Things to Do at the Linville Gorge Wilderness Area (Near Linville Falls NC)

Things to Do at Linville Gorge Wilderness Area near Linville Falls

Western North Carolina’s Blue Ridge Mountains are renowned for their rugged beauty, and the Linville Gorge Wilderness Area ranks among the most dynamic places to see it. This 12,000-acre section of Pisgah National Forest is locally referred to as “The Grand Canyon of the East.” It is one of only two wilderness gorges in the … Read more

Exploring the Blue Ridge Music Center Near Galax VA (Blue Ridge Parkway MP 213)

Blue Ridge Music Center Sign on Blue Ridge Parkway, VA

The Blue Ridge Music Center was established by an act of Congress in 1985 to celebrate the rich cultural history and ongoing musical traditions of the Blue Ridge Mountains. The 17,000-square-foot facility is particularly immersed in the Round Peak style of the North Carolina mountains and the Galax and Grayson County style of Virginia.  But the museum … Read more

The 10 Best Things to Do in Luray VA (Gateway to Shenandoah)

Luray Singing Tower in Luray VA

Located in the heart of Virginia’s picturesque Shenandoah Valley, Luray is the county seat of Page County and one of just four access points for entering Shenandoah National Park.  Established in 1812 on 10 acres of land near Hawksbill Creek, the small town of around 4,800 residents is a warm, welcoming slice of Americana that … Read more

Things to Do at Grandfather Mountain State Park in Banner Elk NC

View from the Swinging Bridge on Grandfather Mountain

For me, the monolithic majesty of Grandfather Mountain preceded itself. On a few occasions in the past, my wife Emma and I visited friends who had a distant view of it from their mountain cabin. They were always thrilled to point the iconic summit out as a centerpiece of the High Country landscape. In a … Read more

Things to Do at James H Floyd State Park in Summerville GA

Fishermen at James H Sloppy Floyd State Park

[Updated on 7/20/21] We honestly didn’t know much about James H Floyd State Park (a.k.a. “Sloppy” Floyd State Park) before our first visit to Summerville GA.    But the 561-acre park’s laid-back blend of immense natural beauty and rich (some would say colorful) history won us over within minutes after we pulled through the gate.  … Read more

Things to Do at Moses H. Cone Memorial Park Near Blowing Rock NC

Moses H. Cone Memorial Park

The short stretch of the Blue Ridge Parkway that runs from just east of Boone NC to just west of Blowing Rock is particularly packed with special sites and things to do. Over this 36-mile span, you’ll see the monolithic landmark of Grandfather Mountain, stunningly colorful mountain lakes, and jaw-dropping scenic vistas from the lofty NC High … Read more

How to Get to Hooker Falls NC (in DuPont State Forest)

Hooker Falls NC

[Updated August 12, 2021] If you’re looking for challenging North Carolina waterfalls to hike, Hooker Falls is probably not for you.  Located between Brevard and Hendersonville in DuPont State Recreational Forest, the Hooker Falls Trail is one of the shortest (.9 mile round-trip), easiest (164 feet of elevation gain), and most accessible waterfall hikes in … Read more

The Cradle of Forestry in Pisgah National Forest (Near Brevard NC)

Entrance to Cradle of Forestry in America

The Cradle of Forestry in America was originally known as the Biltmore Forest School. It was founded in 1898 by Carl A. Schenck, a German Ph.D brought in by George W. Vanderbilt to manage his 100,000+ acres of forests around the Biltmore Estate. The goal of the school was to teach responsible forest management to … Read more

Things to Do in Elk Knob State Park Near Boone NC

Scenery in Elk Knob State Park in Boone NC

There is no shortage of stunning state parks in the North Carolina mountains. We’ve been fortunate to visit a good number of them, staring up at wondrous waterfalls and conquering skyscraping climbs to mountain summits with panoramic views. Nevertheless, our trip to the oft-overlooked 4,400-acre Elk Knob State Park last week proved to be another unique … Read more

The 15 Best North Georgia State Parks & Historic Sites

Black Rock Lake

[Updated on 7/14/21] Growing up in a lower middle class family in metro Atlanta, the North Georgia mountains were our playground. My parents led the youth group at our church when I was a young boy, and I can recall countless trips hiking and camping on Blood Mountain, Springer Mountain, and Brasstown Bald (the highest … Read more