Bill Leslie's Carolina Conversations

Mountain magic contest

Posted June 2, 2011
Updated June 3, 2011

When the weather gets hot where do you go - east or west? Do you head to the mountains or the magic of the coast? We have the best of both worlds in North Carolina.

I prefer the mountains when the weather is hot. I love the waterfalls. We have more than 300 in NC. I know I can always find a cool breeze at Mt. Mitchell or Grandfather Mountain. I can hike in a virgin forest if I want. I can enjoy a thrilling kayak experience on the Nantahala. I can fish for trout and enjoy the beauty of a road running the crest of the Blue Ridge range.

What is your favorite mountain destination or adventure? The person with the best story will win a copy of my book and CD Blue Ridge Reunion.

By the way, I took this picture last weekend just off the Blue Ridge Parkway.  I hope you get to enjoy similar vistas this summer.  


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  • donnaaa Jun 7, 2011

    oops, make that Roaring Gap on the continental divide, Roaring River is in Wilkes. My bad. Roaring River is the home of Roaring River Canoe Rentals...also fun, but an adventure from last year. Too much to do here!!

  • donnaaa Jun 7, 2011

    I went to a friend's house yesterday in Roaring River. Looking out one set of windows toward N. Wilkesboro and the other side set of windows toward the Parkway, I was on top of the continental divide. The blue mountains were rolling all around. For a moment I thought I was on the sea. Then we drove on to Sparta. She took me to four or five art studios where we met the artists and watched pottery, woodwork, metal and fiber arts being born. (There is an organized tour on June 17-19 called NC Mountain Arts Adventure. Y'all should go. . We had lunch at sweet sandwich shop and then even met the curator at the Kamm Foundation. I saw all those teapots!!!! Really, there is too much history, many kinds of design references and weird and wonderful idea-generators in that storage area at Wilkes Community College Alleghany campus. It was a fantastic day. I loved the pottery, photography and butcher blocks custom built.

  • RightNow Jun 6, 2011

    I grew up nestled in a small house in a sheltering valley when we were surrounded by the sight of beautiful scenery and lush greenery that blocked out the outside world and made us feel safe. Somehow ended up in the coastal plain of NC and although I have adapted, my heart always longs for the peace and beauty found in the NC mountains. The ocean is wonderful, but I have to vote for the mountains, they own my heart and soul.

  • ringersrule Jun 6, 2011

    Well, anywhere in the NC mountains is our family's favorite destination - any season. But, I now have to say that our particular favorite is 10 acres with a cabin in Ashe County that we just bought two weeks ago! That's where our spare change is! Haha! It is beautiful there and offers great hiking straight up Nettle Knob!

  • fishnett5977 Jun 3, 2011

    But my heart still lies at our NC coast. Many memories there with parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles and best of all cousins!!! Wonderful that here in NC we truly do have the best of both worlds!!! :)

  • fishnett5977 Jun 3, 2011

    My mountain adventure happened when my boys were young(4,8,10-they are now 26,31,33).We went with another couple who also had 3 boys our boys ages. Went on an old station wagon. Went through a part of Pisgah National Forest(the waterfall and sights - breathtaking!)We camped at Yogi Bear Campground - boys on quilts and blankets on the ground and a tarp attached to the wagon and a pole. Me and other mom in back of wagon and the hubbies in two lounge chairs near the campfire. My now ex hubby snored so loud the other campers told us they werent scared of any bears coming around cause it sounded like we had our own!!!lol We cooked out, the boys played and we adults enjoyed each others company. Boys are grown now, other couple lives in Florida and we now all have grandkids. But those memories are some of the best I kept from my first marriage. That trip was my first trip there. And the only time I have ever spent long time in the mountains of NC. Going to go back someday...somehow...

  • thefensk Jun 3, 2011

    I like just about any place in the mountains just about any time my car can navigate the roads.

    I agree with fgump about the beach ... winter is the time. Nothing like wandering for miles down a pristine and quiet Ocracoke beach in almost total solitude. Spending New Years Eve in the shadow of the Hatteras lighthouse is a great experience.

  • piknowles4 Jun 2, 2011

    As a youngster our family would pack up and head to Hanging Rock State Park with several other families. We would "rough it" by reserving three, two bedroom cabins. We always knew we were close when we spotted Pilot Mountain. Moore's Knob, Chimney Rock, the Big Stone Bath House at the lake and of course Hanging Rock itself. The memories of hikes,trapping the wolf spiders that hung around the outside lights so we could tease the girls with them, swimming to our hearts content even though the minnows nipped a bit and catching blue tailed skinks by the dozens. It was a magical time in what seemed like an entirely different world. Leaving was always a sad time until we reached the outskirts of Raleigh. Home, sweet home.

  • Kiteflyer Jun 2, 2011

    As a former West Virginia mountaineer I've come to love a trip to Cullowhee from Goldsboro. Cullowhee is the home of the North Carolina Center for the Advancement of Teaching , NCCAT. NCCAT is the retreat center the citizens of NC have provided to the teachers of the state. The view of the mountains from the retreat lodge is breathtaking and just what is needed for teachers needing a break. The campus is full of little trails that provide hikers with views of local fauna providing everyone with breathtaking views of the surrounding area. Are you a teacher? Consider at trip to Cullowhee or to NCCAT's new campus on Ocrakoke for the best renewal experience that can be had embracing the wonders of our spectacular state.

  • pulstar40 Jun 2, 2011

    Many years ago, my husband, young daughter and I camped in Cherokee during the 4th of July holiday. Cherokee was packed with vacationers, getting around by car was a challenge. But one summer night, long after my daughter had gone to sleep in our old Coleman camper, we were relaxing by the campfire in the dark. A neighboring camper was softly strumming a guitar. It was so peaceful with the soft music in the background, especially appreciated after a day with the crowds. But the best part? The spectacular view of the night sky. Without all the light pollution, the stream of stars that twinkled above us was awesome. I can still after all this time picture myself sitting there and just appreciating the beauty of the mountains, the stars and how it’s the little moments in life that are the most memorable.




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Bill Leslie