This past weekend, Jesse and I took a much needed trip to North Carolina! He has been so busy with school that we don't have much time to spend together, so we really wanted to get away for a weekend. Also, Jesse got an internship this summer with the National Parks Service on the Blue Ridge Parkway in NC doing landscape architecture and historical preservation, so we wanted to take a chance to see where he would be spending the summer. He had been searching and we had been praying a while now for an internship. After applying to over 30, this is the place that the Lord led him and we were so excited to get to spend some time there together! So, here's our weekend...
With both of us having Good Friday (or as MSU calls it, spring holiday) off, we got up bright and early Friday morning (except it wasn't bright... it was quite the opposite!). The alarm went off at 4 a.m. and we were on the road around 5 a.m. I haven't seen those times in quite a while, so it was a little rough getting going, but once Jesse had his coffee and I had my Diet Coke, we were good to go! We had an 8 hour drive ahead of us, but due to the time zone change, it was really 9 hours.
We saw the sunrise, drove through Birmingham, Chattanooga, Knoxville, Johnson City, lots of small mountain towns, and finally ended up on the Blue Ridge Parkway. Now, if you have never been on the Blue Ridge Parkway, you are TRULY missing out!!! Just imagine the Natchez Trace Parkway, but waaayyy cooler. This was my first time and I was blown away. I was driving at this point and couldn't get the full view, but it was amazing! (We went back later when Jesse was driving so I could get a better look.) Here are a few pictures to give you a taste... I didn't take these, but look how beautiful!!!
As if it can't get any better, this is the road that Jesse will be living and working on this summer. I know, I know... and I'll be here in good ole' Mississippi. He will specifically be living and working at the Moses Cone Memorial Park. After driving down the parkway for about 12 miles, we pass Price Lake :) and then turn into Moses Cone.
You can read here what the place is:
Aaaand.... here is where he will be living!
Ok, ok... Just kidding. This isn't quite the house he will be living in, but this is the main home on the property. This was the Cone Family's home that is now home to the Southern Highland Craft Guild.
This is where he will actually be living... in the old servants quarters.
View from his front porch:
This is the old carriage house where they used to keep their carriages.
After spending some time on the estate, we made our way down the mountain into the adorable town of Blowing Rock, NC. We had dinner at an amzing restaurant - Canyons of the Blue Ridge Parkway. This place had been there since the turn of the century and has always been a popular hang out for the students at Appalachian State in Boone. It was recommended to us by a friend and did not disappoint. I wish we had known how large the portion sizes were becuase we got way more food then we could imagine eating, but it was divine!
This picture does not even do this justice, but we sat outside on the deck with a beautiful view of the mountains and valley.
That evening we stayed the night at the Boxwood Lodge in Blowing Rock.
If any of you have stuck around with this post, thanks! :) We spent Saturday morning walking around Blowing Rock and Boone, getting more familiar with the area. On the 15 minute drive to Boone, we found some outlets and HAD to stop and explore! After we gave too much money to Polo, Banana Republic, and Gap, we decided to get back on the road. Boone is home to Appalachian State University, so we took some time walking around the beautiful campus and town.
After eating Smoked Gouda Enchiladas at Tupelo's World Cafe, we made our way to Roan Mountain State Park. We wanted to tent camp Saturday night since the weather was so beautiful! We arrive at the campground around 7:15 - thinking we could set up the tent and hang out in the hammock before dark. When we arrive, we see a large sign that said tent camping did not begin until April 15. Hmmm.... what now? We didn't really have a back up plan and dark was coming soon.
Thankfully, minutes later a park ranger came by and told us to head on up Roan Mountain and that we could get on the Appalachian Trail at Carvers Gap and set up our tent on the bald. We didn't realize how close we were to such an amazing place!!! We made our way up to Carvers Gap, loaded up the packs and made our way up the rest of the mountain on foot. We arrived just as the sun had almost gone down, set up the tent and watched the stars come out. What a blessing! It was BEAUTIFUL. Elevation: around 5700 feet.We got in the tent with coyotes howling and settled in for the night. If you are wondering why I don't have any pictures to show you, my camera died at this point.... I know, right?! Terrible.
We woke up to an incredible Easter morning to one of the most beautiful views I have ever seen. Here are some pictures I found online:
It's amazing how close you can feel to God on a mountain. With a thankful and full heart, we packed up camp and made our way back to the car. We are so thankful we weren't able to stay at the campground because we would have missed out on an awesome Easter morning experience. We left NC and made our way back to MS and got back around 6 p.m. Jesse went straight to the studio and I hung out with some friends. We were sad for the weeking to come to and end, but felt so refreshed and rejuvenated. I'm looking forward to more weekends like this over the summer! :)
Thanks for sticking around to read this!