we got back in the car, we continued on. 
  •  MP 308 - Flat Rock Parking Area 
  •  MP 305 - You can take this exit to visit Grandfather Mountain 
  •  MP 304 - Linn Cove Viaduct Information Center - Restrooms located here. Elevation 4,000 feet. 
  •  MP 295 - Julian Price Memorial Park 
  •  MP 294 - Historic Flat Top Manor House - Parkway Craft Center 
  •  MP 292 - Moses H. Cone Memorial Park 
  •  MP 291 - You can take this exit to visit Boone, NC and to see the Horne of the West or head over to Blowing Rock and see Tweetsie Railroad or visit The Blowing Rock This is where I messed up in my planning.  I should have spent the night here in Boone or Blowing Rock.  It would have given us more time to enjoy the sights.   
Kozy Kabin at KOA, Fancy Gap, VA - Blue Ridge Parkway
Kozy Kabin at KOA, Fancy Gap, VA - Blue Ridge Parkway
  • MP 272 - E.B. Jeffress Park  
  • MP 259 - Northwest Trading Post  
  • MP 238 - Doughton Park 
  • MP 218 - Fox Hunters Paradise - Overlook, parking area and paved trail 
  • MP 217 - Cumberland Knob - Comfort Station 
  • MP 213 - Blue Ridge Music Center - Visitor Center, outdoor state and amphitheater After we got back on the parkway from visiting the Music Center, a deer ran out onto the road.  So remember to be cautious of the wildlife while driving the parkway.
Campsite at the KOA in Fancy Gap, VA - Off the Blue Ridge Parkway
Campsite at the KOA in Fancy Gap, VA - Off the Blue Ridge Parkway
At last we reached MP 199, our exit for the KOA at Fancy Gap, VA.  It was 4:00 p.m.  The KOA is located just a half mile off the parkway.  I got lost of course and tried to use the GPS - Global Positioning System.  It led us to the road we needed, but then went out of control.  I was stressing, where is this place? Nadia saw it as I drove passed it.  I backed up and pulled in.  What a cute little place this was.  The girl at the check-in was so nice and friendly.  We rented another Kozy Kabin.  This one had air and a TV, but no restroom.  The comfort station was just down the road from our cabin. Not far at all.  Each bathroom was its own little private room with a shower.  Very clean and very nice. After we got unpacked and settled in the cabin.  I started working on the campfire.  Tonight’s menu was hot dogs.  It was a very nice area and you had some privacy.  The cabin had a nice little porch.  I sat out there watching more chipmunks with Nadia.  She then worked some more on her cross-stitch and I read my book.  After dinner, we watched the lightning bugs, got our showers and I read a little more while Nadia watched her shows.  I then studied the Blue Ridge parkway guide for the next day’s trip.  
Campfire at Fancy Gap VA, KOA
Campfire at Fancy Gap VA, KOA
 **This is just a little side note that I wanted to share.  When I was at the Pisgah Inn Gift Shop, I purchased a book by Bill Bryson, Titled: A Walk in the Woods.  It is about his true adventure of hiking the Appalachian Trail with his buddy.  Believe it or not, this book has a lot of humor.  I have caught myself laughing out loud reading about their experiences.  So far, I am half way through the book (I know pretty slow, but I have been busy).  This book also talks about the history of the area and about the trees, but I think this would be a good read as you are traveling through the parkway and if you enjoy hiking. (Especially if you are going through the Sky-Line drive and the Smoky Mountains.) I think it would be neat to hike the Appalachian Trail, but very dangerous.  This is a way that I can experience it safely and learn about it. Any way here is a link to it on Amazon, but you do not have to purchase it from my link. Check your local library.  I just wanted to share what I thought was an enjoyable read that has to do with the topics of hiking the Smokies and the Mountains.

Below is my newest book that is available on Amazon that was written about this road trip along with some added bonuses

Below is my first travel guide

 Thanks for reading our travel blog! 
Amazing Blue-Ridge Canvas Print