Articles

Spring Break in the Blue Ridge Mountains I

In Sina's Posts, Tamás' Posts, Trips on April 7, 2012 by SN

For Spring Break, we decided not to go to the beaches of Florida, the shores of Cancun, or party at a pool in Jamaica. Instead, we chose the mountains: The Blue Ridge Mountains, a southern part of the Appalachians in North Carolina. Tamás found a great hotel deal on Groupon. We decided to give our BMW a Spring Break of its own and got a rental car instead. We ended up with a 2011 Mazda 3, which was most likely a free upgrade for us, as we had ordered the smallest possible car (“economy”). And so, three weeks ago, we went to the North Carolina mountains in this awesome car for three days and discovered our romantic side, as in Romanticism that is.

We entered Redneck territory in North Georgia already, at the foothills of the Appalachians. The landscape is really beautiful with lots of mountains, trees, and waterfalls. Yet, that comes with a “cost”. During our lunch stop in Clayton we encountered men in blue overalls with heavy rural accents at Wendy’s, and a flood of pick-up trucks on the streets. As a rule of thumb: The more rural, the more conservative.

We took a scenic detour on our way up north on the highway at Tallulah Falls, Georgia. We hiked down the Tallulah Gorge, which is up to 1,000 feet deep, on wooden steps, walked across the impressive suspension bridge, and finally descended further to the foot of the Hurricane Falls. Speaking of Rednecks: parts of the cultural-divide-thriller Deliverance were shot in the Tallulah Gorge (and the rest in the area we visited).

Tallulah Gorge.

The hike up took its toll on Tamás as he has not had breakfast. There was actually a sign warning visitors that there are 1062 steps to the bottom of the gorge; and the same amount to get back up, of course. Besides the waterfalls, the gorge, and the suspension bridge, we were amazed by the nature, especially the big fat bumblebees around us.

"Und diese Biene, die ich meine..."

We then left the highway for another, longer, detour. Heading for Highlands, NC, we drove on winding, narrow mountain roads at around 30 mph. We made a stop, our first in North Carolina, at Dry Falls, where you can walk behind the actual fall.

Dry Falls, NC.

After another few hours of driving, we arrived at our crib, the Balsam Mountain Inn. Erected in 1905, the hotel is a time capsule today as it on the National Register of Historic Place and has not undergone character-changing renovations. It is one of very few large-scale wooden Inns in the US. Our room featured the original sink, hardwood floors, wooden walls, and a buzzer to call the chambermaid from downstairs. Smaller-than-usual doors tell of smaller people hundred years ago.

Time Capsule: The Balsam Mountain Inn.

Southern Hospitality: Our Room.

Historic Appliances: Our Bathroom.

Needless to say, the restaurant attached to the hotel served homemade, delicious food. Tamás swears the organic rib eye was among the best he ever had.

Balsam Mountain Inn at Night.

As usual, there are more pictures on Tamás’ Flickr account. More on this trip coming soon…

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