Bill Leslie's Carolina Conversations

Mountain weekend getaway

Posted September 17, 2010 1:17 p.m. EDT

If you're looking for an interesting mountain getaway I would suggest you aim your vehicle toward Spruce Pine. The weather should be delightful and there is always something interesting to do at The Orchard at Altapass.
Local authors will be on hand Saturday along with the Cole Mountain Cloggers to go along with hay rides and lots of great storytelling.

My old radio buddy Walt Howard was up that way recently and sent me this report. I thought you might enjoy it.

I was at Altapass last week! I have a timeshare in Blowing Rock and the Orchard is on their list of things to do.

I beat an old folks bus by 15 minutes. Long enough to eat a great chili dog in their open air pavilion and get a hot scenic touring tip from the couple running the concession. They live in Roan Mountain, TN., and sent me that way on my return to Blowing Rock. It was a beautiful drive certain to be spectacular for the colors. It even sported a burly tobacco field in that odd curing stage, tepee style.

One of the attractions is a daily bluegrass or story telling session in their general store for a couple of hours after lunch. One end of the store has a small modest bandstand surrounded by a semi-circle of about 50 assorted, slightly used resin chairs! Homey!, Homey. I didn't' see any spittoons. Maybe you have to bring your own.

The rest of the store is full of apple stuff and other mountainy things including a live, working bee hive and live Monarch butterfly cocoon hatching display.

The trees are justa hangin, Bill, as the harvest starts in earnest, this week, and they're open 7 days a week, 10-6. If you miss that small sign saying Orchard Rd. directly on the Parkway, you'll look down the mountainside and see em and turn around. It's around the Spruce Pines, NC area off the Blue Ridge Parkway.

You marry off a daughter? Congratulations! Seems like just yesterday you were getting married and eating waffles.


The last line refers to my daughter's recent wedding. Walt gave me a waffle iron for my wedding 34 years ago. And it still works!