Tag Archives: Blue Ridge Parkway

European Car Fun For Charity in Winston-Salem, NC

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Two weekends ago, Marc and I ventured to Winston-Salem, NC to enjoy a nice car show, a gala/casino night, and a relaxing Blue Ridge Parkway “Cruz” — all for a good cause. Proceeds went to the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research. Neither Marc nor I have a reason to support Parkinson’s Research since we don’t personally know of anyone with Parkinson’s disease, but we chose to participate in the event since it would benefit a good cause while allowing us to have some fun. We can’t exactly be the epitome of philanthropists since we are young professionals, but these types of events provide us with an opportunity to do good and make a difference without breaking the bank and sacrificing a large amount of time.

On Saturday morning, we walked the streets of Old Winston-Salem to check out the car show. The cars were awesome and so was the town. Marc was particularly fond of the architecture and character of the buildings. I spotted a bakery, and upon entering, I was immediately overwhelmed by the smell of freshly baked bread. We were greeted by an older man who was kneading and pounding dough on a small wooden table in a tiny room to the right of the entrance. He treated us like we were everyday customers and in reality, he had never met us before. I love that kind of small town charm.

We spent a few hours at the car show, but once it wrapped up, we headed over to the Brookstown Inn to check in and to freshen up. The inn was fairly quaint and isn’t a place we have raved about to all of our friends. That being said, there wasn’t anything about it that we disliked, we just weren’t crazy about it. We enjoyed our stay, but we weren’t overly impressed with our room or the staff. At best, it is an average place to stay with above-average character.

We had a few hours to burn before the casino night at Flow BMW, so we made our way to Foothills Brewing, only a few miles away. Marc and I managed to snatch the last two spots available at the bar. We ordered a couple of appetizers (yes, we ordered pretzels) and we shared a beer sampler. We were just a few minutes from closing our tab when suddenly I was jumping out of my barstool trying to keep the beer shower from turning into a beer bath. Marc was borderline drenched and I was sprayed with enough beer to make my hair nappy and my shirt  fairly wet and sticky.

All of this happened because the tap decided to spray beer directly at us which, according to our bartender, “happens everyday.” Huh? Your tap sprays beer every day and you still allow your patrons to sit in front of it? Come again? I was pretty outraged, but surprisingly, I bit my tongue to the best of my ability. Needless to say, the manager took care of our tab and even offered to take care of my dry cleaning bill since I was visibly upset about a brand new shirt getting soaked in beer. No, I’m not sending my dry cleaning bill to her, even though I probably should. We learned a valuable lesson and that is to never sit near a tap again.

We abruptly left  Foothills Brewing and returned to Brookstown Inn to get ready for casino night. It was a pretty good time; though Marc and I were the youngest couple there. We have this ongoing joke that we always tend to be the youngest in the crowd at all the events we go to. I am not certain how this happens, but I really wish younger people enjoyed the same stuff we do! Neither one of us are gamblers, so we were amongst the first to leave that evening. In hindsight, it’s pretty hysterical that we were the first to leave since we were the youngest. I’m sure some of the older people stayed until the very end!

The next day was pretty fun. We went on the Blue Ridge Parkway “Cruz,” which really ended up being a drive on a whole bunch of backroads and a little bit of the Blue Ridge Parkway. Our final destination was Chateau Morrisette in Virginia. I thoroughly enjoyed the wine tasting and winery tour. The winery is absolutely beautiful and has a great history, but I don’t feel like rambling about a winery.

The drive home was a long one, but at the end of the day, we supported a good cause while having fun, so making the trip was well worth our time!

~ Lyndsi

 

Our Five Favorite Fall Drives in North Carolina

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Fall is wonderful for five things: football, running, pumpkin spice lattes, killer boots, and beautiful North Carolina mountain drives. Some of our favorite drives are below … hopefully our readers love drives, if not, I’m so sorry this post is going to bore you. I hate that we don’t know much about our readers, but I can only hope you guys like our content! 

  1. Blue Ridge Parkway – This drive is by no means off the beaten path, unless of course you’re comparing it with the streets of Downtown Manhattan. Blue Ridge Parkway draws 15+ million visitors each year, making it the National Park Service’s most admired attraction. Even though millions of visitors take a journey on the Blue Ridge Parkway each year, when we drive it, we feel we’re among the few that are actually enjoying it. There’s no congested traffic, but we do occasionally get stuck behind a slow-moving vehicle. That’s not terrible, since we drive the Blue Ridge Parkway to enjoy the views of the beautiful vistas. Marc has never driven the M3 like it is meant to be driven while on the Blue Ridge Parkway. At least not with me as his passenger. It’s an absolutely beautiful drive and I highly recommend all leaf-lookers take a journey on this road. After all, traveling should be about the journey, not the destination. Note: take time to stop at the overlooks. Each one offers a very unique stunning view.
  2. Tail of the Dragon (TOD) – I don’t even know where to begin. This road is absolutely ridiculous as a passenger in a vehicle. At least as the passenger in a M3 with Marc behind the wheel. Located on the border of North Carolina and Tennessee, TOD is America’s number one motorcycle and sports car road with 318 curves in just 11 miles. If you go mid-day, you’ll barely move faster than an old lady in a walker due to traffic, but if you arrive early in the morning, you can get a clean run (ladies: a “run” means a clean drive without having to tap your breaks because some leaf-looker is in front of you, just in case you don’t already know; it took me a few times to catch onto the lingo). Despite my instincts routinely telling me I am a complete moron for riding in the passenger’s seat, I thoroughly love drives on the TOD. It’s an adrenaline rush and I am an adrenaline junky. Although, it’s not about how fast you go (and I recommend not going fast), it is simply how well you handle the curves. Notes: TOD is a dangerous road. Do not cross over the double yellow lines and be extremely cautious. There are tons of bikers on road, so keep your eyes peeled for them, as well.  An air lift out of the place cost one driver $19,000, so that’s just another reason to play it safe.

  3. Cherohalah Skyway – Located near the TOD (making a glorious loop), I love Cherohalah Skyway for its 60 miles of remote, scenic mountain views. It’s an amazing road with swift, wide turns. In some aspects, I enjoy it more than the Blue Ridge Parkway since you can drive faster while still looking at the gorgeous scenery. Being the passenger on this road makes me want to kick Marc out of the driver’s seat, so I can know what it feels like to drive a sports car on this skyway! Maybe this fall, Marc? Note: this road can also be dangerous. There was a tragic fatality on it this month, September 2011. While you can drive faster on it than the first two drives I mentioned, take it easy, as the road can be tricky.  The turns can sneak up on you. There are more car fatalities on the Cherohala than TOD. 
  4. Whitewater Way – I’d be lying if I said I’ve actually driven this, but it’s one I will experience this fall. If I’m not mistaken, Marc has driven at least some of this road with his car friends. I can’t wait to experience the vivid fall color amidst a stunning backdrop of numerous waterfalls. I’ve heard it’s the most striking and lively scenery in North Carolina. Notes: bring your camera! I’ve seen incredible pictures from friends who have been on this drive.
  5. Nantahala Byway – Forty-three miles of road make up the Nantahala Scenic Byway within the Nantahala National Forest. Areas of interest include the Nantahala Gorge, Cherokee Indian Reservation, Great Smokey Mountains National Park, and Fontana Lake. If whitewater rafting, kayaking, or canoeing is your niche, then the Nantahala River will sure please you. Notes: wear active clothing and make this trip memorable by doing outdoor activities! As with my other notes, please drive safely!

What are you favorite fall drives in the United States? Or in the world? Marc and I would die to drive on the Autobahn (and will someday, Marc claims, when he does a European delivery of a new BMW).

~ Lyndsi

Let’s Go to Switzerland

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Little Switzerland, NC, that is. Right off the Blue Ridge Parkway (which deserves its own post) is this quaint, European-feeling town. How many places in the Carolinas can you go and feel like you’re in Europe? There is a cozy lodge and inn, in service since 1910, at this mountain resort nestled on the top of a mountain. All of the architecture is modeled after Switzerland.

And did I mention the entertaining twisty roads leading to it?

There is an open-air restaurant and bar overlooking the very scenic mountains here. We enjoyed lunch and eavesdropping on a family reunion being held there. Would we stay the night? Probably not. The rooms look very dated and tired, but the views, drive, and location for lunch makes it worthwhile. There is a pool, hot tub, tennis courts, and some shopping in the area. It is a nice day escape, or stop along the Blue Ridge Parkway.

~ Marc