Monday, November 02, 2009

fall retreat--day 1

a couple of months ago, we talked about planning a mountain weekend during the fall. i e-mailed my relatives who have a cabin up there to see what was available, and halloween weekend popped up as a potential date for us. the city where we live is notorious for its halloween celebration with the college community. traffic picks up, everything is busy, and with halloween falling on a saturday? well, we decided to get out of town.

now granted, it may not have been the best weekend for mountain viewing... this was a consistent view that we got on the overlooks.

but we made it up friday night and set out saturday to see what we could see. or not see, as the case was on saturday.

(by the way, i'm breaking this up into 2 blog posts because picnik is being finicky and is not letting me do collages. so rather than overwhelming you with almost 40 photos, i'm breaking it up a little...)

our first stop was the orchard at altapass. right off of the blue ridge parkway, it was down a little path and a very muddy parking lot. (the cuffs of my jeans were ruined by the end of the day.)
inside was nice and toasty warm, though. we browsed the store and got some hot apple cider to sip as everyone began showing up for their live music starting in just a little while.
it was almost lunch time, so we stopped by their "lunch wagon" and got a barbeque sandwich and homemade mac and cheese to share. we were encouraged to take our food back inside to listen to the music that was starting up.
it wasn't bluegrass (no banjo in sight) but i guess the best description is good old country music. we quickly recognized some johnny cash and some other more familiar tunes. we were in the minority of being 1) tourists--they were actually mainly locals there for the music and 2) under the age of 65. but it was cool to watch the older couples get up and dance so easily, so effortlessly.

we finished our lunch and picked out a few treats to take home. a delicious chipotle ranch for justin, and you know how i feel about apple butter...
on to our next stop. we had originally planned on going up to grandfather mountain in the afternoon, but the weather still looked like this:
so instead, we headed underground to linville caverns. because the weather doesn't affect the view down there.
it was a popular spot that day, with other tourists getting out of the rain and the whole cavern crew dressed in halloween costumes.

my mountain man (so glad to have his driving skills this weekend...)
and then it was our turn. i remembered taking this tour a couple of times when i was younger and our summer program would go camping up there nearby... (any snyder folks out there? remember those good times?)
it was cool to see all of the cavern features again, especially since my most recent "inside a mountain" experiences when we went caving with camp cheerio were a little more intense. again, just the cuffs of my jeans got wet. those poor jeans...
as we were driving back towards blowing rock, we finally started to see some breaks in the clouds...
we hit up the outlets right quick where i purchased--you guessed it!--jeans. but admittedly, they were on ridiculous clearance at the GAP outlet and it prevented me from doing laundry on saturday night just so i had a clean pair of jeans to wear on sunday. we finished out our touristy day in blowing rock where they were having a halloween festival and allowing trick-or-treating downtown in the shops. it was fun to see all of the costumes (without dealing with doorbells and barking dogs and handing out candy.)
we called it a day and headed back up the mountain to see my great uncle and aunt for dinner.
more tomorrow...