Last fall, Tammy and I took a weekend trip down to Asheville, NC. We had attended a home Virginia Tech football game on a Thursday night, and left for Asheville from Blacksburg on Friday morning. Because we were already in the western part of Virginia, we took the opportunity to travel to Asheville via the very scenic Blue Ridge Parkway. This route, coupled with the fall foliage, made it a very enjoyable. The fall foliage was maybe past its peak, but it was still definitely worth the view.
Another attraction along the Blue Ridge Parkway is Mabry Mill. The mill, and its reflection in the adjacent pond, is the subject of a myriad of photographers. The restored mill provides a glimpse into the history of western Virginia, and an opportunity for you to try your hand at capturing one of the most photographed scenes to be found along the Blue Ridge Parkway. My attempt was done near mid-day, and is a bit too over-exposed for my tastes.
The area surrounding Asheville, North Carolina has its own set of unique attractions. The most famous is probably the Biltmore Estate (the subject of another blog post). Another option, one that Tammy and I took advantage of, is Chimney Rock.
Chimney Rock is part of the North Carolina state park system. It is really more a tourist attraction than a place to get back to nature. The center-piece of the attraction is a 325 foot high column of granite, perched on the side of a mountain, that gives astounding views. Your drive into the park gets you most of the way up. After you park your vehicle, you get to pick which phobia you would like to appease in order to get to the top. You can either climb up a series of wooden boardwalks and staircases (and deal with your acrophobia), or just take an elevator (and deal with your claustrophobia).
Ultimately, the final ascent to the top of the rock requires you to climb a short flight of wooden steps. I have a bit of acrophobia, but I managed to get all the way to the top with some additional stress, but otherwise without incident. The views are simply incredible.