Thursday, October 13, 2022

My trip is well underway....

Just a quick update on my trip so far.  There's a travelogue for most of the post but I promise a little quilting and cross stitch at the end.

Our sojourn to North Carolina has once again astounded us with the natural beauty of the United States!  One correction to what I thought was our plans:  we booked a stay at a campground along the (North Carolina portion of the) Blue Ridge Parkway.  I was under the impression that the parkway was part of the Great Smokey Mountains National Park.  Although the parkway is also administered  by the National Parks Service, it is in fact a National Scenic Parkway so functions as a separate entity from the very nearby National Park.  The good news is that there were many beautiful vistas to take in as well as attractions along the parkway itself.  

This was also another trip where every vista is a postcard!  What I learned at the BRP Visitors Center near Asheville is that during the construction of the parkway, this was very much by design:

I'd say they nailed it!

At the Black Mountain Overlook on the Parkway

I definitely worked the "panoramic" function of my cell phone's camera hard this trip!

If you're wondering why they call them "The Great Smokey Mountains", here's why:

At some elevations, our heads were literally "in the clouds"!  At others, you could see the clouds nestled down in the mountain valley.

That's not snow, it's clouds!!

Also along the Parkway you can visit the Minerals Museum.  I learned that North Carolina has a long and rich history of mining.   

From the early 1800s until the present day, North Carolina has been a central location for mining minerals for industrial use such as iron, mica, quartz, asbestos (of course, no longer), copper, feldspar soapstone and silica. Additionally, gemstones like ruby, amethyst, emeralds and gold have also come out of the NC mines.  

Did you know that NC is the only place in the country where Emerald, which is my birthstone, can be found?  I didn't!   

We also got to take in more of nature by hiking to the Crabtree Falls which is in the campground we stayed at.

There are even more attractions in the area to visit such as the Ashville Folk Art Center and the Mabry Mills.  There is also more hiking in the state parks in the area --- I really wanted to hike Mount Mitchell which is the highest peak east of the Mississippi --- but we didn't have time to get to do more.  What is great is that we're already planning a return trip to the area next year so we can fulfill the dream to actually visit in the National Park.  It's close enough that we'll be able to also plan to hit some of the attractions we didn't get to along the Parkway as well. 

Ok, travel briefing over!  So there was some time to do some craft-related things on this leg of the trip too.  I did get a little more cross stitching done during the drive and while sitting around the campfire:

Unfortunately for some silly reason, I had only prepped a little of the black floss which ran out before I could continue with the wording.  Then I started on some of the other color portions of the piece but with so many color changes needed, I didn't have enough needles to carry them all!  Yeesh!  

One of the other plans for this trip is to once again participate in the "All Carolinas Shop Hop" that has been running in both North and South Carolina since September and finishes up at the end of this month.  I realized that being in the Western part of the state meant I could hit some shops that my MIL and I wouldn't have normally been able to get to.  So I picked the ones within the immediate area of where we were staying and visited those.

Fortunately, I was able to score the black floss I needed along with other goodies in the process!  We are now at my MIL's so next week I should have more Shop Hop news and hopefully a few projects to share as well!


Vireya said...

Wow, so much natural beauty!

The shop hop sounds like fun too.

Rebecca Grace said...

You are schooling me about my own home state, Vivian!! I had no idea that emeralds could be found in North Carolina. That's my birthstone, too. Now I'll be on the lookout for them when I'm out in my backyard. Hah! Glad you had a lovely trip!