Day Trip Along the Blue Ridge Parkway
I recently visited my parents at their home in Charlotte for a weekend. As much as I love Charlotte, we really wanted to get out of town and experience some nature. This was a very spontaneous trip and we planned it as we went, only having our first stop in mind. We wanted to drive on the Blue Ridge Parkway, nicknamed as America’s most scenic road.
As we were driving, we noticed a huge solar farm near us on the GPS. Since I’m a mechanical engineer working in the renewable energy industry, I’m fascinated by solar panels and wanted to stop. We couldn’t see much from the road, but I took the drone up and admired from the air.
Hiking the Beacon Heights trail
The Beacon Heights trail is an easy one-mile trail located off the Blue Ridge Parkway. It has some really amazing views for how short it is. The trail is a two-hour drive from Charlotte. We started our day kind of late, so by the time we got to the trailhead we expected it to be hot outside. Fortunately, the mountain air kept us cool and it was only 75 degrees in mid-June!
The lookout at the top of the trail is very peaceful. There were a handful of people there, and it didn’t feel crowded at all. This place would be gorgeous to visit in the fall when the trees change colors.
Linn Cove Viaduct
Only two miles from the Beacon Heights trail is the Linn Cove Viaduct and visitor center. We popped into the visitor center and learned all about the construction of the bridge. The miniature diagram of the bridge was awesome. This section of the road is famous because it was the last section of the Parkway to be completed in 1987. The Viaduct was constructed to where it isn’t touching the side of the mountain, but it is built out away from it. I was thoroughly impressed by the engineering of this project.
We parked at the closest overlook parking lot after the bridge and walked back to the bridge to take pictures and drone videos. Such a cool bridge that I didn’t even know about until that day.
Blowing Rock Brewing Company
After we filled our nature quota, we drove to the town of Blowing Rock, about 20 minutes away. We stopped at the Blowing Rock Brewing Company’s Ale House to have lunch and a beer. Their meals sounded too filling, so we decided on appetizers instead. Pretzels with beer cheese and an open-faced panini hit the spot. I tried the Blowing Rock High Country Ale and really enjoyed it.
Once we were done with lunch, we decided to walk through the town. Blowing Rock is a mountain town with an adorable southern charm. Their Art in the Park festival was going on, so we walked through and I had to stop myself from buying about a dozen beautiful pieces of art.
Appalachian Mountain Brewery
Next, we drove another 15 minutes north to the town of Boone. Our last stop of the day was the Appalachian Mountain Brewery. This place had a cool atmosphere, with plenty of outdoor seating and a large beer and cider selection. I tried a beer that was aged in a wine barrel. It definitely had a wine taste!
We headed home that evening and stopped for ice cream on the way for a nice ending to the day.
Check out my video below on our day trip!