Last time we checked in we had just left Washington D.C. and were worn out by capital city activities. Since then we have been in very different country - real country - with the mountains all around and the wind in our hair (an awful lot of wind in some cases - see North Carolina, further down...).
It started on Monday morning when we woke up in Fredericksburg, Virginia. It is Civil War country (you can't move round the place without falling over a battlefield... or at the very least a battlefield restaurant or gift shop...) and we went into the town (or city... I suppose it's a city) and walked around. It's a pretty little place with a big old river and bonny high street and it was warm (really warm) so we even joined the locals and other visitors and ate our lunch outside.
Then we drove across country (via places like Wilderness and Orange – Civil War battlefields aplenty) to Charlottesville, VA. This little city (anything bigger than a teacup seems to be a city here) is even prettier than Fredericksburg (sorry F-burg) but we had to get further south by nightfall so all we had time for there was a drink-break in one of the outdoor cafés, a wander round the centre, a few photos. Speaking of photos – here are the ones of that section of our Virginia days:
After Charlottesville we moved slightly west and joined the Blue Ridge Parkway – a lovely road that takes you right up high into the Blue Ridge Mountains. It was evening by the time we got there which meant great views and a sunset… but it also meant we got to the hotel too late for anything other than a sandwich (never mind – could do with missing a few more meals…). Photos in this slideshow are of that drive south, the views from the place we stayed the next morning (Peaks of Otter) plus some of the views from the Parkway south of Roanoke (a day later) as we made our way towards North Carolina, stopping at a place called Meadows of Dan for a sandwich and a nosey about. There’s an alpaca farm up in the Blue Ridge Mountains too you know – pictures included. Who doesn't love an alpaca?
And so into North Carolina. There was a detour on the Parkway for roadworks so we went through the country alongside for a little while. It seems to be the Xmas tree farm capital of the world down there! Plus the giant crucifixes on the hill started appearing about then (is that connected?). We headed for a place called Blowing Rock, a friendly little hotel, a ‘British pub’ for dinner (well, you have to sometimes…) and then the next morning went to see the Blowing Rock itself (read about it here – well worth a visit just don’t spend time giving yourself a fancy hairdo first) and then drove south (stopping at Old Fort for lunch). Pictures of this section of our North Carolina days here:
Lastly this time, we read in the guide books that Asheville, NC was a great place to visit so we decided to call in there on our way out of the state and stay the night. And how right the books were! Asheville is a gorgeous little city… all beautiful art deco buildings and groovy shops and bars and interesting characters on every corner (many of them walking dogs, some of them playing music). We met a famous dog and her owner (see said dog on TV here), ate ice-cream in an old Woolworths-turned-arts centre, took a 'comedy' bus tour (hence some of the unusual photos), looked at the city from the rooftop bar of one its most distinctive buildings (the Flatiron – like in New York… only without all the crowds and traffic). Photos of this part of the trip are below:
And now we're in Tennessee... but more on that later...