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Bill Leslie's Carolina Conversations

Mountain Journal

Posted May 27, 2008 8:29 a.m. EDT

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.