Elizabeth Gardner's favorite spots to keep cool

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Looking Glass Falls
Elizabeth Gardner

It’s going to be a scorcher of a weekend. That’s something we’ll be able to say many times the next couple of months. Even so, I’m ready to talk about my favorite spots to keep cool over the summer. Lots of folks will be traveling during the next week for 4th of July vacations.

If you are headed to the mountains, one of my favorite cool spots is near Brevard. Highway 276 heads north from Brevard up to the Blue Ridge Parkway through the Pisgah National Forest. This pretty stretch of road winds past some of North Carolina’s “coolest” natural attractions.

The first one you come to right beside the road is Looking Glass Falls. It’s a 60-foot drop with steps to the pool below. You can swim in the pool or just feel the mist from the falls.

Next stop is Sliding Rock. It’s a natural 60-foot waterslide that ends in a 7 foot pool. It’s a great favorite with the kids. The water is COLD and will certainly erase all thoughts of 95 degree days in the Triangle.

Once you’re thoroughly cooled off, continue up the road to the Cradle of Forestry. This whole area was once owned by the Vanderbilts and was part of the Biltmore Estate. George Vanderbilt also helped develop the first forestry school in America here. Now it’s a popular, well-done historic site.

Back down the road toward Brevard is a great campground called Davidson River. It fills quickly but they now take reservations online. Near Davidson River is another site the kids will love: The Pisgah Center for Wildlife Education. There is enough to do in this area to easily fill a weekend or even longer.

If you’ll be around here this weekend expect highs to remain in the mid 90s. We have a chance for scattered thunderstorms late today and again late Sunday.

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