Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Maggie Valley Revisited

Yes, it’s been way too long since I’ve updated our trip progress. Let me just say that I haven’t been “inspired” to write anything. That’s partly due to the fact that we’ve been here in Maggie Valley, NC, several times before and we haven’t done much that was new or different. But here goes…

We arrived at Creekwood Farm RV Park on Tuesday, July 19. We love it here and it’s a bit like a homecoming each time we pull in. Several friends were already here and gave us a very nice welcome. We got set up and joined everyone for “happy hour” on the creek, a nightly event starting at 4:30pm. (Most of the time it lasts longer than an hour, but who’s counting?)

We spent the next day getting groceries and finishing up all the setup around the camp site. And then it was off to the casino. (Yeah, we’re bad.) We had a good time, but there were no big wins to report.

Several of our friends here had joined the Waynesville Rec Center where they do a variety of exercises, including a senior yoga class three times a week. This intrigued me AND Julian, so we went to one of the yoga classes. All of the postures are done either sitting on or standing by a chair. We both really liked it. Plus there is a really nice walking/jogging track in the building which we felt would be better on our bodies than the gravel around the campground. So we joined the rec center for one month. We’ve gone to a number of the classes and walked several times afterwards. Julian says it’s helped his back some and that’s a really good thing. I may have to try to find something similar once we get home.

We took the long way to Black Mountain, a great little town east of Asheville. And I do mean the LONG way. But it was a beautiful trip. We headed south of here to jump onto the Blue Ridge Parkway. We’ve been on this section of the Parkway several times before, but it’s always a great drive and the weather was perfect for it. We made a couple stops, one was at Devil's Courthouse. We’d been there in 2007 and climbed to the top. (Not sure we could do that today.) The weather back then had been pretty cloudy, so I took advantage of the clear weather and got another picture of it.


After more than twice the time we could have done the trip on the interstate, we arrived at Black Mountain in time for lunch. There are two major reasons to go there, in our estimation. 1) Berliner Kindl, a really good German restaurant. They serve moderate portions and the food is great. 2) Town Hardware & General Store, where you can find the most fun and interesting things from old time toys to real hardware to garden flags and beyond. It’s SO much fun just to walk through the store. It’s hard not to buy anything!

We went into Asheville for Belle Chere again this year. It’s a terrific (and large) street fair. We walked around all the booths and really enjoyed the time spent. Afterwards, drove to a favorite Thai restaurant, but the streets were blocked off and we couldn’t get there. So we went to our favorite Latin restaurant outside of the downtown area. It was as good as we’d remembered.

We decided to take a drive up the mountain into the Smoky Mountain National Park to see the elk. We’d heard about this drive for years and finally did it the afternoon after we’d been to Asheville. We spent many years in Colorado and the mountains there, so mountain driving wasn’t new to us. I’m not sure we’ve ever experience hairpin turns quite this sharp, or curves in the road that were quite this blind!

The first part of the road was paved, but that didn’t last. And once it turned into dirt/gravel, the road became VERY narrow. There were places where meeting an oncoming car would have been a problem. It took nearly an hour to drive the 12 miles to the end of the road. It was beautiful – even if a bit scary in places. We stopped at an overlook on the way up and this was the view.


Here’s a friend we met while at this stop:


We made it all the way up without seeing one elk. I guess they like the mornings and evenings better than mid-afternoon. But on the way back, we saw this guy:


This barn was outside the Ranger’s home, so we didn’t know if this elk was living there or if he’d just jumped the fence to come in for a snack. Click the picture and check out how big his rack is! WOW!

One Sunday afternoon, three of us ladies went to a program at a local church. The musicians all played wind instruments. I guess you would call it chamber music. They played for about an hour and we really enjoyed it.

We had dinner “on the creek” at Hurley’s in Maggie Valley one night. Here’s a picture of Julian and our friends at our table.


You can barely see the creek to the very right of my empty chair. The weather and the food were both awesome.

We went to “Mater Fest” with this same couple. It’s a very small festival in Canton, which we’ve been to several times. It’s always fun and you never know what fun stuff you might find in the craft booths.

We’ve been back to the casino a couple times, but still no major luck. They seem to have tightened up the machines this year.

We tried the new Thai restaurant that has opened up in Waynesville. It’s very good and we think it might be better than the one in Asheville. It certainly is closer. We’ve been a couple times already and really do enjoy it.

We’ve had rain off and on, but never to a point of keeping us from doing whatever we have planned. It was pretty hot here, just like everywhere else, until about a week or so ago. The days are still warm, but not oppressive. And the nights are cooling down into the high 50s sometimes. We love it and it sure beats Florida at this time of year.

That’s it for this time. We are planning to arrive at home on September 10, 2011. So there will be at least one or two more posts to close out the trip.

Happy trails!