Visited September 25 -October 2, 2016
We were sad to leave Bill and Jackie’s farm–we even stayed a couple days longer than planned because we enjoyed it, and them, so much. But we were excited for our next stop, a week in Maggie Valley where we reconnected with friends from our years in Citrus County, FL. Rick and Suzie came to Tom’s retirement party earlier in the summer and mentioned that they’d be camping for a month at Stonebridge RV Park in Maggie Valley, as they do every year, so we plugged the dates into our calendar and it worked out perfectly for us to join them!
With their help, we got a site near them on the creek that runs behind the park and they were there to welcome us when we arrived. Then, as all experienced RVers know to do, they left us to get set up and settled and we joined them later in their RV for a wonderful home cooked dinner and a great evening of catch up conversation around the campfire. They are avid hikers and bikers and Rick is a master photographer so they know all the great outdoor things to see and do in Maggie! They took us up a back road (glad Rick was driving!) into Great Smoky Mountains National Park at dusk so we could see the elk that live in the meadows there. More fascinating than seeing the elk is hearing them. They “bugle”, calling to each other, and it sounds absolutely prehistoric! We stayed a long time, watching and listening to them, with lots of other fascinated onlookers.
Another day they took us to the other side of the park, to the Visitor Center and some hiking trails with waterfalls along the way. A waterfall is such a great reward for a hike! And of course, we also drove a stretch up on the Blue Ridge Parkway. We saw more fall colors popping out but were still ahead of the full rush of colors. We made a stop at the historic Pisgah Inn tucked on the side of Mt Pisgah where we reveled in the sweeping views from their deck of rocking chairs! We also bought their trademark wine to enjoy at our next stop on the Parkway, another lookout where we waited for sunset. It was chilly and breezy on the mountain but the sunset was worth it! In our experience, every sunset is worth the wait, though some are indeed more spectacular than others.
Just down the street from our RV park there is a great museum, Wheels Through Time, dedicated primarily to motorcycles but also includes some other classic wheels. Tom and I spent a fun couple of hours wandering “through time” around the impressive collection and exhibits. Some of the cycles still run, as we learned when we suddenly heard one start up, and a few are still ridden regularly.
We took another day and drove to Asheville less than an hour away to meet friends from Tallahassee, Mary Jane and Dean who are also seasonal residents in nearby Hendersonville. We had lunch at the historic and majestic Grove Park Inn, on the mountainside terrace café with its panoramic views. We also took time to explore the inn and grounds. Oh my, it is a magnificent structure inside and out with a hundred-year history of celebrities and other visitors enjoying the beauty and luxury there. After lunch we drove into Asheville for a quick look around, but limited parking time and a rain shower confined all of us to a chocolate and ice cream shop, oh darn!
We heard from our park friends, Sandy and George, that they could stopover in Maggie Valley on their way back from Michigan to Florida and we told them that the site right next to us was available! They pulled in just in time for dinner and another great campfire conversation, with Rick and Suzie, too. The next morning, Sandy and George cooked us a delicious big breakfast before they packed up to leave. Our week in Maggie was one of our best because not only did we get to visit three sets of friends, we got to camp with two of them! That was the highlight for us, getting to hike and sightsee together, eat out and in together, and just relax around the campfire with lots of stories and laughs. 🙂
We left on a Sunday morning and were able to worship with Rick and Suzie on our way out of town. And it just happened to be Potluck Sunday so we got to enjoy a super meal with the church family there, sweet!