Grandfather Mountain!

Banner Elk Travel Blog

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Christmas tree farm off the Blue Ridge

Mom and Ali are here to visit, and we decided to drive some of the Parkway today! 

We headed toward Blowing Rock first, and hit the Parkway just before Boone to get there.  Unfortunately the detour southbound took us right back into Boone.. lol.... but we eventually got to Blowing Rock.  It was sooo crowded, not ONE parking space in sight, and bumper to bumper traffic!  We very quickly lost interest and left without parking at all.

We actually ended up driving BACK to Boone to find lunch since it sounded like there wasn't much to eat around Grandfather Mountain (according to my GPS).  Tried Backyard Burger, but the line of 20 people chased us back out again.

View from the Blue Ridge
.. haha.  We ended up going with Chick-fil-a.

After lunch we headed to Grandfather Mountain and about 1 mile before the entrance we ran into bumper to bumper traffic AGAIN!  It literally took us about an hour to travel that mile, but I refused to turn around because it seemed ridiculous to have driven so far and gotten within a mile and NOT gone to the mountain.  Besides, all the trees around there are changing now, and we had a pretty view while we were waiting.

Finally we made it in ($12/person WITH the AAA discount!  Wow, what a ripoff!) and made our way to the bathrooms (first things first, of course), and whaddya know, another LINE!!!  Who would've guessed...

We checked out the animal habitats: bald eagle, otters, cougars and bears!  The bears were the best - they did tricks for food!  Hardly anyone actually fed them, but they spent all their time trying to elicit more food from all the spectators - it was great.

Pretty fall foliage!
  One bear held his foot up in the air, and another one stuck out his tongue!  Sooo funny....

Then we drove up to the suspension bridge (supposedly a mile up in elevation).  It was FREEZING!!!!!!  And I mean FREEZING!!!!!  The wind was strong and did I mention FREEZING??  Jesse gave his windbreaker to Ali and the hood made her head look like an egg, haha.  Anyway, we barely could make it across the bridge since it was kind of swaying in the wind and absolutely frigid, but we did.  We climbed up to the very top of the rocks and got some pretty shots of the changing leaves.  It's really too bad the the sun wasn't out - it was cloudy, so our pictures don't do the view justice.  But we had a lot of fun despite being FREEZING!!!

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Christmas tree farm off the Blue R…
Christmas tree farm off the Blue …
View from the Blue Ridge
View from the Blue Ridge
Pretty fall foliage!
Pretty fall foliage!
Stand-still traffic near Grandfath…
Stand-still traffic near Grandfat…
Jesse goofing off after being bore…
Jesse goofing off after being bor…
More pretty leaves
More pretty leaves
Mom Anderson  :)
Mom Anderson :)
Ali!
Ali!
Bald eagle at Grandfather Mountain…
Bald eagle at Grandfather Mountai…
Otters at Grandfather Mountain ani…
Otters at Grandfather Mountain an…
An otter at Grandfather Mountain a…
An otter at Grandfather Mountain …
Cougars at Grandfather Mountain an…
Cougars at Grandfather Mountain a…
Cool cat at Grandfather Mountain a…
Cool cat at Grandfather Mountain …
Funny bears at Grandfather Mountai…
Funny bears at Grandfather Mounta…
The bear habitat at Grandfather Mo…
The bear habitat at Grandfather M…
Doing tricks!
Doing tricks!
Waiting for treats
Waiting for treats
More tricks
More tricks
Both trying to get food
Both trying to get food
Maybe the food wasnt so yummy aft…
Maybe the food wasn't so yummy af…
Silly bears at Grandfather Mountai…
Silly bears at Grandfather Mounta…
This one was just too much - the s…
This one was just too much - the …
View from the bear habitat
View from the bear habitat
Catching treats!
Catching treats!
View from the bridge area of Grand…
View from the bridge area of Gran…
Another pretty view
Another pretty view
Grandfather Mountain view
Grandfather Mountain view
Me on the (VERY WINDY) bridge
Me on the (VERY WINDY) bridge
Ali and me freezing our butts off
Ali and me freezing our butts off
Fall colors down below
Fall colors down below
Too bad it was so cloudy!
Too bad it was so cloudy!
Ali and me again - still freezing!
Ali and me again - still freezing!
Jesse and me - poor Jesse gave up …
Jesse and me - poor Jesse gave up…
The bridge
The bridge
Ali and me
Ali and me
Me, bridge in the background
Me, bridge in the background
All four of us at the bridge
All four of us at the bridge
Looking back up to top from the pa…
Looking back up to top from the p…
Pretty drive!
Pretty drive!
More colors on the drive home
More colors on the drive home
Christmas tree farm!
Christmas tree farm!
Another hill of Christmas trees
Another hill of Christmas trees
Banner Elk
photo by: princessbride029