In the high country of North Carolina, the area surrounding Boone and Blowing Rock, North Carolina, there are many scenic areas where you can drive and just be amazed at the view. Every curve brings a new view that tops the prior one and makes you think you have seen it all, when, of course, you have just begun to see God’s beauty. My family has made several trips to this area over the years and have discovered new and spectacular drives each time we have gone to North Carolina’s High Country. It is truly a marvelous place to visit and I could go on and on and list numerous scenic drives. However, I will focus on two truly special places that I think everyone should visit and see. My list will not include the Blue Ridge Parkway which would be an article all by itself. Talk about a new view around corner. There are just two many places and not enough time so let’s go look at the two drives I have selected.
One such scenic drive is the road going up the side of Beech Mountain. This ride can be for the view only or to reach a specific destination.. Having been up the road with my family I can only say that you think you will never get to the top of the mountain. Not that the trip is bad, it is fantastic. The views are incredible as you look out to see a Christmas tree farm, homes and incredible mountain views. It is just that the road winds around the mountain and you are almost always turning so the trip seems much longer than it probably is. But believe me this is a positive. If you love mountain scenery and views you can not miss this drive. It is a must. Along the way you can find a Christmas shop to stop and enjoy the mountain air and take a break. And when you reach the top you are in the highest incorporated town east of the Rockies. Unless you want to spend the rest of your life in the town you have to come the mountain and that is one more great drive which seems to go extremely fast.
DIRECTIONS TO BEECH MOUNTAIN
Beech Mountain is located at the end of NC 184 which is also known at the Beech Mountain Parkway. NC 184 is the main road into Banner Elk, North Carolina. Once you are in Banner Elk, which is a quaint town to visit, you then stay on 184 and proceed up the mountain. The link referenced will give you all the information you need.
A trip up Grandfather Mountain may not be what you have thought of at first as a scenic drive. It is thought of more as a destination drive to get to the top of the mountain so you can go across the swinging bridge which is the big attraction at the top of the mountain. And you have to pay to enter Grandfather Mountain in order to get the scenic drive. However, the trip up the mountain is well worth the price of admission and view from the top in your automobile would not disappoint anyone I would know. Of course, you can get out of your car at the top and venture onto the swinging bridge but it is not necessary. When you get to the top and look out from your car you feel like you are on the top of the world.
The day my family drove up the mountain was might be typical for Grandfather Mountain. When we got to the gate we were told that it was raining at the top of the mountain. The weather seemed nice enough at the gate but they just wanted to let us know so we would not be disappointed when we got to the top. Of course the weather changes numerous times during the day so we decided to pay our money and see what we could see. As we drove up the curving road with a new and spectacular view at each curve the weather seemed fine. In fact, one time we parked our car and got out so we could savor the view a little longer. We also stopped along the way to visit the animal habitats and eat lunch and check out the museum and store. Then it was on to the top. When you arrive in the parking lot and see the swinging bridge it is awe inspiring. By the time we reached the top the weather had cleared and you could see a great distance in all directions. There was so much to see. We did finally leave our care and walk up to the swinging bridge but that is another story.
DIRECTIONS TO GRANDFATHER MOUNTAIN
Grandfather Mountain is located on US Highway 221, two miles north of Linville, North Carolina and one mile south of the Blue Ridge Parkway at milepost 305. Their website with directions recommends against using a GPS for directions as it will send you on narrow mountain roads. The link referenced can get you there with no problem from any direction.