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Bill Leslie's Carolina Conversations

Mountain Journal

Posted May 27, 2008

How was your holiday weekend? Any interesting observations?

Just a few thoughts from my travels in the mountains. Late May is a glorious time to visit. The wild flaming azaleas and rhododendron were both in bloom outside my cabin near Roaring Gap. Mix in the bright red of the geraniums we just planted and you have a rich rainbow of colors.

I never grow tired of traveling the Blue Ridge Parkway. There were lots of motorcyclists on the parkway this year. I am sure the high gas prices had something to do with that. We found gas about a dime cheaper a gallon in Virginia at Galax. A section of the Blue Ridge Parkway near Roaring Gap was closed.  Crews are still repairing damage from an ice storm. 

A highlight of the weekend was a drive up to Chateau Morrisette just off the Blue Ridge Parkway. This is an excellent winery with a fabulous restaurant.

The canoers and kayakers were out in full force on the New River. We loved touring the New River State Park. At the Highway 221 entrance to the park you can camp right by the river. I looked like a scene out of the 1950's and 60's with parents teaching children how to swim and skip stones in this wild and scenic river. We also did some hiking at Mt. Jefferson State Park in Ashe County. Crews are working on a third trail there. This is a very nice park except for the ugly tower at the summit.

We also enjoyed a couple of comfortable favorites - the coffee shop and restaurant at Doughton Park and the Bluff Mountain Trail also in Doughton. Everyone was talking about the manager at the coffee shop cash register Saturday night. He looked just like Dick Cheney.

Many WRAL viewers were in the mountains. Just about everywhere we went someone would ask: "Aren't you the morning news dude?" It is an honor to be recognized and I always enjoy chatting with folks.

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  • ladybugs-mom May 29, 2008

    We had a wonderful holiday weekend on the pkwy. Nice to run into you at Morrisette! Our lunch was outstanding. We tried some new hikes for us this time...one at Cumberland Knob down to a creek & waterfall. Beautiful, but a rugged hike. And don't miss the Blue Ridge Music Center. We took in a great kids concert on Sat night. Our 3yo loved it, and we were amazed at the talent. The Center is a beautiful backdrop for music.

  • jcsmom May 28, 2008

    Most people (at least everyone I know) don't have A/C in the mountains. I grew up in Yancey County, and none of my friends or family have it. It does get warm in the middle of the summer, but all you do is turn on the ceiling fan and open the windows.

  • Squirreling Dervish May 27, 2008

    Heading up to beautiful Meat Camp ( between Boone and Todd, NC) to visit the parents on Green Knob Mountain in 2 weeks. Can't wait. Should be nice and cool up there. Would you believe they don't even have A/C in their house? I used to love sitting the house during the fall, lay on the upstairs bed and listen to the walnuts fall off the trees, hit the tin roof, and then rolllllllll off and hit the ground. I am now in my 40's (gasp!!) and I never tire of it.

  • eatme May 27, 2008

    Ahhh the area you speak of! I attended school at Oak Hill academy several years ago. During a summer session we went tubing down the New River and it was a blast! I miss living in the mountains!

  • jcsmom May 27, 2008

    Our family spent the weekend camping in Marion. We enjoyed a beautiful day out on Lake James on Sunday. It's so nice to actually have water in the lakes again!

  • bleslie May 27, 2008

    We're only about two miles from Old Beau. We're just off Mountain View Road. Our house overlooks the Devotions property.

  • owlady May 27, 2008

    Bill, How close is your cabin to the Old Beau Golf Club?
    My sister and family have a house their and they were also in the mountains this holiday weekend. I have been to Roaring Gap only once, but it is very lovely and we enjoyed a hike or two!

  • bleslie May 27, 2008

    Most folks are usually very nice when they recognize me. The only time my wife complains is around Christmas when she is bent on getting a lot of shopping done. Sometimes people want to tell me their whole life's history!

  • Legswilson May 27, 2008

    Glad you had a nice time this weekend Bill. I know you don't mind talking to folks but being recognized everywhere you go can't be much of a "vacation!" You're too nice to avoid the fans!

  • Riverracer8 May 27, 2008

    Glad you had fun, Bill! I hope to get up there soon. I miss the mountains every day that I'm not there. We spent the weekend on the Pamlico River - got lots of sun. The only problem was that the jellyfish have arrived about 3 months early! There were way too many of them for my liking.

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