We’d been anticipating this trip for some time, and with the weather forecast looking propitious on October 5th, we loaded up the car and took off.  We drove down I-81 to Asheville, North Carolina the first day, getting more than our fill of superhighways and trucks. The next day we headed east to the Blue Ridge Parkway, and then worked our way down to its southern terminus at Cherokee, located at the edge of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, where we walked around the interesting farm museum by the Oconaluftee Visitor Center. We spent the following day exploring the Park, traversing the park on Newfound Gap Road, viewing the excellent movie and nature museum at the Sugarlands Visitor Center, exploring early settler history at Cades Cove, and pausing on the way back to Cherokee to watch a sunset from Morton’s Overlook. The next morning we visited the  innovative Museum of the Cherokee Indian, and then headed back up the Blue Ridge Parkway to the Pisgah Inn, where we’d stopped and made a reservation on our way down. The Inn is beautifully situated on top of a ridge, with classic layered Blue Ridge views. Both the sunset and the sunrise the next morning were spectacular. Day 5 we headed back north up the Parkway, stopping at the Folk Arts Center and taking a side trip to the top of Mount Mitchell, the highest mountain in the East, and then on to southern Virginia, where we spent our final night. We took our time on our final stretch home, exploring the area west of I-81, and were delighted to stumble across Hungry Mother State Park, a lovely place.  The weather was consistently sunny and clear  (although in the chilly 30’s when we woke up in Asheville) and we had a wonderful time.

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