BigWeather's Blog

July 22, 2014

Legend of the Fall

Filed under: Travel — Tags: — BigWeather @ 11:59 pm

Woke up fairly early and ate our Holiday Inn Express breakfast.  Wasn’t the best we’ve had, that’s for sure.  Left at 9a and headed for DuPont State Forest just east of Brevard.  The countryside was gorgeous despite the threatening rain.  Arrived fairly early, but not before a bus or two of summer campers.  DuPont has many falls, but we were aiming to see three of them.  The trails were really mostly gravel roads which made for some pretty easy, if sometimes steep, walking.  The rain managed to hold off the entire time though a light mist and intermittent fog did give the woods a really cool feel.  In addition to the beautiful evergreens found in the mountains we also saw rhododendron and lots of moss.

Stream in DuPont State Forest

Trail through the woods in DuPont State Forest

The first fall was Hooker Falls, a smallish falls of about 10 or 15 feet.  It still made a great sound, however, and the pool at the bottom was very large.  The area had flooded several years ago and there was a display showing the significant restoration effort the state undertook afterwards.

Hooker Falls, DuPont State Forest

Next we walked past the parking lot and the other way, across a bridge and along a creek and up a pretty steep slope to the second fall, Triple Falls.  A number of stairs led to the bottom of the falls where a large rock slab allowed us to take some great pictures and enjoy the view.  This one was far more impressive than Hooker Falls at 125 feet.  Parts of the movies “Last of the Mohicans” and “Hunger Games” were filmed here (and at the other two falls we visited, and one we did not — Bridal Veil Falls).

Triple Falls

Triple Falls

Triple Falls, DuPont State Forest

Walking back up the steps we proceeded further up the hill (more like a mountain) to the last of the falls, High Falls.  This one we couldn’t get right to, instead having to settle for far views.  High Falls at 125 feet was also very impressive.  My favorite part of it was a rock outcropping in the middle of the falls with trees clinging to it.  At the top of the falls was a covered bridge.  Michelle and I walked up there and took in the view, but as we were at the top of the falls we couldn’t actually see it so it wasn’t super exciting.

High Falls, DuPont State Forest

Covered bridge at the top of High Falls

View of the top of High Falls from the covered bridge

Isolated island outcropping in the middle of High Falls

Headed back to our car, the total walking distance being about six miles.  Great walk!  Drove back to Brevard and had lunch downtown at Mayberry’s sandwich shop.  It was pretty good, I had a Cuban.  We then headed across the street to visit the owner of the Red Wolf Gallery on behalf of Michelle’s father.  He was very nice. Shopped at an adjacent store that had lots of old building materials like bricks from the 1850s, old windows, old doorknobs, etc. as well as old magazines, albums, etc.  Really neat but we don’t need the clutter so we didn’t buy anything.  Had some ice cream then headed towards Asheville at about 3p.

Downtown Brevard

The ubiquitous white squirrel of Brevard

We drove through Asheville on 25 and arrived at the Grove Park Inn just after 4p.  After showering we headed into town.  We parked on the south side of downtown and ate at a small restaurant called The Noodle Shop near Pack Square Park.  There was a “peace rally” going on and people driving by honked for peace.  Which normally would be a noisome bother but there was a guitarist / “singer” making a tremendous racket nearby.  People coming in to the restaurant were asking to sit as far back as possible to avoid him.  Michelle had wonton soup and I had Mongolian beef.  It was tasty, if a little light on the serving size.

Peace rally at Pack Square Park, Asheville

College Street Park, downtown Asheville

We walked around downtown a little bit, looking at restaurants and old churches.  There was a group doing hula hoop exercise in the park, and a fair number of street performers.  Just before 7p we headed to the Orange Peel, a club just south of downtown, to see The Musical Box, a Gabriel-era Genesis cover band.

Orange Peel Social Aid & Pleasure Club, Asheville, NC

Sign in front of the Orange Peel

We sat in the front row, no more than a few feet from the stage.  The Musical Box prides itself on exactly reproducing the Gabriel-era tours — costumes, instruments, set list, mannerisms — Gabriel was an odd performer.  Amazing, we sat in front of “Phil Collins”.  The set they played was the “Selling England by the Pound” tour, it being just after the 40th anniversary of the album’s release.  Incredible musicianship and I had a great time.  Not sure Michelle was into the music much but I think she enjoyed the spectacle of it all, at least.

The Musical Box's drum set

Headed back to the Inn at 10:30p and to bed.

July 21, 2014

White Squirrel Sighting

Filed under: Travel — Tags: — BigWeather @ 11:59 pm

Michelle and I departed on our getaway a bit later than planned, about 10:30a, after a breakfast of eggs and fruit.  It was raining most of the way, though it let up while we ate at Smithfield’s in Greensboro.  We arrived in Brevard, a town about 30 miles southwest of Asheville, about 3:30p.

Had a great visit with Michelle’s Aunt Wilda.  We ate fried chicken salad from Zaxby’s and cups of fresh fruit.  We talked a bit and got some pamphlets on stuff to do around Brevard.  About 5p we headed to downtown but most of the shops had closed.  We did get to visit a toy store, O.P. Taylor’s.  They had a really neat slot car raceway set up.  We also went into a store that had restoration supplies salvaged from old homes like old boards, bricks from the mid-1800s, etc.

Headed to our hotel for the night, the Holiday Inn Express at Ecusta just north of Brevard.  The lady at the front desk recommended a nice walking trail that started near the hotel and went by an old mill site, the community ball fields, and then past the hospital’s grounds before proceeding further down alongside the road towards Brevard’s downtown.  It was a fantastic four mile walk — we heard many birds and frogs and saw one of Brevard’s famed white-as-snow squirrels.  We also heard banjo / bluegrass music coming from a large building across the railroad tracks — and it wasn’t even that scary (they weren’t dueling banjos, at least)!

Back at the hotel we got a recommendation for a pizza place down the street, Jet’s.  It was deep dish style and quite good, Michelle had cheese and I had sausage and pepperoni.  Watched some Major Crimes and Longmire on TV and turned in about 11:30p.

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