Banner Elk Travel Blog› entry 8 of 43 › view all entries
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.
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.
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!!!