Blowing Rock Revisited

Sunday, August 22, 2010 Road Junkies 0 Comments

BLOWING ROCK FAMILY SOJOURN
15 AUGUST—22 AUGUST, 2010 
  
We were all delighted when the time finally arrived for our annual summer week in Blowing Rock, a charming mountain village in the heart of North Carolina's High Country.  With everyone suffering from the South's summer heat, it was a pleasure to enter this quaint town at 3,700 ft. elevation and temperatures 15 to 20 degrees lower than those we'd left at home.

2010 marks the seventh summer we have spent a congenial week in the Blue Ridge Mountains with Ken's family. As always, high on our agenda after we unpacked our cars on Sunday was a trip to the local Harris Teeter grocery store. 
  
Ken's sister Marion was determined that we could avoid visiting the grocery store every day this year as we usually do. So this was a big shopping trip. Ryan, Heather and Emma arrived in Boone as we were leaving the store, not unhappy about missing the shopping experience.  (Spoiler alert:  This wasn't our only trip, but we did have some supermarket-free days.)

On Monday morning, there was no better way to start the week than our traditional stroll around the Bass Lake loop trail. Grandma became acquainted with this flat path when she visited Blowing Rock with friends in the 1990s and introduced it to all of us.  In the dozen or more trips we've made to the Blowing Rock area together, never have we missed this Prager family ritual (and we have the photos to prove it). 
  
Ryan, Emma and Grandma at Bass Lake
After today's loop, during which we found a letterbox planted since our visit last October, it was time to discuss that persistent question: What shall we do next?
  
Mulling over our options
Of course, the answer was easy... back to the townhouse for lunch. Later in the afternoon Ken and Dianne, Heather and Emma enjoyed a nice hike near the Blue Ridge Parkway on the way to find an outstanding letterbox by a New York woman who goes by the trail name Scout. Back to home base for a delicious dinner and a ride on the Mexican Train. Ryan won, but we all had fun.

The week continued in the same vein.  We have our traditions.  Usually a Bass Lake stroll, most meals together at our rented townhouse, and games or puzzles in the evening.

With all the beautiful and challenging trails in the "High Country" area, there was no shortage of great places to hike.
  
Ryan and Heather on the trail
And thanks to a few very active local letterboxers, most trails have letterboxes to search for, making the walk oh so much more interesting.
  
Stamping in to a letterbox
In addition to our traditional summer mountain week activities like boating on Lake Watauga and picnicking at Julian Price Park, we also visited the Ashe County Cheese Factory in West Jefferson, a tasty adventure suggested by Grandma because of her previous trip there with friends. As an extra treat, there was even a letterbox planted at the factory!
  
Ashe County Cheese Factory
It was a week filled with games and good food, family stories and a relief from the brutal heat and humidity back home.  Some familiar traditions, some new adventures, a bit of challenge, and one broken arm.  A humerus story that wasn't the least bit funny. Away from the rocky and treacherous trails, Dianne fell in the neighborhood, fracturing the upper right arm. But even that wasn't enough to detract from another fantastic family vacation.

SUNDAY, 15 AUGUST—SUNDAY, 22 AUGUST 2010